author talk, Book Tour

[BLINK Summer Reading Tour] Interview with the Author: Christina June ( + GIVEAWAY!)

I’ve got something special for you guys today!

I’m participating in the BLINK Summer Reading Tour right now and I get the pleasure of introducing you to No Place Like Here!

This sweet YA Contemporary is a classic coming-of-age tale with lots of heartfelt moments along the way. I hope you enjoy.

Today, I’m going to be sharing with you a conversation I had with the author of this book, Christina June! From her book to her process to her advice to young writers, we covered it all.

You can also enter to win a bundle of all five books on the BLINK Summer Reading tour! Look for the Giveaway below!

Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She’s just spent a year at boarding school and can’t wait to get home. But when Ashlyn’s father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for “exhaustion,” a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down.

The cherry on top? Ashlyn’s father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn’t even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” not even Ash’s habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes—inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere—can help her cope.

With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad’s marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home. 

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1.     What was your inspiration for this novel? 

Ashlyn started as a character who appears in IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE.  Readers who know her already will be familiar with her poor choices in boys and her unusually strict father.  When my editor and I were brainstorming ideas for my next proposal, I knew I wanted to let Ashlyn tell her own story that would explore how much more than that she is.  The fairy tale framework, Hansel & Gretl, is essentially an abandonment story between children and their father, which fit Ashlyn perfectly. Since my companions are all set in the summer, my mind went to a wilderness retreat center–summer camp for adults—as the right setting, and voila, her fish-out-of-water story began to take shape.  Her experience was inspired by my chats with students who feel powerless in their own families, for various reasons.  I wanted to show them that they words and thoughts have value and they can change their situation if they want to.

2.     Do you use music when you write? 

Always.  I make playlists on Spotify, usually from whatever strikes me off the radio, and those songs tend to become the voice of my characters.  Ashlyn’s theme song is The Gold by Manchester Orchestra.  The lyrics of the chorus really speak to her feelings about her father.

3.     What’s a writing day look like for you? 

They’re never the same!  I have a full time job and a family, so I take whatever time I can get.  The hour before I start work and the hour after before I have to pick up my daughter are pretty reliable, though.  I also take advantage of summer time, when I’m not in school, and November for NaNoWriMo.

4.     What’s your favorite part about writing? Least? 

Favorite is drafting, least favorite is editing.  I think a LOT about what I want to write before I actually start, so my first drafts are pretty clean.  I like things to be done and put away, so going back and making changes is always a challenge.

5.     If you could speak to a writer just starting out, what would you tell them?

Don’t give up.  Keep at it and know you learn something new from every project.  Writing “the end” is so powerful, so strive for that.  Publishing is about patience, so while you’re waiting, write the next thing and do other activities to refill the creative well when you’re feeling stuck.

Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter.

She is the author of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, and the forthcoming NO PLACE LIKE HERE.

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Enter to win 1 of 5 BLINK Summer Reading Tour Book Bundles (A Touch of Gold, Meet the Sky, No Place Like Here, Pretty In Punxsutawney, and Swing)!

Giveaway is open to US residents and ends 8/9/2019.

Enter through this Rafflecopter form and may the odds be ever in your favor!

July 22

That Artsy Reader Girl – Summer Reading Tour Kick-Off

July 23

Pages & Pugs – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Favorite QuotesMangeuse de Livres – Q&A with Annie Sullivan (French & English)
Moonlight Rendezvous – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite QuotesMusings of a (Book) Girl – Christina June Guest PostOhana Cascadia – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite QuotesA Bronx Latina Reads – Book Review of Pretty In PunxsutawneyNay’s Pink Bookshelf – Book Review of Swing + Favorite QuotesTaylor Fenner’s Bookish World – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
Kayla Reads and Reviews – Book Review of Swing + Creative Post
Savings In Seconds – Book Review of Meet the Sky

July 24

J.R.’s Book Reviews – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
Book-Keeping – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Musings of a (Book) Girl – Interview with Laurie Boyle Crompton
Lifestyle of Me – Book Review of No Place Like HereShelf-Rated – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Favorite Quotes
Reading Authors Network – Book Review of Swing
Read At Night – Interview with Christina JuneYA/NA Book Divas – Book Review of Swing
Cinnamon Summers – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite QuotesInky Moments – Creative Post

July 25

Marshmallow Pudding – Christina June Guest Post
Never Too Many to Read – Creative Post for No Place Like Here
Ohana Cascadia – Book Review of Swing + Favorite QuotesNay’s Pink Bookshelf – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Favorite QuotesFictitiousWonderland – Bookstagram Post for A Touch of Gold
Story-eyed Reviews – Interview with McCall Hoyle
Will Read Anything – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Kait Plus Books – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite Quotes
The Reading Corner for All – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Bookstagram Post

July 26

Adventures Thru Wonderland – McCall Hoyle Guest Post
Here’s to Happy Endings – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
What She Will Read – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite Quotes
Starlight Reads – Book Playlist for Swing
Story-eyed Reviews – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite Quotes
Library of a Book Witch – Book Review of A Touch of GoldWill Read Anything – Book Review of Swing
Inky Moments – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite Quotes

July 29

Beauty In the Binding – Author Q&A with Annie SullivanOnemused – Book Review of Meet the Sky (Instagram Photo)A Bronx Latina Reads – Book Review of No Place Like HereCinnamon Summers – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite Quotes
A Dream Within a Dream – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
A Bookish Dream – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
Savings In Seconds – Book Review of Swing + Favorite Quotes
FictitiousWonderland – Book Review + Creative Post for Pretty In Punxsutawney (Instagram)

July 30

What She Will Read – Laurie Boyle Crompton Guest Post
Never Too Many to Read – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Starlight Reads – Book Review of Swing
YA/NA Book Divas – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
YA Media Consumer – Meet the Sky Book Spotlight
Some Books and Ramblings – Interview with McCall Hoyle
Moonlight Rendezvous – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Favorite QuotesThe Reading Corner for All – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Instagram Post

July 31

Feed Your Fiction Addiction – McCall Hoyle Guest PostTaylor Fenner’s Bookish World – Book Review of No Place Like HereBook-Keeping – Book Review of Touch of Gold
Utopia State of Mind – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Kait Plus Books – Annie Sullivan Guest PostMusings of a (Book) Girl – Book Review of Swing
Kait Plus Books – Laurie Boyle Crompton Guest PostRead At Night – No Place Like Here Creative Post
Ohana Cascadia – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Favorite Quotes
Lifestyle of Me – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney

August 1

Reading Authors Network – Creative Post for Swing
Story-eyed Reviews – Interview with Christina June
Two Points of Interest – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
The Secret Reader – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Creative Post
Belle’s Archive – Book Review of Swing
A Dream Within A Dream – Annie Sullivan Guest Post
Smada’s Book Smack – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
A Bookish Dream – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Adventures Thru Wonderland – Book Review of Meet the Sky

August 2

Here’s to Happy Endings – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Belle’s Archive – Book Review of Pretty In PunxsutawneyThe Secret Reader – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Interview with Laurie Boyle Crompton + Creative PostSmada’s Book Smack – Book Review of No Place Like HereFaery Tales Are Real – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
Read At Night – Book Review of Swing + Creative Post
Two Points of Interest – Book Review of Swing

Thanks for stopping by! See you tomorrow. x — A

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author talk

[BLINK Summer Reading Tour] Interview with the Author: McCall Hoyle ( + GIVEAWAY!)

I’ve got something special for you guys today!

I’m participating in the BLINK Summer Reading Tour right now and I get the pleasure of introducing you to Meet the Sky!

I read Meet the Sky this month and really enjoyed it. This YA contemporary was dramatic, suspenseful, and a little bit romantic in all the best ways. I can’t wait to share my full review with you tomorrow, as the tour continues!

Today, I’m going to be sharing with you a conversation I had with the author of this book, McCall Hoyle! From her book to her process to her advice to young writers, we covered it all.

You can also enter to win a bundle of all five books on the BLINK Summer Reading tour! Look for the Giveaway below!

It all started with the accident. The one that caused Sophie’s dad to walk out of her life. The one that left Sophie’s older sister, Meredith, barely able to walk at all.

With nothing but pain in her past, all Sophie wants is to plan for the future—keep the family business running, get accepted to veterinary school, and protect her mom and sister from another disaster. But when a hurricane forms off the coast of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and heads right toward their island, Sophie realizes nature is one thing she can’t control.

After she gets separated from her family during the evacuation, Sophie finds herself trapped on the island with the last person she’d have chosen—the reckless and wild Finn Sanders, who broke her heart freshman year. As they struggle to find safety, Sophie learns that Finn has suffered his own heartbreak; but instead of playing it safe, Finn’s become the kind of guy who goes surfing in the eye of the hurricane. He may be the perfect person to remind Sophie how to embrace life again, but only if their newfound friendship can survive the storm.

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1. Tell us about your book. 

My second book, Meet the Sky, is about Sophie, a girl struggling to keep her fractured family together. She’s all about sticking to the plan—keeping the family business running, saving money for college one day, and making sure her mom and sister don’t endure another tragedy—but when a hurricane forms off the coast of the Outer Banks, Sophie realizes nature is one thing she can’t control. She ends up stranded in the middle of the storm with Finn, the boy who broke her heart freshman year.

2. What was your inspiration for this novel?

My father died unexpectedly about eighteen years ago. It was the single most life-changing, world-rocking event of my life. Years past before I could talk about it without overwhelming emotion. Needless to say, I didn’t handle losing him very well. I was emotionally paralyzed for several years. I went about the business of doing life, but inside I was a train wreck. Writing was one of the things that actually helped me start processing some of that bottled up grief. Along the way, I learned that there are much healthier ways to grieve. My father was a lot like Finn in the book, he truly lived every day like it might be his last. The inspiration for the story came when I thought about what would happen if two people with totally different belief systems about living and dying fell in love.

3. Do you use music when you write?

I wish I could say I listened to really cool playlists when I write, but honestly, I prefer the silence of the wood-paneled quiet room at my favorite library or the background chatter of my local Starbucks. Sometimes, if the background noise is too much, I’ll put in my earbuds and listen to classical music.

4. What’s a writing day look like for you?

Oh my gosh, I wish I had a super cool answer for this one too, but I’m a very busy mom and teacher as well as writer. I’m also easily distracted by my golden retriever whom I adore and spend a lot of time grooming and training.

So a typical writing day looks like me scrambling to squeeze in an hour or two to write whenever I can, wherever I can. Sometimes, that’s late at night after the family goes to bed. Sometimes, it’s sitting in the line to pick my son up after school. Sometimes, it’s at the library or Starbucks. If I’m really desperate, I’ll even draft a quick scene in the notes app on my phone. I’ve even used dictating apps while I’m driving. 

But hope springs eternal. Someday, I envision myself writing in a really cool treehouse, sipping chai tea, and watching wildlife out the enormous window above my desk. 

5. What’s your favorite part about writing? Least?

My favorite part of writing is definitely coming up with shiny, bright new ideas and brainstorming plots sure to set the world on fire. I think many writers love this part. In fact, we often use these brilliant new ideas to distract us from the project we’re supposed to be working on when the going gets tough, and it always gets tough at some point. New ideas are so full of optimism, and enthusiasm, and creative energy partially because we haven’t figured out the inherent problems that are bound to arise. Even though, I know I shouldn’t be wooed away from an existing project, it’s so fun to get lost in a new idea.

My least favorite part of writing seems to be writing the middle of any book. I love, love, love writing the first ten to twenty-thousand words where I’m getting to know the characters and developing the conflict and setting. Since I usually have an idea of how a story will end before I start, it’s really exciting to see that coming together. But that darn middle gets me every time. The only two things that I’ve found that help are lots of brainstorming on the front end and just writing through the hard spots. Anything can be revised. Anything. But there have to be some words there to begin with.

6. If you could speak to a writer just starting out, what would you tell them?

It’s a marathon, not a race. Be kind and gentle with yourself and celebrate every step along the way, and I mean every step. Celebrate the first manuscript you finish, even if in hindsight it’s not very good. Celebrate the first time you receive a rejection from an agent or an editor. It means you finished a project and put yourself out there. For most of us, it’s a long, tough road to publication, and even once we’re published we’re constantly moving the bar and reaching for new goals and milestones. You’ll burnout your creative spirit if you don’t give her time to celebrate and enjoy along the way. If you can, find likeminded friends and critique partners to celebrate with. They’ll come in super hand when you’re having a bad day as well.

McCall Hoyle writes honest YA novels about friendship, first love, and girls finding the strength to overcome great challenges. She is a high school English teacher. Her own less-than-perfect teenage experiences and those of the girls she teaches inspire many of the struggles in her books. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with her family and their odd assortment of pets—a food-obsessed beagle, a grumpy rescue cat, and a three-and-a-half-legged kitten. She has an English degree from Columbia College and a master’s degree from Georgia State University. She lives in a cottage in the woods in North Georgia where she reads and writes every day.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Enter to win 1 of 5 BLINK Summer Reading Tour Book Bundles (A Touch of Gold, Meet the Sky, No Place Like Here, Pretty In Punxsutawney, and Swing)!

Giveaway is open to US residents and ends 8/9/2019.

Enter through this Rafflecopter form and may the odds be ever in your favor!

July 22

That Artsy Reader Girl – Summer Reading Tour Kick-Off

July 23

Pages & Pugs – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Favorite QuotesMangeuse de Livres – Q&A with Annie Sullivan (French & English)
Moonlight Rendezvous – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite QuotesMusings of a (Book) Girl – Christina June Guest PostOhana Cascadia – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite QuotesA Bronx Latina Reads – Book Review of Pretty In PunxsutawneyNay’s Pink Bookshelf – Book Review of Swing + Favorite QuotesTaylor Fenner’s Bookish World – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
Kayla Reads and Reviews – Book Review of Swing + Creative Post
Savings In Seconds – Book Review of Meet the Sky

July 24

J.R.’s Book Reviews – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
Book-Keeping – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Musings of a (Book) Girl – Interview with Laurie Boyle Crompton
Lifestyle of Me – Book Review of No Place Like HereShelf-Rated – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Favorite Quotes
Reading Authors Network – Book Review of Swing
Read At Night – Interview with Christina JuneYA/NA Book Divas – Book Review of Swing
Cinnamon Summers – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite QuotesInky Moments – Creative Post

July 25

Marshmallow Pudding – Christina June Guest Post
Never Too Many to Read – Creative Post for No Place Like Here
Ohana Cascadia – Book Review of Swing + Favorite QuotesNay’s Pink Bookshelf – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Favorite QuotesFictitiousWonderland – Book Review + Creative Post for A Touch of Gold (Instagram)
Story-eyed Reviews – Interview with McCall Hoyle
Will Read Anything – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Kait Plus Books – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite Quotes
The Reading Corner for All – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Instagram Post

July 26

Adventures Thru Wonderland – McCall Hoyle Guest Post
Here’s to Happy Endings – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
What She Will Read – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite Quotes
Starlight Reads – Book Playlist for Swing
Story-eyed Reviews – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite Quotes
Library of a Book Witch – Book Review of A Touch of GoldWill Read Anything – Book Review of Swing
Inky Moments – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite Quotes

July 29

Beauty In the Binding – Author Q&A with Annie SullivanOnemused – Book Review of Meet the Sky (Instagram Photo)A Bronx Latina Reads – Book Review of No Place Like HereCinnamon Summers – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite Quotes
A Dream Within a Dream – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
A Bookish Dream – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
Savings In Seconds – Book Review of Swing + Favorite Quotes
FictitiousWonderland – Book Review + Creative Post for Pretty In Punxsutawney (Instagram)

July 30

What She Will Read – Laurie Boyle Crompton Guest Post
Never Too Many to Read – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Starlight Reads – Book Review of Swing
YA/NA Book Divas – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
YA Media Consumer – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Some Books and Ramblings – Interview with McCall Hoyle
Moonlight Rendezvous – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Favorite QuotesThe Reading Corner for All – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Instagram Post

July 31

Feed Your Fiction Addiction – McCall Hoyle Guest PostTaylor Fenner’s Bookish World – Book Review of No Place Like HereBook-Keeping – Book Review of Touch of Gold
Utopia State of Mind – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Kait Plus Books – Annie Sullivan Guest PostMusings of a (Book) Girl – Book Review of Swing
Kait Plus Books – Laurie Boyle Crompton Guest PostRead At Night – No Place Like Here Creative Post
Ohana Cascadia – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Favorite Quotes
Lifestyle of Me – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney

August 1

Reading Authors Network – Creative Post for Swing
Story-eyed Reviews – Interview with Christina June
Two Points of Interest – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
The Secret Reader – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Creative Post
Belle’s Archive – Book Review of Swing
A Dream Within A Dream – Annie Sullivan Guest Post
Smada’s Book Smack – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
A Bookish Dream – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Adventures Thru Wonderland – Book Review of Meet the Sky

August 2

Here’s to Happy Endings – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Belle’s Archive – Book Review of Pretty In PunxsutawneyThe Secret Reader – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Interview with Laurie Boyle Crompton + Creative PostSmada’s Book Smack – Book Review of No Place Like HereFaery Tales Are Real – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
Read At Night – Book Review of Swing + Creative Post
Two Points of Interest – Book Review of Swing

That’s all I’ve got for you guys today, I hope you enjoyed it!! If these types of interviews and tours are something you’d like to see more of, drop me a line and tell me what you think about it! See you tomorrow! x — A

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