Thursday, August 4, 2016

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Huntley Fitzpatrick Knows Romantic Personally

When you’re the mother of six, juggling all the things in the air might not come naturally, but it’s a must. Add in a side of writing some of the most adored YA romances and you’re talking about one talented author — Huntley Fitzpatrick. Which is why I’m not surprised Huntley pulls from her own life - the quirks, the comments, and the hilarious dialogue - since every conversation, interaction between her fictional tight-knit families feel ever so real and heartfelt. It's as if the characters inhabiting the book were pulled from the clutches of reality and forever preserved in the pages of her sweet romances.
And woah — wow factor, does Huntley know sexy and mysterious and adventurous in a first hand way. If you hadn’t heard, there was an incident on a train that involved kissing a stranger. Yep… the lady doth not protest, and gave up all the glorious details of a passing in the night story that was all her own making. Such a romantic moment!
Okay so I keep hearing about this stranger you kissed on a train — what’s the story behind this moment? Are you able to expand upon it? Is the stranger still a stranger? This is what you get when you are honest about things no one knows about you! But seriously, yes, I did kiss a stranger, and to this day, I don’t know his story. Or remember his name, though he did tell it to me. I was taking the train from Boston to Washington, D.C. The guy I’d been in love with for several years had put me on the train. I was still in the friend zone with him, but the guy who sat down next to me must have adding up my wistful gaze out the window and air of general pining. He was quiet, kind of shy, gorgeous in an understated blond Robert Redford type way (that’s how I described him in my journal —sounds almost impossible, though). We talked all the way to Philadelphia. It was late at night, and the train lights were low. The train was pretty empty. We rested our feet on the seat opposite us and whispered back and forth and finally he asked if he could kiss me. I said yes. It was completely unlike me. But I have never regretted it for a second. Although it might have made a better story if the stranger had turned out to be Obama or John Green.
[See… See… is that not the most romantic story? If that was her real life, no wonder she has no problem jumping from it to fictional writing. However, as darling as that moment is, she also knows the flip side of things given people have no problem offering advice on her large family and it’s not always the nicest reactions either. I felt horrible for Mrs. Garrett at the comments she had to withstand in THE BOY MOST LIKELY. Her children, her choice and Huntley channeled her feelings and incidents into a beautiful, kind mother who has rubbed off on Alice — Tim’s love interest here.]
How do you schedule in writing time with six children and does it coincide with your favorite part of the day to write? Do you have certain times of the day where you are more inspired to write? One of the things I’m always getting told as the mother of a large family is how easy-going I am. This usually comes right after “You’ve certainly got your hands full” and immediately before “What were you thinking?” (**Yes, every one of the comments made to Mrs. Garrett in the supermarket came directly from my journal). The fact is, I’m easy-going and disciplined in equal measure, and that combo works for me with both writing and family. I write when I can, where I can (although it really really helps if I’m alone and it’s quiet)—and whether that’s at 2 a.m. or in the library at dinner time or away at a hotel for a weekend or for twenty minutes when I have to call down the stairs to only disturb me if there’s blood or unconsciousness, that’s what I do.
What do your children think of your career and how do they inspire your novels, your writing? They have a big mix of feelings. They’re proud of me—they love having me visit their classrooms, they tell their friends and their teachers to read me, they move my books so the cover rather than the spine faces out when they see them at a bookstore, they come home with stories they think I might be able to ‘use’, they are honest about what words I use that are totally not “real kid” words. But they also want to be sure that their needs are met first and foremost, they get embarrassed by my love and kissing scenes, they miss me when I’m at conferences and they fear that I’ll use their lives as material. I don’t use anybody’s life but my own and my imagination as material, but having kids does keep the feelings of being young right in front of me, not just in my memories, my journals, and my heart.
You’ve mentioned having a desire to possibly breakaway from YA romance, has that happened yet? Your next novels — will we find them in historical fiction or New Adult? Are you even allowed to give us a hint of what you’re working on next? YA still feels like my home and the place for the stories I want to tell right now. But I read all genres, and I’ve tried writing several (mystery, historical fiction, new adult). Right now I have an idea for a woman’s fiction story percolating in my mind. I make notes on it, and sort of noodle on how to make it work when I’m waiting in line or stuck in traffic, etc…it’s not a story I ever thought I’d find myself writing. I also wrote an (unpublished) New Adult several years ago, and I periodically wonder about updating it. But for now, I’m all YA.
My next book features a crash, a mystery, and a pair of teenagers on a quest to discover their fathers’ true identities. But it’s contemporary YA romance like the previous three.
Out of all the jobs you’ve had – besides author – which do you think best suited you and why? Which one shaped you most into the person you are? How much of your experiences at these jobs filter into your novels, your characterizations of persons in your novels. You have a wide array of characters, all with varied backgrounds and vices — from where do you think you draw the most inspiration for them? Great question—like all the above, it really got me thinking. The jobs I most adored was being an editor at Harlequin—I got to do pretty much every single thing I loved, and get paid for it. I practically sprinted from the subway to the office every day. But by the time I got that job, I was in my late twenties and already knew who I was. All the other jobs along the way shaped me—I think that’s true of everyone, but certainly me. I got to live multiple lives because of all those jobs—I remember clearly what it’s like to be a waitress, and babysit, and the stress of owning your own business, I’ve been both the privileged visitor to the summer community and the hardworking local. I hope I’m easier to work with as a writer because I was an editor, the same way I hoped the reverse. Personally, I try to bring everything I was into who I am all the time—to imagine how it feels to be on the flip side. It works wonders when dealing with your children, and it’s not a bad way to live in general.
[No it is not a bad way to live at all. In fact, it’s quite a lovely sentiment and one a lot of people espouse. Of course, I think my mom was fond of  the saying: Walk a mile in another person’s shoes before you even begin to think of understanding them. As if I’d put my feet in someone else’s shoes. Yeah… I was a bit of a smart-mouthed brat sometimes. You’ve got the idea though, right?]


Born to parents who read anything and everything, the young, shy and nearsighted Huntley found herself searching for books that let her fall in love… with the story and the boy. It was only natural that one day she would decide to pursue a career in writing. In whole-hearted support, her father presented her with a typewriter, a package of Lucky Strike cigarettes, a bottle of Scotch and a note advising her to “Be Bold, Be Bold, Be Bold.”
For her tenth birthday.
Skipping the Scotch and the smokes, she began to write. Her first story involved a family with twenty children who lived by the ocean. The parents were twenty-two. To this day, some things remain constant in Huntley’s life: her love of family, salt air, summer and beaches and a shaky grasp of math.
In her teenage years, Huntley’s writing involved forcing friends to listen to her stories. At times this involved a twenty-page analysis of a two minute conversation with her current crush and included such phrases as “Pause. Silence. Much audible blushing.” Already, she was well on the path to exploring the paradoxical emotions involved in first love and true love. Sometimes we get lucky and they are the same thing.
Huntley spent her college years majoring in Shakespeare and completing a minor in daydreaming, following which she spent time working as a waitress, a caterer, a publicist’s minion, a bartender, an account firm assistant, romance novel editor, and co-owner of a cafĂ©.
Along the way she, too, fell in love.
Today, Huntley lives on the coast of Massachusetts with her encouraging husband and their six energetic children who, thankfully, let her pick their brains, advising her on whatever is currently cool and reminding her of what always matters. In between – and sometimes during – the moments of chaos that surround her large family, Huntley can often be seen dashing to her computer or scribbling with whatever writing implements are on hand—lipstick or eyebrow pencil on an ATM receipt is fair game. Thoughts of young love are never far from her mind.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

'Waiting On' Wednesday: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Veronica Roth skyrocketed to book fame with her vividly compelling ‘Divergent’ trilogy. Now a movie starring some of the most popular actors of this era, Roth watched her written worlds come to life on-screen. Huge and overwhelming, her life upturned from quiet to celebrity overnight, but she has stayed busy.

ParnassusNext sent me a published sneak peek of Carve the Mark this week with my subscription book (This Savage Song) and reminded me of the brilliance of this book coming. I adore the character interaction already. Have you read the excerpt from EW?
EW announced the title and revealed the cover for Carve the Mark! It will be the first of two books. A sic-fi duology, with a hero and heroine leading the narration. Cyra and Akos might come from two very individual worlds, separated in a caste society; but they are destined to become unexpected allies.
Neither present with a currentgift (unique powers to affect the future that everyone is meant to receive in this world) that will aid them in life. That’s an anomaly, and on the planet they live, ruled by brutal control with violence and vengeance among the favored clastes, it’s a life sentence of misery. Together though, Cyra and Akos might be the trigger needed to reset the balance of the world.
Perpetual New Girls pulled a bit of the exclusive excerpt from EW as a sneak peek for here, but to get the full effect of Chapter seven and the tone of Roth’s newest work, head HERE.

  • Title: Carve the Mark
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
  • Publishing date: January 17, 2017
  • Author(s): Veronica Roth
  • Series: Untitled Duology
I was tall, too, but that was where my physical similarities with my brother ended. It wasn’t uncommon for Shotet siblings to look dissimilar, given how blended our blood was, but we were more distinct than most.
The boy—Akos—lifted his eyes to Ryzek’s. I had first seen the name “Akos” in a Shotet history book. It had belonged to a religious leader, a cleric who had taken his life rather than dishonor the current by holding a currentblade. So this Thuvhesit boy had a Shotet name. Had his parents simply forgotten its origins? Or did they want to honor some long-forgotten Shotet blood?
“Why are we here?” Akos said hoarsely, in Shotet.
Ryzek only smiled further. “I see the rumors are true—you can speak the revelatory tongue. How fascinating. I wonder how you came by your Shotet blood?” He prodded the corner of Akos’s eye, at the bruise there, making him wince. “You received quite a punishment for your murder of one of my soldiers, I see. I take it your rib cage is suffering damage.”
Ryzek flinched a little as he spoke. Only someone who had known him as long as I had could have seen it, I was certain. Ryzek hated to watch pain, not out of empathy for the person suffering it, but because he didn’t like to be reminded that pain existed, that he was as vulnerable to it as anyone else.
“Almost had to carry him here,” Vas said. “Definitely had to carry him onto the ship.”
“Usually you would not survive a defiant gesture like killing one of my soldiers,” Ryzek said, speaking down to Akos like he was a child. “But your fate is to die serving the family Noavek, to die serving me, and I’d rather get a few seasons out of you first, you see.”
Akos had been tense since I laid eyes on him. As I watched, it was as if all the hardness in him melted away, leaving him looking as vulnerable as a small child. His fingers were curled, but not into fists. Passively, like he was sleeping.
I guess he hadn’t known his fate.
“That isn’t true,” Akos said, like he was waiting for Ryzek to soothe away the fear. I pressed a sharp pain from my stomach with a palm.
“Oh, I assure you that it is. Would you like me to read from the transcript of the announcement?” Ryzek took a square of paper from his back pocket—he had come to this meeting prepared to wreak emotional havoc, apparently—and unfolded it. Akos was trembling.
“‘The third child of the family Kereseth,’” Ryzek read, in Othyrian. Somehow hearing the fate in the language in which it had been announced made it sound more real to me. I wondered if Akos, shuddering at each syllable, felt the same. “‘Will die in service to the family Noavek.’”
Ryzek let the paper drop to the floor. Akos grabbed it so roughly it almost tore. He stayed crouched as he read the words—again and again—as if rereading them would change them. As if his death, and his service to our family, were not preordained.
“It won’t happen,” Akos said, harder this time, as he stood. “I would rather … I would rather die than—”
“Oh, I don’t think that’s true,” Ryzek said, lowering his voice to a near-whisper. He bent close to Akos’s face. Akos’s fingers tore holes in the paper, though he was otherwise still. “I know what people look like when they want to die. I’ve brought many of them to that point myself. And you are still very much desperate to survive.”
Akos took a breath, and his eyes found my brother’s with new steadiness. “My brother has nothing to do with you. You have no claim to him. Let him go, and I … I won’t give you any trouble.”
“You seem to have made several incorrect assumptions about what you and your brother are doing here,” Ryzek said. “We did not, as you have assumed, cross the Divide just to speed along your fate. Your brother is not collateral damage; you are. We went in search of him.”
You didn’t cross the Divide,” Akos snapped. “You just sat here and let your lackeys do it all for you.”
Ryzek turned and climbed to the top of the platform. The wall above it was covered with weapons of all shapes and sizes, most of them currentblades as long as my arm. He selected a large, thick knife with a sturdy handle, like a meat cleaver.
“Your brother has a particular destiny,” Ryzek said, looking the knife over. “I assume, since you did not know your own fate, that you don’t know his, either?”
Ryzek grinned the way he always did when he knew something other people didn’t.
“‘To see the future of the galaxy,’” Ryzek quoted, in Shotet this time. “In other words, to be this planet’s next oracle.”
Akos was silent.
Veronica Roth is from a Chicago suburb. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University, and wrote DIVERGENT (Katherine Tegen Books, May 2011) and INSURGENT (May 2012). The third and final book in The Divergent Trilogy, ALLEGIANT, came out on October 22, 2013. In the meantime she spends endless hours browsing Wikipedia in her pajamas as she eats corn flakes. (Or some other kind of bland breakfast cereal.)
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