Saturday, October 3, 2015

Interview with Ann Jacobus, Author of Romancing the Dark in the City of Light + Giveaway

Congratulations on your debut, Ann! Can you share with us a bit about your road to becoming a YA author?

Thank you for having me! The road to becoming a YA author has been a long one, going on fifteen years. Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is the fifth novel I’ve written but the first I’ve sold, and I worked on it off and on for over seven years. I have always written one way or another, and have been in love with stories in almost any form since I was a toddler. I earned an MFA in writing for Children and Young Adults in 2007 (from Vermont College of Fine Arts) and it was one of the wisest, most intense and fun things I ever did.

How would you describe Romancing the Dark in the City of Light in one sentence?

A troubled American girl in Paris falls in love with love and death.

What was your favorite part about writing it?

SFOISelling it! I was at the doctor’s office for my annual check-up when my agent called me with the news. This was ideal since I nearly fainted.

What appealed to you about Paris as a setting?

I love Paris. Almost everyone agrees that it is a spectacularly beautiful and romantic city. My family and I lived there for ten years and our children grew up there. So I know it reasonably well and thought it would be crazy not to set a novel there. But I wanted to approach it with a different optic than the usual adoring glorification. It would not look so lovely through the eyes of a depressed and suicidal teen who is unhappy to be there. The fact that my main character Summer has all this beauty and culture around her (not to mention wealth) and cannot see it or appreciate it is a good reflection of her inner state--one of despair and hopelessness. Also, there is a shadow side to everything, even divine Paris.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? The worst?

Writing advice?
“Read, read, read. Write, write, write,” and “Never give up.”
Life advice?
“The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn't live boldly enough, that they didn't invest enough heart, didn't love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.” - Poet Ted Hughes in a letter to his son, Nicholas

Worst advice: I can’t really think of any bad advice I’ve taken, but I’ve probably given some!

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light
Romancing the Dark in the City of Light
by Ann Jacobus
Publisher: Thomas Dunn Books
Release Date: October 6th, 2015
A troubled teen, living in Paris, is torn between two boys, one of whom encourages her to embrace life, while the other—dark, dangerous, and attractive—urges her to embrace her fatal flaws.

Haunting and beautifully written, with a sharp and distinctive voice that could belong only to this character, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unforgettable young adult novel.

Summer Barnes just moved to Paris to repeat her senior year of high school. After being kicked out of four boarding schools, she has to get on track or she risks losing her hefty inheritance. Summer is convinced that meeting the right guy will solve everything. She meets two. Moony, a classmate, is recovering against all odds from a serious car accident, and he encourages Summer to embrace life despite how hard it can be to make it through even one day. But when Summer meets Kurt, a hot, mysterious older man who she just can't shake, he leads her through the creepy underbelly of the city-and way out of her depth.

When Summer's behavior manages to alienate everyone, even Moony, she's forced to decide if a life so difficult is worth living. With an ending that'll surprise even the most seasoned reader, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unputdownable and utterly compelling novel.

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Follow the Romancing The Dark in The City of Light by Ann Jacobus Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Ann Jacobus earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lived with her family for many years in the Arabian Gulf and in Paris, France. She now lives in San Francisco where she writes, reads, volunteers weekly on a suicide crisis line, and frequently resorts to crock-pot meals of canned soup, fowl and whatever's in the fridge.

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Blog Tour: Future Perfect by Jen Larsen+Giveaway

Future Perfect
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: October 6th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Chick Lit, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, High School

Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.

Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks, but no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is.
But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University—in exchange for undergoing weight loss surgery.

As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her?

Through her indecisions and doubts, Ashley’s story is a liberating one—a tale of one girl, who knows that weight is just a number, and that no one is completely perfect.

Hello! I seem like a mild-mannered YA author with occasionally pink hair who likes to write about friendship between girls and being awesome and brave and learning how to stay true to who you are and what you want and believe, but ACTUALLY I am very mysterious. Here are ten totally true facts about me that may amaze and delight you but are definitely things you did not know.

1. I type very very quickly. Like, two, three hundred words a minute. I have to replace my keyboard at least once a week and when I go into the computer keyboard store the computer keyboard salesperson shakes their head at me ruefully and says, “boy, you sure do go through these like wildfire!” I pay my money and leave.

2. My favorite book hasn’t been written yet. It hasn’t even been thought of, but it will be. It’s getting ready to be noticed and soon it’s going to be in someone’s head and then they’re going to be typing it so quickly because they are so inspired (but maybe not as quickly as me) and when the book is published I am going to see the cover and instantly recognize the book I’ve been waiting for, for so long.

3. I kind of hate insta-love, but I’m actually a fan of both instant coffee and instant noodles and instant gratification.

4. I look sort of person shaped but am actually a collection of hummingbirds in a men’s London Fog trench coat. This is why I type so quickly.

5. Every time I go to the library I am tempted to stay there all day and then hide quietly in the stacks at closing time and when everyone has gone home and the doors are all locked and the lights are dim, I will build a life-size fort out of all the books in the Art section with book hold slips for curtains and pencils for fortification and the flag will be a book about flags. Then I will escape out the window only to return in the morning to help them clean up and reshelve.

6. Three YA authors I would like to ride in a very small boat with, sharing snacks and telling ghost stories, are Maggie Stiefvater, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Julie Murphy. I have different answers for baking cupcakes alongside, making a bed with, and setting the night sky on fire next to but I would like to do all these things with all the YA authors that ever were. We will be the coolest gang ever.

7. I always say that I want a pony, but secretly I am not sure what I’d do with a pony after I have braided her hair and we have ridden in front of the rebel army to take back the city overrun by evil and return it to a fair and just democracy headed by a council of feminist dragons.

8. My cure for writer’s block is to write, but I still believe napping, not writing, eating all the chocolate in the world until there is no chocolate left, sitting with a blanket over my head and running in circles screaming for mercy are viable options and I will not stop trying each of them until they work.

9. If I had infinite dollars, I would start a publishing imprint that published books by amazing diverse writers writing amazing diverse things and each of those books would be tiny works of beautiful gold embossed art and I would only occasionally suggest that a character should be named after me, maybe?

10. My favorite thing about writing is that I can tell stories that mean something to people who find meaning in them. My favorite thing about writing is that I can make people laugh. My favorite thing about writing is that I can write a screaming epic space battle in the middle of a nebula on the edge of a galaxy and I don’t have to worry about the CGI cost. My favorite thing about writing is that a book can save someone’s life, which I know because books have saved mine. My favorite thing about writing is making up entirely brand-new worlds and words. My favorite thing about writing is you.

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Follow the Future Perfect by Jen Larsen Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.


Jen Larsen is the author of Future Perfect and Stranger Here: How Weight Loss Surgery Transformed My Body and Messed With My Head. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of San Francisco and currently lives in Madison, WI. Find her at

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