Interview- Jennifer Murgia

Hello Readers!

Today I have the honour of interviewing Jennifer Murgia, Author of Forest of Whispers.

So lets get this thing started, shall we?

 

Hello Jennifer, and Welcome! Could you tell us a bit about your novel?

I’m happy to! FOREST OF WHISPERS is a 17th century Bavarian witch mystery detailing a horrifying inquisition that centers around the life of a sixteen year old girl, Rune. Rune has been raised in the Black Forest just outside a village that, years before, had burned a witch at the stake for a murderous crime. What Rune discovers is that this witch was her mother and she begins to hear her whispers of intent to exact vengeance upon the village.

 

Wow. Sounds interesting. (I have this book on my TBR list) So, What inspired you to write FOREST OF WHISPERS? 

I love witch novels—always have, always will. I also love researching and found it beyond interesting that the largest (and original) sweep of witch trials began in Europe, mainly in and around the area of the Black Forest. My mother, who is a HUGE genealogy buff, had traced our family back to pre-Germania and later discovered our ancestors had settled in Southwestern Germany, and I couldn’t help wonder if they had lived through those horrible years and what they could have endured. Not only that, but it has long been rumored that a great, great, great grandmother of mine was accused of witchcraft. Incredible fodder for a story, wouldn’t you say?

 

Did you write an outline before writing the novel?

No. I’m not really an outline person. I tend to begin with a prologue to keep me focused, but the prologue doesn’t always become part of the story. It wasn’t until I was about ¾ through that I wrote a small outline to keep the timeline on track. I just always need a good chunk of the main story under my belt before I know if I’m headed in the right direction.

 

What was the hardest part of writing Forest of Whispers? 

During my research I read several accounts of those who had been accused of witchcraft, and suffered deeply as a result. What a dark and hideous time it must have been to live in. There was no hope as neighbor turned against neighbor for the silliest of reasons—famine, plague, jealousy. It had catastrophic results and even the most respected or wealthy could not be spared of the accusations.

 

In Bamberg alone, 60k innocent people were condemned. This was so hard to stomach as I tried to create a world around fact for my novel. If you were accused, denying your involvement only prolonged your sentence. Many eventually admitted they had cavorted with Satan or cast spells just to get it over with, as the torture they had endured was so excruciating it was better to admit you were a witch and welcome death.

 

What is one way you relate to your main character(s)?

Rune learns she is a solitary witch, which is often called a Hedge Witch. She doesn’t belong to a coven, nor does she follow any strict rules, other than honoring the Sacred Mother. I’m a very private person. My beliefs are my own yet I do follow a simple structure. I feel connected to Rune’s character in the sense that life is a gift, we should give thanks for what helps you along the way, and always stay true to your soul.

 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

If you are to judge someone, prepare to be judged yourself – for things come around threefold.

 

Did you learn anything from writing FOREST OF WHISPERS and what was it? 

I love history and weaving it into a work of fiction gives me a tremendous feeling of satisfaction. You know when you hear of a tragedy and it’s almost TOO BIG to process? Like the Titanic sinking and picturing what the passengers went through on that fateful night—how they felt, what they saw, what they KNEW was about to happen . . . Researching and writing FOREST OF WHISPERS had that same effect on me. The backstory was so intricate, so horrifying it was nearly mind-numbing to accept. When you take the general history and break it down into individual stories and records—when you realize it’s not just a page from a book, or an idea, or a tale passed down, but a REAL event that happened to REAL people, it’s devastating.

I guess I can say I learned how much my heart can hold when I read about how people treated one another, and it breaks when I question if hundreds of years later, have we really become a society that treats people any differently? We may not have village burnings but we have other ways of pointing fingers and ruining.

 

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

When I was in High School the Young Adult section in bookstores was very limited—consisting of either very young, very sweet, or topics written anonymously and whispered about at school. I found my way to the works of Milan Kundera and devoured his titles. They spoke to me. They were emotional and gripping and begged me to dig deep and find myself. I grew up wanting to write like him.

 

What is one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?

God. I can’t tell you how many prayers were sent to steer me in the right direction and to help me through the rollercoaster moments.

 

Do you have any advice for other writers out there who are looking into publishing or just writing a story in general?

It’s a two-step process, really. Write the story first. Lock yourself away if you have to so you can pull the best possible story out of yourself, then revise, revise, revise. Have a few trusted individuals beta read it for you. Take their suggestions, plug them into your story. Oftentimes we’re too close to what we create to see the flaws, find the correct flow. But the more open you are to accepting suggestions, rejection, ideas on how to make what you have even more polished, the story will shine.

 

Where can we as readers stalk you on social media? (Pinterest, Goodread, FB, Blog etc etc.)

Website: www.jennifermurgia.com

Email: jennifermurgia8@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.murgia

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenniferMurgia

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jennifermurgia/

Goodreads TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18506004-forest-of-whispers

Instagram: Jennifer_Murgia

 

 

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Interview- Laura Anderson Kurk

Hello Readers! I am still here, I promise. I apologize for not doing any writing posts as of late but I have been a crazy busy person and especially now with my cousins visiting and thanksgiving this coming weekend!  (I’m in Canada Y’all 😉 ) I am also gonna see if my cousin want’s to do some sort of discussion/review of a movie or book while he is here…cause I think he would be all for it. Anyways, This is me trying to apologize for my absence and mention that I will, in fact, start posting very very soon but until then, here is another interview from author, Laura Anderson Kurk 🙂

LAURA ANDERSON KURK, author of Contemporary YA laura1Laura Anderson Kurk is one of those lucky souls who gets to live in a college town. In fact, it’s her college town—College Station, Texas, where she drove in under cover of darkness when she was way too young and proceeded to set the place on fire. (Actually, she stayed in the library stacks for the majority of her tenure as a student at Texas A&M University, but in her imagination, she was stirring things up.) She majored in English for the love of stories, and due to a massive crush on F. Scott Fitzgerald. She continued on to receive an advanced degree in literature. She writes contemporary books for young adults, a genre that gives her the freedom to be honest. Her debut novel Glass Girl is an unconventional and bittersweet love story, and its sequel Perfect Glass makes long-distance love look possible. She’s crazy about her husband and her two ginger-headed kids. Laura blogs at Writing for Young Adults (laurakurk.com). On twitter, she’s @laurakurk.

                 1.Could you tell us a bit about your novels?

Glass Girl

new2 Glass GirlGlass Girl is a story about all the ways grief changes us. When Meg Kavanagh finds herself in the unthinkable role of grieving sister, she discovers some harsh truths—parents aren’t perfect, life’s not always sweet, and the dead don’t write back. Her famous artist mom grieves by slowly disappearing, and her dad copes by moving them to a small town in Wyoming.   What she finds in Wyoming blindsides her.   His name is Henry, and he’s a rancher’s son who pulls Meg into his larger-than-life world and shows her that being sensitive is not an excuse to sit this one out. Meg learns that the best things in life—like falling in love and finding mercy—require uncommon courage. And with the help of a strange set of friends, a locker room disaster, and a trip she’ll never forget, she finds that the things she thought would break her—school violence, loneliness, and separation—can be overcome.

Perfect Glass

new Perfect GlassThe sequel, Perfect Glass, follows Meg and Henry through the next stage of life as they learn what they’re made of. Things get messy when Meg gets involved—first with Jo Russell, the eccentric old artist, and then with Quinn O’Neill, the intriguing loner who can’t hide how he feels about Meg. Her senior year doesn’t turn out like she planned it, but sometimes the best parts of life happen in the in-between moments. Henry has committed to one year in an orphanage that needs him more than he ever dreamed. Thousands of miles from Meg and the new punk who has fallen for her, and absent from the ranch that’s in his blood, Henry finds out what it means to trust. When you’re so far from home, it’s terrifying to realize you’re not who you thought. But the perfect glass of calamity makes the best mirror.   An identity crisis, long distance love, new temptation, and growing pains teach Henry and Meg how to hang onto each other and to what really matters.

  1. I loved both novels, so I now have to ask, what inspired you to write Glass Girl and Perfect Glass

I was curious about survivor grief, especially sibling survivor grief, in a culture of school violence that seemed to be occurring more and more frequently in the U.S. I had watched the siblings of some of the Columbine victims as they moved numbly from interview to interview and it made me wonder about their emotional landscape and the kind of grief that had to be peculiar to these kids. When I released Glass Girl, I never really thought I’d write a sequel, but I knew that there was a story behind Henry’s perfection in the first book. We had so far only seen him through Meg’s weary eyes and he stepped in as the hero in so many ways. The second book gets real and shows what happens when the All-American boy is stripped of all his crutches and must rely on himself in a foreign land. And I wanted Meg to grow and mature and share her deep-water compassion with someone who truly needed it.

  1. Did you write an outline before writing the novel?

I don’t typically outline novel-length works. I often wish I did. I kind of start with a beginning, middle, and end in mind and then attempt to write in a linear way. Although my chaotic brain ends up skipping around a lot more than it should. An outline would help. But I feel like a book that begins with a skeleton framework but builds in lots of room for surprises and organic realism is the only kind of book I can write. An outline might force me to ignore interesting tangents that make all the difference in the end.

  1. What was the hardest part of writing both Glass Girl and Perfect Glass? 

Writing is the easy part for me. It’s all the nonsense that happens after writing that is difficult. If I had to pick one thing that’s hard during the creative process, it would be finding enough consecutive hours in a day to get into a true state of flow.

  1. What is one way you relate to your main character(s)?

I relate to Meg’s over-sensitive nature and her inability to turn off her empathetic radar even when she needed to for her own survival.

  1. Thats how I related to her as well! I am very much like that. So, Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That help is all around. That we all struggle at different moments in our life with things like anxiety and depression and grief, but that help comes from all kinds of places if we’re willing to accept it. That it’s okay to throw your whole heart into loving others.

  1. Did you learn anything from writing Glass Girl and Perfect Glass and what was it? 

I learned a great deal in the process of writing both books. I learned about storytelling and craft. I learned that there’s no need to fear honesty in writing. That I’m not alone. That some stories will gnaw at your soul until you tell them. That young adult readers are some of the most open-hearted, soulful people in the world.

  1. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Laura L. Smith is definitely one of my writing mentors because we are able to share so much of this journey with one another and we keep it real and relevant. She’s a true gift to my writer’s soul.   I also consider certain writers to be mentors even though I’ve never met them. Sara Zarr, Deb Caletti, Jandy Nelson, and others whose work I adore and who are open enough of their own process that I feel like I can sit at their feet and learn a lot.

  1. Yay! So I’m not the only one who would choose Laura L. Smith 🙂 What is one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?

I’m deeply connected to Jesus and I feel like my work has a role to play in a larger scheme. I’m not sure how that all comes together or what exactly is happening behind the scenes, but I trust that He is using me for a purpose and that he’s given me words and love for story for a reason even if it’s just to touch one life in a meaningful way.

10. Do you have any advice for other writers out there who are looking into publishing or just writing a story in general?

  Read constantly. Read great literature. Read short stories and poetry. Read about craft. Follow writers on social media who love words and meaning. Follow Anne Lamott. Read Toni Morrison. Find stories that stir something in your soul and figure out what it is that makes that so special. Then practice. No one is born a writing prodigy. It’s a skill that is earned through hard work and patience and keeping your eyes open for meaning. You’ll find the story you were meant to tell.

11. Where can we as readers stalk you on social media? (Pinterest, Goodread, FB, Blog etc etc.)

  website/blog: laurakurk.com.   Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laura-Anderson-Kurk-Writer/215071391875250   Twitter: @LauraKurk   Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/authorlaurakurk/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4092458.Laura_Anderson_Kurk   Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Anderson-Kurk/e/B003FGA86W/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1412087043&sr=8-1

Interview- Laura L. Smith

Hello Readers!

Today I am interviewing yet another author and I am pleased to get this opportunity to talk to Laura L. Smith, Author of novels ‘Hot’,’Skinny’, ‘Angry’ and the ‘Status Update Series’

IMG_1920Hi Laura, So great to have you here! Could you tell us a bit about your novel?
It’s Addicting is the third book in the Status Updates series. It revolves around four college roommates and the struggles and triumphs they encounter as they navigate the demands and freedoms of college life.
What inspired you to write ‘insert title’?

I live in a college town and am surrounded by vibrant college women. They are so full of potential, energy and life, yet plagued with so many pressures to perform, to fit in, to juggle school, social and family life. These women inspired me to write this series tackling some of the things they have to deal with like relationships and homesickness, grades and finances, sharing a small living space with new friends and knowing how far is too far. Specifically, It’s Addicting deals with the little things in life we enjoy or use to comfort us or build ourselves up. What happens when those small pleasures become vices? When we rely to heavily on a habit or a relationship or a mindset? When do they cross the line to become addictions that dominate our decision making? And how do we deal with that? It’s Addicting follows Claire, Hannah, Palmer and Kat in their sophomore year of college. It explores the various coping mechanisms and pleasures they seek ranging from exercise to boys and how that changes them. It is a faith-based novel, so it really explores how worldly things can come in conflict with our faith and how challenging it can be to balance living in this world, but not being of this world.

Did you write an outline before writing the novel?
No. I’m not an outline kind of girl. But I always have an idea, a sketch of what the book is going to be about. It’s Addicting had characters, and each of them had a specific “addiction” she was going to deal with long before I started writing it. Since it was the third book in the Status Updates series, several of the ideas evolved as I wrote the first two books, thoughts like, “at some point Claire is going to have to face this,” or “Kat’s going to have to watch how hard she trains. It’s awesome, but it seems to control her sometimes.” I took those ideas and nuances of the characters and started brewing their sophomore year. I had some ideas for a spring break trip, because it’s an integral part of college, and an international travel program to Germany, because all of these books have an international element, but the details come as part of the writing process.

What was the hardest part of writing It’s Addicting? 
I always find the editing process to be the hardest part. It’s difficult to cut scenes or dialogue that I worked so hard to craft. It’s also challenging to add to scenes that I’d hoped were completed. But editing is also so rewarding! It’s like taking a rough, rocky gem from a stream and polishing it until it’s smooth and glossy. Editing truly improves writing. In fact, it is an integral part of the writing process.
Editing is definitely a struggle for me but once I do it it feels great to have finished 🙂 So,I absolutely love the characters in this series meaning I have to ask, what is one way you relate to your main character(s)?
Wow! There are a million ways I relate to all of my characters, and yet, they are also so different than me. There are slices and shreds of me in all of them. I was a ballerina, like Claire. I am a writer, like Palmer. I have a close relationship with my older brother, who is my only sibling, like Kat. Hannah is kind of the “mom” of their group, getting people tea, writing notes on their white board. I actually am a mom, so I do those kinds of things for my family all of the time. I love to travel, and all of the places the characters have ventured are places I’ve visited; Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, the beach. I love chocolate and coffee houses and going for runs and music, and the girls all find themselves doing these things, because these are experiences I want them to have.

That is great! I love how as the writer you are also a little bit of all your characters. 🙂 So,  is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My hope with this novel, with all of my books really, is to remind readers that they are beautiful creations in Christ, that their identity doesn’t have to be wrapped in the world’s expectations, but can be wrapped in Christ, that they are wonderfully and fearfully made by their Creator, and that we need to keep our eyes fixed on that, because when we do, all of our struggles are easier, there is more peace and strength and joy in our lives.
What is one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?
God. He is the author of the universe. All of my ideas come from Him. Literally. I’ll be sitting and writing and entire scenes and characters spring forth where there was nothing. He gives me divine inspiration. I write for Him.

Do you have any advice for other writers out there who are looking into publishing or just writing a story in general?
Write. Write. Write. And then write some more. The more you write, the better you get. The more you comment on blogs, write your own blogs, write letters, enter short story contests, write poetry, etc., the more you’ll exercise your writing muscles.

Where can we as readers stalk you on social media? (Pinterest, Goodreads, FB, Blog etc etc.)
Just about every where 🙂
My website and blog are http://www.laurasmithauthor.com
FB https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laura-L-Smith/41514076249
Twitter @LauraLynnSmith
Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/laurasmithbooks/
Instagram http://instagram.com/laurasmithauthor
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5577597.Laura_L_Smith

 

LauraSmith-AUTHOR-PHOTO-200x300

 

 

 

LAURA L. SMITH, author of New Adult/Young Adult Fiction

Laura L. Smith loves God, her husband, her four children, writing and speaking. She writes real stories for real girls. Her previous books include Skinny, Hot, and Angry. She is a featured columnist at Choose Now Ministries and speaks at schools, churches and campuses around the country. Smith lives in the college town of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

Book Review + Giveaway- Seeing Through Stones by Rajdeep Paulus

Hello everyone!

Today I am here to share a review of Seeing Through Stones by Rajdeep Paulus, the sequel to Swimming Through Clouds.

seeing-through-stones-rajdeep-paulus

From Award-Winning, Young Adult author Rajdeep Paulus comes the sequel to Swimming Through Clouds, a powerful reminder that life is a battle you don’t fight alone. 

“I live in the in between. Between yesterday and forever. The way forward haunts me. The gap I must cover daunts me. And hope beckons, ‘Run to me,’ but I just learned to walk.” 

After a lifetime of abuse, the Vanderbilt siblings flee their home, finally free to pursue new dreams while running from yesterday’s nightmares. Once bed-ridden Jesse navigates the Chicago streets, concealing his identity and planning revenge. A chance encounter in the rain introduces a girl who offers Jesse a glimpse of a sunnier future, but how will he weather the growing storm inside himself?

Separated from her Post-it note prince, Talia hides at a safe house for survivors of domestic violence while her father turns the city upside-down to find her. Surrounded by women fighting their own demons, Talia faces her past at every turn.

Alright! Time to jump into this review! YAY! *throws confetti*

So I’m gonna start adding a little section (along with Characters, Setting, Genre etc etc.) about the covers because I ALWAYS comment on the covers anyways so why not make it a thing? 😛

So here we go!

Cover:

This cover is absolutely beautiful! I love the colours of the cover and just the simplicity of it as well. Super pretty! (100 points for Rajdeep’s cover designer)

Plot:

The plot was amazing. I loved it. It was really well written, very engaging, and very well done.

The plot also just helped drag me into this story. (People. I read this book in the span of 3-4 hours.)

I know this isn’t much on the plot but I seriously loved this book and everything about the plot that I cannot form the words to explain it. Just trust me. It’s amazing.

Characters:

*sigh* Characters. I LOVE characters. One of my favourite parts of a novel is the characters and their unique-ness and their stories.

I love all the characters in this story. (Except for those characters you are supposed to absolutely hate… *cough* I won’t say any names in case you haven’t read the first book but if you have then you know who I’m talking about.)

I loved how in this book we got Jesse’s side of the story as well as Talia’s. It was nice to see that switch.

Okay and Lagan… Lagan needs a fan club. (Raise your hand if you think we should make this a thing *raises hand*)  I seriously love Lagan’s character SO much. ( So even if he doesn’t have a Fan Club there is a Fan Girl sitting right here. *points to self* )

There were a bunch of other characters I loved but if I went on to list them all and why I loved them we would be here quite a while but I LOVED all the characters so much! (Except for certain character we’re supposed to hate like I mentioned before 😛 )

Overall:

five-stars

5 star rating! Overall I LOVED this book. Finished it in a day, people. (Well if you want to get technical it was in a few hours but spread out throughout the day) It was such a beautiful and well written story and I loved it so much. So yeah, Overall? LOVED IT SO MUCH!

What I didn’t like:

There was nothing in this novel I didn’t like. I loved everything about this novel.

Where to buy this book:

Buy it on iTunes for iBooks

Buy it on Amazon (kindle and paperback available)

17904531You can also buy book one, ‘Swimming Through Clouds’, on Amazon  (Paperback and Kindle)

Find Rajdeep on her blog, the Playlist Fiction Blog and Goodreads

Well this was my review for ‘Seeing Through Stones’ I hope you all liked it and seriously. If you haven’t read this or Swimming Through Clouds I totally suggest you read them. (Though keep the kleenex nearby you might need it. 😉 )

Oh my goodness! How could I forget! The giveaway! Everyone loves a giveaway! So follow this LINK for an awesome giveaway where you could win some awesome Seeing Through Stones Swag!

Did I just… say swag?…umm  okay then. ‘Stuff’ you could win some REALLY cool stuff.

So yeah, check it out, read this book and maybe even support Rajdeep by posting your own review once you’ve read this book 😀

Until next time!