Author Interview With Tori Sharp!

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a special one because the lovely Tori Sharp is here to answer some of my questions. I am beyond excited to have them here with us today! Before we get into the interview, here is a bit about her debut graphic novel; Just Pretend.

Just Pretend: Sharp, Tori: 9780316538855: Books - Amazon.ca

(Synosis from goodreads)

Tori has never lived in just one world.

Since her parents’ divorce, she’s lived in both her mom’s house and her dad’s new apartment. And in both places, no matter how hard she tries, her family still treats her like a little kid. Then there’s school, where friendships old and new are starting to feel more and more out of her hands.

Thankfully, she has books-and writing. And now the stories she makes up in her head just might save her when everything else around her—friendships, school, family—is falling apart. 

Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. Hi there Tori! I’m so excited to have you here with us today. Before we begin the interview, do you mind sharing some random facts about yourself?

Tori: So nice to be here! Sure, random facts are a specialty of mine. My favorite socks have stars on them, I prefer iced coffee to hot even when it’s snowing, I can bend my thumbs down to touch my wrists, and I’ve been a swing and blues dancer for nine years. Besides being a children’s author and illustrator, I’m also an associate literary agent, and I live in Seattle, WA!

2. Congrats on debuting your first graphic novel! Just Pretend is amazing, and I can’t wait for other people to read it as well. May I ask, what inspired you to write it?

Tori: Thank you—you’re making me blush! I decided to write Just Pretend because I wanted to tell a story that sympathizes with kids whose parents are divorced, and is simultaneously a fun, sparkly romp. Almost every kid is going to know someone whose parents split up, but you don’t realize how that situation impacts every aspect of your life unless you’ve actually lived it. It’s not unusual to have divorced parents, but it can be complicated for a kid to try to express what it’s like. I hope this book will encourage kids to actually talk about it with people they trust.

Saniya: I love the message, it’s so sweet.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is untitled-design-1.png

3. The cover is so pretty! What was the cover design process like?

Tori: I’m incredibly happy with how the cover turned out—honestly it was the most daunting part of making the book! I feel confident drawing sequential art (like comics), but struggle sometimes with composing static illustrations. So, naturally, I started by enthusiastically staring at graphic novel covers on Pinterest. Next, I walked around my neighborhood and tried to visualize the coolest possible cover for Just Pretend. Daydreaming is a crucial, foundational step to any illustration. Then I drew a whole bunch of thumbnail sketches and showed about a dozen of my favorites to the team at my publisher, and they preferred this concept out of all the options. I think it’s perfect, and I love the fonts and the background color that the design team landed on.

Saniya: It’s so cool that you illustrated the cover yourself!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is untitled-design-1.png

4. If I may ask, could you please describe the storyline of Just Pretend in emojis?

Tori:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is untitled-design-1.png

5. Lastly, what do you hope young readers will take away from your novel?

Tori: If kids read Just Pretend and then spend some time creating something of their very own, whether that’s through writing or drawing or a fully embraced daydream, then I’d be so happy. Making things is its own kind of magic.

Saniya: That’s such a heart warming message, I love it!

About The Author

Tori Sharp is a Seattle-based author-illustrator and swing and blues dancer with a BFA in sequential art from SCAD. You can find her online at www.noveltori.com and on Twitter @noveltori. Just Pretend is her debut graphic novel.

Add Just Pretend to goodreads here!

Thank you once again Ms. Sharp for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer some of my questions, and thank you all for reading! Have a fabulous day everyone!

Blog Tour: The Marvelous // Author Interview With Claire Kann!

Hiya! I hope you are well. I’m super excited for today’s post because I’m going to be hosting a blog tour stop and interview with Claire Kann, the author of The Marvelous! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s newest novel…

The Marvelous by Claire Kann

Book Info

Title: The Marvelous

Author: Claire Kann

Genres: Young Adult Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult

Publication Date: June 8th 2021

Synopsis

From the author of Let’s Talk About Love and If It Makes You Happy, this exuberant YA Novel follows six teens locked together in a mansion, contending for a life-changing cash prize in a competition run by a reclusive heiress.

Everyone thinks they know Jewel Van Hanen. Heiress turned actress turned social media darling who created the massively popular video-sharing app, Golden Rule.

After mysteriously disappearing for a year, Jewel makes her dramatic return with an announcement: she has chosen a few lucky Golden Rule users to spend an unforgettable weekend at her private estate. But once they arrive, Jewel ingeniously flips the script: the guests are now players in an elaborate estate-wide game. And she’s tailored every challenge and obstacle to test whether they have what it takes to win–at any cost.

Told from the perspective of three dazzling players–Nicole: the new queen of Golden Rule; Luna: Jewel’s biggest fan; and Stella: a brilliant outsider–this novel will charm its way into your heart and keep you guessing how it all ends because money isn’t the only thing at stake.

Find out more about The Marvelous with these links!

//Goodreads//Amazon//Barnes and Noble//iBooks//Kobo//Google Play//

Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other lovely tour stops as well!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cloud-spacer.png

Giveaway (US/Canada Only)

One winner will receive a print copy of Made in Korea. The giveaway will end on June 17th 2021.

Click the link below to enter the giveaway!!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251234335/

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cloud-spacer.png

Onto the interview!!

1. Hi there Claire! I’m beyond excited to have you here with us today. If you don’t mind, would you be so kind to share a bit about yourself?

Claire: Hello! My name is Claire and I’m the author of several young adult novels ranging in topics from romance to adventure. I love cats, spend way too much time on youtube, and would dominate in a trivia night competition.

2. The Marvelous has such a dazzling cover. May I ask how the design came to be?

Claire: All credit goes to Liz Dresner, Associate art Director at Macmillan and the artist, Rachelle Baker.

3. What is a typical writing session like for you? Do you play music, or perhaps have a specific routine?

Claire: A typical writing session for me involves wasting time, uh I mean amping myself up to get started. First I stare at the word doc file before deciding to check the news to make sure nothing major is happening that I need to read about. Then I open the document–as soon as I see a hint of white background my screen inexplicably changes to Instagram? Weird how that always happens. But! Since I’m already there, I spend some time scrolling the timeline and watching stories. The moment I’ve realized a criminal amount of time has passed, I check my document and am shocked to find my word count has not magically increased on its own! Rude! Somehow I muster up the strength to reread what I wrote the day before–and hey! It’s (usually) not too bad. Finally free from distractions and convinced I’m not completely talentless, I turn on my playlist and begin writing.

Saniya: I love this so much 😆.

4. The Marvelous tells an incredibly unique story, and I’m beyond excited for its release. What inspired you to create such an intriguing mystery told through the eyes of three young people?

Claire: I wanted to write a story where kids got to be kids without any external pressure forcing them to be a certain way or thing. I wanted them to have fun and make friends and maybe get creeped out a little. That’s all.

Saniya: That’s very cool, thank you for sharing!

5. Many of your books include fat positive themes, which I am totally here for! Why do you think it’s important to portray diverse narratives in the media?

Claire: I believe the media we consume should be a reflection of the world we live in–whether it be the bodies we inhabit or the dreams we aspire to, no matter how mundane or fantastical. I’m in a fortunate position that allows me to contribute to that.

Saniya: I definitely agree, and it’s so amazing that you’re able to contribute as well.

6. Lastly, what aesthetic would you prescribe to your book?

Claire: A night out with friends at a carnival. All vibes, rides, and delicious food.

Saniya: Ooo love it!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cloud-spacer.png

About The Author

Claire Kann is the author of LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE and an award-winning online storyteller. In her other life, she works for a nonprofit that you may have heard of where she daydreams like she’s paid to do it. Find out more by visiting her website: www.clairekann.com (and while you’re there, tell her about your cats. She loves cats. A lot.)

Want to follow the author? Visit the links down below!

//Instagram//Goodreads//Facebook//Twitter//Newsletter//

This tour was organized by Xpresso Book Tours

Thank you so much for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed! Have a fabulous day!

Blog Tour: Made In Korea // Author Interview With Sarah Suk!

Hiya! Today’s post is a very exciting one because I’m going to be hosting yet another blog tour stop and interview with Sarah Suk, the author of Made in Korea! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s debut novel…

Made in Korea | Book by Sarah Suk | Official Publisher Page | Simon &  Schuster Canada

Book Info

Title: Made in Korea by Mariko Turk

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Publishing Date: May 18, 2021

Synopsis

Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic comedy about two entrepreneurial Korean American teens who butt heads—and maybe fall in love—while running competing Korean beauty businesses at their high school.

There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale. Together with her cousin Charlie, they run V&C K-BEAUTY, their school’s most successful student-run enterprise. With each sale, Valerie gets closer to taking her beloved and adventurous halmeoni to her dream city, Paris.

Enter the new kid in class, Wes Jung, who is determined to pursue music after graduation despite his parents’ major disapproval. When his classmates clamor to buy the K-pop branded beauty products his mom gave him to “make new friends,” he sees an opportunity—one that may be the key to help him pay for the music school tuition he knows his parents won’t cover…

What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he is now V&C K-BEAUTY’s biggest competitor.

Stakes are high as Valerie and Wes try to outsell each other, make the most money, and take the throne for the best business in school—all while trying to resist the undeniable spark that’s crackling between them. From hiring spies to all-or-nothing bets, the competition is much more than either of them bargained for.

But one thing is clear: only one Korean business can come out on top.

Find out more about Made in Korea with these links!

//Goodreads//Amazon//Barnes and Noble//Book Depository//Indigo//IndieBound//

Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other amazing tour stops as well!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cloud-spacer.png

Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. Hi there Sarah! I just want to say that I’m so excited to have you here with us today. Before we get into the interview, do you mind telling us a bit about yourself?

Sarah: Thank you so much for having me! So I’m Sarah – nice to meet you – and I live in Vancouver, Canada where I write books for kids and teens. Other than writing and reading, I love film, photography, spending time by the water, and making souffle pancakes.

2. Any book that mentions Hi-Chews is a win for me! So I have to ask, what’s your favorite Hi-Chew flavor? After reading your (lovely) novel, I’ve learnt that there is a flavor for every occasion. What flavor would you give Made In Korea?

Sarah: My favorite flavor would have to be strawberry. As for a flavor for Made in Korea, I’d have to say mango! Mango is Valerie’s celebration flavor, and this book is very celebratory to me. Both in personal ways, because it is my debut novel, and in the book itself, because I feel like the story is a
celebration of many things, including Korean culture and teen entrepreneurship.

Saniya: Ooo good choice, strawberry is always nice! I NEED to try the celebration flavor now. 😆

3. I love how Made In Korea revolves around young entrepreneurs! What inspired the entrepreneurial aspect of the novel?

Sarah: I love that part too! I was just really intrigued by the idea of students selling things at school and running their own businesses. Teens are so innovative and creative, and I wanted to explore that through an entrepreneurial lens in Made in Korea.

4. If I may ask, what is your favorite scene in the book and why?

Sarah: Definitely all the scenes between Valerie and Halmeoni (her grandmother). Those were some of my favorite moments in the book. They were just very healing and tender. I also loved writing the Halloween scenes!

Saniya: 100% agree. Valarie and her halmeoni have the best bond. Ahh yes, the Halloween scenes are iconic!

5. Do you have a specific writing routine?

Sarah: I feel like this changes with each project and sometimes even with each day, but there a few things that have stayed consistent in my writing routine. I always write down my writing goal for the day in my bullet journal to help me keep track of what I need to do. Then I usually make myself a cup of tea, sit down at my desk, procrastinate for a while, and realize I should probably turn off my wi-fi if I want to get any work done. Sometimes I also listen to an instrumental or lofi playlist while I write to
help me focus.

Saniya: It’s so cool that you use a bullet journal, they truly are helpful. I liked what you said about how your routine changes with each project too!

6. Is there a character in the book that you resonate most with?

Sarah: I resonate with each of them in different ways because I feel like I can see a part of myself in every character. For example, I relate with Valerie’s ambition and tendency to define herself by her goals, as well as Wes’ passion for the arts and people pleasing nature. I even resonate with some of the side characters like Charlie and Pauline in their loyalty and inquisitiveness.

7. What do you hope readers will take away from Made In Korea after reading it?

Sarah: Mostly, I hope readers will feel something while reading the book. Whether it makes them laugh or reflect or empathize with a character, I hope there would be something in the story that sparks a sense of joy.

Saniya: That’s such a beautiful message, I love it!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cloud-spacer.png

Giveaway (US/Canada Only)

One winner will receive a finished copy of Made in Korea. The giveaway will end on May 24th.

Click this link to enter the giveaway!!

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/fc15a59531/

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cloud-spacer.png

About The Author

Sarah Suk (Author of Made in Korea)

Sarah Suk (pronounced like soup with a K) lives in Vancouver, Canada where she writes stories and admires mountains. When she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the water, taking film photos, or eating a bowl of bingsu. You can visit her on Twitter and Instagram @sarahaelisuk.Sarah is represented by Linda Epstein at Emerald City Literary Agency.

//Website//Twitter//Instagram//Goodreads//

Thank you so much for reading this blog tour stop post, I hope you enjoyed it. Ms. Suk’s debut novel is amazing, and I can’t wait for you to read it! Have a great day!

Blog Tour: The Other Side of Perfect // Author Interview With Mariko Turk!

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a very exciting one because I’m going to be hosting a blog tour stop for the lovely YA novel, The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s debut novel…

The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk

Book Info

Title: The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Publishing Date: May 11, 2021

Synopsis

Content Warning: protagonist is dealing with a lot of anger and some depression, various experiences of racism

Alina Keeler was destined to dance, but one terrifying fall shatters her leg–and her dreams of a professional ballet career along with it. After a summer healing (translation: eating vast amounts of Cool Ranch Doritos and binging ballet videos on YouTube), she is forced to trade her pre-professional dance classes for normal high school, where she reluctantly joins the school musical. However, rehearsals offer more than she expected–namely Jude, her annoyingly attractive cast mate she just might be falling for. But to move forward, Alina must make peace with her past and face the racism she had grown to accept in the dance industry. She wonders what it means to yearn for ballet–something so beautiful, yet so broken. And as broken as she feels, can she ever open her heart to someone else?

Touching, romantic, and peppered with humor, this debut novel explores the tenuousness of perfectionism, the possibilities of change, and the importance of raising your voice.

Find out more about The Other Side of Perfect with these links!

//Goodreads//Amazon//Barnes and Noble//Book Depository//Indigo//IndieBound//

Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other amazing tour stops as well!

Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. Hi there Mariko! I’d just like to say how amazing it is to have you here with us today! Before we start, do you mind telling us some random facts about yourself?

Mariko: Hello and thanks so much for having me! Some random facts about me are: I love tea and tacos, I’ve lived in Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Colorado, when I’m at home I exclusively wear pajamas, and my favorite flowers are hydrangeas!

2. Congrats on your debut! I’m so incredibly happy for you! If I may ask, what inspired the making of The Other Side of Perfect?

Mariko: It was inspired by a couple of different things. First, right after college, I broke my leg while dancing ballet. Second, I’ve always been interested in how people grapple with the negative aspects of the things they love. For instance, I love ballet, but I know it has its share of harmful aspects—like its lack of diversity and its reliance on racial stereotypes in many classical pieces. So I started wondering, if ballet perpetuates these negative things, does that mean I shouldn’t love it? And if I do still love and support it, what does that mean about me?

When I decided to try writing a YA novel, I imagined what would happen if a 16-year-old half-Japanese girl who dreamed of dancing professionally had a career-ending injury and had to deal with losing something she loved with all her heart and with wondering if she ever should have loved it in the first place. Her story became The Other Side of Perfect.

Saniya: Thank you for sharing such a thought provoking response Ms. Turk!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is untitled-design-1.png

3. The Other Side of Perfect tells the story of a young girl of color as she navigates racism, ballet, and love. The diversity is amazing! What was your experience writing the novel?

Mariko: This book is so special to me because it’s the first book I ever finished! So in a lot of ways, my experience writing it felt so new. I pantsed the first draft. I knew the general idea and some of the characters, but I figured out the themes and the plot as I went along, and it went pretty quickly. I finished in a few months. But then I spent about two years revising. I actually loved the long revision process because it gave me a chance to make the themes richer and more complex, and get to know the characters on a deeper level.

Saniya: I’m glad you loved the long revision process!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is untitled-design-1.png

4. If you could give your past writer self one piece of advice, what would you say?

Mariko: To just write and not worry about if it’s “perfect” or not. My tendency to edit as I wrote really slowed me down and stopped me from finishing so many projects because I’d get so caught up in individual sentences and paragraphs that I’d lose steam. The Other Side of Perfect is the first book I ever finished, and it’s because I told myself I had to keep moving. I knew I’d have lots of changes to make. Sometimes I realized what those changes should be when I finished a chapter. But I didn’t go back to change them until I had a full draft.

Saniya: I loved what you said about how you just need to keep moving. It’s so easy to get caught up in little things, when we should really just be moving forward instead of holding ourselves back. Well said!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is untitled-design-1.png

5. Racism is something that many people of color experience, and it really hurts my heart to see kids experiencing discrimination. Why do you think it’s important to portray authentic  and diverse characters in the media?

Mariko: I think it’s so important for all young people to be able to see themselves in the stories they read and watch. And not just in one book or movie here and there, but in many. Young people deserve multiple stories that they relate to and that speak to them and their experiences in various ways. So in other words, diverse characters shouldn’t only star in stories about racism and discrimination, but also in stories about love and friendship and family and school and everything else.

Saniya: I couldn’t agree more.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is untitled-design-1.png

6. Lastly, what do you hope readers will take away from The Other Side of Perfect? Thank you so much for your time Ms. Turk!

Mariko: I hope one message readers take away is that there’s a way out of isolation and unhappiness. And that finding the way out might be tough, messy, and take longer than you want it to, but that it can also be funny, exciting, and full of unexpectedly spectacular possibilities. Thank you for these wonderful questions!

Saniya: This is such a beautiful message! Thank you once again for answering my questions. It was truly a delight to have you. 🙂

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cloud-spacer.png

About The Author

Mariko Turk grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in creative writing. She received her PhD in English from the University of Florida, with a concentration in children’s literature. Currently, she works as a Writing Center consultant at the University of Colorado Boulder. She lives in Colorado with her husband and baby daughter, where she enjoys tea, walks, and stories of all kinds.

//Website//Twitter//Instagram//Goodreads//

Thank you so much for reading this blog tour stop post, I hope you enjoyed it. Ms. Turk’s debut novel is lovely, and I can’t wait for you to read it! Have a fabulous day!

Book Tour: My Last Summer With Cass// Author Interview With Mark Crilley & Top 5 Reasons to Read This Book!

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a very exciting one because I’m going to be hosting a blog tour stop for the lovely graphic novel My Last Summer With Cass by Mark Crilley! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s newest graphic novel.

Book Info

Title: My Last Summer With Cass by Mark Crilley

Genre: Young Adult Graphic Novel

Publishing Date: March 16, 2021

Synopsis

This One Summer meets The Edge of Seventeen in this poignant coming-of-age YA graphic novel about two childhood friends at a crossroads in their lives and art—-from the author of Mastering Manga. Megan and Cass have been joined at the brush for as long as they can remember. For years, while spending summers together at a lakeside cabin, they created art together, from sand to scribbles . . . to anything available. Then Cass moved away to New York.

When Megan finally convinces her parents to let her spend a week in the city, too, it seems like Cass has completely changed. She has tattoos, every artist in the city knows her—she even eats chicken feet! At least one thing has stayed the same: They still make their best art together.

But when one girl betrays the other’s trust on the eve of what is supposed to be their greatest artistic feat yet, can their friendship survive? Can their art?

Find out more about My Last Summer With Cass with these links!

//Goodreads//Amazon//Barnes and Noble//Book Depository//Indigo//IndieBound//

Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other amazing tour stops as well!

Top 5 Reasons to Read My Last Summer with Cass

1. The Friendship

Anyone who has been through a friendship breakup or has had conflict with their close friends will deeply relate to what Megan and Cass go through. The kind of bond the two share is so incredibly precious yet so hard to come by. The novel displays their relationship in such a heart-wrenching way, and I am totally here for it.

2. The Exploration of Different Art Styles

My Last Summer With Cass features unique characters, with even more unique art styles. One person only uses two different shades of one color! Another creates their art very abstractly. However, my most favorite art pieces are the ones Megan and Cass create together. You can really see their different art styles work together in such an interesting way!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cat-space-header.png

3. The Setting

The story takes place in the bustling city of New York. In my opinion, the city Cass lives in (New York City), really resonates with her personality. It’s busy and creative, just like Cass. I thoguht the setting was depicted in such an intriguing way, and I really do believe that Mark Crilley draws the best atmospheres I’ve ever seen. Crilley creates scenes that draw you in, and only let you go once you’ve finished the book.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cat-space-header.png

4. The Captivity

My Last Summer With Cass is a graphic novel that you won’t want to put down. As mentioned early, the way the art is drawn is so incredibly intriguing. It allows the readers to feel as though they are in the story, and to me, that’s incredibly beautiful.

5. The Colors

The author uses colors that I’ve never seen any artist use consistently throughout graphic novels. I liked how their wasn’t much use of black. It was very refreshing to see. To top it all off, purple and blue are used quite a bit, and are used in such different emotional context as well. The colors were used in a way that portrayed every emotion the characters where experiencing in such unique ways!

Here is my bookstagram post for the tour! Simply press the image to view it on my bookstagram account.

Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. I just want to say thank you so much for being here with us today! Before we begin, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Mark Crilley: I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, where I was fascinated with drawing from my very earliest years. I continued honing my skills throughout elementary school and high school, and when I became an art major at Kalamazoo College in 1984, I had the good fortune to study under the great children’s book writer and illustrator David Small. A few years later, while teaching English in Japan, I challenged myself to create a comic book, one page per week. Upon my return to Michigan, that story– Akiko on the Planet Smoo– was eventually published, and it led to a career in comics that has continued to this day.

Saniya: That’s such a fascinating journey, thank you for sharing!

2. My Last Summer with Cass is a beautiful story. Did any real life occurrences or experiences influence the making of the book?

Mark Crilley: Thank you! Actually, this graphic novel is the most directly autobiographical story I’ve ever done, and there are many parallels between Megan’s life and my own. The character of Cass was inspired by a dear friend of mine who I first met in high school: John Walter. John eventually settled in New York City, where he became an award-winning film editor and director. I visited John in the city several times, and saw that he was moving in much more sophisticated circles than I was, and was investigating far more adventurous types of art, music, and literature than I ever had. John and I never came into conflict with each other, happily! But all of these real-life experiences, and the fact that two good friends could have such dramatically different artistic instincts, became the main source of inspiration for My Last Summer with Cass.

Saniya: That’s so cool!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is untitled-design-1.png

3. What was the illustration process like? Was there a certain mood or feel you wanted to portray in the art style?

Mark Crilley: I wanted the artwork to be reminiscent of artist’s sketches rather than polished, slick illustrations. So I resolved not to have any inked lines in the whole book. While I used Photoshop to push the colors in certain directions, almost everything you see in the book is hand-made art, created with pencil, markers, pastels, and white gouache. This hopefully gives the art a more organic look, with a human touch that accentuates the messy imperfections of the two main characters’ lives.

Saniya: I think it looks amazing, and totally gives off such an organic look!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is untitled-design-1.png

4. My Last Summer with Cass has an abundance of unique and memorable characters. Which character’s art style resonates the most with your personality?

Mark Crilley: It’s an interesting question, since all of the artist characters in the story are making artwork that was, naturally enough, actually made by me. And while Megan resembles me in terms of her personality, I have presented her as an artist who has not yet discovered her own style. When I was in college, part of me was actually quite attracted to the idea of minimalism. In this sense, the relatively minor character of Taja, who creates all her paintings from just two different shades of the same color, is probably the one whose art would resonate with me most if I saw it in real life.

Saniya: That’s very interesting.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is untitled-design-1.png

5. What is the main message you would like your readers to take away from this (absolutely stunning) graphic novel?

Mark Crilley: Well, wow, first let me thank you for your kind words! You know, the story builds toward a theme of how good friendships can go bad, and how important it is to not give up on them. So surely that’s the main one. But there’s a lot of other messages woven into the story, I think. The value of getting out of your comfort zone and being exposed to new things. The importance of choosing your own path in life, rather than one dictated to you by your parents. The danger of comparing yourself to others, and allowing that to make you feel insecure about yourself. All of this is in there, but hopefully in a quiet way. Really I just wanted to tell a good story, one in which readers would genuinely care about these characters, and want to see how things would work out for them.

Saniya: That’s so intriguing. I for one felt very attached to the girls’ stories, it was incredibly poignant and beautiful.

About The Author

Mark Crilley was raised in Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from Kalamazoo College, he traveled to Taiwan and Japan, where he taught English for nearly five years. It was during his stay in Japan that he created the Eisner Award–nominated comic Akiko on the Planet Smoo, which spawned a series of graphic novels and prose novel adaptations. In 1998, Mark Crilley was named to Entertainment Weekly’s It List of the 100 most creative people in entertainment.

//Website//Instagram//Goodreads//Facebook//YouTube//

Thank you so much for reading this tour stop post, I hope you enjoyed! I hope you decide to check out My Last Summer With Cass. Have a fabulous day!

Author Interview With Aamna Qureshi

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a special one because the lovely Aamna Qureshi is here to answer some of my questions. I am beyond excited to have her here with us today! Before we get into the interview, here is a bit about her upcoming novel; The Lady or the Lion.

55207834

(Synopsis from goodreads)

Crown princess of Marghazar, Durkhanai Miangul will do anything to protect her people and her land. When her grandfather, the Badshah, is blamed for a deadly assault on the summit of neighboring leaders, the tribes call for his head. To assuage cries for war, the Badshah opens Marghazar’s gates to foreigners for the first time in centuries, in a sign of good faith. Enter Ambassador Asfandyar Afridi, a wry foreigner who admits outright that he is a spy. Stubborn, proud, and suspicious of foreigners, Durkhanai does not appreciate that he won’t bow to her every whim and instead talks circles around her.

And yet, she has to make him her ally to expose those truly responsible for the attack as more ambassadors from neighboring tribal districts arrive at court, each one of them with their own agenda and reasons to hide the truth. When a mysterious illness spreads through the village and the imperialists push hard on her borders, Durkhanai must sort through the ever shifting loyalties at court and her growing feelings for Asfandyar. Will she be able to leave the antics of a spoiled princess behind and become what her people need-a queen?

Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. Hi there Aamna! I’m super happy that you’re here with us today. Before we start, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Aamna: Hi! Thanks for having me! A little bit about myself is that I’m twenty-one, I have an intense love for period dramas, I am really close with my family, I constantly miss Pakistan, and I am currently living the dream as an author!

Saniya: That’s wonderful!

2. I cannot wait to read The Lady or the Lion! May I ask, what inspired the making of this novel?

Aamna: I was inspired by the short story “The Lady or the Tiger?” and my love for Pakistan. My main influences were The Winner’s Curse trilogy by Marie Rutkowski and The Wrath and the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh. 

Saniya: Ooo that’s very interesting!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is untitled-design-1.png

3. Do you have a specific writing routine? 

Aamna: I try to! When I first get an idea for a story, I usually compile a document of snippets and scenes and quotes that come to me in images and bursts, then I try to turn that into a general outline, then expand that into specific chapters, then finally, I tackle the drafting. It helps me to have a schedule and to set a deadline for myself. I aim to write 2,000 words a day, five days a week when I am on that deadline — but of course, some days are good, some are bad. 

Saniya: That’s such a cool routine!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is untitled-design-1.png

4. Is there a character in The Lady or the Lion that you resonate most with?

Aamna: The protagonist, Durkhanai. She feels things so intensely, which is definitely something I relate to. 

Saniya: Sounds awesome! I can’t wait to meet all the characters!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is untitled-design-1.png

5. The Lady or the Lion is inspired by Pakistan. That’s so cool! On your website, you showcase beautiful pictures of the country. Do you have a favorite memory of your time there?

Aamna: There’s so many! But my favorite memories are ones that encompass absolute peace and contentment: lying on a charpai outside, watching the clouds move; my head by my grandmother’s lap, her fingers stroking my hair; sitting in a room filled with family members, everyone laughing and talking over one another. 

Saniya: That is so beautiful, thank you for sharing.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is untitled-design-1.png

6. The cover of the novel is absolutely stunning! What inspired the making of the cover?

Aamna: Thank you! The cover is actually a painting by Asrar Farooqi, and then designed by Maryann Appel at CamCat Books, who did a stunning job. I have been a longtime fan of Farooqi, who is a Pakistani painter, so when it came time to design the cover, I really wanted to commission something by him. I described the setting to Farooqi, and he took over in his style. My publishing team was great with letting me be involved in the whole process, and I am so happy with the way it came out! 

Saniya: It truly is a stunning cover.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is untitled-design-1.png

7. Lastly, if I may I ask, can you please describe the storyline of The Lady or the Lion with emojis?

This question was heavily inspired by Ahaana @ Windows To World. They did a blog tour stop and author interview for the novel ‘Hot British Boyfriend.’ Please do check out their post as well right here!

Aamna: 👸🏻👀🤔🥰💗🤒🤬🤭🥺🤪🤤😨🤯😭🦁👩🏻👑💔

Saniya: Ooo mysterious! 😆

About The Author

Aamna Qureshi is a Pakistani, Muslim American who adores words. She grew up in a very loud household, surrounded by English (for school), Urdu (for conversation), and Punjabi (for emotion). Through her writing, she wishes to inspire a love for the beautiful country and rich culture that informed much of her identity. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel to new places where she can explore different cultures or to Pakistan where she can revitalize her roots. She also loves baking complicated desserts, drinking fancy teas and coffees, watching sappy rom-coms, and going for walks about the estate (her backyard). She currently lives in New York. Look for her on IG @aamna_qureshi and Twitter @aamnaqureshi_ and at her website.

Add The Lady or the Lion to goodreads here!

Thank you once again Aamna for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer some of my questions, and thank you all for reading! Have a fabulous day everyone!

Author Interview With Amy Parks

I hope you are just as excited as I am to be introducing the lovely Ms. Amy Parks! Amy is the author of the new YA novel; The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss. Before we jump right into it, here is a bit about her newest book!

Image result for the quantum theory of the almost kiss

(Synopsis from goodreads)

Seventeen-year-old Evie Beckham has never been interested in dating. She’s been fully occupied by her love of mathematics and her frequent battles with anxiety (and besides, she’s always found the idea of kissing to be a little bit icky). But with the help of her best friend and her therapist, Evie’s feeling braver. Maybe even brave enough to enter a prestigious physics competition and to say yes to the new boy who’s been flirting with her.

Caleb Covic knows Evie isn’t ready for romance but assumes that when she is, she will choose him. So Caleb is horrified when he is forced to witness Evie’s meet cute with a floppy-haired, mathematically gifted transfer student. Because Caleb knows the girl never falls for the funny best friend when there’s a mysterious stranger around, he decides to use an online forum to capture Evie’s interest. Now, he’s got Evie wondering if it’s possible to fall in love with a boy she’s never met.

Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. Was there anything that inspired the making of The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss? If so, what inspired it?


Amy: I was feeling sad after the 2016 election and I wanted to write something happy. I’ve always loved physics and mathematics, so the idea of writing a love story that drew on themes from these disciplines was pretty appealing. Plus, Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe are one of my favorite love stories of all time, so I was really excited to create a story about two friends where the boy has been in love with the girl forever, while she remains oblivious.

Saniya: That is so cool! I love how math was incorporated in the book as well!

2. If you could give your past writer self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Amy: Honestly, I feel like I could use some advice of my own right now! Seeing your work go out into the world is so hard. I guess I’d tell myself to really enjoy that time when my work was just my own. In the moment, you’re in such a hurry to rush through that part, but really there was something joyful about living in that private world.

Saniya: That sounds lovely!

3. Did you always want to be a writer Ms. Parks? Or did you have something else in mind?

Amy: Well, I am an associate professor of education, so yes, I have something else in mind. I prepare elementary school teachers to teach mathematics, and I do truly love that job. Writing–for all the trials of publishing–still feels very much like something I do for fun.

Saniya: That sounds like a very interesting job, I’m glad you enjoy it!

4.  The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss has by far the most beautiful cover ever! I absolutely adore it! What inspired the cover? 

Amy: I love it too. Andi Poretta was the artist who drew Evie and Caleb and I really feel like she captured not just the look of the characters, but their relationship with each other and the mood of the book. Hana Anouk Nakamura was the designer and it was her idea to do those three different versions of Evie and Caleb–which plays into the idea of quantum weirdness nicely, I think.

Saniya: Yes, totally! All the elements play out very nicely!

5. Do you have a specific writing routine? Is there a certain time of day that you write the most?

Amy: Before the pandemic, I would stop at a coffee shop on the way to work and write for an hour or so. Now that we’re all at home, it’s harder. I try to grab an hour or two here and there when everyone is occupied, but it’s much less of a routine now.

Saniya: I hope you find more time in the future to write more amazing books!

6. What is the main message you would like your readers to take away from The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss

Amy: Hmm…I don’t think there is a message, exactly. But I think the idea behind the love story is that you want to choose someone who makes you the best version of yourself. I met my husband at 18, and I know I’ve been braver in the world because of my relationship with him. 

Saniya: That is so beautiful, thank you for sharing!

Thank you once again Ms. Parks for taking the time out of your day to answer some of my questions, and thank you all for reading! Before we conclude the interview, here is some information about the author and their books…

  • Add The Quantum Theory Of The Almost-Kiss to goodreads here!
  • You can find and buy The Quantum Theory Of The Almost-Kiss from an Indie Book Store near you here!
  • Be sure you’re on the lookout for the author’s upcoming middle grade novel ‘Summer Of Brave’ which will be releasing on March 1st 2021! You can add it to goodreads here!
  • Ms. Parks’ Twitter

Author Interview With Francesca Burke

Hiya everyone! Today I am here with a special treat; An author interview! I am super excited to be introducing the lovely Francesca Burke who is here with me today to answer some questions about life as an author. I hope you enjoy!

First let’s talk about Burke’s newest novel; The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes. Here’s a quick synopsis!

Princess Amelia’s home, the Kingdom of Mirrors, is on its knees, ravaged by the cantankerous Sapphire Dragon. She must find a way to rid her country of its unwelcome guest and work out how to restore its fortunes before her parents marry her off to clear the kingdom’s debts. Prince Richard of the Valley of Dreams knows he’s not very heroic… he’d rather read about quests than actually go on one. But when he finds himself travelling to a haunted tower, he discovers a treacherous conspiracy that could rip the Three Kingdoms apart… and learns there might be some heroism tucked up his sleeve after all. Esme Delacroix is a psychic living in Stormhaven, the only part of the Three Kingdoms where magic is taboo. A terrifying vision sends Esme and her friend Violet on a perilous quest that shakes Stormhaven and the Three Kingdoms to its core.

Without further ado, let’s get right into the interview!

1. Was there anything that inspired the making of The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes? If so, what inspired it?

Ms. Burke: Yes! I wanted to write the sort of fairy tale I wish I had read as a child/teen. Something with all the magical elements and questing, but with fewer irritating princes and helpless princesses.

Saniya: I totally agree!

2. If you could give your past writer self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Ms. Burke: Learn to plan! Or at least try to know where your story’s going before you start. It’s going to make the editing process so much easier.

Saniya: That’s a great point! Effective planning is really important, regardless of if it’s for writing or not.

3. Did you always want to be a writer? Or did you have something else in mind?

Ms. Burke: I think I wanted to be a pilot when I was very small! I sort of fell into writing when I was 12 or so, and I’ve been doing it ever since (I’m 25 now), so I think I’ve wanted to do it and been doing it for long enough that I can’t really remember a time when it wasn’t part of my life.

Saniya: That’s very cool!

4. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Ms. Burke: Is that… is that…do people do things other than write? Just kidding. I like to read, obviously, and I like walking, which is good because there’s not a lot else to do at the moment… I have a blog, Indifferent Ignorance, where I chat about books and writing and sometimes more intense things like politics. It’s kind of part of my writing work but doesn’t really earn any money, so I think it counts as a hobby. Or I hope it does, I really don’t do much else. Let’s blame the pandemic for that, and not my being an introvert.

Saniya: Reading and walking are wonderful things to do!

5. Do you have a specific writing routine? Is there a certain time of day that you write the most?

Ms. Burke: I yo-yo between a strict routine and no routine. I work best when the rest of the world’s still asleep, and my general routine fluctuates with the seasons, so in the summer I’m usually up early and working away at 7am. Left to my own devices, I do nothing between about midday and early afternoon, and then I work in the evenings. This is not conducive to being a student or having a job, I should add. Why does no one in the UK take a siesta?! Anyway, in the winter I’m in hibernation mode so I do write in the morning and evenings, but more in the evenings.

Saniya: I can totally understand how your routine would fluctuate depending on the season you’re in!

6. What is the main message you would like your readers to take away from The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories?

Ms. Burke: That evening dresses should always come with pockets. There are other, more serious, ‘messages’ in the novel, but telling you any of them would be a GIANT SPOILER so you’ll just have to read it to find out!

Saniya: All dresses should come with pockets!!! Well there you have it folks, now you just have to read Francesca Burke’s newest novel!

Alrighty~ That’s a wrap! I hope you all enjoyed the interview! Here is some information about Ms. Burke!