The gorgeous, Christmassy feel-good follow up to the Summer best-seller ‘From Italy With Love’.
Just until Christmas…
That’s what Paris socialite Siena Browne-Martin keeps telling herself. She’ll stay with her estranged sister, Laurie, just until Christmas. Running away from the chateaux to escape her hot-tempered fiancé Yves’s wrath, may not have been the most rational decision. But Laurie had always said that Siena had a room at the cottage and right now she really needed it.
But arriving at the airport to be greeted by the grumpiest, most brooding—and dangerously gorgeous—man Siena has ever met, is not what she expected. And learning that Laurie isn’t living at the cottage anymore is even more of a surprise. Now Siena is stuck rooming with sullen Jason Landon, which is definitely not in the plan! Especially when his protective nature and quiet compassion threatens to ignite something in Siena that she never knew existed…
For Jason, Christmas can’t come soon enough. This pampered Parisian princess is the last person he wants to share his house with—he knows the destruction high-maintenance gold-diggers can cause and he’s never going there again. But Jason soon realises that there’s more to his unexpected house guest than meets the eye and suddenly Siena staying just until Christmas doesn’t seem like long enough…
This Christmas, fly to Paris with Siena and Jason and experience the magic of the holiday season in From Paris With Love This Christmas by dazzling contemporary romance author Jules Wake!
Siena is a rich up and coming Parisien who hasn’t seen her sister in years. She’s running from an uncertain future and finds herself being picked up at the airport by the most grumpy driver she’s ever met. Only, he’s not just a driver, he’s her housemate. What starts off as a trip to escape turns into an opportunity to start over in England. Siena needs to find a job, pursue her dreams of being a fashion designer and mend relationships long neglected.
The most stunning parts of the book are set in Paris. I wish more of England could have been fleshed out in the same manner. This is an adult read as there is a lot of swearing. In fact, so much so that it turned me off. I enjoyed the character arc both Siena and Jason go through and the message of escaping abuse for a more healthy relationship. I also loved the richness of each friend she encounters and the resolution. Thanks to Netgalley and HarperImpulse for the review copy!
Content- adult, highlight to view: domestic violence, sex, swearing.
About the Author
Jules’ earliest known declaration that she planned to be a writer came at the age of ten. Unfortunately the urge to actually get her backside into gear and write a book didn’t revisit her for quite some time after that.
After a twenty year career in the glamorous world of PR, working on luxury brands, she switched profession to give her more time and energy to write. By day she works in a junior school and by night writes romantic comedy and happy ever after stories which are the sort of books she’s always enjoyed reading.
Her debut novel, Talk to Me, was published by Choc Lit in 2014, and her second, From Italy With Love, published by HarperImpulse was released earlier this year in May and reached the top of the Amazon Kindle Charts. Her third novel, From Paris With Love This Christmas, published by HarperImpulse is now available as an ebook and the paperback will be published on 3rd December.
Espionage (Book 1): France, 1944: Nobody expects Peter Eddy to survive his first commando mission—to retrieve a code book stolen by the Nazis—so when he does come back alive, his success is rewarded with an even more daunting assignment. Partnered with French Resistance leader Jacques Olivier, Peter must identify which of three Allied contacts in Calais is a double agent and use the traitor to help implement a strategic Allied diversion that might win the war. Peter secretly crosses the English Channel to confront the suspects one at a time. But what appears to be a clean assignment soon turns disastrous, and even the aid of Jacques and his sister Genevieve can’t prevent a Gestapo triumph. As the Allied invasion approaches, treachery in the least likely places leads to fresh graves in the bloodied European soil—and only the power of loyalty and love can transform tragic endings into new beginnings.
Sworn Enemy (Book 2): After narrowly escaping her Nazi captors, French Resistance worker Genevieve Olivier has fled to Allied territory with the help of American Lieutenant Peter Eddy. Their connection is undeniable, forged in the crucible of danger. But despite their blossoming feelings for each other, they must both finish the work they began . . . In the safety of England, Genevieve hopes to find purpose as a nurse—all the while unaware that the Gestapo still seeks the woman who slipped through their grasp. When she is called upon to resume a life of danger as a French spy, will her desire to prove herself be her downfall? Recruited by an elite special-ops team intent on thwarting the Nazis, Peter finds himself engaged in a personal battle as well—there is a traitor among his comrades. Deep in the Carpathian Mountains, Peter combats an unknown foe. The stakes are high as he fights to save the lives of his teammates. They are miles apart, yet as Genevieve and Peter fight for their own survival, they find a common well of strength in their faith—and their determination to be reunited.
Deadly Alliance (Book 3): When Peter Eddy and his commando team inadvertently upset the Soviets during their most recent mission, they never imagined the diplomatic nightmares that would ensue. They have one chance to redeem themselves: tasked with destroying a bridge in Nazi-occupied Bosnia, Peter and his war-weary team reluctantly agree to drop behind enemy lines. The assignment should be a simple one—were it not for the fact that they are being deployed on a suicide mission. Genevieve Olivier is devastated by the news of Peter’s disappearance. After all they’ve endured in this war, the determined OSS worker is unwilling to simply let go of the man she hopes to spend her life with. Desperate for information, her work as a courier soon escalates into a counterintelligence duel with a Fascist assassin—and Genevieve is his newest target . . .
Praise for Espionage, Sworn Enemy, and Deadly Alliance: This historical fiction WWII series is amazing! Seriously tense action, intrigue, death-defying danger, strong characters, and even a hint of romance. Sowards really does her research and makes readers feel as if they are right in the middle of the action in different settings throughout war-torn Europe. These aren’t your normal WWII books; they are much better. ~Charissa Stastny, author of the Bending Willow Trilogy
A.L. Sowards is a master at telling sides of stories from history that aren’t overdone or commonly shared. These books took me on an unexpected journey and they each brought up issues that I hadn’t really thought about before. I loved learning information about this time period, while being thoroughly entertained by the events happening to some beloved characters. ~Katie, blogger at Katie’s Clean Book Collection
A.L. Sowards has been a favorite author of mine for years. I was enraptured by the first book in her World War II series, Espionage, and fell more in love with the characters with each book. Her knowledge of World War II is unreal and the way she weaves the historical aspects in is so gripping I could hardly set these books down. I would highly recommend this series, especially if you’re a fan of historical fiction.
~Cami Checketts, Author of Shadows in the Curtain
Intrigue, horror, and romance all wrapped up in this brilliant WWII trilogy. A.L Sowards did an amazing job at bringing the time period to life for me. I highly recommend all three books in the Espionage series.
~Bookworm Lisa, blogger
Author A.L. Sowards
A.L. Sowards has always been fascinated by the 1940s, but she’s grateful she didn’t live back then. She doesn’t think she could have written a novel on a typewriter, and no one would be able to read her handwriting if she wrote her books out longhand. She does, however, think they had the right idea when they rationed nylon and women went barelegged.
Sowards grew up in Moses Lake, Washington. She graduated from BYU and ended up staying in Utah, where she enjoys spending time with her husband and children or with her laptop. She does not own a typewriter. She does own several pairs of nylons. Her books are known for heart-pounding action, memorable characters, careful historical research, clean romance, and family-friendly language. Several of her novels have been Whitney Award finalists in the historical fiction category.
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
What kind of creature can steal from you? Join Ethan and Emily Tuttle in their exciting third adventure, as they uncover the curious mystery of how a powerful creature is stealing their grandparents’ hard-earned savings, and how the twins are also being controlled by the same creature—without even knowing it!
In honor of the classic The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin, this book introduces children to the history and nature of money, banking, inflation, savings, and bartering in an informative and entertaining format that both educates and excites its young readers!
Connor Boyack is president of Libertas Institute, a public policy think tank in Utah. He is the author of several books on politics and religion, along with hundreds of columns and articles championing individual liberty. His work has been featured on international, national, and local TV, radio, and other forms of media.
A California native and Brigham Young University graduate, Connor currently resides in Lehi, Utah, with his wife and two children.
Elijah Stanfield is owner of Red House Motion Imaging, a media production company in Washington.
A longtime student of Austrian economics, history, and the classical liberal philosophy, Elijah has dedicated much of his time and energy to promoting the ideas of free markets and individual liberty. Some of his more notable works include producing eight videos in support of Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential candidacy. He currently resides in Richland, Washington, with his wife April and their five children.
Christmas Kisses is a collection from five bestselling and award-winning authors. Set in the snowy town of Echo Ridge in upstate New York, these romances are sure to delight while you sip cocoa by the fire and listen to Christmas carols.
The Candy Counter Heiress by Lucy McConnell Amazon bestselling & award-winning author Someday Reese Gates will own The Candy Counter at Kenworth’s; but someday can’t come fast enough when the manager threatens to bring in a national candy provider. Reese secretly takes matters into her own hands hoping to save her parents from additional worry and prove herself capable of running the company. Her deception deepens as she ropes computer guru Andy Edwards into helping her expand the business. Reese wanted to shake things up, but she wasn’t planning on her heart getting caught in the mix by Andy’s stolen kisses. If she can hold it together until after Christmas, then she can reveal her successful online company and her feelings for Andy. Unfortunately for Reese, even the best laid plans can melt like chocolate. https://lucymcconnell.wordpress.com/ * https://www.facebook.com/ChristinaDymock?fref=ts Christmas Makeover by Cami Checketts Amazon bestselling author Chelsea Jamison has been infatuated with Drew Stirling longer than she’s loved playing basketball, high-top sneakers, and the Knicks. Unfortunately, all Drew sees is the kid who kicked his trash in the high school free throw contest and not the girl whose heart breaks into a fast dribble when he’s near. Drew makes an unexpected visit home to Echo Ridge and their friendship picks up where they left off as they scheme to make a teenaged boy’s Christmas dreams come true. When Chelsea realizes she’s fallen for her best friend, she wonders if there is any hope of a relationship with Drew or if she’s stuck in buddy-status for life. www.camichecketts.com * https://www.facebook.com/CamiCheckettsAuthor Soda Fountain Christmas by Connie E. Sokol Amazon bestselling author Keira Kenworth has one focus this holiday season: save her father’s old-time department store from bankruptcy. She is not focused on Tayton Wells, the tall, dark, and genius marketing guru from downtown New York, hired to make it happen. He is as doubtful that her nostalgic connect-the-town ideas will succeed as she is about his numbers-first plan. However, it’s not just their different approaches that cause sparks to fly. Working together on a fast deadline to save the store before Christmas, the unspoken connection between them grows. But will the tough decisions they face drive them back to their separate worlds, or will they lead to the beginning of love? www.conniesokol.com * https://www.facebook.com/8basics?_rdr=p Hope for Christmas by Rachelle J. Christensen Amazon bestselling & award-winning author Anika Fletcher hates Christmas–its promises of good tidings and hope for the future are as tinseled as the ornaments on Kenworth’s Hope Tree. Despite her feelings, Anika wants to maintain her daughter’s faith in the magic of the season and gladly accepts a second job working with the handsome Carlos Rodriguez to restore Kenworth’s old fashioned soda fountain. Carlos is no stranger to hard times and slowly shares his life of light and joy with Anika as they work together. Just as her fragile soul begins to feel hope again, an ill-timed act of charity changes everything. Anika isn’t sure who she can trust or if hope is worth nurturing–especially at Christmas when it’s easy to enjoy a kiss and believe love can last longer than the season. www.facebook.com/rachellechristensenauthor * http://rachellechristensen.com/ One Winter Night by Heather Tullis Amazon bestselling author Jonah Owens thought moving to Echo Ridge to open his art gallery would solve all of his problems. The need to sell his grandma’s house adds an unexpected complication. It would be easier if his neighbor didn’t have all those farm animals. Kaya Feidler’s family has owned their land for nearly a hundred years–long before the neighbors were there. There’s no way she’s giving up the animal therapy business she’s been struggling to make profitable. She gets a temp job helping Jonah in the gallery. Spending time together is a recipe for romance, but can they overcome their own hangups to be more than friends? http://heathertullis.com/ * https://www.facebook.com/HeatherTullisBooks
This is a fun anthology that includes 5 stories all set in the same town and store with the same characters. My favorite was the first, The Candy Counter Heiressby Lucy McConnell. I did have to take a break three stories in and put down the book for a while because the overlap was too much. But, once I picked it back up it was smooth sailing! You will be taken back to simpler times and the small town of Echo Ridge with a soda fountain and family owned department store. The Parley’s Way reference was fun as we have a street named the same in my state. Worth the 99 cents and great for the upcoming Christmas snowy season.
In the tradition of Trisha Ashley and Jenny Colgan, this first book in a new series by Alexandra Brown—author of the popular Cupcakes at Carrington’s series—tells the hilarious, heartwarming story of a jilted bride who anticipates a lonely Christmas but instead finds herself in the tiny village of Tindledale, where the residents share her obsession with knitting.
When life unravels, it’s time to knit…
Sybil has always taken comfort in her passion for knitting, creating beautiful knits stitch by stitch. But her world suddenly unravels when her fiancé ditches her for her identical twin sister at her Star Wars-themed wedding, leaving her sporting a Princess Leia do. Then things go from bad to worse when an incident at work jeopardizes her job.
Hoping to escape her woes and forget that she’ll be alone for Christmas this year, she visits her friend in Tindledale—a winter wonderland of quaint shops and snowy rooftops. When she arrives in the idyllic town, she can’t help feeling like she’s in a Hallmark greeting card. She’s embraced by welcoming—if eccentric—locals wearing handmade knits that remind Sybil of her own creations as well as her unrealized ambitions of selling them. So when the vintage boutique asks her to make an assortment of knits for their display window, she’s thrilled. The hot town doctor has even taken an interest in Sybil, hoping to heal her broken heart.
But just when Sybil thinks she’s going to have her fairytale Christmas after all, an unexpected turn of events threatens to unspool her happily ever after.
What a fun book! I am so very excited to have found the Tindledale series. I cozied up with hot apple cider and a blanket this rainy weekend to finish off book one in under 24 hours. Sybil has been jilted at the alter by her Star Wars fanatic fiance, she’s walking around in a fog, making mistakes at work and having sad thoughts. It’s tome for a break. Off tot he cozy village of Tindledale where you can still find a butcher, a baker and perhaps a candlestick maker.
With amazing character that make the story come alive, a very slow and cozy romance, and laugh out loud moments, The Great Christmas Knit-Off warmed my heart.
Content: My only complaint is that the “f” word dropped in a few times seemed completely out of place and out of step with the old fashioned feel of the novel.
Overall: I had a smile on my face throughout the entire experience and would definitely recommend this series to lovers of cozy chic lit set in England. Can not wait for book two!
About the Author
Alexandra Brown is the author of several bestselling warm and witty novels, including the Carrington’s series, The Great Christmas Knit Off and The Great Village Show.
Alex began her writing career as the City Girl columnist for The London Paper which she wrote for two years before giving it up to concentrate on writing novels.
Alex lives in a rural village on the Kent and Sussex border in England, with her husband, utterly adorable daughter (fondly known as QT) and one very shiny black Labrador called Puppy Oscar.
Handsome twenty-eight-year-old Will Hallerman has finally had enough of the dating world he s ready to find a wife and settle down. This announcement is catastrophic in Hannah Becker s world. After knowing Will her entire life and adoring him from afar since junior high school, she realizes her chance at love with him is in grave danger. Hannah' s problem? To Will, she will never be more than his best friend s little sister. Determined to open his eyes to her charms, Hannah sets out to sabotage Will s wife hunt by placing nightmare dates in his path and taking his search on a wild goose chase. Her plan is risky, but she s willing to take a chance to catch the eye of her soul mate. Despite her crazy schemes, nothing seems to be working. Hannah can t help but wonder if it' s time to set aside this childhood crush to move on and settle down herself. She s ready for a fresh start with a great guy. If only Will weren' t suddenly changing the rules of the game . . . And how can Hannah move on when Will just won' t let her forget?
Always Will is a really cute contemporary read about two post college, career born friends who have known each other since childhood. Will was appointed to watch over Hannah after she and her brother lose their parents in a car accident. He takes his role very seriously and moves in right across the hall from his best friend’s little sister. There is lots of friendly banter, noogies, wrestling and shenanigans until Will announces he is ready to step up his game and get married. He’s on the look out for his perfect companion using algorithms and logic, as well as an online dating site. Hannah is panicked. Time to sabotage the game!
I enjoyed Will and Hannah’s dynamic, but the self-talk and dialogue about Hannah being fat got a little tedious. I also had trouble believing Hannah had a career in computer coding, as it didn’t seem to fit her character at all. The circumstances of the ending will take some suspension of disbelief. That being said, I read this one fast and furious. Always Will has a feel good vibe, a strong female and some laugh out loud moments. Melanie Jacobson is always a great choice for contemporary, clean romance.
About the Author
Melanie Bennett Jacobson is an avid reader, amateur cook, and champion shopper. She consumes astonishing amounts of chocolate, chick flicks, and books. After meeting her own husband on the Internet, she is now living happily married in Southern California with her growing family and a series of doomed potted herbs.http://www.melaniejacobson.net/
Suffering from a cruel heartbreak, Lord Philip Hamilton has been driven to seek refuge from the painful memories haunting London, and his father’s Jamaican sugar cane plantation provides just the escape he needs. Philip finds solace in his hard work and takes comfort in the fact that his distance from society ensures that his heart will be protected from future entanglements. Protected, that is, until the unexpected appearance of a mysterious woman with no memory of her past. The only clue to her identity is a necklace inscribed with a name: Anna. In a matter of weeks, this gentle, intelligent, and impossibly beautiful stranger turns Philip’s world upside down. But as the bond between the pair grows, the threat of Philip losing his heart once more is only the beginning of the dangers that await. Island renegades and a ruthless band of pirates clash in a swashbuckling battle, and it soon becomes clear that these villains may be the key to unlocking Anna’s past...
When a young woman mysteriously washes ashore on the beach in Jamaica, a young gentleman landowner and his overseer are not sure what to think. The girl is close to dead and the only identifying piece she owns is a necklace with her first name engraved. Anna can’t remember who she is, where she came from or how she got sent to sea. While she recovers, it becomes apparent that life on this sugar cane plantation can be cruel and sweet all at the same time.
Set in the 1800’s, slavery is in full swing. I truly enjoyed all the side characters like head of the household Betty, valet Ezekial and master Malachi. I know an author has done a wonderful job fleshing them out when I can still identify and relate to them after I’m done with the book. The pacing was slow and sweet–the story line clean with little violence.
Jennifer Moore is a new go-to author for historical romance. And, there be pirates in this book! My favorite portion of Simply Anna was dedicated to buccaneers. I am hoping a new companion novel covering their adventures is on the horizon. Pretty please?
About the Author
Jennifer Moore is a passionate reader and writer of all things romance due to the need to balance the rest of her world, which includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that are anything but romantic. Jennifer has a BA in linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family.
In her second year of studies at Merlin College, Oxford, Sophie Marshall is feeling alienated among fellow students who fail to welcome a woman to their ranks. So when her husband, Gray is invited north as a visiting lecturer at the University in Din Edin, they leap at the chance. There, Sophie’s hunger for magical knowledge can finally be nourished. But soon, Sophie must put her newly learned skills to the test.
Sophie returns home one day to find a note from Gray—he’s been summoned urgently to London. But when he doesn’t return, and none of her spells can find a trace of him, she realizes something sinister has befallen him. With the help of her sister, Joanna, she delves into Gray’s disappearance, and soon finds herself in a web of magick and intrigue that threatens not just Gray, but the entire kingdom.
LADY OF MAGICK Sylvia Izzo Hunter ACE Trade Paperback $15.00 | 448 pages September 1, 2015 ISBN: 9780425272466
PRAISE FOR THE MIDNIGHT QUEEN
“A stunning story of magic, scholarship, and true love. Elegantly written, fast-paced and highly original…a remarkably assured debut.” —Juliet Marillier, National Bestselling Author of the Sevenwaters series
“What begins as a fantastical story of loss and betrayal becomes one of intrigue, politics, and espionage. Debut novelist Sylvia Izzo Hunter renders both the setting and characters in vivid detail. The structured system of magick gives the fictional world weight, and Hunter manipulates the seemingly disparate plot elements to create tension that culminates in a satisfying conclusion.” —Shelf Awareness
“The history of her world is not the usual stuff…inventive.” —Marie Brennan, Author of The Memoirs of Lady Trent
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sylvia Izzo Hunter was born in Calgary, Alberta, but now lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter. Visit her online at http://sylviaizzohunter.ca or on Twitter at @sylviawritesthings.
One copy of Lady of Magick. US only. Must be 13 or older to enter.
Fire and Ice is excited that HARRIET WOLF’S SEVENTH BOOK OF WONDERS by Julianna Baggott releases today and that we get to share the news, along with an exclusive excerpt!
This blitz also includes a giveaway for 5 hardcovers of the book courtesy of Little Brown, and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
About The Book
Title: HARRIET WOLF’S SEVENTH BOOK OF WONDERSAuthor: Julianna Baggott
A brilliantly crafted saga about three generations of women and their secrets, including the discovery of a final unpublished book by the family matriarch, a revered and reclusive author.Harriet Wolf has a final confession. It can be found only in the final book of the series that made her a famous writer. But does that book exist?This absorbing novel spans the entire twentieth century, telling the moving story of a mother, her daughter, and two granddaughters, one of whom is the only person alive who knows the whereabouts of Harriet’s final book. When a hospitalization brings the family back together, the mystery not only of Harriet’s last book, but also of her life, hangs in the balance. Will the truth ever be known, or is Harriet’s story gone forever?A multi-generational tale of long-lost love, motherhood, and family secrets, this is Baggott’s most sweeping and mesmerizing novel yet.
The Baby, Twice Born
This is how the story goes: I was born dead—or so my mother was told.
According to the physician, good old Dr. Brumus, I didn’t cry. I wasn’t capable of even this innate reflex. I was mute and sallow and already a bleeder, one red bead poised at each nostril. Imagine my exhausted mother—the saint, Irish and Catholic—her legs sagging wide beneath the bloody sheet like two pale, bony wings.
The year was 1900. The world was taking a new shape: the Paris Exposition’s moving sidewalks, Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, and a tunnel being dug for the subway at Borough Hall, Manhattan. But in our house near the Chesapeake, not far from bustling Baltimore—with its canneries and foundries, its harbor of moaning steamboats, its tenements teeming with typhoid—there was little to do for either my mother or me, medically. Science had come only so far.
But given that Dr. Brumus—winded, permanently overwhelmed—had delivered three stillborn babies from my mother already, it seemed, for the moment, he’d finally won something. He was always watchful, however, always squinting as if in bright sun, even at dusk, the hour I was born, mosquitoes whining past an ear. And Brumus knew, what with my bleeding nose and my pallid, lightly furred skin, that something wasn’t right. He wrapped me in a blanket—though the summer hung wet and steaming outside. Like an aging football captain, he shuttled me down the stairs to the porch, where my father, the banker, was pacing. Dr. Brumus presented me to my father and gave the news: “It isn’t fit.” I wasn’t a girl yet. I was still dangling before my father, midair, a lost pronoun, and it would take years before I would become a child in any real form in my father’s eyes.
“No, it isn’t fit,” my father agreed, perhaps expecting as much, given the three lost before me.
“It may only live long enough for her to get attached,” Dr. Brumus said, teary now.
“The baby’s mother isn’t fit either,” my father said. “Mary has those dark moods. You’ve seen them. She couldn’t withstand that kind of attachment and loss.”
Dr. Brumus tried to hand me to my father, whose face was poised above mine, his nose fat and squat, a boxy fender, though he was youngish and handsome in his taut pink skin and glossy hair. He didn’t like what he saw. “Take it with you,” he said.
Dr. Brumus oversaw the Maryland School for Feeble Minded Children in Owings Mills, long before Baltimore started spilling into it with such ferocity. My father was betting that I wouldn’t make it—but what if I did? Was he asking Dr. Brumus to be my father, or at least my warden? The two men had known each other since they were boys.
“Jackie,” Dr. Brumus said, using the pet name normally reserved for times when he’d drunk a Scotch and soda and was looking slack and heavy-lidded. But that wasn’t his mood now. His eyes raced. “I can’t take the baby with me—”
“You said it’s going to die. You said so!” And my father became a little boy, his face plump and sweaty.
“Where’s the baby?” my mother called, her voice carrying from the open bedroom window above, her Irish accent heavier because she was too tired to fight it. She could have been calling to them from reeds, a marsh with a fog rolling in.
My father shook his head. “No,” he whispered to the doctor, fiercely.
And then my father marched upstairs, past the water stains on the wallpaper and into the bedroom.
“No,” he said to his wife in a lilting voice of his own. Was he going to sing to her? “Darling, no.”
And so, for my mother, I was dead.
But still there was a baby. And this other baby with its dim pulse was bundled and taken away to start its other life at the Maryland School for Feeble Minded Children.
In just over a decade’s time, this child would become a supposed Girl Genius, and, more important, she would find Eppitt in the laundry and love him too much. (You don’t know Eppitt yet, dear ones, but you will.) And then this same child would make her way back here again—to this very porch, to her mother’s bed.
Some of us are born dead, some never really born at all, and others are born fresh every day—as if they’ve had new eyes stitched on overnight—which is the best way to live.
I hope you will understand eventually why I’ve denied all of this for so long. Are you reading this, my Eleanor? My Ruthie? My dear Tilton? Are your eyes catching on these words, fastening one to the next, aware of my life collecting on the page? Are you here with me?
I still desire the veil of fiction, the means to monkey and fidget with the details so I can convince myself that I’m writing about another baby, another mother, another life. If not that, then I wish it were lovely. But what did I learn in writing out the lives of my characters Weldon and Daisy? You can’t have love without knowing sorrow; you can’t have miracles without desperation.
Critically acclaimed, bestselling author, Julianna Baggott — who also writes under the pen names Bridget Asher (The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted) and N.E. Bode (The Anybodies) — has published 17 books, including novels for adults, younger readers, and collections of poetry. Her latest novel, PURE, is the first of a trilogy; film rights have sold to Fox2000– www.pure-book.com. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Best American Poetry, Best Creative Nonfiction, Real Simple, on NPR.org, as well as read on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” and “Here and Now.” Her novels have been book-pick selections by People Magazine’s summer reading, Washington Post book-of-the-week, a Booksense selection, a Boston Herald Book Club selection, and a Kirkus Best Books of the Year list. Her novels have been published in over 50 overseas editions. She’s a professor in the Creative Writing Program at Florida State University and the founder of the nonprofit Kids in Need – Books in Deed. For more, visit www.juliannabaggott.com.
Fire and Ice is today’s stop on the tour for While You Were Gone hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. We have the author Amy K. Nichols here to answer our questions about the world the book is created in, the music, and the characters behind part II in the Duplexity series. Be sure to stop by all the sites listed on the schedule to learn more!
WHILE YOU WERE GONE by Amy K. Nichols Published August 4, 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers 304 pages
An artist without a cause meets a rebel without a clue.
Eevee is a promising young artist and the governor’s daughter in a city where censorship is everywhere and security is everything. When a fire devastates her exhibition—years in the making—her dreams of attending an elite art institute are dashed. She’s struggling to find inspiration when she meets Danny, a boy from a different world. Literally.
Raised in a foster home, Danny has led a life full of hurt and hardship until a glitch in the universe changes everything. Suddenly Danny is living in a home he’s never seen, with parents who miraculously survived the car crash that should have killed them. It’s like he’s a new Danny. But this alternate self has secrets—ties to an underground anarchist group that have already landed him in hot water. When he starts to develop feelings for Eevee, he’s even more disturbed to learn that he might have started the fire that ruined her work.
As Danny sifts through clues from his past and Eevee attempts to piece together her future, they uncover a secret that’s bigger than both of them. . . . And together, they must correct the breach between the worlds before it’s too late.
1) While You Were Gone is set in a society with censorship and security, do you see our society moving in this direction. If so, how?
So, the strange thing is I wrote Now That You’re as a standalone novel several years ago, around 2006, and included the idea of an alternate Phoenix that operates as a surveillance state. In 2011 the book sold as a duology, with a second book set in that alternate world. In late 2013 I actually started writing that second book. I remember the day the Guardian published Edward Snowden’s revelations about government snooping, because it stopped me cold. Suddenly the fiction I was writing didn’t seem so fictionalized. Of course the idea of Big Brother has been around both in stories and in the real world for a long time, but While You Were Gone was the first time I’d tackled the subject in my own work. And here it was playing out in real time on the evening news. It really made me stop and think. How far did I want to push the Big Brother aspect of the society in the book? I knew I didn’t want to write a fully dystopian story (a la Hunger Games) , but I also felt I needed to adequately explore the implications of living in a world where everything you say, do, and even think can land you in trouble. In the end, I decided to take what we have in the real world and amp it up using both existing and emerging technologies as well as actual scientific theories. All that to say, it’s hard not to see our society as one moving in the direction of heightened censorship and surveillance. The question is, how far will it go?
2) Danny and Eevee are anomalies. What draws them together?
Danny and Eevee both have to wear masks to get by in their lives, Eevee as the daughter of a powerful politician, and Danny as an imposter of his parallel self. Only when they’re alone are they able to let their guards down and be their true selves. While there’s a strong, immediate physical attraction between them, I think on a deeper level they sense each other’s desire to live out who they really are, without fear of consequences. I really enjoyed writing their relationship, seeing how it evolved. As trust builds between them, they’re able to strip away the layers of pretense and protection until they can just be themselves, together. I loved how they both had such strong exteriors but were really quite vulnerable inside.
3) Tell us about the world your book is set in.
While You Were Gone is set in a parallel Phoenix, Arizona, in a United States that never recovered from the Cold War. As Danny says in Now That You’re Here, instead of ending, their Cold War “turned into an ice age”. The country functions from a place of hyper vigilance against threats both foreign and domestic. In an effort to build a completely secure society, government researchers create the ultimate surveillance apparatus, called Skylar, and choose Phoenix as the testing ground before rolling it out nationwide. Skylar turns out to be problematic on multiple levels. There are other unique and fun things about the world, as well. For example, the Gulf of California extends farther north, giving Phoenix oceanfront property. In many ways it’s the same as our world, and in other ways it’s very different.
4) What artists or musicians inspire both you and your characters?
While music inspires and informs my writing, I tend not to mention actual musicians or bands because it imposes a particular time or age on the work. That said, my characters and books have theme songs. “Renegades” by X Ambassadors is totally the theme song for While You Were Gone. To get into Danny’s mindset, I often listened to “Vicarious” by Tool. Eevee had a couple of songs: “No Light, No Light” by Florence + The Machine, and “She” by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians. There’s a more complete playlist of the songs that influenced the book on my website (http://amyknichols.com/?page_id=758). As far as art goes, I felt I could name actual artists and not age the book, particularly given the censorship aspect of the story. Many of Eevee’s favorite artists are the same as mine: Van Gogh, Klee, Picasso. I did take some liberties with the art in the story and included fictional artists alongside real ones.
5) Do you have actors or models chosen that would represent your characters well?
I don’t usually align my characters with specific actors or models, mostly because I’m afraid I’ll end up writing what I know of those actors or models into the personalities of my characters. I’d rather they be unique unto themselves. That said, if I were to cast actors as my characters, I’d choose a young Jared Leto (circa 2004) for Danny, and a current day or slightly older Isabelle Fuhrman for Eevee. A young Ben Whishaw with messy hair would make a perfect Warren.
Book One in the Series
NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE by Amy K. Nichols Published December 9, 2014 by Knopf Books for Young Readers Pages: 304 Formats: Hardcover, eBook
In a parallel universe, the classic bad boy falls for the class science geek.
One minute Danny was running from the cops, and the next, he jolted awake in an unfamiliar body–his own, but different. Somehow, he’s crossed into a parallel universe. Now his friends are his enemies, his parents are long dead, and studious Eevee is not the mysterious femme fatale he once kissed back home. Then again, this Eevee–a girl who’d rather land an internship at NASA than a date to the prom–may be his only hope of getting home.
Eevee tells herself she’s only helping him in the name of quantum physics, but there’s something undeniably fascinating about this boy from another dimension . . . a boy who makes her question who she is, and who she might be in another place and time.
And, coming soon, Duplexity, Part II: While You Were Gone flips this story on its head and tells the tale of the alternate Danny and the alternate Eevee, living in Danny’s parallel world.
Praise for Now That You’re Here: “The perfect blend of sci-fi and swoons, Now That You’re Here is like no other book I’ve read. Riveting, romantic and utterly original, it kept me up late!” –Amie Kaufman, author of These Broken Stars “Dynamic, dizzying, and downright daring, Now That You’re Here kept me guessing until the end, and ready for the next.” –Shannon Messenger, author of Let the Sky Fall “Nichols infuses the story with a smattering of science fiction and science fact, while making a welcome departure from the stereotype of the book-smart outcast trying to fit in. These geeks own their intelligence like a badge of honor, using science to help a friend and explore strange new worlds. Riveting in its own right, the story sets the stage for a mirror-image sequel, which will follow the other Danny and Eevee.” — Publishers Weekly, STARRED “While the world-jumping is fantastical, the personalities and characters (fully individual, without reaching trying-too-hard levels of quirkiness) ring true…. A debut with great characters and huge nerd appeal.” — Kirkus Reviews
Amy K. Nichols has been crafting stories for as long as she can remember. She is the author of YA science fiction novel Now That You’re Here, to be published by Knopf December 9, 2014. The follow-up, While You Were Gone, will be published in 2015. She is mentored by award-winning crime novelist James Sallis and lives on the edge of the Sonoran desert with her husband and children. Amy is a member of SCBWI and SFWA, as well as the Class of 2K14 debut authors. Visit her online at http://www.amyknichols.com.