Sunday, February 19, 2017

Author Interview: Michelle Foxworthy



Today I'd like to welcome Michelle Foxworthy to the blog to talk a bit about herself and her recent release The Village Green!

How did you get the idea for The Village Green?
I’ve always liked reading dystopian literature, such as 1984 and Brave New World. And I wondered, What other devices might a government use to control its citizens. So, I thought of something that is supposed to be used for good, like the environmental movement. I think it is easier to get people to agree to all sorts of things they maybe never would have, if they feel good about themselves in doing it.

Could you talk a bit about your publishing experience?
I had a much easier time than I expected. I finished my book and began submitting it to every publisher I could find that published in my genre. I received a lot of rejections, but within a month of submitting I was accepted by Clean Reads.

Which authors have inspired you the most?
In the dystopian genre, Lois Lowry and Aldous Huxley, have been very influential. 

What is the hardest thing about writing a dystopian novel?
Writing a happy ending.

I see that you live in a 35 foot caravan! Some of my best childhood memories come from the RV trips my family would take in the summer. What's it like being on the road full-time?
It has been an adventure and sometimes very challenging. There are six of us (my husband, four children, and myself) sharing a very limited amount of space, and you really have to be dedicated to the traveling lifestyle to not give up and move back to suburbia. I don’t know how long we will continue, but we are going on three years now.

When you start writing do you have a complete plot in mind or do you see where the story takes you?
I have tried to plot out my stories first, and I do have a basic idea, but I generally just go with the flow.

If you had to describe The Village Green in three words, what would they be?
Vision, hope, courage.

 About The Village Green:
"Kelsey stood in a long line of ragged people..." And so she did every week at the Hand-Out waiting to receive her weekly rations. But the rations were getting smaller and the people were getting worried. 

"Had life always been like this: hunger, want, and disease?" As far as Kelsey knew, it always had, but when she finds the journal of Henry Martin everything begins to change. 

Learning that her best friend is part of an underground resistance is strange enough, but finding out that she is the prophesied liberator of the people is almost too hard to believe. Will Kelsey be strong enough to fulfill that prophecy?

 About Michelle:
M.A. Foxworthy is the author of the dystopian, YA novella,The Village Green.  
She lives and travels full-time with her family in a 35ft travel trailer. When she is not teaching her four children, she enjoys: writing, reading, sight-seeing, and drawing.


Contact the Author:
Facebook:
@M.A.Foxworthy
Twitter:
@MAFoxworthy

Book Teaser




Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Review: School of Deaths

Title: School of Deaths (The Scythe Wielder's Secret #1)
Author: Christopher Mannino
Page Count: 270
My Rating:4 TURTLES: A great read, I definitely recommend.
Amazon
*I was given this book in exchange for an honest review

Description:
Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail. Scythes hungry for souls, Deaths who enslave a race of mysterious magicians, and echoes of an ancient war with Dragons. Caught in the middle of a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths, Suzie must uncover the reason she's been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.

Review:

School of Deaths is a very imaginative story, I've never read a book that dealt with the myth of the Grim Reaper like this before. Suzie has a lot of pluck and at the same time I could believe she was actually thirteen. There is also quite a big cast of interesting, complex characters surrounding her that add considerably to the story. These characters made the subplots just as interesting as the overarching plot that builds throughout the book as sets up the series. 

For this review I was given an audiobook and I thought it was well narrated. I don't know that I would have made the choice to have a man narrate a story told through the point of view of a girl, but he did a good job with different voices and accents for the characters. Having the extra element of the narration definitely added to my enjoyment of the story.

One thing that I kept thinking about though, was the implications of there only being male deaths. Suzie is the first girl death in a million years, and we see this impacts her experience because she is bullied, but not much beyond that. One thing I would have thought would be addressed about an "all male" world, even if briefly, would be the queer community. Would the straight deaths be jealous of gay deaths since only men were in the dating pool? Would straight deaths try to villainize homosexuality because they were jealous or turn to it despite it not being their first choice? Also, since deaths are usually taken to the College when they are young, has a trans girl ever been taken? The book ignores all these sorts of questions, which is too bad. It seemed like a missed opportunity to me, but I recognize I think more about queer representation in the media more than most people.

I would place School of Deaths on the younger range of young adult but would recommend it to any fan of fantasy. The audiobook is a great way to pass time commuting or at the gym, so I would also recommend you check out that format as well.




Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Excerpt: A Tangled Web


Book Blurb:
Japan, 2011

Taiyo is a normal high-school girl living with her Grandmother in Sendai. She goes to school, partakes in club activities and hangs out with her two best friends, twin brothers Ryuu and Kairi. However, her perfect world is shattered when she begins dating Kairi but quickly discovers she's already in love with Ryuu.

A tangled web of lies surrounds the pair, but everything is suddenly knocked into perspective on March 11thwhen they are caught up in a natural disaster that devastates the country and robs thousands of their homes, their possessions and their lives…



Author Bio: 
M L Sparrow is currently the author of four full length novels, a novella and a slew of short stories published in various anthologies. She will write pretty much anything that pops into her head, no matter the genre, and enjoys keeping her readers guessing as to what she will write next, though you can pretty much guarantee that there will be some degree of romance! 

As well as writing, she enjoys travelling and has been to some amazing countries, where she never fails to gather inspiration and has an endless supply of ideas for future novels…

To find out more check out her website – http://mlsparrow.wix.com/mlsparrow - or stalk her on Facebook @MLSPARROWAUTHOR 

Excerpt:
Everything was perfect until the ground began to shake. There was no warning. The warning system on their mobiles didn’t begin to sound until after it had begun.
Jishin!” people shouted above the low, grumbling roar beneath them. Earthquake.
A red car skidded into a blue one at the top of the road, both of them trembling and bouncing.
Dropping her school bag, she grabbed Ryuu’s hand and tried not to fall. He dropped into a crouch to keep his balance, taking her down with him. She kept thinking it would be over in a minute, but it never seemed to end. Someone screamed and across the street a man lost his footing and fell to his knees. A crack appeared in the pavement, inching towards them. They scrambled away and her heart jumped in her chest as the road split open.
Roof tiles rained down, shattering on the ground and another crack appeared, this time in the wall of a small shop. Dust and plaster billowed from the crack and the wall began to buckle.
Taiyo didn’t know how long it lasted, it must have been minutes at least, but it finally subsided to a shivering tremble before petering off all together. Everyone looked around, holding perfectly still, afraid to move.
“That was a big one,” a lady near them, clutching a little boy, said fearfully, glancing in the direction of the sea, “should we move to higher ground?” Around the coast there was always the risk of a tsunami after an earthquake and they’d learnt about their country’s devastating history with the huge waves in school.
“It’s all right, the seawalls will protect us,” someone else answered.
Taiyo glanced at Ryuu nervously. In turn, he looked around at the locals, many of whom were gathering in little clusters.
Anxiously she bit her lip, her stomach twisting itself into knots; something didn’t feel right. Like all Japanese people, she was used to earthquakes, however, she couldn’t remember ever experiencing one quite like that.
Several people rushed into houses and reappeared with bags, chivvying along children or their elderly parents, before getting into their cars and driving away, but the majority of people remained.
A few houses and shops had crumbled, but looking around no one that she could see appeared to be seriously hurt. One man had been hit by a falling roof tile and was bleeding from a gash to his forehead. Sitting on the pavement, he was being attended to by neighbours.
It looked like the worst was over, but then someone shouted and they all turned to look out over the grey-blue sea. At first Taiyo didn’t know what she was seeing, but then the breath caught in her lungs.
The alarms began to blare. 






Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases.