Thursday, 24 October 2013

Chat With Me Thursday #7: Author Interview With J. Leigh Bralick

       I am happy to be back with another Chat With Me Thursday. Today I bring you J. Leigh Bralick. Author of Down a Lost Road, Subverter, Prisim, and The Madness Project.

1. Could you tell me a little about yourself?

       So, I'm a bit of an oddball…isn't that a prerequisite for being a writer, though?  I'm a military brat, so I grew up all over the country until my family settled in Texas.  I still love to travel (especially to strange and hidden places); I obsess over languages (I make them up, too); I despise brussel sprouts (mutant miniature
cabbages!); I adore owls, chickens and pretty much anything that has feathers.  I'm passionate about a bizarre variety of music, and have never met an instrument I didn't want to play.  I love to learn about pretty much everything.  I'm paranoid of car engines and electrical transformers, I train in street fighting, and, yes, I secretly believe that the Doctor will come to take me away.

2. When did you first decide that you wanted to be an author?

       Oh, I was pretty young.  My mom and older sister were always writing, and my whole family was passionate about story-telling, so writing just became a part of my life very early on.  Of course people would always throw out that old line, "Most people can't make it as an author," but I didn't care about that.  I just had to write, whether or not I could "make it" by my craft or not.  That just kind of flowed into wanting to share my books with people, so, here I am.

3. Was it difficult to mix steampunk and fantasy?

       Not as much as you might think!  I've always been a fantasy writer; it's my natural habitat.  But I love the whole steampunk flair and I'm fascinated by early modern culture, when everything is just becoming mechanized, with automobiles and aeroplanes and all of that.  So many fantasy novels reflect a medieval kind of culture (I love those stories, too, but…you know.  It's ubiquitous), and I've never read one with an early modern kind of setting.  I just wondered, why not?  There is something magical and fantastical about that setting for me.  I didn't want to write yet another Victorian London story.  I wanted a fantasy world with its own myths and countries and cultures, though the country Cavnal did draw inspiration from a number of sources — from revolution-era Russia to the heyday of the Chicago and New York mobs, to the quirky slang of Newcastle.

4. Do you find what you name your characters an important thing to think about?

       Very much.  The sound of names is hugely important to me.  Sometimes a character comes with a name already attached.  Sometimes I'll know what sort of ethnic sound I want to evoke, and I'll go to a site like Behind The Name to get a feel for different names before making one up that seems to fit.  Usually I'll start with a very strong sense that a character's name has to begin with B, or cannot possibly start with R.  I don't know why that is.  In The Madness Project, a lot of the kids have "tags" instead of names, so it was more a matter of finding the right word to captures something about them — for instance, Coins, Red, Jig, Zip and Bugs.

5. What is the most important thing about being a writer in your opinion?

       I think being a writer, like being an artist, carries a huge responsibility.   I think we sell ourselves short when we don't appreciate the opportunity we have of helping people to see the world in a new way, or think about things differently, or make sense of things that, in the real world, are just too close to home to consider objectively.  Watching characters in a book experience things gives readers a chance to safely wade those waters for themselves.  Does all writing have to be deeply profound and philosophical?  That would be tedious.  But I think every story has a chance to make that kind of an impact on readers, even if just in a small way.  That is something I find astounding and…honestly…a bit frightening.

6. If you could, would you go back and re-write the book in a different way?

       Not this one, no.  I had a bit of that feeling with my first book, Down a Lost Road, when I looked back on it after some time had passed.  There were some things I wanted to change and I actually did go back and publish a revised edition to address some of those flaws.  But for The Madness Project…no, I'm actually really happy with how it turned out.  I'm still a bit baffled by the whole thing and find the prospect of writing #2 a bit daunting, but at the same time I am so, so excited to tackle it.

7. Any advice for aspiring authors? 

       You have a story to tell — hopefully, many stories to tell — so don't be afraid to tell them.  Take the time to focus on bettering your craft.  Being an author isn't something that anyone is entitled to, but don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't try to earn it.  Find other writers or readers whose judgment you trust, and listen.  Listen to their criticisms, even when it's painful.  Don't blindly accept all of their suggested changes, either, but at least be willing to consider them.  Being a writer is a constant work in progress.  We always need to \ work on improving our craft, just like any other artisan.  If being a writer is something you really want, you should be willing to put in the effort to be the best at it that you can be.  And don't ever, ever give up.  Find your voice, your unique and beautiful voice.  Study, study, study.  Meet wonderful and astonishing characters to populate your pages.  Tell your story.  The world is waiting to hear it.

Thank you so much for contacting me for an interview J. Leigh! I had an amazing time working with you!

       Down below are the synopsis' of J. Leigh Bralick's books!

Synopsis of Down a Lost Road (The Lost Road Chronicles #1) (From Goodreads) 

       The way her summer vacation is beginning might be everything 16-year-old Merelin Lindon ever imagined - in her wildest daydreams. Her father has been missing for four years. So when she receives a small token that once belonged to him, she knows something strange is happening. Without any warning, Merelin finds herself drawn into a world somehow connected with Earth's mythical past. As she learns the truth of her father's past, the nightmare begins, and she finds herself the target of a terrifying hunt. With the help of a fascinating and sometimes infuriating young man named Yatol, she chooses to hazard everything, to suffer things she never imagined, in a foolhardy quest to rescue her father and save his people. But it may cost her more than she can imagine...

Synopsis of Subverter (The  Lost Road Chronicles #2) (From Goodreads) 
       A year has passed since the Judgment of the Ungulion, and Merelin Lindon is beginning to believe she will never return to the world she loved. But when she begins to suffer from strange visions of a life and a love she left behind, visions that grow darker and harsher with each passing day, she comes to understand that her role in Arah Byen is far from over. But nothing can prepare her for what she will find. Peace should have been returning to the world, but a new enemy has crept from the shadows, plotting the overthrow of all that Merelin holds dear. With everything turned upside-down and nothing as it seems, Merelin must discover whose side she is really on, and who she can trust, before it is too late. But how can she know who to trust, when she isn't even sure she can trust herself?

Synopsis of Prisim (The  Lost Road Chronicles #3) (From Goodreads)
       Forced to take on a new identity to protect herself from a still-angry people, Merelin Lindon wants nothing more than to help bring the world of Arah Byen into some kind of balance. But nothing is going as planned. The High King Zhabyr is falling apart. Merelin's allies are turning on each other for no reason. Even Yatol is acting more mysterious and tormented than ever, and Merelin is struggling with a growing longing for her home and family. And just when she believes things can't get any worse, she is framed for a terrible crime, and deserted by those who should have defended her.

       But Merelin soon realizes that she is not the victim of a horrible plot, but just one more pawn in a deadly game she never really understood. In the game immortals play, nothing she has seen or learned can prepare her for the truths about to be revealed.

       In the coming war she cannot stand alone. But can she bring her allies together before it is too late?

Synopsis of The Madness Project (The Madness Method #1)
       No one really knows Prince Tarik Trabinis. Not even himself.

       He was born with a dual heritage—his royal title from his father, and from his mother, the gift of magic that would make him an outcast of society...if society ever learned the truth. For sixteen years Tarik kept his nature a secret. But on the eve of his seventeenth birthday, he is asked to help uncover the truth about the Rivanic Clan—an underground society of mages led by the enigmatic and charismatic Rivano. Using his ability to change his appearance, Tarik must slide into the dregs of society to learn the truth that could save or destroy everything he has ever loved.

       Hayli wasn't born on the streets, but with her magery gift, the streets were the only place she could ever call a home. Afraid of her shape-shifting ability and ashamed to be a mage, Hayli only wants to belong in the Hole, a misfit crew of street rats who live deep in the south streets of Brinmark. But when Rivano takes notice of her gift, she must finally decide who she is, and what she wants to be.

       When Tarik and Hayli's worlds collide, they find themselves enmeshed in a dangerous web of lies and deceit, crime and violent ambition. Hayli must decide how far she will go to save the people she loves, while Tarik must learn just how much he would sacrifice in order to learn the truth. 

       But what they will face will challenge everything they thought they knew, and make them question the true meaning of loyalty and betrayal, love and honor.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Sunday Post #1

       The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Weekly Recap
       Well, I haven't posted anything this week, or last week. I've only posted one thing this month. Alice in Zombieland Review. I feel kind of disappointed in myself, I haven't been reading much lately. But bare with me guys, I am going to try to post a little more soon!

Currently Reading
       I started reading City of Bones a few weeks ago, but I haven't been able to get very far in it. It's kind of a struggle for me to remain interested in reading it.

Books I Bought 
       I recently went to a bookstore, and like always, I told myself that I was only going to buy one book, and I bought three. So I bought

       Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

       Legend by Marie Lu

        Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

       All of these books were highly recommended to me, and I think they will prove to be amazing additions to my shelf.

Coming up Next Week
       Sadly, I don't think that I will be able to get a review up next week, unless I finish City of Bones.Which again, sadly, is highly unlikely. I will hopefully get a Teaser Tuesday up on Tuesday.
       I know I haven't been posting Chat With Me Thursdays, I just haven't been getting interview requests. I for one love hosting interviews, and judging buy the amount of view counts and comments on most of my interviews, they are pretty popular, but it only works if authors or book bloggers want/have the time to be interviewed. (If you are a YA author, or blogger and you would like to be interviewed, please visit my Chat With Me Thursday page)

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Author: Gena Showalter
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 404
Date Published: September 25 2012
Publisher: Harlequinn Teen

       Alice 'Ali' Bell thinks her father is crazy for saying that he can see monsters. She would give anything to have normal life with her sister, her mother, and a totally normal father. After a car crash, Ali is the only one of her family to survive. That terrible day when Ali lost her family, also marks the first day that Ali ever saw the monsters that her father spent his whole life warning her about. But now Ali is left alone to deal with the monsters. Until she is forced to move in with her Nana and Pops. When she is forced to attend a new school, she meets Cole Holland. A rebellious boy with a lot of rebellious friends, always covered in bruises, missing weeks of school at a time. She also seems to have a strange connection with Cole, sharing visions with him every time they meet each other's eyes. As she gets to know Cole, she finds that he has a lot of dark secrets of his own, and she is determined to find out what they are, even if they cause her life to spiral out of control yet again.

       I love this cover, despite the look on Alice's face. I also love the reference to the original Alice in Wonderland at the bottom where it says 'off with their heads'.

        This book puts a little twist on the original decaying type zombie. Instead, the zombies are infected spirits that have risen from human bodies. Also, not everybody can fight them, if you can see them, to fight them you have to be in spirit form.

       I loved Cole, unfortunately, I can't talk about him too much without revealing everything about him. But I absolutely loved his personality. I loved how much he really did like Alice, and how he helped her as much as he could without overprotective, and also didn't spill spill sugar all over every word that he said to her. I love how he has violet eyes, and not because he is special or something, he has violet eyes just because he was born with them.

Alice in Wonderland References
       This book isn't dripping full of Alice in Wonderland references. The only ones that I could think of was the rabbit, and, well of course the main characters name is Alice.

       I absolutely loved everything about this book, the characters, the story. Everything. Just be warned, this book does mention a few things about sex. Nothing happens, but it is mentioned.