Fierce Reads Tour

Four amazing authors, Leigh Bardugo, Anna Banks, Jessica Brody, and Emmy Laybourne, visited the Tattered Cover in Denver (or really, Highlands Ranch) on June 6th as part of the Fierce Reads tour! I was lucky to be able meet with them before the event began for a quick interview. Also, Macmillan sent me copies of ALL of their books to give away! So check out the books and my interview with the authors below, then enter to win all four books!

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Of Triton (Of Poseidon #2) by Anna BanksOf Triton by Anna Banks

In this sequel to OF POSEIDON, Emma has just learned that her mother is a long-lost Poseidon princess, and now struggles with an identity crisis: As a Half-Breed, she’s a freak in the human world and an abomination in the Syrena realm below. Syrena law states that all Half- Breeds should be put to death.

As if that’s not bad enough, her mother’s reappearance among the Syrena turns the two kingdoms—Poseidon and Triton—against one another. Which leaves Emma with a decision to make: Should she comply with Galen’s request to keep herself safe and just hope for the best? Or should she risk it all and reveal herself—and her Gift—to save a people she’s never known?

M14 Sky on Fire

Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2) by Emmy Laybourne

The world hasn’t ended…yet.

In this sequel to MONUMENT 14, the group of survivors, originally trapped together in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, has split in two. Most of the kids are making a desperate run on their recently repaired school bus for the Denver airport where they hope to reunite with their parents, be evacuated to safety, and save their dying friend.

But the world outside is dark and filled with dangerous chemicals that turn people into bloodthirsty monsters, and not all the kids were willing to get on the bus. Left behind in a sanctuary that has already been disturbed once, the remaining kids try to rebuild the community they lost. But when the issues are life and death, love and hate, who can you really trust?

Unremembered by Jessica Brody

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

From popular young adult author Jessica Brody comes a compelling and suspenseful new sci-fi series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.

Jessica Brody, Anna Banks, Jen, Emmy Laybourne, Leigh Bardugo

Jessica Brody, Anna Banks, Jen, Emmy Laybourne, Leigh Bardugo


Below I transcribed my interview (from audio) with Leigh Bardugo, Anna Banks, Jessica Brody, and Emmy Laybourne. Answers with spoilers have warnings in bold, so just skip that answer if you don’t want to read them.  Enjoy!

Jen: Hi everyone! To start, please introduce yourself and share a little bit about your series/book and what inspired it. 

Leigh: Hi, I’m Leigh Bardugo, and I wrote Shadow and Bone and the sequel, Siege and Storm, they are the first two books in The Grisha Trilogy. They are set in a world inspired by Russia and are about a country that’s been torn in two by a swath of darkness called the Shadow Fold. And a girl who discovers an unknown power when she is thrust into it (um, that sounds weird). The idea came from one night when I managed to scare myself when I was stuck in the dark looking for a light switch, and everything rose out of there.

Jessica: Hi, I’m Jessica Brody, I’m the author of several contemporary books as well as the new Unremembered, which is the first in my young adult, sci-fi suspense trilogy. Unremembered is about a 16 year old girl that wakes up among the wreckage of a devastating plane crash and she is the only survivor. The only problem is she doesn’t remember anything before the crash. She doesn’t remember her name, where she’s from, or boarding the plane, or even what a plane is. She’s not on the passenger list, her DNA and fingerprints are not in any database, so basically she doesn’t exist. She has to figure out who she is, where she came from, and why she survived when no one else survived. I got the idea from a newspaper article in 2009 about a teen girl who was a sole survivor of a commercial airline crash, and I just started to brainstorm all these crazy ideas about why she’d be so lucky, and it’s not really about luck – in my book – for her, it was.

Anna: Hey, my name is Anna Banks, and my series is the Syrena Legacy series, which consists of Of Poseidon and Of Triton right now. They’re about mermaids, but not the cheesy mermaids. They’re really out there, so I wanted to bring the world’s attention to the existence of mermaids through this series. I made up a few characters, Emma and Galen, who may or may not fall in love, and may or may not argue all the time.

Jen: Anna, what sparked your interest in writing about mermaids?

Anna: This one time at band camp… (we all snicker at this) I was watching a documentary about the giant squid, and scientists had always believed that it was legend/folklore, fishermen’s myth. And one day in 2005, a real, dead giant squid washed up on shore, and they had to say, “Oh, we were just kidding, I guess they’re really out there.” So that got me started thinking, what else could possibly be out there that we don’t know about that is also legend or myth, and that we’re just completely over looking.

Emmy [WARNING: SPOILERS FOR BOOK 1]: Hi, I’m Emmy Laybourne, and I’m the author of Monument 14 and Sky on Fire. Monument 14 tells the story of 14 kids who get trapped in a super store while civilization collapses. And Sky on Fire picks up where Monument 14 leaves off as half of the kids leave the safety of the store to try and make it to an evacuation site in Denver, and the other half stay behind. They stay behind because there’s a chemical warfare compound out in the environment that attacks people based on blood type. So that some people turn into paranoid freaks, and some people blister up and die, some people turn into blood thirsty monsters, and the last blood type are actually left sort of untouched. They become infertile and unable to reproduce, but otherwise, they’re just left watching the devastation around them. Well, the kids that stay behind have the blood type O that makes them turn into these raging monsters, and they’re afraid if the go with the other kids they will do them harm. It’s a survival story, and it’s also a story about a group of people finding the light within themselves in a very dark time.

The inspiration lies somewhere between my love for survivalist thinking and planning for a disaster, and my equally fervent love of super stores. (we all snicker at this too)

Jen: Awesome. OK, so tell us about your writing process and if you have any quirks.

Emmy:My writing process is to outline extensively. My books have a lot of plot that moves really quickly, so I outline extensively, and then each day before I will look at the next day’s scene. I read it before I stop work, and then I think about it before I go to bed, I think about it when I wake up in the morning, and by the time I sit down at my computer to work, it’s really ready. I’ve imagined the scene a bunch of different ways and I’m ready to write it. As far as quirks, I do really like to start the day off with a dance break. Especially if I’m feeling tense or anxious about my work, I like to put on Daft Punk, and dance. In fact, I’d like to… and this is a bit of a digression, but I’d like to do a website called The Masked Lunchtime Dancers (we laugh). Where the rules are you have to post a video of yourself dancing with a mask on, in your office, at lunch. (all laughing)

Anna: My writing style is that I don’t outline at all. I’m kind of the odd ball out here. Even if I outline… sometimes I have good intentions and I outline, but by the second sentence or so I’ve already strayed from the synopsis I thought I was going to write. My editors are really patient with me in that way. I actually told my editor that I didn’t even know how Of Neptune is going to end, and she was like, “I know, but you’ll figure it out. You always figure it out.” So, that’s just how I write. As far as quirks, I don’t think I have any quirks…

Jessica (to Anna): You’re just quirky on your own.

Anna: Yeah, it’s just contagious. Thank you. (all laughing)

Jessica: Actually, I have a very specific writing process. I like to write in the mornings, because if I don’t write in the morning I don’t get it done. And I only drink coffee while I write, so that way I get the most juice out of it, so the coffee works really well. Also it’s kind of a physical thing that it works well. But also it’s a mental thing that my brain has been trained that taste of coffee equals writing, equals productivity, equals working. So it kind of hones me in. Then I listen to a very specific thing, I listen to a white noise track. So it basically sounds like ssshshshshsshsh in my ear, and I blast it, and it has a frequency underneath it that is supposed to induce focus. So I put that on, I brew my coffee, and I write for about 2-3 hours a day, about 1500-2000 words a day, for 5 days a week. I only write 5 days a week, I like to give myself 2 days off, and they don’t have to necessarily be Saturday and Sunday, I’ll just tell myself you have to write 5 days a week. That way, if for some reason I can’t write that day I don’t feel guilty.

Leigh: My writing process when I’m drafting, I like to be with people, out in the world in cafes. My friends and I do something called friendly surveillance, where we’ll try to keep each other offline and we’ll take each other’s cell phones so we can’t get online that way, and we’ll work. The drafting process is always a little scary for me, so I like it when it’s not too quiet. Then when I’m transitioning from draft to actual book I like to go into the bunker, and I basically don’t come out until the work is done. I tend to be really productive for 2-3 weeks at a time, then I need a few days or sometimes a whole week to do nothing. And I’ve learned to not feel bad about that anymore.  Because  some people have to write 1500 words a day, and I used to feel like I was a failure if I didn’t do that, but I’ve learned to respect my process that way.

Jen: Which government watch lists do you think you’re on, due to the research you’ve done on your books?

Leigh: Oh god! I’m probably on Putin’s watch list, which is the worst of all possible watch lists! Vladimir Putin, if you’re out there, please don’t come with a leopard on you shoulders and kill me with your thumbs, cause he could do it too. Yeah, I’m probably on their watch lists, if I’m on anybody’s watch lists, for researching weapons facilities and abandoned copper mines in Russia.

Jessica: Um, I really don’t know if I’m on anybody’s watch list. Let’s see… I Google a lot about memories, memory manipulation, and amnesia. Maybe the memory manipulation… Oh, and how the brain works, and memories are stored, and things like that. I don’t think I Google anything too bad as far as that’s concerned.

Anna: The worst thing I’ve looked up is how to Chloroform someone, and the side effects of that. And actually, Google picked up that and started giving me prices on Chlorophorm in my sidebar.

Emmy: I’ve Googled a lot of suspicious stuff for the Monument 14 series. Like making bombs and weapons, how to make a potato cannon I looked at, can you run a chain saw on anything besides gasoline. And can you McGuyver  a battery powered chainsaw up to a car battery, and how grappling hooks work. So I’m probably on a watch list. I think I’m on a watch list for…  *whisper* it could be for terrorism. You guys are my witnesses that I have good intentions – I’m a Patriot, I love America.

Jen: What is your favorite book that you’ve read in the past year, and what are you most looking forward to reading this summer?

Jessica: My favorite book I’ve read in the last year is Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, I just finished it and it’s fantastic. And Emmy read it too and she loves it, everyone loves it! I just bought The Elite [by Kiera Cass] and I’ll be reading it on this tour, and I’m very excited about reading that one.

Anna: I think my favorite one so far has been Shatter Me [by Tahereh Mafi], I’m a really big fan of the series, and I’m a really big fan of her writing. I’m looking forward to reading Jessica’s Unremembered, because the more she talks about it, the more I’m like, “Oh my God I have to read this!” I’m ashamed I haven’t read it yet, so, yeah. She’s going to pinch me later.

Emmy: I think the best book besides Eleanor and Park, which I just read and I loved, that I read this year is The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. It’s not a YA book it’s an adult literary fiction book. It’s a post-apocalyptic, and it’s really exquisite. Very sparse writing, and very exciting. The book I’m looking forward to reading is the sequel to The Last Policeman by Ben Winters. It’s also not a YA book, but it’s wonderful. The Last Policeman, I thought it was great. And, I know Ben, he’s a friend of mine so I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does in the sequel.

Leigh: It’s always hard to pick a best… Code Name Verity is probably my best book that I’ve read in the past year. Coda by Emma Trevayne was also totally wonderful and totally different. I’m really looking forward to These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.

Jen: That’s all we have time for, but thank you so much for meeting with me and answering my questions!

Readers, enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win ALL 4 hardcover books, signed (US only)! They’re GORGEOUS, and I’m so jealous of the winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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32 Responses to Fierce Reads Tour: Interview & Giveaway

  1. Brynna says:

    Well, normally I’d say I was super excited for Siege & Storm, but I finished that yesterday (ahh! loved it! still reeling and re-reading scenes!), so now… probably Of Triton. I loved Of Poseidon, but haven’t gotten a copy of Of Triton yet.

  2. Bobbye says:

    I haven’t read any of them, can’t wait to

  3. sarah c. says:

    i would say Siege & Storm and Unremembered!!

  4. Viki S. says:

    I think it would be Triton. Thank you.

  5. leannessf says:

    Siege and Storm! Shadow and Bone was one of my 5-star reads for 2012!


  6. Valia says:

    Im super excited about Sky on Fire. The first book was sooo good!!
    Valia recently posted..Giveaway. Giveaway time.My Profile

  7. Probably “Monument 14.”
    Jessica @ That Girl Reads recently posted..Book Trailer Reveal: Catching Liam by Sophia BleuMy Profile

  8. Jen
    Twitter: bookandlatte

    I hope some are actually reading the interview, since it took me hours to transcribe from audio and post…
    Jen recently posted..2nd Blogoversary Giveaway: The Mystery BoxMy Profile

  9. Gillian says:

    I already read and LOVED Siege and Storm, and I’d adore a hard copy! But I’m excited to read Unremembered. It sounds awesome.

  10. Tammy says:

    Siege & Storm! Just read Shadow & Bone, loved!

  11. Melissa says:

    I just finished Siege & Storm a few days ago, and it was fantastic!!! I’m looking forward to reading the others. Thank you for the opportunity to win!

  12. Melinda Dartmann says:

    HA HA HA! Anna really said the line from American Pie, I love her! The interview was absolutely wonderful! I think I’m looking forward to reading Siege and Storm the most!

  13. Sarah says:

    I can’t wait for Siege and Storm! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

    • Sarah says:

      Oh, and in the interview that’s really interesting about the giant squid and how Anna started thinking about myth and fact from that. Great interview!

  14. fakesteph
    Twitter: fakesteph

    I’m a little bit jealous. I just finished Shadow and Bone and OMG WHY DIDN’T I READ IT SOONER!?!?!?!?! I can’t wait to read the sequel (I just bought the audio actually).
    fakesteph recently posted..Paper Valentine by Brenna YovanoffMy Profile

  15. Meghan Stith says:

    I’m excited for Unremembered and Of Triton! Both look so good!

  16. Julie S.
    Twitter: juliecookies

    I think I’m most excited about the next Grisha book!

  17. Aranza R says:

    I love Emmy´s answers, specially the spoilery one. 😀 I´m most excited about Monument 14

  18. Len D. says:

    I’m so excited for all of them. But Siege and Storm takes the lead because of the darkling! :p
    Len D. recently posted..When Google Reader is Dying.My Profile

  19. Christina K. says:

    LOVE it when authors tell us their favorite reads:) Definitely Eleanor and Park – totally agree with Jessica:)

    I’m very excited for them all!! Thank you:)

  20. That’s so awesome that you got to see these authors and meet them! I absolutely love going to author events. It’s so much fun to see what they have to say!

    Also, I love, love, love the Tattered Cover, although I’ve only been to the one downtown. My family lives in Colorado so I’ve been when I go to see them!
    Meg @ A Bookish Affair recently posted..Review: Forty Years in a Day by Mona Rodriguez and Dianne VigoritoMy Profile

  21. I got to see them last night here in Memphis!! Great interview. I have both of Anna’s books but still need to read them. I also would like to read Emmy’s books.
    Mandy I Read Indie recently posted..AnguiSH SIGNED Paperback & ebook Giveaway!!My Profile

  22. Kayla C says:

    I am beyond excited for Siege & Storm and Of Triton!! Thanks so much for the chance to win! You rock 😀

  23. Sandra Salinas says:

    Lookijng forward to all of them, but first would be seige and storm. Love the “more A than Y” in your banner. I want a pin that says “This mom loves YA!”

  24. Awesome interview with awesome authors. Thanks for the giveaway!
    Shane @ Itching for Books recently posted..BOOK BLITZ: Indelible by Bethany LopezMy Profile

  25. Jessica Taylor says:

    Can’t wait for Siege and Storm!

  26. Galena says:

    OMG, too difficult to decide what I’m most excited for. I just read Siege and Storm and read it in one night, it was that good. I’m picking up Of Triton this weekend–the reveal at the end of Of Poseidon killed me for having to wait! Monument 14 was just so good at portraying a stranded group of kids during an apocalyptic event so I really want to follow the story in the next book.

  27. Christine says:

    I’m excited for all of them. But I can’t wait for Siege and Storm!

  28. Mary G Loki says:

    Im excited for Sky On Fire, and Unremembered!! 😀 Ty so much for the thoughtful giveaway! 😀

  29. Kamla L. says:

    Great interview and such interesting Q&As! I love getting to know the authors behind some of my favorite books. I’ve read Shadow & Bone and Of Poseidon, both with in the last few weeks, so I am soooooo fiending the second books in both series. That in no way means that I am fiending any less for Sky on Fire or Unremembered. They are both series that I have had my eye on for a while but haven’t had the opportunity to start them yet. Thanks for sharing and for the amazing giveaway!

  30. Darith L. says:

    Lovely interview! So excited for all of them! Esp. SIEGE AND STORM!

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