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Interview with Maureen McGowan and Giveaway - April 8, 2011

Please welcome Maureen McGowan to The Qwillery.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Maureen:  I don’t know whether or not it’s interesting, but even after I’m happy with my work on the screen, I need to do several rounds of pen and paper editing. I don’t know if it’s because my brain sees things differently when they’re printed out, but I always do edits that way. It’s not terribly efficient, but it’s what works for me. My on paper editing is almost always done in coffee shops. One local barista asked me if their shop was going to get royalties. J

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Maureen:  I love all kinds of novels across most genres of fiction. There are too many to list, but Robertson Davies, John Irving, Anne Rice, Anne Tyler, Emily Giffen, and J. R. Ward are examples of authors whose entire backlist I gobbled up as soon as I read one. I’m not sure if I’ve been directly influenced by any particular authors, but Suzanne Collins definitely inspired me to not be afraid to put young characters in danger. Certainly in traditional fairy tales the characters face life or death situations.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Maureen:  I’m a mix of the two. I do believe I can create a story with more coherence if I go in with an overall plan—at least the broad strokes of a plan—but the most exciting elements in my stories often happen while I’m at the keyboard. These moments of inspiration often lead me in unexpected directions, and when I inevitably hit a wall, I go back and plan again. Plot, pants, (rinse), repeat in what sometimes seems like an infinite loop.

I have written detailed synopses for entire books before starting them—Cinderella: Ninja Warrior being one—but then I never seem to stick to the plan. This was particularly challenging for the Twisted Tales books because of the complicated structure.

Speaking of the structure, some early readers of these books have said they wished there were multiple endings and/or “wrong” paths to follow, like there were in some other choose-your-own-adventure stories. With hindsight, I almost wish I’d done that too, because it would have been much less complicated/challenging than writing alternate paths to the same place. But I think fairy tales promise fairly specific happy endings—true love, good triumphing over evil, winning against the odds—and I wanted to deliver on those inherent fairy tale promises.

Also, I like the idea that my characters are smart and brave enough to get themselves out of any bad situation they might face, no matter which decision the reader chooses for them. I don’t think there’s ever one right answer in life, so why should there be for my characters?

TQ:  What inspired you to write Cinderella: Ninja Warrior and Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer?

Maureen:  For Cinderella: Ninja Warrior, I liked the idea of “fixing” some of the elements of the traditional story that bothered me. The original Cinderella character was too much of a victim for my taste, waiting around for a handsome prince to save her. I wanted to create a strong heroine who was doing all she could to save herself. I also never liked the idea that the prince needed a shoe to recognize her the day after supposedly falling in love, or that he fell in love with her because of her beauty (which he couldn’t even recognize when she wasn’t in a fancy dress!). What kind of message does that send to modern young readers about love?

There were two basic idea seeds for Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer. One came from linking the darkness inherent in the Sleeping Beauty story with vampires. That idea was like being hit by lightning. The other came from the, I think creepy, idea of a girl whom others watch while she’s sleeping—the idea of being so exposed and vulnerable and helpless. But again, I wanted an active heroine—hard to make a girl who’s asleep an active heroine—so the idea of a double curse, and isolating my Sleeping Beauty from her family whenever she was awake, was the result.

TQ:  Do you consider the books mash ups or something else?

Maureen:  I hadn’t thought of them as mash ups until others started saying that, mostly based on the titles, I assume. I consider these books more as re-tellings, or re-imaginings, or even re-boots, than mash ups. I think a lot of the recent books considered mash-ups actually use the original source material, lifting lines and scenes and dialogue as well as story elements. I don’t think that’s what I did, although I did follow the traditional fairy tale structure more closely with Cinderella.

I suppose one could argue that I’ve mashed up genres, combining fairy tales with paranormals, but I don’t think the stories themselves are mash ups. At least not based on my definition. I prefer re-boot or re-imagining.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for the books?

Maureen:  I read some of the old (and I mean centuries old) versions of the fairy tales, mostly to better understand which story elements were “original” and which were added by modern adapters of the stories, like Disney. I also did some research on martial arts for Cinderella, but for the most part, all of the details in both of these stories came more from my imagination than from research. I’m a former gymnast and I if that counts as research, it probably did help me write some of the more acrobatic scenes.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in either book?

Maureen:  That’s a great question! It’s hard to choose, but I particularly enjoyed writing the magic competition scenes in Cinderella: Ninja Warrior, as well as her altercations with her stepmother. I do enjoy writing action and putting my characters in danger. I also love the action scenes in Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer, but in that story I also love the scenes where she first meets Alex and Tristan, and the scenes with her parents.

Thinking back to your plotting vs. pantsing question, I had no idea when I did my initial plotting for Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer that it would be a story about a child coping with divorcing parents, but that became a major theme as soon as I started thinking about how parents might react if they knew their daughter carried a curse.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Twisted Tales series?

Maureen:  I have lots of ideas up my sleeve, and a couple plotted out, but right now there are no firm plans for more. I hope that I’ll be able to announce something soon.

TQ:  What's next?

Maureen:  I’ve been working on another series for young adults, which is much darker and skewed to a slightly older audience—less appropriate for the youngest readers of Twisted Tales—but I can’t talk specifics right now. Stay tuned!

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery

Maureen:  Thank you so much for having me!

 
About Maureen's Books
 
Cinderella: Ninja Warrior
Twisted Tales
(April 1, 2011)
Interview with Maureen McGowan and Giveaway - April 8, 2011
In this fast-paced story full of adventure and romance, Cinderella is more than just a servant girl waiting for her prince—she's a tough, fearless girl who is capable of taking charge of a dangerous situation. Seeking to escape the clutches of her evil stepmother, Cinderella perfects her ninja skills and magic talents in secret, waiting for the day when she can break free and live happily ever after. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Cinderella and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!




 
 
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer
Twisted Tales
(April 1, 2011)
Interview with Maureen McGowan and Giveaway - April 8, 2011
In this thrilling story full of adventure and romance, Sleeping Beauty is more than just a lonely princess waiting for her prince—she's a brave, tenacious girl who never backs down from a challenge. With vampire-slaying talents that she practices in secret, Sleeping Beauty puts her courage to the test in the dark of night, fighting evil as she searches for a way to break the spell that has cut her off from her family. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Sleeping Beauty and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!

Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is an entirely new type of fairy tale–one that will keep today's kids guessing and offer them hours of magical fun.


About Maureen

Interview with Maureen McGowan and Giveaway - April 8, 2011
Maureen has always been making up stories--her mother called it lying, her teachers creative talent--but sidetracked by a persistent practical side, it took her a few years to see the light and channel her energy into writing novels. After pummeling her sensible side into submission, she quit her career in finance and hasn't looked back.

Aside from books and writing, she's passionate about art, dance, films, fine handcrafted objects and shoes. Maureen (and her shoes) go to a lot of movies in Toronto, Canada.




Maureen's Links:

Website: http://www.maureenmcgowan.com/
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/MaureenMcGowanBooks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/MaureenMcGowan
Personal blog: http://www.maureenmcgowan.blogspot.com/
Reader blog: http://www.getlostinastory.blogspot.com/
Writer blog: http://www.drunkwritertalk.blogspot.com/


The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win her/his choice of Cinderella: Ninja Warrior or Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

What is your favorite fairy tale?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Friday, April 15, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon - Book Trailer - March 19, 2011

Invincible, the second book in the Chronicles of Nick, will be released on March 22, 2011. The Chronicles of Nick is a Young Adult Dark-Hunter spinoff series.


For more information and to read Chapter 1 of Invincible head to Sherrilyn Kenyon's website by clicking here.

Here's an explantory note about the Chronicles of Nick from the Sanctuary website.
Note to Dark-Hunter fans

The Chronicles of Nick *is* Nick’s real and true past. There is a huge surprise (several actually) in the book that I don’t want to spoil, but when you read the book, everything you think is an inconsistency will make perfect sense to you. More than that, you will understand exactly why Nick is the way he is and why he continues to hate Acheron the way he does. But you have to be patient. All will be clear on May 25, 2010.

Nick’s series will run until it intersects with Night Pleasures and then Nick will have his own novel in the Dark-Hunter world.

Book one, Infinity, begins when Nick meets Kyrian.
Book two will pick up the next day after Infinity ends and will be out Feb 2011.

Remember the one promise that I try to keep in every book: Just when you think you know the truth about a character or event, you find out that things are seldom what they seem. Nick is one of those characters. There’s a lot more to our little Cajun than what you’ve seen to date. That’s why it takes 12 books to tell his story.

There are many, many secrets you’ll learn about a lot of characters, including Cherise and especially Jaden and Jared. Just hold on… you ain’t seen nothing yet :)


Invincible
Chronicles of Nick 2
(March 22, 2011)
Nick Gautier’s day just keeps getting better and better. Yeah, he survived the zombie attacks, only to wake up and find himself enslaved to a world of shapeshifters and demons out to claim his soul.

His new principal thinks he’s even more of a hoodlum than the last one, his coach is trying to recruit him to things he can’t even mention and the girl he’s not seeing, but is, has secrets that terrify him.

But more than that, he’s being groomed by the darkest of powers and if he doesn’t learn how to raise the dead by the end of the week, he will become one of them...

The View From Monday - January 10, 2011

It's Monday... again. It's going to be a quiet week at The Qwillery. There will be some reviews, some comics and some photos. There are no books being released this week that I'm going to pick up, which does give me a bit of time to catch up on reading the books I already have.


The View From Monday - January 10, 2011

Join The Qwillery for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge (non-YA). Read one Debut Author's works per month during 2011. Hopefully we can have some discussion about some of the books. Many of this year's Debut Authors will be stopping by The Qwillery for interviews. Details can be found at the 2011 DAC page.


There are 3 YAs being released tomorrow that caught my eye.

All Just Glass
by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
The View From Monday - January 10, 2011
Sarah Vida has given up everything for love. From a legendary family of vampire-hunting witches, Sarah was raised to never trust a vampire, to never let her guard down, and to avoid all tricky attachments of the heart. But now Sarah IS a vampire—changed by the boy she thought she loved. Her family has forsaken her, and Sarah herself is disgusted by her appetite for blood.

Aida Vida is Sarah's older sister, the good, reliable sibling who always does her family proud. But when Aida's mother insists that Sarah be found and killed, Aida is given the one assignment that she may not be able to carry out.

Taking place over just twenty-four hours, ALL JUST GLASS tells the story of a game-changing battle that will forever change the world of the Den of Shadows. And at its center is the story of two sisters who must choose between love and duty. Dark, fully-imagined, and hard to put down, ALL JUST GLASS will thrill Amelia's fans—old and new.


Warped
by Maurissa Guibord
The View From Monday - January 10, 2011Tessa doesn't believe in magic. Or Fate. But there's something weird about the dusty unicorn tapestry she discovers in a box of old books. She finds the creature woven within it compelling and frightening. After the tapestry comes into her possession, Tessa experiences dreams of the past and scenes from a brutal hunt that she herself participated in. When she accidentally pulls a thread from the tapestry, Tessa releases a terrible centuries old secret. She also meets William de Chaucy, an irresistible 16th-century nobleman. His fate is as inextricably tied to the tapestry as Tessa's own. Together, they must correct the wrongs of the past. But then the Fates step in, making a tangled mess of Tessa's life. Now everyone she loves will be destroyed unless Tessa does their bidding and defeats a cruel and crafty ancient enemy.


Timeless
by Alexandra Monir
The View From Monday - January 10, 2011When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s world, she is forced to uproot her life and move across the country to New York City, to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. In their old Fifth Avenue mansion filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers a diary that hurtles her back in time to the year 1910. There, in the midst of the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life – a man she always wished was real, but never imagined could actually exist. And she finds herself falling for him, into an otherworldly, time-crossed romance.
 
Michele is soon leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves – a quest that will determine the fate of both of their lives.

The View From Monday, Part 2 - December 27, 2010

As promised here are some of the YA releases for Tuesday, December 28, 2010. Non-YA were in the prior post.

Bloody Valentine
by Melissa de la Cruz,
Blue Bloods 7The View From Monday, Part 2 - December 27, 2010
Vampires have powers beyond human comprehension: strength that defies logic, speed that cannot be captured on film, the ability to shapeshift, and more. But in matters of the heart, no one, not even the strikingly beautiful and outrageously wealthy Blue Bloods, has total control. In Bloody Valentine, bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz offers readers a new story about the love lives of their favorite vamps -- the passion and heartache, the hope and devastation, the lust and longing. Combined with all the glitz, glamour, and mystery fans have come to expect, this is sure to be another huge hit in the Blue Bloods series.




The Lost Saint
by Bree Despain,
Dark Divine 2
The View From Monday, Part 2 - December 27, 2010The non-stop sequel to The Dark Divine delivers an even hotter romance and more thrilling action than Bree Despain's first novel. Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She gave her soul to the wolf to save him and lost her beloved mother. When Grace receives a haunting phone call from Jude, she knows what she must do. She must become a Hound of Heaven. Desparate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot - a newcomer to town who promises her that he can help her be a hero. But as the two grow closer, the wolf grows in Grace, and her relationship with Daniel begins to crumble. Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace becomes prideful in her new abilities - not realizing that an old enemy has returned and deadly trap is about to be sprung. Readers, raveous for more Grace and Daniel, will be itching to sink their teeth into The Lost Saint.

Sapphique
by Catherine Fisher
Incarceron 2
The View From Monday, Part 2 - December 27, 2010Finn has escaped Incarceron only to find that he must defend his right to the throne from another challenger. His life and Claudia's hang on Finn convincing the Court that he is the lost prince, even though he has his own doubts about being the true heir.




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vampire Crush
by A.M. Robinson
The View From Monday, Part 2 - December 27, 2010
I swear, my life was always totally normal.

Normal house, normal family, normal school. My looks are average, I don't have any superpowers, no one's showing up to tell me I'm a princess—you get the picture. But when my junior year started, something not normal happened. There were new kids at school . . . new kids with a wardrobe straight out of a 19th-century romance novel, and an inexplicable desire to stay at school until sundown.

And on top of that, James Hallowell showed up. James, who stole my sandwiches in fourth grade and teased me mercilessly through middle school. James, who now seems to have the power to make my heart race any time he comes near.

But something weird is going on. Because James rarely goes out during the day. And he seems stronger than your typical guy. And he knows the new kids, all of whom seem to be harboring some kind of deep secret. . . .

Once in a Full Moon
by Ellen Schreiber
Vampire Kisses 1
The View From Monday, Part 2 - December 27, 2010
Beware of a kiss under the full moon. It will change your life forever.

Celeste Parker is used to hearing scary stories about werewolves—Legend's Run is famous for them. She's used to everything in the small town until Brandon Maddox moves to Legend's Run and Celeste finds herself immediately drawn to the handsome new student. But when, after an unnerving visit with a psychic, she encounters a pack of wolves and gorgeous, enigmatic Brandon, she must discover whether his transformation is more than legend or just a trick of the shadows in the moonlight.

Her best friends may never forgive her if she gives up her perfect boyfriend, Nash, for Brandon, who's from the wrong side of town. But she can't deny her attraction or the strong pull he has on her. Brandon may be Celeste's hero, or he may be the most dangerous creature she could encounter in the woods of Legend's Run.

Psychic predictions, generations-old secrets, a town divided, and the possibility of falling in love with a hot and heroic werewolf are the perfect formula for what happens . . . once in a full moon.

Deadly Little Games
by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Touch 3
The View From Monday, Part 2 - December 27, 2010Camelia and Ben have discovered a powerful bond: They both possess the power of psychometry, the ability to sense things through touch. For Ben, the gift is a frightening liability. When he senses a strong threat or betrayal, he risks losing control and hurting people. Camelia's gift is more mysterious. When she works with clay, her hands sculpt messages her mind doesn't yet comprehend. Before either teen has a chance to fully grasp these abilities, an unresolved family tragedy resurfaces in Camelia's life, irrevocably changing everything she cares about ...


 
 
 
 
Fallen Angel
by Heather Terrell
Fallen Angel 1
The View From Monday, Part 2 - December 27, 2010
Heaven-sent?

Ellie was never particularly good at talking to boys—or anyone other than her best friend and fellow outcast, Ruth. Then she met Michael.

Michael is handsome, charming, sweet. And totally into Ellie. It’s no wonder she is instantly drawn to him. But Michael has a secret. And he knows Ellie is hiding something, too. They’ve both discovered they have powers beyond their imagining. Powers that are otherworldly.

Ellie and Michael are determined to uncover what they are, and how they got this way . . . together. But the truth has repercussions neither could have imagined. Soon they find themselves center stage in an ancient conflict that threatens to destroy everything they love. And it is no longer clear whether Ellie and Michael will choose the same side.

In this electrifying novel, Heather Terrell spins a gripping supernatural tale about true love, destiny, and the battle of good versus evil.
Interview with Maureen McGowan and Giveaway - April 8, 2011Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon - Book Trailer - March 19, 2011The View From Monday - January 10, 2011The View From Monday, Part 2 - December 27, 2010

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