Friday, 13 June 2014

Patience, My Friends!

Hello, everyone! This is just a little post to say that there probably won't be any posts for the next week. My WiFi is down until June 20th, so it'll be quiet around here until then. Speak to you all soon!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Code Red Lipstick Blog Tour: Interview with Sarah Sky & Giveaway!

Hello, everyone! Today I'm pleased to welcome the wonderful Sarah Sky to The Queen of Teen fiction on the first day of her blog tour for Code Red Lipstick! Sarah took the time to answer a few questions for us. Enjoy!

Can you tell us a little bit about your book, Code Red Lipstick?
Jessica Cole’s an average teenager, except when she’s modelling and helping out her private investigator dad, Jack, on surveillance jobs. When the former MI6 spy vanishes mysteriously, the 14-year-old takes matters into her own hands.

Following her dad’s trail to Paris, her investigation leads her to AKSC, the beauty headquarters of former supermodel, Allegra Knight, and a conspiracy involving an MI6 double agent. Jessica needs her wits about her and lots of gadgets to help give her the upper hand against dangerous adversaries.

What inspired you to write the story?
I'd read a newspaper interview with a famous supermodel while she was still at school, talking about juggling school work while modelling at Paris Haute Couture Week. Immediately, the idea of a teenage spy came to me. Fashion is a good ruse for travelling the world alone - investigating conspiracies while maintaining a legitimate cover. I liked the idea of a girl having to negotiate the trials and tribulations of leading a dangerous but thrilling double life.

The book is your debut novel, what was your favourite part of the writing process, and did you learn anything new about yourself?
I really enjoyed doing the research for the book - I read up on MI5 and MI6, gadgetry and pretty much any spy-related story I could get my hands on while trawling the internet. I also visited an annual security conference in London, which was pretty thrilling. I experimented with the latest tactical ladders used in hostage situations and the high-tech grapnels used to scale submarines as well as encrypted mobile phones and facial recognition technology, which can spot even the partly obscured face of a target in a crowd. I was shown how to use the hidden gadgets in armoured car to disable or even destroy a vehicle in pursuit. I learnt that I'd quite like to have been a spy if I hadn't been an author and journalist!

During the actual writing, I loved the action scenes and trying to get Jessica out of difficult situations. I also enjoyed re-writing - cutting out sections I wasn't happy with and starting some chapters all over again. It felt really satisfying to know I was improving the book. I learnt I wasn't afraid to cut and change things around or even start from scratch. 

Did you relate to your main character, Jessica, at all whilst writing the story?
I'm very close to my mum - who lost her own mum at a very young age. It still upsets her now whenever she talks about her. For Jessica, her mum's death years ago is crucial to who she is and what she's going to become. I could identify with how hard is for Jessica growing up without a mum because of the experiences my own mum went through.

Code Red Lipstick is the first book in a series, Jessica Cole: Model Spy. How is the rest of the series coming along?
I've already written book two and book three. Book two's currently being edited and will be published in January 2015. Book three comes out in June 2015.

Did you always plan for the story to be a series?
As soon as I finished book one, I realised I wasn't done and wanted to write more adventures for Jessica. Another idea for a gripping conspiracy came to me and I started planning and writing book two pretty much straight away. While I was doing that, I made notes on the main plot for a third book. I then made another file for possible plots for future adventures. I think I was pretty fired up that day!

What made you decide to write for a teen audience?
I have vivid memories of my own teenage years - at heart I still feel like a teenager, even though I don't look like one!

What were some of your own favourite books to read as a teenager?
I loved Wuthering Heights, To Kill A Mocking Bird, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Daphne du Maurier books, particularly Jamaica Inn and Rebecca, and other authors including Agatha Christie, Judy Blume and Stephen King - a lot of very different books.

Finally, can you give us a random fact about yourself?
I'm a brown belt in karate, about to grade for brown with white stripe. Fingers crossed!

* Code Red Lipstick is published by Scholastic.

Buy the book now on Amazon!

Would you like to win a copy? Then enter the giveaway below! Good luck!


Thursday, 5 June 2014

Interview: Cathi Shaw, author of Five Corners

Hi, everyone! I'm pleased to welcome author, Cathi Shaw, to The Queen of Teen Fiction! She recently took the time to answer a few questions about her debut novel, Five Corners. You can read my review of the book here. Enjoy!

Hi, Cathi! The Marked Ones is such an epic adventure, how did you come up with idea?
I’ve been asked how I came up with the story of Five Corners a lot of times and honestly I don’t have a straightforward answer. I’ve told the story of how the idea of the three sisters came to me one day when I was out running a number of years ago. I was a bit frustrated that there weren’t a ton of epic adventures that had female protagonists. Dystopian novels tend to favour female heroes but in fantasy the main character is often male and I felt that there needed to be more female characters in fantasy.

Did you relate to any of your characters at all whilst writing the novel?
I tend to relate to all of my characters when I’m writing. They very quickly take on a life of their own and become real people to me. None of the characters are really “me” but when I’m role playing I certainly take on their persona for a bit (I was a big drama student in high school). I’m usually inspired by people in my life to create parts of characters. I think my daughter, Caitie, really has inspired all three of the sisters in Five Corners. Most obviously would be the similarities between her and Thia because they both have Epilepsy. But Cait is strong willed like Kiara and a nature lover like Mina. Think she probably inspired all the main characters in the book for me.

Did you learn anything new about yourself during the writing process?
Writing Five Corners taught me so much about the writing process. I’d written a lot of poetry and even some ill-fated romance stories in my time but Five Corners was the first really good novel that I completed. I thought I knew what was going to happen in the book and I was constantly surprised by what would suddenly appear on my computer screen as I sat down to write. I have no idea where the ideas came from but I do know my characters took on a life of their own and really took over the story. I just finished Book 2 and it was exactly the same process as Book 1 (but at least this time I knew what to expect). I have to say I found the entire process delightful!

The Five Corners has many various towns and people from all walks of life, was it difficult to plan all of them out before writing the story?
This is where the mystery of the writing process really came to life in the book. I actually planned very little with respect to Five Corners. I just sat down and made myself write every day for 30 days (I wrote the first draft of the story during NaNoWriMo) and these places and people just emerged from … somewhere. I have no idea where but I just loved it. It was like I, as a writer, was going on an adventure each day.

Five Corners is the first book in the Marked Ones series, what can readers expect from the second book?
As I was writing the second book I felt that it really surpassed the first book in the series. The second book, Finding Refuge, has just come back from my beta readers and they seem to all agree that it is better than the first book. For one thing, as often happens in series, there is not much back story. Instead we jump right into the adventure. I’m assuming that most readers of Finding Refuge will be familiar with Five Corners. Also the second book allows each of the characters to develop a bit more than in Book 1. We get a lot of more of Mina’s story in particular.

Did you always plan to write Young Adult novels?
I’ve written some (very bad) romance novels along with an unpublished collection of poetry and some academic papers. I also co-authored an academic writing textbook. But YA is my favourite genre to read (and always has been). Somewhere about 10 years ago I realized that I probably should be writing what I enjoy reading. Having said that, I do have a chick lit book that is in the editing phase and I’m working on several non-fiction books, too. But YA is definitely my first love.

What were some of your own favourite stories to read as a teenager?
I grew up on a ranch so when I was very young my favourite series was The Black Stallion. Later I fell absolutely in love with Anne of Green Gables (very Canadiana).  And then I discovered fantasy novels: Tolkien, Terry Brooks, and later Robert Jordan. I’ve always loved epic adventures. But for me the stories I’ve loved best have always been the ones with strong characters and a bit of romance. Both are essential elements of a story for me.

Big thanks to Cathi for stopping by, and be sure to check out her awesome series!

Monday, 2 June 2014

Guest Post from Sherry Soule: Why I Love The YA Genre

I'm pleased to welcome Sherry Soule to The Queen of Teen Fiction! She recently took the time to write a guest post about why she loves the YA genre. Big thanks to Sherry for stopping by, enjoy the post!

“Why I Love the Young Adult Genre”
Guest post by author, Sherry Soule

Today author, Sherry Soule has some exciting news to share with us! She will be publishing a brand new Upper YA / Sci-Fi Romance series: the “Starlight Saga” with scorching-hot character chemistry, exciting suspense, and epic romance on June 26, 2014.
To help promote this amazing interstellar love story, “LOST IN STARLIGHT,” Sherry is doing this guest post to share the news with fellow bibliophiles.
Hi everybody, I’m author, Sherry Soule—waving from the SF Bay Area. Thanks for letting me visit today, it’s an honor to be a guest here and meet fellow booklovers.
Since I was a child, I recognized that books were a way to travel to other places and have incredible adventures. Even though I am older (you’re NEVER too old to read young adult novels, in my opinion) than the average teen reader, I’ve always loved reading Young Adult literature.
I think I love reading YA Lit because I think that most novels in this genre are fast-paced and thrilling, and the stories are written in a style that is engrossing, with story-driven or character-driven plotlines with lots of first love. I also adore that there are so many books created into a series nowadays, so that you can continue to have additional adventures with your favorite characters.
Could my love of YA Lit be simply because I’m still stuck at age sixteen, just a teenager-at-heart in disguise?
Could be. And like many of you, I’ve read hundreds of YA books and I can actually say that I enjoyed them all. Some I genuinely loved and these books became like good friends that I didn’t want to part with, so they adorn my bookshelves and wait patiently to be reread again one day. Other novels were simply read and then disregarded with a contented smile.
And you know what? I am NEVER embarrassed to buy YA novels (although, I buy most of my books online through Amazon) in bookstores, or carry them around with me. I love the genre and always have and always will.
Of course, I realize that we all have diverse tastes in literature. Most of you will have varied genres that you love to read, and probably some of my favorite books are simply your forgotten reads. That is what makes the world of YA Lit, and reading as a whole, so fascinating. Each one of us will enjoy different types of characters, plots, and of course, a writer’s voice, the way only they can tell a story.
At its core my new novel, LOST IN STARLIGHT is basically a love story about two lonely hearts finding each other and how their star-crossed relationship changes both of their lives. And I don’t know about you, but I need some romance in almost every book I read. Even in YA! And if you’re a hopeless romantic at heart, then you’ll enjoy reading my new book.
Thus, LOST IN STARLIGHT is the first book that I’ve ever written that focuses heavily on romance more than any paranormal baddies trying to kill the heroine or having the plot center around a supernatural mystery to solve. And I think the heroine of my new series, Sloane, is rather unique. To me, she’s not your average “Mary Sue” or flawless hero. She’s chubby and has some self-esteem issues, but she’s also headstrong and gutsy, with an eccentric fashion sense. 
Thank you for letting me chat about my love of young adult literature. I hope you enjoyed this post. Now go feed your mind and read a book! Preferably one of mine. :-D

Please mark your calendars to buy your copy of LOST IN STARLIGHT on June 26th 2014!
Read the first five chapters for free on wattpad:
VOLUME ONE of the Starlight Saga
High school reporter Sloane Masterson knows she has one helluva story when she witnesses hottie Hayden Lancaster bending forks with his mind.
Like any good journalist, Sloane sets out to uncover the truth, even if it includes a little stalking. When the superhuman feats start to pile up and the undeniable heat rises between them, Hayden has no choice but to reveal his secret: he’s an alien hybrid.
They’re as different as night and day—she’s a curvy, purple-haired, horror junkie and he’s a smoking hot, antisocial, brainiac—yet the intense fascination between them refuses to go away. Even at Hayden’s insistence that dating each other is “off limits” and crazy dangerous, their fiery attraction threatens to go supernova.
Now Sloane’s dealing with creepy government agents, ├╝ber snobby extraterrestrials, and a psycho alien ex-girlfriend out for revenge. After a crash course on the rules of interstellar dating, Sloane must decide if their star-crossed romance is worth risking her own life....

About Sherry Soule
Sherry Soule lives with her family and one very spoiled black cat in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the bestselling author of the adult novel, “Immortal Eclipse” and the popular YA series: Spellbound. Sherry writes thrilling tales of romance and suspense, often mingled with a dash of the mystical and a splash of trendy fashion. Her love of literature began when she was a young girl and it has continued throughout her life.
Her published novels do not include any graphic sex scenes or explicit violence, nor excessive profanity, so that all of her novels can be read and enjoyed by both teens and adults.
Sherry’s debut novel, “Beautifully Broken” was nominated for Best Paranormal Romance in the 2011 Wizard and Witch/Sorcery category by The Romance Reviews (TRR). Her adult novel, “Immortal Eclipse” is a *TOP PICK* by Night Owl Reviews.
Places you can find Sherry Soule:
Twitter @SherrySoule:
Please add LOST IN STARLIGHT to your TBR on goodreads:
The awesome book cover was designed by the talented  
Kristen Thompson-Oh of KCT Designs at

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