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Debbie Macomber Gives the Backstory on Blossom Street Brides

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It may be the question authors get asked most often: “What inspired you to write about [fill in the blank]?”

Debbie Macomber has no problem explaining the story behind her latest book, Blossom Street Brides, a heart-tugging novel about three women in various stages of matrimony.

“My inspiration was my daughter, Jody,” Debbie wrote on her blog. “She and Greg had decided to marry and we were knee-deep in wedding plans. I wrote their vows (as I did for my daughter, Jenny Adele, and her husband, Kevin) and was spending time with caterers, photographers, etc. Brides were on my mind and it seemed only natural to write a book about brides.”

As for how she came up with idea for the series itself, Debbie credits another inspiration by describing what happened after she wrote The Shop on Blossom Street as a stand-alone book.

“The feedback I got on the novel was strong and immediate.  My readers wanted to learn more about Lydia and Brad and the other characters they’d met in that story, especially Alix.  It was because of the notes and letters I received that I wrote the follow up book, A Good Yarn, which turned out to be my first hardcover to place on the New York Times bestseller list.  When people ask me what inspired the Blossom Street series, I smile and explain it was my readers.”

Join Debbie Macomber’s live video Booktalk Nation Interview
5 PM ET, Thurs., April 17
Ask your own question before or during the interview
Interviewer: Will Schwalbe
Hosted by: Vero Beach Book Center, Vero Beach, FL
Debbie will personalize and sign copies of Blossom Street Brides ordered through BTN.
Reserve your spot and order books at booktalknation.com


Think You Know Dragon Kings? Donna Grant Says, Just You Wait

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Last June, Donna Grant teased fans with this post on her blog about the first full-length novel in her Dark Kings series:

“I’m nearly finished with DARKEST FLAME, and I can tell you it features a Dragon King only mentioned in the novellas – Kellan. If you thought you knew the Dragon Kings, just wait until you meet Kellan.”

The Dark King series follows Donna’s bestselling Dark Warriors series, itself a contemporary spinoff of the action/fantasy/romance historical Dark Sword series. Donna’s fans got their first taste of the new series in three e-book novellas, which were later published together in print as Dark Heat.

Readers will finally get the full story on Kellan when Darkest Flame is published April 29. In the novel, Dragon King Kellan tries to resist the lure of a ravishing human spy, Denae Lacroix.  His attraction to her is powerful, though you might not call it love at first sight.

“Kellan stayed in his spot and watched as the two circled each other. Nothing’s changed. Humans are always fighting.” Kellan thinks when he first sees Denae, who is battling a man. “No matter how many centuries passed, no matter what country he visited, they were all the same. Selfish, belligerent, arrogant, greedy bastards.”

Join Donna Grant’s live video Booktalk Nation Interview
7 PM ET, Thurs., April 17
Ask your own question before or during the interview
Interviewer: Lara Adrian
Hosted by: Murder by the Book, Houston, TX
Donna will personalize and sign copies of Darkest Flame, Midnight’s Temptation, Midnight’s Promise, and Dark Heat: The Dark Kings Stories ordered through BTN.
Reserve your spot and order books at booktalknation.com

 

 

 


In Don’t Call Me Baby, Blogging Well is the Best Revenge

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Gwendolyn Heasley puts an of-the-moment spin on mother-daughter conflict in her YA novel Don’t Call Me Baby, telling the story of 15-year-old Imogene, who’s fed up with her over-sharing mommy- blogger parent.

Among the mortifying tidbits posted by “Mommylicious”:

“I definitely think there’s a boy in Imogene’s life. All the telltale signs are there: spending extra time getting ready, blushing, daydreaming, being short with her mother.”

“Rumors are flying that boys are starting to ask girls to the Pirate’s Booty Ball. Cross your fingers that someone’s smart enough to snag Imogene. Where’d my baby go?”

“P.S. CHECK OUT Imogene’s school picture this year. It looks like it was a very humid day…Do they not hand out those tiny combs anymore?”

Imogene doesn’t just get embarrassed — she gets even by starting her own blog, exposing her mother’s flaws (and threatening to post photos of her crazy “eighties hair”). Written for a generation of readers who chronicle every move on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, Don’t Call Me Baby is ultimately an affirmation of the occasionally unplugged life.

As Imogene writes (albeit on her blog), “If the elixir of Life exists, I doubt you’ll find it online.”

Join Gwendolyn Heasley’s live video Booktalk Nation Interview
7 PM ET, Wed., April 16
Ask your own question before or during the interview
Interviewer: Karen Holt
Hosted by: Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL
Gwendolyn will personalize and sign copies of Don’t Call me Baby ordered through BTN.
Reserve your spot and order books at booktalknation.com


Brandon Sanderson on Why Sometimes More is More in Epic Fantasy

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Each week Brandon Sanderson and fellow authors Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Taylor and Dan Wells discuss their craft on the “Writing Excuses” podcast, tackling subjects like character development, outlining and revising.  It’s as much inspirational as instructive, as Brandon or one of his co-hosts signs off each session with: “You’re out of excuses, now go write.”

Brandon clearly practices what he podcasts. His Stormlight Archive series is ambitious even by the standards of epic fantasy, exemplifying the “deep sense of immersion and scope” that Brandon sees as defining the genre. At 1,088 pages in hardcover, the eagerly awaited Words of Radiance, book two in the series, slightly exceeds the length of book one, The Way of Kings.

But page count isn’t the point, as Brandon writes on his blog, facing head on the question, “So Why is It So long?”

“The answer is simple. This is the piece of art I wanted to make,” he writes. Calling The Stormlight Archive his “love letter to the epic fantasy genre.”

“It is what I always dreamed epic fantasy could be. Length is part of that, and so is the hardcover form—the big, lavish, art-filled hardcover. A big book doesn’t indicate quality—but if you find a big book that you love, then there is that much more of it to enjoy. Beyond that, I felt—and feel—there is an experience I can deliver in a work of this length that I could never deliver in something shorter, even if that’s just the same book divided up.”

Join Brandon Sanderson’s live video Booktalk Nation Interview
7 PM ET, Wed., April 9
Ask your own question before or during the interview
Interviewer: Karen Holt
Hosted by: The King’s English, Salt Lake City, UT
Brandon will personalize and sign copies of Words of Radiance, The Way of Kings, The Rithmatist and Steelheart ordered through BTN.
Reserve your spot and order books at booktalknation.com

 

 

 

 

 


Kelley Armstrong’s New YA Trilogy Blends Fantasy, Romance, Horror

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Fans of Kelley Armstrong’s blockbuster “Otherworld” novels balked at her announcement a couple of years ago that she was ending the urban fantasy series with Thirteen, but the author promised to write more exciting series. So far, she’s delivered three.

Armstrong’s adult paranormal “Cainsville” series debuted last summer with Omens, and a second book, Visions, is due out in August.  For middle grade readers, Kelley is co-writing the fantasy adventure “Blackwell Pages” series with Melissa Marr. After publishing book one in the series, Loki’s Wolves, last May, Kelley and Melissa have the next installment, Odin’s Ravens, ready to release next month.

On April 8, readers will get their first look at her newest series, “Age of Legends”. Focused on young adult readers, the trilogy blends fantasy, romance, horror and action. And like Kelley’s other series, it features kickass female characters.  In “Age of Legends’” inaugural title, Sea of Shadows, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn battle monstrous creatures in the aptly named Forest of the Dead, embark on a treacherous journey, and find romance with a couple of unlikely suitors.

The verdict on Sea of Shadows from Kirkus Reviews: “[Kelley] smoothly switches from her customary paranormal setting to a high-fantasy adventure, but she still favors relationship drama and reversals of fortune. Strong female protagonists make this trilogy opener a standout.”

Join Kelley Armstrong’s live dial-in Booktalk Nation Interview
7 PM ET, Tues., April 8
Ask your own question before or during the interview
Interviewer: Melissa Marr
Hosted by: Schuler Books & Music
Kelley will personalize and sign copies of Sea of Shadows, The Rising, Loki’s Wolves and Bitten ordered through BTN.
Reserve your spot and order books at booktalknation.com


In Gabrielle Zevin’s New Novel You Are What You Read

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Gabrielle Zevin’s latest book, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, is a novel for those who love books and the independent bookstores who sell them. It is the story of a New England bookseller who lost his wife and is on the verge of losing his store when a mysterious package arrives at his door.

The Washington Post sums it up perfectly: “Zevin has done something old-fashioned and fairly rare these days. She has written an entertaining novel, modest in its scope, engaging and funny without being cloying or sentimental. On top of all that, it is marvelously optimistic about the future of books and bookstores and the people who love both. “

This novel isn’t just a story about books or about a depressed small town bookseller; it’s also about love, second chances, and community. “Her story is spellbinding; it deals with classic themes while feeling completely fresh. Her light touch on some weighty subjects strikes a perfect balance. Her love for the world of books and the people who love them is obvious, her characterizations of the denizens of the book business are spot on without being cliched. Absolutely delightful!” –Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music.

Booktalk Nation invites you to join a She Reads sponsored live phone chat with Gabrielle Zevin on Monday, April 7th at 7pm ET. Gabrielle will answer your questions and you can even order a signed and personalized copy of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.

Join Gabrielle Zevin’s live dial-in Booktalk Nation Interview
7 PM ET, Mon., April 7
Ask your own question before or during the interview
Interviewer: Ariel Lawhon
Hosted by: Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA
Gabrielle will personalize and sign copies of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry ordered through BTN.

Reserve your spot and order books at booktalknation.com


In Be Safe I Love You, Soldier Battles Problems on the Home Front

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Cara Hoffman’s critically lauded debut novel, So Much Pretty, centered on the rape and murder of a local woman in a depressed Upstate New York town and the community’s reaction.  In Cara’s new novel, Be Safe I Love You, a female soldier traumatized by war tries to adjust to life back home.

Cara, whose fiction reflects her deep concern for social and economic justice, explained in an interview what the seemingly disparate storylines of her two novels have in common.

“Both books deal with issues of social class and with the degradation of the natural world. In the books, as in real life, social class is a catalyst for certain characters’ actions and decisions, and also affects their perceptions of themselves.

“In So Much Pretty, wealth helps protect a murderer from facing justice, and in Be Safe I Love You, the lack of wealth influences the protagonist’s decision to join the military and sets the story in motion. Environmental issues form part of the backdrop of both novels, only on different scales, and both books center on what it means to be part of a family, and what it means to be taken from your family.”

Join Cara Hoffman’s live dial-in Booktalk Nation Interview
7 PM ET, Thurs, April 3
Ask your own question before or during the interview
Interviewer: David Abrams
Hosted by: McNally Jackson, New York, NY
Cara will personalize and sign copies of Be Safe I Love You ordered through BTN.
Reserve your spot and order books at booktalknation.com


In Dorothy Must Die, Heroine Goes Bad, Ruthlessly Rules Oz

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Like most of us, Danielle Paige once happily accepted that Dorothy would be thrilled to be back on the farm with Auntie Em. Then she started to have her doubts.

“When I was a kid, I read the book and I watched the movie over and over again. It made so much sense — you land in Oz and of course you want to go home to your mom and dad, or your aunt and uncle,” she said during an interview last fall with USA Today. “But as I got older and you watch it again, it’s like, well, if I just got back from this great place where I was a hero and I was special, and now I’m back in dusty Kansas picking wheat… You’d maybe long for what you had.

“She wants more than where she is now. Not that that necessarily would make you evil, but it starts her down the path.”

In her new Dorothy Must Die trilogy, Danielle reimagines the plucky heroine of The Wizard of Oz as a ruthless despot who, having found her way back from Kansas, turns the once magical Oz into a dystopia. The “Kansas gumption” that made her so beloved now makes her a formidable enemy.

“She’s a tough little cookie who wants what she wants and is still going after it, but she’s on the other side of it,” Danielle said.

Join Danielle Paige’s live video Booktalk Nation Interview
7 PM ET, Mon. March 31
Ask your own question before or during the interview
Interviewer: Marissa Meyer
Hosted by: Posman Books, New York, NY
Danielle will personalize and sign copies of Dorothy Must Die ordered through BTN.
Marissa Meyer will personalize and sign copies of The Lunar Chronicles series ordered through BTN.
Reserve your spot and order books at booktalknation.com


For Readers, the Temptation in Jane Green’s Latest is All Too Real

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Early reviewers of Jane Green’s new novel, Tempting Fate, are finding themselves in a “hate the sin, love the sinner” situation. The novel revolves around, Gabby, a 43-year-old happily married mother of two who has a brief affair with a younger man. That’s not a spoiler—we’re meant to see the infidelity coming from the first chapter.

Tempting Fate is about the aftermath of betrayal, as Gabby tries to earn the forgiveness of her husband and daughters.  Book bloggers are empathizing with her, almost despite themselves.

“While I might not have agreed with Gabby’s actions her situation is presented in such a way that I could relate to why she had acted this way,” Victoria Sutton wrote on Novelicious.com.

“I was surprised to find Gabby a largely likeable protagonist given my general distaste for her actions,” Shelleyrae Cusbert wrote on Book’d Out.“I feel any woman of a similar age and life stage as Gabby will be able to relate to many of her thoughts and emotions, even if they find the choices she makes morally repugnant.”

“Rea” of Rea Book Review had this reaction: “One thing I can never usually sympathize with is adultery so I had part of me screaming at Gabby for what she had done and thinking there is no way I am going to warm to this character and yet the other part of me loved her and really sympathized with her character.”

Join Jane Green’s live video Booktalk Nation Interview
7 PM ET, Mon. March 24
Ask your own question before or during the interview
Interviewer: Karen Holt
Hosted by: Elm Street Books, New Canaan, CT
Jane will personalize and sign copies of Tempting Fate ordered through BTN.
Reserve your spot and order books at booktalknation.com


Robyn Carr’s Women Survive Marital Upset with a Little Help from Their Friends

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Early in Robyn Carr’s Four Friends, Gerri, a 49-year-old social worker and mother of three, is fresh from consoling her friend Andy, who has just thrown her cheating second husband out of the house.  The experience has left Gerri a bit smug about her own stable 24-year-marriage.

“Feeling grateful for her anything but ordinary yet predictable life and her committed spouse, she called Phil’s office…His assistant said there was nothing on his calendar for lunch and Gerri, feeling like toasting how much she loved and appreciated him, called his cell phone.”

It’s the kind of contentment that inevitably precedes a fall, at least in novels. And sure enough, Gerri, always the rock other women turn to, promptly finds her own relationship shattered.

Robyn’s newest standalone novel celebrates the power of female friendship, as four forty-something women help each other through marital crises. In addition to Gerri and Andy, there’s the eccentric Sonja, whose new age lifestyle has her husband walking out saying, “If I come home to candlelight and spa music one more time I’m going to snap.”

Rounding out the foursome is BJ, a seemingly aloof widow about whom Gerri says in the opening pages, “Some women don’t want girlfriends.” Nothing, it turns out, could be less true.

Join Robyn Carr’s live video Booktalk Nation Interview
7 PM ET, Thurs. March 20
Ask your own question before or during the interview
Interviewer: Karen Holt
Hosted by: Skylight Books, Los Angeles, CA
Robyn will personalize and sign copies of Four Friends ordered through BTN.
Reserve your spot and order books at booktalknation.com


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