Friday, December 31, 2010

TOP TENS of 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! (Well, almost anyway...) As today is the last day of the year 2010, I thought we at the Oasis for YA could do a little reminiscing about the books that characterized our year in reading. I asked my Oasis Sisters what their top picks for the last year were.
(Some we agreed one, some we did not **cough** Firelight **cough**)
Jessica said:
Can I cheat and name a series? The Hunger Games series, I'd have to say was the best. If not, I'd have to say Bad Girls Don't Die. LOVED , loved that book! Also, want to note that the Mortal Instruments series was pretty darned close to The Hunger Games series and...I'm having a hard time picking just one. Sorry! :D
Sheri said:
Wow!! Tough. Hmm...I have to go with Radiant Shadows. I know some folks don't like the Wicked Lovely series because of how Melissa Marr focuses on different couples, different aspects of the world she's built, but for me I like that. I LOVED the two main characters in RS. Oh, also have to plug an older book, but I just finished reading it - Vampire Diaries~The Awakening & The Struggle.
Jessie said:
I have a tie in favorite books this year. I loved both Firelight (I know, not on the top of your list, A.E.) and The Eternal Ones. Heart-stopping romance with a little action thrown in gets me every time.
Then Jessie said in response to Sheri's email:
Oh yeah, The Wicked Lovely series would totally be on my top list. I know some are older than 2010, but I think I read them all this year Wow!
Nikki said: Ooh tough one. I read a TON of books this year!! I guess I'll go with Anna and the French Kiss. But The Mockingbirds is a close second!
Then Nikki said in response to Jessie's email:
Funny, I didn't like Firelight either!! Did like eternal ones though :)
Me: I'm choosing MATCHED as one of the most amazing books I read--period--for overall awesomeness. I loved THE REPLACEMENT to for it's atmosphere. And, PARANORMALCY was a blast to read.

Now, here a few other TOP TEN/TOP READS of 2010 that I found while poking around the internet. Seems the Oasis girls picked a few of the books on the following lists.

According to Young Adult Library Serives Association the Top Ten YA novels (by teen's choice) were:

The Teens' Top Ten 2010 is:

  1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  2. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
  3. Heist Society by Ally Carter
  4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
  5. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
  6. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  7. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
  8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  9. Fire by Kristin Cashore
  10. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Forever Young's blog had a list, too:
1. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

3. Some Girls Are / Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers
(See, I told you I cheated a little bit on this list. I love everything Courtney Summers writer, and these both came out in 2010! There's no way I could choose!)

4. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

5. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

6. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

7. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

8. Sea by Heidi R. Kling

9. Forget You by Jennifer Echols

10. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins / Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

And Hobbitsies has a list of Top Ten Anticipated novels of 2011:


Okay. I could do a stupid Old Spice impression (look at the cover, now look at the blurb, now back at the cover, etc.) but really, I don’t have any words. I’ve been hearing awesome things about this one, and now I’ve heard that the finished copy is going to be even more awesome, and I can’t wait for it!


Have you guys seen the video? This book is going to be heart wrenching, I just know it. And I’m always up for a little heart wrenching, especially when it highlights actual events.


Intense! This one looks intense! Even the cover itself is intense. And I love dark and mysterious men.


Yess! The Twelve Dancing Princesses is one of my FAVOURITE fairy tales ever. Really. I know there’s a couple of other books on it, but I haven’t read them, and I’m really looking forward to this one!


Again with the dark and mysterious men. What are you trying to do to me, 2011?!


I’m really not a fey fan. I have yet to be converted. But this one looks really good and interesting, and I love the cover!


I am beyond excited for this one! I love the cover, and I love that it’s a contemporary, and it has a very intriguing plot. I can’t wait to see what happens, and I already can’t wait to see more from Kirsten Hubbard!


Eeeh, have you guys read this blurb? The blurb rocks, truly. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. It sounds super original, the cover is pretty, and it’s got a romantic bit as well as sounding super creepy.


I am so excited for this book. I rambled about it a bit in my Waiting on Wednesday post about it, but it just sounds like it’s going to be awesome. New York City, prep schools, love, and angst? Plus it’s a contemporary. Sounds like it has all the right elements to me!


Yes, yes, yes. Boarding schools are automatic “yes”s for me! Plus, boy POV. And the cover? He’s kind of a babe. I will definitely be picking this one up!

So, what about you, Oasis reader? Have a favorite read this year? Now of any other Top Ten YA lists out there?? Please share!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

THANKFUL THURSDAY: Looking Back on 2010

With New Year's Eve just a day away, I thought it would be good to reflect back on what we're thankful for in 2010!

I'm thankful for my husband, who never complains about how much time I spend on the computer instead of with him. And I'm thankful for all of my Oasis sisters too!

I'd have to say I'm grateful for my family who always stand behind me. And for my daughter's continued health, that her JIA hasn't gotten the best of her and that she wouldn't let it, even if it tried. I'm grateful for my awesome agent Natalie, who picked me out of her slushpile and loved my work enough that she's STILL convinced I'm awesome, too. My wonderful friends I've made this year, and the friendships I've continued from the last. My awesome crit. partners, who aren't afraid to tell me when something sucks, but are just as great at handing out the praise. I'm also grateful I was able to go to my first big conference this year and hope I get to go again next year.

And, of course, you all. Who've made writing not the lonely venture it tends to be. Have a great 2011! May we all be blessed with greatness in the next year.

I'd have to say, writing-wise, I'm thankful for Twitter, because it lead me to YAlitchat, people like my Oasis sisters, and my Savvy CPs Heather, Jus and Katy.

I'm grateful for my growing family, my understanding hubby, health, love--even when its trying--the strides I've made in writing and the amazing writers I've met this past year. If someone would have told me when I began this adventure eleven short months ago that I'd be walking in the footsteps I am now I would have laughed. We live in an amazing world, despite all our issues. I see hope in all our futures.

When it comes to writing I'm thankful for the patience and support of my husband, children, and family. I'm also extremely grateful for all the beta readers, critique partners, and my writing group - including Sophie and Katie at Mundie Moms, Andrea and Lisa at YA Know, and all of my Oasis girls!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Q&A with a YA!! (repost)

If any of you follow my personal blog then you know I'm on vacation. I haven't taken a break from blogging or posting since I began in February. So I decided to share with you pieces from my segment Q&A with a YA, on Writers' Ally, hosted by Jacob Milhouse and Riv Re. These particular questions were answered by Jacob.
Enjoy!! And please, chime in and give your opinions!! We love them.
Today our 1st YA question comes from Elana Johnson, author of Possessions due out in 2011.

What do you struggle with the most in your life? Managing your time? Self-esteem? The opposite sex? What do you do when you have free time? Are the stereotypical "jocks" and "cheerleaders" and "nerds" real?

Answer: I struggle with a bit of it all, and it all kind of ties in to one another. You like someone but not confident enough in yourself to approach them. In other words, afraid of rejection…or humiliation. When it comes to time, there’s so much you want to do, but so little time it feels like. Or maybe that’s just me, lol, I’m overly ambitious and get agitated when I can’t do everything at once.

As far as stereotypes, books have always taken this to the extreme in some cases. To be honest, where I’m from the most popular/most beautiful girl isn’t a cheerleader; she’s an A-student. I would be considered a “nerd” in most places, but I talk and get along fine with anyone and everyone. Jocks, on the other hand, tend to be the ones that fall within the same guidelines. I know jocks that are intelligent and have a future besides sports, but there are also those who partake in sports for the attention or because, academically, they don’t excel. They need something that makes them feel good about themselves.

Who's driving the YA market, the teens or the authors? Is it the publishers? Is the market driven by what teens want to read, what authors want to write, or what publishers think teens want to read?

Great question! I wish I could give a definite answer, but it's one of those things that's a system, you know? We all work together to make this industry thrive. I don't even need to explain how this system works, because, as writers, you know just as well as I do. We all have an invaluable part to play. The important thing as a writer is to write what you enjoy, what makes you uncomfortable, what makes you cry, what makes you laugh. Hell, I started writing because I couldn't find books that I liked. I wanted to cater to YA's like myself who want that perfect combination of adult and YA. Hopefully, a publisher will take that work and deliver it to the readers who will appreciate it.

What do you think? Have any questions of your own? (Ooh...and don't forget to grab our button. Did you see it? Didn't the designer do a great job. thx, jessie.)

By:  Sheri L.  

(reposted due to technically glitch with comments.  Thanks for your patience)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesday Tunes: New Beginnings.


The end of 2010 is in just a few short days, so I thought it would be great to end 2010 with a Teusday Tunes dedicated to new beginnings.  I asked each of my blog sisters to choose a song that reminded them of new beginnings.

Jessie was the first to reply and said:  To stay true to my on going love affair with all things Joshua Radin, I'm going with his song entitled It's a Brand New Day. It's positive & uplifting & speaks of looking at new beginnings with hope. (and the video is pretty amusing too...)

Nikki was next with:  I'll go with Kelly Clarkson 'Since You've Been Gone' - great song for getting over a breakup and starting a new love life!

Sheri said:  I wanted to tap into two totally different genres of music. Firstly, I'm going with "Higher" by Creed. It gives me that sense that there is more out there if I just believe.

"Closer" by Josh Grobin is a pure injection of soft confidence. It reminds me that beginnings can happen everyday and how important those in my life are to my growth.

AE said:  After clawing through my music files, I guess I'm going to have to go with You're Beautiful by James Blunt. Even though they only share a moment, it's one that lasts, one he can take with him into new moments.

And finally me who had to do the same thing as AE even though I came up with the idea.  LOL.  I'm going to have to say, Beu Sisters and Once Upon a Broken Heart.  It reminds us that there is always something around the corner worth waiting for and it's always possible to begin again.

We've also made a few changes for the new year, one of which has already taken place. Our new comment box below.  We hope this will encourage everyone to comment, since we'll be able to "talk" back individually.  As before comments are unmoderated, so I hope everyone feels free to share whatever they are feeling.  ETA:  Just as an FYI, you'll only be able to see the comment box if you're "in" the post.  This can be accomplished by clicking on the post title.  Thanks!

So, what song reminds you of new beginnings. And won't you please share what your goals/dreams for the upcoming year?

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Year's Changes & Writing Resolutions

Christmas is over and by the time we greet you on the next Monday's Sanctuary, we will officially be in 2011.  Time has flown.  From all of us at the Oasis, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for joining us as we find sanctuary on our collective paths to publication.  Without you, we wouldn't have come together.  We wouldn't have pushed ourselves to share something with you each week.  Your comments have made us smile and think.  You've challenged us to be better writers and bloggers.  For all of that, we are SO GRATEFUL!  Truly.

And we want to thank you by making this Oasis more of what you want.  Please tell us.  Do you love Writer's Wednesday but could care less about Tuesday Tunes?  Do you appreciate the gratitude on Thankful Thursday but wish we had more give-aways on Friday Freestyle?  We welcome your suggestions on what you look forward to at the Oasis and what you could do without.  And if there's something we don't do that would really rock your world, let us know too.  We just might be able to deliver.

In the meantime, we leave you with a little poem, my writing resolutions for 2011:

I resolve to be patient,
I resolve to have faith,
That my writing is worthy,
And it's all worth the wait.

I resolve to accept
Things I cannot control,
Like rejections from agents, 
Without breaking my soul.

I resolve to spend time
In endeavors that matter;
And let my words flow,
Not trickle and splatter.

I resolve to eliminate,
My feeble excuses
For stalling, like twitter,
Or lackluster Muses.

The year's twenty-eleven,
The stars are aligned,
For good things to happen,
All in due time.

From all of us at the Oasis to all of you, we wish you success in the coming year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

C. Lee McKenzie Interview & Give-Away

Merry Christmas Eve to all of you Oasis Seekers!  Today, our gift to all of you is an interview with the ever-awesome C. Lee McKenzie and a BOOK GIVEAWAY.  One lucky Oasis Seeker will win a copy of Lee’s new book, The Princess of Las Pulgas, which was just released on the 15th.  (Hint: If you need a last-minute gift idea for any YAs or YA-lovers on your list, this is a great idea!)
Welcome, Lee!  Thank you so much for dropping by during this super-busy time of year.  Have you managed to get any writing done at all this past month?  If so, please tell us how you found the time.
I'm so pleased you asked me to visit your super Oasis, Jessie. I really appreciate your including me here. As to the writing . . . yes, I did write this month. I re-worked the first chapter to my third book and added two chapters to a fourth that is in an embryonic stage. I'm not a late night person, but I don't mind a four o'clock in the morning writing stint. That's really the only time I know I have two uninterrupted hours. 

Congrats on the release of Princess.  This is your second published novel.  Does it get any easier to write and publish the second time around?  What were the biggest differences?
No, it wasn't easier. This book was challenging for me. I had to back track twice and take a new path each time before I sorted out the princess and her story. With Sliding on the Edge I didn't have that problem. That was the biggest difference. 
Can you give us a twitter summary of Princess (140 characters or less)?
Okay, that wasn’t really fair.  I’ll save you and give the Amazon description:
After her father's slow death from cancer, Carlie thought things couldn't get worse. But now, she is forced to confront the fact that her family in dire financial straits. To stay afloat, her mom has had to sell their cherished oceanfront home and move Carlie and her younger brother Keith to the other side of the tracks to dreaded Las Pulgas, or "the fleas" in Spanish. They must now attend a tough urban high school instead of their former elite school, and on Carlie's first day of school, she runs afoul of edgy K.T., the Latina tattoo girl who's always ready for a fight, even on crutches. Carlie fends off the attention of Latino and African American teen boys, and one, a handsome seventeen-year-old named Juan, nicknames her Princess when he detects her aloof attitude towards her new classmates. What they don't know is that Carlie isn't really aloof; she's just in mourning for her father and almost everything else that mattered to her. Mr. Smith, the revered English teacher who engages all his students, suggests she'll like her new classmates if she just gives them a chance; he cajoles her into taking over the role of Desdemona in the junior class production of Othello, opposite Juan, after K.T. gets sidelined. Keith, who becomes angrier and more sullen by the day, spray paints insults all over the gym as he acts out his anger over the family's situation and reduced circumstances. Even their cat Quicken goes missing, sending Carlie and Keith on a search into the orchard next to their seedy garden apartment complex. They're met by a cowboy toting a rifle who ejects them at gunpoint from his property. But when Carlie finds him amiably having coffee with their mom the next day -- when he's returned her cat -- she begins to realize that nothing is what it seems in Las Pulgas.
Sounds fantastic!  I read in your bio that you wrote your first novel, Sliding on Edge, after reading a disturbing article about self-abuse.  It sounds like Princess also has some social commentary to it.  Was that intentional? Do you set out to gear your novels towards teens in crisis?

Oh, yes. All my poor teen main characters are in crisis. The only way they're going to get out of their predicaments is to learn and grow and become a touch wiser than they are in the beginning of their story.
Quick character insight: If your main character, Carlie, was getting ready to celebrate Christmas tomorrow, what would she most wish to find under the tree?
A toy--probably one from her dad. She's still so young and still needs his love and understanding. Maybe a Jack-in-the-Box that pops up and scares, but delights her at the same time. 
Aspiring authors want to know... How do you take a seed of an idea and grow it into a whole novel, full of subplots, twists, and three dimensional characters?  Any writing-process secrets you can share?
Well, my family would tell you that I daydream a lot, so when I'm writing a story it's better if one of them drives. 
Seriously, I listen to my characters, let them tell me about who they are and what they want. I put down notes in a spiral notebook that's more of an appendage than my arm, and, when I'm ready to write a scene,  I refer to those notes. They are my small seeds and I grow them into scenes. Gradually, these scenes come together to create my book.
It’s make up your own question time.  What’s something you wished interviewers asked you, but they never do?
Nobody ever asks me what I want to do when I grow up anymore. When I was young that was the most common question I got from just about everybody. They must  think I'm too old to ask about my next adventure. Well, surprise! I'm not. Of course, I don't have an answer yet, but I'm working on it. 
Finally, can you tell us the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?  (It doesn’t have to be writing related.  Any shared advice is welcome this Christmas eve.)

"Get over it!" 
I have a tendency to hold on to slights or grievances for a long time. My sister-in-law, who never held on to these things, gave me that advice and it was excellent. Very freeing. 
BONUS QUESTION:  If you were stranded on a desert oasis and only had the supplies to celebrate one holiday, which one would you pick and why?
Halloween, hands down. There' s no expectations of anything by anyone, except to find some outlandish costume and behave a bit wacky!  There's the color of autumn everywhere, harvest of the last summer crops,  and brilliantly orange pumpkins that are easily carved into grinning ogres. Oh, and then there's all that candy. Yep. Halloween would be my pick.
Awesome!  I'd have a hard time choosing between Halloween and Christmas, but you make a convincing argument for the former...
You can learn more about Lee at her website or check out her author page on Amazon  where you can also order copies of her novels.  Thanks again, Lee, for dropping by.
If you’d like to win a copy of The Princess of Las Pulgas, follow these simple steps:
 1.  Be an Oasis for YA follower
 2.  Grab our new Oasis for YA button and post it on your blog or website
 3.  Leave a link to your posted button (and your e-mail address) in the comments
 4.  Follow Oasis for YA on twitter (we recently made our debut there too)
Tweets are not required, but are appreciated  :)
We’ll use to select one lucky winner at noon on December 27th.  Good luck & Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

THANKFUL THURSDAY: Talking to Teens edition

My friends all call me Everybody's Mom, and they call our house Teen Central. We have two of our own, but on any given afternoon, you can find six kids or more here. So, with 2010 drawing to a close, I decided to do a totally unscientific poll of my teen crew. The question? What book/s are you thankful this year, and why? A few of my girls responded, and my ever-faithful Padawan Learner, Austin.

Lexie, 19, says she's happiest that she read THE REPLACEMENT and also I AM NUMBER FOUR, because "they were different stories and had actual consequences and reasons to do things."

Brittney Marie, 15, said "I read the VAMPIRE ACADEMY series and i really really liked it. It's kind of hard to explain. I guess. even though it's obviously not true, the book makes it seem as if it is. And it puts real issues out there that a lot of teenagers face now-a-days. :P"

Kat, my 15 yr old DD said, "Well I have to say, HUSH, HUSH and THE REPLACEMENT. They're really good books and you can get into them. They put real common day issues in there that teens face everyday. The characters are easy to follow, though they make wrong choices, there are consequences, unlike other books."

Dakota, 13, says, "Well, I've read ALOT of books this year, but i have to say, THE HOUSE OF NIGHT series was just absolutely AMAZING. Puts a whole new twist on vampyres :)"

Austin, 18 years old, and working on his own dystopian novel said he liked PERFECT CHEMISTRY because it taught him a lot about how to handle sexual tension.

Common themes I found:
  • THE REPLACEMENT, by Brenna Yovanoff
  • Common teen issues.
  • Dealing with consequences.
So, what about YOU? What YA novel are you thankful you read this year?

Gratuitous Linkage:
Brenna Yovanoff's WEBSITE
I AM NUMBER FOUR website/movie info
Official VAMPIRE ACADEMY Website
Becca Fitzpatrick's WEBSITE
Simone Elkeles WEBSITE
Offical House of Night WEBSITE

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

WRITER WEDNESDAY: Writing with an Accent

I love how JK Rowling writes her characters' dialects and accents in the Harry Potter series. Its fun to read and the characters' voices literally leap off the page.

Unfortunately, writing accents and dialogues is not an easy task - and it's even harder to do well!

Definition: An accent is the unique speech patterns and inflections (distinguished from other varieties of the same language) that identify a particular individual.

A character's accent can be hard to portray without phonetically spelling out the words in dialogue. Unfortunately this can get quite clunky and confusing to a reader. It also slows the reader down and can distract from the storyline.

Instead of using phonetics to show how a character speaks the word "roof" (does he say roooof or ruff?), you can describe his accent in the dialogue tags. This is a great opportunity to further your MC's voice as she describes the other character's accent in her own terms.

Another way to showcase an accent is to choose a key word or phrase that your character speaks repeatedly and spell the rest of the words in the sentence correctly.


Definition: A dialect is the choice of words a person uses and how a sentence is put together.

A character's dialect is much easier (and fun) to play around with because it involves manipulating specific word choices and sentence structure. It can be the difference between soda, pop, and Coke (I'm a soda girl myself)!

Just be careful not to always pick stereotypical word replacements. Fully research your character's dialect (even speaking to people from that area) if you're not fully immersed in it yourself.

Do you write dialects and accents? What are your tips?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Who's Your Favorite Winter Character??

Seeing how we (you & me specifically) won't be together again before Christmas, I'd like to personally wish you a wonderful weekend and holiday celebration with you and yours. Thank you for supporting our little Oasis. ~Sheri~

I've been thinking since last week about how I could mix-up our normal music exploration, here on Tuesday Tunes. Finally, I got some inspiration.

My snowman.
Isn't he adorable??
He's made of springs. I can make him tall or really short.
I'm a huge snowman fan and also a major musical fanatic. When I was thinking about snowmen being my favorite winter character and music that would fit the season, it was inevitable that Frosty the Snowman would cross my mind. What was it about Frosty that got me clinging to the television screen each and every year as a child?

Was it that he was round or that he wore that rocking black hat? Maybe it was his eyes made out of coal, or the fact that no matter how much snow fell in Maine my snowman never looked quite as dapper as Frosty.

When I really thought about it, I realized that it was his character, plain and simple. He was genuine, and so was the song that indelibly etched his image into my childhood. Yeah, I'm a sucker for the true dude, and Frosty is one of the truest characters I've ever know. He would have done anything, including melting to death, to keep that little girl from being scared. (Not sure why that fact never scarred me as a child, but...) 

This might sound funny and maybe even a bit ridiculous, but the next time you're looking for some inspiration developing the innards of a character think of Frosty. He's simple yet dimensional, and somehow still whole.

Now, I have to leave you with one of my favorite all-time songs about him. The video is a bit scrappy, but it's just how I remember watching it as a child.

Who's your favorite winter character and is there a song that captures his/her image???

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Sanctuary: Virtual Vacay

For most of us taking a vacation is easier said than done.  It requires weeks if not months of planning.  And if  you're like me, it requires more money than we generally have at any one moment in time, but I've found in the years since I've had kids, going on vacations have taken a priority.  I want my kids to see the Grand Canyon, Washington D.C., Hawaii, etc... However, because of my daughter's illness traveling to far off and exciting places isn't always possible.

Besides most of my vacations feel a lot more like this:

 than this:

Then I need a vacation from my vacation.

So, I've come up with the Virtual Vacation. I start looking at all these places I want to go.  Hawaii, Ireland, South America, whatever.  And pick one.  Then the kids and I read up on it and make our own little vacation.

Like this last year we went "camping" in our back yard.  Complete with campfire.  We printed pictures of the place we're "going" and make a photo album with it.  The kids even made their own pictures that went into the book.

 And last but not least, we pretend we're wherever we wanted to be.

Doing all this serves two purposes, we get to relax and take a break from the "Real world," but it also helps the kids learn about new places and gets them to use their imaginations.  And what more could a mother-writer want then their kids using their imaginations.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Freestyle Friday: Interview with Lisa Desrochers

Bio and pictures courtesy of her website and/or blog.

Today I have the absolute pleasure of interviewing Lisa Desrochers author of Personal Demons published by Tor Teen.  

Lisa can be found on her website, blog, facebook, goodreads, and twitter.   And the review I did on Personal Demons can be found here.

Bio from her website:

I live in central California with my husband and two very busy daughters. There is never a time that I can be found without a book in my hand, and I adore stories that take me to new places, and then take me by surprise. Books that changed my world include JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and A Separate Peace by John Knowles. Contemporary authors that I can't get enough of include Melissa Marr, Kristin Cashore, Jay Asher (write something else, Jay!), and Suzanne Collins.
I have a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, and my day job is my full time PT practice. Growing up all over the United States has inspired wanderlust and I love travel, which works out well, because my weekend job is lecturing internationally on a variety of health care topics. But, one day not long ago, for no apparent reason, I decided I needed another job and started a night job—writing. Personal Demons is my first novel.

1.    Where did the idea for Personal Demons come from? Specifically the tagging for Heaven and Hell, which by the way is a great concept.

I was listening to Saving Abel (one of my favorite bands) and reading a bio where they said they got their name from a biblical quote: “there was no saving Abel.” That got me thinking about the story of Cain and Abel, and I was mulling over ideas for a book when a name popped into my head. I thought to myself, Lucifer Cain, what a fun name for a demon. That was the beginning of Luc and Personal Demons.
The tagging thing came from Luc. I don’t write with an outline. I just take dictation. So, when Luc told me he was at Haden High to tag a soul for Hell, I just wrote it down.

2.   Why angels and demons?

Well, with a name like Lucifer Cain, it was pretty obvious Luc was a demon. And, where there’s a demon, there needs to be an angel. :p

3.   Why did you choose to write in first person with alternating POVs instead of third person?

Again, it’s all how the story comes to me. I know it sounds crazy, but my characters have conversations in my head or tell me things, and it’s always in first person. It would be a little strange (okay…stranger) if they talked to me in third person. Honestly, I’m not sure how anyone writes like that. It takes more talent than I have.

4.   Why doesn’t Gabriel have his own POV?

He didn’t want one. Luc and Frannie talk directly to me, but Gabe always comes through them. Additionally, it makes sense because he can read Frannie’s mind, in which case the reader would have known too much too fast from his POV. But, really, I like that he’s a little mysterious. For those of you who are Team Gabe, never fear. He’s demanding a POV in book three. =)

5.    Can you give a little hint at what the sequel is going to be about? (We won’t tell.  We promise.  ;) )  And how in the world do I get an ARC ;) ?

ARCs for Original Sin will be out in December. All I can say is that there are more angels, more demons and neither side is willing to give in. Frannie also begins to solve some of the mystery of her family. Oh…and someone dies. (insert evil laugh here)

6.   How many books are planned so far for the series?  Is it just a trilogy or do you expect there to be more?

It’s a trilogy. I’m currently writing Hellbent, which is the final book in the series. Team Luc or Team Gabe? This is your last chance to get your two cents in. =)

*I actually have a ton more questions about the book, but I can’t ask them or I’d give away spoilers for the book. * sigh *

7.   When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I didn’t. I just started writing one day two years ago, never really meaning to be a “writer.” My daughter loves to read, so I thought it would be a unique gift to write her a book for her birthday.

8.   Why did you start writing Young Adult books?

Again, I started writing for my daughter, who was 14 at the time. Everything I write is for her.

9.   What is the hardest part of writing YA in your opinion?

Writing YA, for me at least, is much easier than writing adult. Where most people my age are trying to get in touch with their inner child, I’m still looking for my inner adult. I sometimes need to ask my daughter for the right lingo, but other than that, I love everything about writing YA. I get to relive my misspent youth vicariously through my characters. ;p

10. Can you tell us how long it takes for you to write a book and what your work schedule is while writing?

When I’m in writing mode, my characters are in my head 24/7 and I can’t write fast enough to keep up with them. I write ever second I can find, working around my full-time day job, my family and my weekend job. Personal Demons took six weeks to write. Original Sin took eight.

11.What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That other people like them O_O

12.   As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

A horse.
               *Well, that's better than me!  I wanted to be a unicorn.  :p

13.   What’s your favorite book you haven’t written?

One? You’re joking, right? Sorry, you’re getting the list.
Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore
Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
And a million others.

14.  Which of your characters is your favorite?

That’s like asking me to pick a favorite child. I love them all.

*That's a very good point.  LOL. 

15.  Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

Yes and yes. There’s nothing like reading a great review for your book. When a reader really gets what I was trying to do, and I see it reflected in their review, it’s the best feeling. Reviews that point out issues in the book can be very helpful if they’re written in a constructive manner. I’ve made some small changes to Original Sin based on review feedback from Personal Demons.

16.    Which question are you most sick of answering in interviews?

None! It’s always fun to see what interviewers come up with =)

And our most important question, if you were trapped on a deserted island which author would you most like to be trapped with? 

John Green. He’s cute and totally hysterical. I’d love to write a book with him where we each do every other line. Just ad lib it and see where it went.

 Book Cover and blurb for Personal Demons

Frannie Cavanaugh has always been a bit of a loner. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance, even her closest friends. That is, until Luc Cain enrolls in her school. He's hot, sarcastic, and dangerous—and Frannie can't seem to stay away.
What she doesn't know is that Luc is on a mission. Because Frannie isn't exactly ordinary. She possesses a skill so unique that the king of Hell himself has taken notice, and he's sent Luc to claim Frannie's soul. It should be easy: All he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come.
Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and he's just started making progress when the angel Gabriel shows up. Gabe will do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for, and his angelic charm might just be enough to keep Frannie on the right path.
It isn't long before Luc and Gabe find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie's soul. But if Luc fails to win her over, there will be Hell to pay . . . for all of them.

Book Cover and mini-blurb for the sequel, Original Sin.
When secrets and old histories come to light, Frannie realizes that nobody is who she thought they were. Hell won't give up and Heaven won't give in. Some are willing to hurt anyone close to Frannie in order to get what they want. It will take everything she has and then some to stay out of Hell's grasp.  

 Thanks for joining us Lisa.  We wish you luck with Personal Demons and the entire series!
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