Friday, April 27, 2012

Special Q&A with...

I recently read my copy of A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan and immediately asked if she would be able to answer a few questions for me! I had a lovely time and hope you all enjoy this Q&A with Anna Sheehan, author of A Long Long Sleep.

*When did you first start writing?
I wrote my first novel at sixteen as a serial in a newsletter that a friend of mine called Charlie the Rat Man published. RATS the Newsletter for the Rodently Inclined. He asked for an article, and I sat down at the typewriter –I didn’t even own a computer in those days. My family’s always been behind the times, techno-wise. A few weeks later I came up for air with a six chapter children’s novel. My writing has been escaping from me ever since.
*Did you always know you wanted to be a published author?
I always read a lot. When I was little I wanted to be an astronaut. Mostly because I loved Sci-Fi. I wasn’t really mathematically inclined enough to pursue that career – though for everyone who ever says I get the science wrong in my books, I do copious amounts of research, and no, I didn’t. It’s more likely that the "popular" ideas of science are simply misinformation. Instead I write about space, and magic, and people. I always found people quite the enigma, and I use story to sort that out. I don’t really remember when I decided, "Yes! That’s what I want to do!" I was just sort of suddenly doing it. I knew by Highschool that I’d be writing. Whether it would ever, ever get published has always been a question it was never up to me to answer.
*What was your first job?
I love how everyone assumes that I had one. Because I’m erudite and intelligent, people assume a lot of things about me. I never went to college, either. It’s amazing how many lynchpins of society are considered to be completely useless by measurable standards. Actually, I wanted to be a writer, and I didn’t see accruing tens of thousands of dollars in college debt to be a great path in that direction, so I just bought the college books and read them on my own. However, I happened to live near the headquarters of the Pleasant Company, and I did work for short while in a doll hospital when I was nineteen. I always did a lot of volunteer work in that arena, as well. I do have a technical degree in commercial goldsmithing, but I’ve never had the opportunity to use those skills.
*What tips can you give to aspiring writers?
Well, two things. If you just want to write, I say, Write! It’s fun! It’s very cathartic, go on and enjoy. If you want to be a published author, I have completely different advice.
GIVE UP! Give up right now! It is so not worth it, it is a terrible career choice. It is not easy, it will not give you a living, it is not respected anywhere near as much one would think it is, and is probably one of the worst things one could pick to do. And you probably aren’t very good at it. Why subject yourself to be consigned to the ranks of forgotten mid-list authors whose names will never be quoted on NPR.
And you know why I say this to aspiring writers? Because the beginning stage of every writing career is – or should be, Stephanie Meyer’s relative in advertising notwithstanding – sending yourself out and asking to be rejected. Here I am – reject me. You need to develop a very thick skin. If you can’t weather a professional writer telling you – quite truthfully – that it is a terrible choice and you aren’t likely to be a bestseller, you cannot weather the publishing industry.
My common sense still tells me to give up every single day. Somehow, I’m still writing. I’m still not sure why. If you’re still writing even when you shouldn’t be, then you’re really a writer. But being a writer is easy. If you’re still sending stuff off even though everyone – including you – says that it’s terrible, only then do you have the makings of an "author."
*What writers do you most enjoy reading/aspire to?
My goddess is Diana Wynne Jones, and I’m becoming increasingly aware that she’s virtually unknown outside of Britain. She’s never been a bestseller, but her books are the reason I wanted to write. For a short while in the midst of a massive depression in middle school, her books were the reason I kept breathing in and out. Otherwise, it depends on what mood I’m in.
As for what I aspire to, I’d give my left foot up to the ankle for a chance to write a Doctor Who novel, but I don’t think they accept American authors. Star Wars and Star Trek novels are also on my list of aspirations, but it’s a trick getting into their stables.
*Is A Long Long Sleep a single novel or are you tempted to continue writing Rose's story?
Rose’s story is done, but that isn’t to say that everyone around Rose has told theirs, yet. Or that she might not have another one. I don’t really approve of novels which aren’t finished – you get to the end, and it’s clearly not a full story. While it makes for hooking an audience for your next book, it doesn’t give anyone a full reading experience. Usually, if I get to the end of a book and find out that I need to buy the next installment to see what happens, I tend to drop it in disgust, no matter how well written it was. If a story isn’t wrapped up in a single book, you’re not doing it right. That isn’t to say that you can’t have a conclusion that leads you to another story, but that should be a different story, not just more of the same.
*Are you working on any other novels right now?
Oh, always. I have a bunch finished, books I’ve written both before and after I wrote A Long Long Sleep. (I wrote that in 2008 – take that, everyone who says I stole the idea from Across the Universe.) Unfortunately, I’m not at liberty to say much about any of them, because I don’t know what, if anything, will be published next, and I don’t have a lot of control over that. Suffice it to say, I write what is known as SF, which translates as Speculative Fiction, and includes sci-fi, fantasy and occasionally light horror. And I do a lot of research into social-psychology for character development. I mean a lot.
*If A Long Long Sleep was made into a movie, who would you cast as the main characters?
I actually thought quite a bit about that when I landed a film-rights agent, mostly just as a thought exercise. I don’t follow pop culture, thus I don’t know a lot of actors. Also, it is never going to be my choice even if the book does pick up a greenlight, so it’s kind of an exercise in futility. But here goes.
I have no idea about Rose – frankly anorexic blonde actresses are ten a penny – but I’d like someone who has that ethereal haunted innocence which I tried to instil in Rose’s character. I actually thought Jaden Smith would make an ideal Bren, if they happened to catch the making of the movie when he was about sixteen. Otto is meant to be of South-Asian ancestry – mostly – so someone should scour Bollywood. He can’t talk, so an accent wouldn’t be an issue. As for Xavier – Liam Neeson for old Xavier. That’s the kind of face I was thinking. Young Xavier -- well, if they wanted to hire Tommy Knight, I’d probably swoon.

Thanks so much for giving me the chance to talk about myself! Always every author’s favorite subject, you know.

Thank you so much Anna, for answering my questions!

I hope you all enjoyed this Q&A!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thoughts on words...

Hello! I haven't done a personal post for what is, and seems like, ages, so here I am! I've been wanting to add the personal element back to WtWCtW for quite some time, doing more posts about my writing ect. so I'm first going to do a little update, and then tell you some news on my writing!

Favourite read of April-
A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan. I finished this a few days ago and ADORED it! I won it early on this year in a great giveaway and hadn't found any spare reading time to get to it- until last week when I had no review books on my to-read pile and the glorious cover tempting me to open the pages. Three days later I am sucked of emotion. No, but it really is an amazing book and I can't wait to review it!

Devistating fact about April reads-
I got stuck on one book for way too long this month. For about three weeks. Sheesh!

Looking forward to most in May-
I have no idea! I'm dying to read Insurgent and I think my review copy will come then, but then there's A Hero for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi, which I can't wait to get my hands on! And with all this Mara Dyer talk, what's happening there? (That part of my mind is on perpetual self combust and then put back together.)

Currently reading-
Jane Austen's memoir written by her nephew, which was a birthday present from my brother.

Now, writerly news.
Some of you may know that I won NaNoWriMo last November, well since then I have been wholeheartedly writing up my manuscript onto the computer and editing editing editing. The story has changed a lot and I've decided that it is going to be the first book in either a trilogy or a two part series; as a NaNo winner I've been granted five free copies of it bound ect. by Create Space, and as soon as I feel it's really ready and finished I'll be sending the files off to be printed. But I shall also be sending it to publishers. I have sent work to publishers before but none so edited and time filled as this one, so I'm quite daunted by it! I will be keeping you up to date.

Now, go enter competitions.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Queen of the Night by Leanne Hall review...

Title- Queen of the Night.
Author- Leanne Hall.
Publish date- March 2012.
Publisher- Text Publishing.
Book 1 in the series- This is Shyness.

*This review may contain (and does contain) spoilers for those that have not yet indulged and read This is Shyness.*

What I thought:
This is Shyness was one of my top books of 2011, number 11 actually, and I've been desperate to read this, the sequel, for ages!
It didn't disappoint, quite the opposite! I loved returning to Shyness, the crazy place where things that are strange are natural and where darkness is all anyone lives under, I loved reading about how Wildgirl and Wolfboy had changed and I loved the meeting between the two once they do meet again. They are absolutely, definitely one of my favourite book couples- they're both impefectly perfect together and I love the scenes Leanne writes between the two.
The whole book is perfection in 288 pages- I was a massive fan of This is Shyness. Now I'm a massively major fan of Leanne Hall and her work. Massively major, now that is impressive.
10 out of 5.

P.S. There is a little bit of swearing, though less then in the first book, so 14+ by my recommendation.

Thank you to Text Publishing for this review copy!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Giveaway update...

So you've still got about nine days to enter my 100 + 200 follower giveaway- I'm quite close to 300 followers so I will add another prize if I get 300 by the time the competition ends!
If you haven't already entered, do so now! (It is open worldwide!)

In other words, enter this totally amazing follower competition over at Claire Reads! It's super!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher review...

Title- The Water Wars.
Author- Cameron Stracher.
Publish Date- 2011.
Publisher- Sourcebooks Fire.


My Review...

What I thought:
The Water Wars is a really easy book to read- it's got a smooth storyline that is easy to follow, characters who the reader can immediately connect with and a future world that is it all too easy to read about, to believe in and to mention a beautiful cover- isn't it amazing?
I had a few little problems with the story, at times the writing seemed to drift off and change subject entirely and out of the blue, which made it hard, at those times, to keep up for a page or so. I also didn't like Kai quite as much as another character, for me Kai just wasn't enough, didn't have enough substance, where as this other character was wonderfully and funny and caring and I loved him. The last thing I had a problem with is the praise- on the cover it has been alikened to The Hunger Games, and also on the inside similar things have been said twice more, people saying it is akin to THG- The Hunger Games is one of my all time favourite book series and that set a decently high standard automatically and I was constantly looking out for similarartites ect. It really, for me, is nothing at all like THG, it is very much it's own story and unlike others, so I found those reviews saying it was like it a little annoying.

The Water Wars is a very origonal story and if you're looking for a dystopian novel about a future that is scarily easy to recognise the this is the one- it's like no other book and has characters you will love!
3.5 out of 5 stars.


Thank you to Sourcebooks for sending me this review copy!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Revived by Cat Patrick review...

100 and 200 follower giveaway! Open worldwide!

Title- Revived.
Author- Cat Patrick.
Publish Date- April 2012.
Publisher- Hardie Grant Egmont.


What I thought:
When I won a copy of Forgotten late last year I immediately became swept up in the story of London Lane- Cat Patrick became an instant favourite author and one of the few authors who can capture me with the first few words of a book.
The exact same thing happened with Revived- I was immediately captivated by Daisy's story and was again amazed at all the unforseen twists and turns that Cat Patrick writes, all of which seem to come effortlessly and definitely surprisingly.
I did not like it as much as Forgotten, I found that the characters were slightly less connectable for me in Revived, but I was none the less an immediate fan of Daisy.
Throughout the book I had a strange feeling that one of the main characters had a dark side and was left with an unanswered question on that part, because though he seemed like he was going to do something really bad, he never did.
This book has a soft, lingering romance, slightly similar but also very different to that of Luke and London in Forgotten and I can't say that I liked the love interest as much as the one from Forgotten, he seemed to have secrets... but if I were to stop comparing between what is one of my all time favourite books (which I inevitably do) I find a book that it completely original and very readable.
The cover of the US one definitely seems more dystopian and I came to Revived with a very different thought about how it would be, I would only call this very subtly dystopian, not really dystpoian at all... I think the Australian cover goes better with the storyline, but I do  prefer the US one overall. 
Three stars.


Thank you to Hardie Grant Egmont for this review copy!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Follow Friday. (5)

Have you entered my 100 + 200 follower giveaway yet? It's open Worldwide!

This week I'm again joining the Follow Friday Meme, hosted by Parajunkee and Alison can Read.

The question this week is-

Q: Have you ever bought a book BECAUSE of a bad review?

A. No, I don't think I have... though I have become, sadly, scepticle about books that I've wanted to read for ages from bad reviews, making me less likely to buy but still keen to get out from the library ect. Luckily I'd already read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer when I saw a terrible review of it- I'd been waiting on it for about 4 or 5 months and the reviewer HATED it. It is one of my all time favourites!

I'd love a link to your follow friday!
Happy easter!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Girl Parts by John M. Cusick review...

Author- John M. Cusick.
Publish Date- December 2011.
Publisher- Walker Books.


David is rich and has an abundant amount of friends, online and off; he's not at all the kind of person who ought to be linked to Charlie, the loner boy who's disconnected from society and who takes more joy in learning about the envronment then he does from talking to the people around him. And that's only one of the reasons he is classified as being strange.
After the online suicide of a girl the two are bought together in their classification of being depressed.
Neither of them actually feel like they are connected or a part of anything around them. Not until they meet Rose.
Part girl. Part robot and everything a boy could ever want.
But as the three become intertwined and learn secrets and fight off heartbreak they will become more connected then they could have ever imagined.
It is the future. And every move costs someone something.
Thank you to Walker Books for this review copy!

What I thought:
Firstly, I really like this cover- Rose is a partly robotic girl who is bought into David's life when his family is informed that he might be depressed. She is perfect, exactly the kind of girl that David secretly longs to be able to go out with. But when he tries to get close to her sooner then her Intimacy Clock thinks is right he gets a shock. Literally. And things start to get strained between the two when he wants more then she can give... well the cover really explains the part about Rose being robotic and coming prepackaged, only alive for David's sake.
The story wasn't at all what I expected- it held a lot more of a higher YA content then I expected and there were a few fairly deep sexual refrences (not deep as in hard to understand, deep as in for an older age group) plus a fair but of swearing. I didn't fully connect with Cusick's writing and one of the things that got to me was the way David and his friends sexually degraded females when they spoke, the way they spoke so crudely and offhandly about them. I hate that in anything and in this, when it was quite full on (for me) it was a bit much.
Charlie is a really sweet character and I love the way he and Rose connect and befriend each other- he is definitely my favourite character in this book.
I would give this a 1 out of 5.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Storybound by Marissa Burt review...

Title- Storybound.
Author- Marissa Burt.
Publish Date- April 2012.
Publisher- Harper Collins US.

Now for the review...

What I thought:
I was immediately captured by Storybound, the story of a girl who doesn't know where she fits in and finds herself in a world quite unlike the one she grew up in, happier than she has ever been- it has been cited as being a mixture of Inkheart and The Never Ending Story, and though I haven't read (or watched, at least for for 9+ years, which is enough time to make my memory go foggy) the latter, I can definitely agree that it has the same magical and thrilling qualitys of the Inkworld trilogy by Cornelia Funke, though it is only sharing some of the feelings you get as you read it, other then that, this is a book totally of it's own kind and impossibly thrilling.
Una is a most loveable, and at times fiesty, heroine and I connected with her at once- Peter, a hero in training, is a terrific character too, but he didn't speak to me so much as Sam, the brilliant talking cat, did.
The darkness surrounding the land of Story keeps the reader on their toes, wondering what will happen next, and the cliffhanger of an ending has certainly got me ready for book 2!
I loved this book!

Thank you to Marissa Burt and her agent for sending out this ARC!