Friday, September 30, 2016

5 Reasons Why I Love Writing Contemporary YA Romance

Contemporary YA romance. I love reading it, and I adore writing it. Second chance romance, boy next door, friends to lovers, enemies to lovers...bring all of it on!

To celebrate Entangled Teen Crush's epic $0.99 sale, here are five reasons why I love writing contemporary YA romance!

The boys are swoony. Let's be real. You can't get away with using the word "swoony" to describe anyone much older than 21. But contemporary YA romance boys? SWOONY. And so much fun to write.

You can forget adulting (but nothing is "too adult"). I've never written an adult book, but if I did, I imagine it would be pretty boring. Taxes, blah blah blah. Paying bills, blah blah blah. Doing laundry, blah blah blah.

Teens have so many more exciting things to write about! First loves! College choices! Prom!

But I also love that no "adult" topics are off-limits. Romance, sex, heartbreak, drinking, mental health issues, etc. are all things teens deal with. Therefore, they can and should be included, just from a uniquely teenage perspective.

First kisses. Need I say more?

Teenagers. Are. Awesome. And I don't just mean characters. I mean the teens I meet when I'm speaking or doing a signing or hanging out on Twitter. They are sweet and real and make me laugh and sometimes make me cry and always give the best book recommendations. They're infinitely cooler than the grown-ups I hang out with.

The highs are really high (and the lows are really low). There's a quote from the move 17 Again that I absolutely love:

The first part of that quote is so true. Every breakup, every snub from your crush, every time he picks the other all feels like the end of the world. But while those lows are low, the highs are also high. Every kiss, every sweet text, every touch is euphoric.

Those extremes are the biggest reason why I write YA, and specifically why I write contemporary YA romance. I can't imagine writing anything else.

Looking for a new contemporary YA romance read? Check out PIECES OF YOU AND ME, on sale for $0.99 through 10/2/16!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cover Reveal + Interview: SAY NO TO THE BRO by Kat Helgeson

Talented author? Check.
Must-read plot? Check.
Catchy title? Check.
Winning cover? CHECK.

SAY NO TO THE BRO by Kat Helgeson has it all. Kat is 1/2 of the author duo who brought you GENA/FINN (which, if you haven't read that one, what are you waiting for?!). This is her first solo novel, and it sounds AMAZING.

Here's a first look at the cover. Keep scrolling to learn more about Kat and the book that should definitely be on your 2017 TBR!


So what's SAY NO TO THE BRO all about?

Ava’s plan for surviving senior year at her new school is simple: fly under the radar until graduation. No boys. No attachments. No drama. But all that goes out the window when she gets drafted into the Prom Bowl—a long-standing tradition where senior girls compete in challenges to be auctioned off as prom dates to the highest bidder. Ava joins forces with star quarterback Mark Palmer to try and get her out of the competition but their best laid schemes lead to more self-sabotage than anything else. And to make matters worse, they both begin to realize that the Prom Bowl isn’t all fun and games. When one event spirals dangerously out of control, Ava and Mark must decide whether shutting down the Prom Bowl once and for all is worth the price of sacrificing their futures. 

What word or words would you use to describe your main characters?

Ava is introverted, loyal, and stubborn. Mark is charismatic, funloving, and entitled.​ 

Prom superlatives time! Which one of your characters would win... dressed?​ - Charlotte​
...most likely to spike the punch?​ - Cody​
...worst dance moves?​ - Coach Vanguard​
...most likely to leave with someone other than his or her date?​ - Solstice​
...cutest couple?​ - Denise and Zoe​

Did you go to your high school prom? If so, what was the best or worst part?

I did, but it wasn't a red-letter event for me. I think, like Ava, I wouldn't have minded doing something else that night. My favorite part was getting ready with my friends.​ 

What song would you definitely put on your characters' prom playlist?

​Ava and Mark's relationship dynamic was partly inspired by this dance:

I think they'd dance to this song.

If you were in high school today and got asked to go to prom tomorrow, what would your dress look like?

When I went to my real high school prom I wore navy blue both times, and so did all my friends, so I'd probably pick bright orange or something.​

Your first novel, GENA/FINN, was co-written with Hannah Moskowitz. How was it writing solo this time?

Cowriting is a million times more fun. It's like playing in the pool with your friends versus swimming laps. Writing alone is less emotionally taxing, though, because it's easier to maintain distance and step away when you need to.​

If you had to pick one Hamilton song to keep while getting rid of the rest forever, which one would you keep?

I'd pick "Non-Stop" because of the lyrics about Hamilton writing every second he's alive.​

Oreos. There are approximately 9,472 flavors these days. Do you have a favorite flavor, do you like the classic, or are you not an Oreo fan?

​Classic. You can't improve on perfection.​ 

What have you read and loved recently?

I just finished the graphic novel MAUS, which is a tough read, but one I recommend highly. ​

What was the best part about doing GISHWHES this year?

The best part of GISHWHES is always the new friends. This year I was lucky enough to be placed on a team with a group of kids from Sweden. We called ourselves the Supernatural Swedes. I'm Facebook friends with several of them now.​ 

If you could make your own nail polish, what color would it be, and what would you name it?

​It would be steel-grey, and it would be called NAILED IT​

Thank you to Kat for the interview! Can't wait for 2017.

You can add SAY NO TO THE BRO to your Goodreads TBR here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

All Laced Up

Surreal and exciting news: my third book comes out October 10, 2016! ALL LACED UP is another contemporary young adult novel from Entangled Teen Crush!

Everyone loves hockey superstar Pierce Miller. Everyone except Lia Bailey.

When the two are forced to teach a skating class to save the rink, Lia’s not sure she’ll survive the pressure of Nationals and Pierce’s ego. Not only can’t he remember her name, he signed her bottle of water like she was one of his groupies. Ugh.

But if there’s one thing Lia knows better than figure skating, it’s hockey. Hoping to take his ego down a notch—or seven—she logs into his team website under an anonymous name to give him pointers on his less-than-stellar playing.

Turns out, Pierce isn’t arrogant at all. And they have a lot in common. Too bad he’s falling for the anonymous girl online. No matter how much fun they’re starting to have in real life, she’s afraid he’s going to choose fake-Lia over the real one...

Disclaimer: This book contains a swoony hockey player (and his equally swoony friends!), one-too-many social media accounts, kisses that’ll melt ice, and a secret identity that might not be so secret after all...

I had a blast writing this one and hope you'll enjoy reading it, too! Can't wait for you to meet Pierce and Lia!

You can add All Laced Up to your Goodreads TBR here. You can also pre-order it on Amazon or B&N.

See you on the ice in October!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Interview with PURGE author Kat Ellis

There's no one who does intense, kinda dark, super-exciting YA better than Kat Ellis. Seriously, Kat's novels keep you on the edge of her seat! Luckily for us, her third novel, PURGE, is out today!

Mason has a habit of getting into trouble. He's been kicked out of every place he's ever lived in. Moving to the cult-like community of Alteria is definitely a last resort, even if it's better than braving the wastelands outside. But following their strict rules is a hundred times harder when Mason meets Eden, who has a wicked streak to match his own. Caught with contraband, Eden is forced into a programme to purge her bad behaviour. But Mason has seen what happens to people who get purged, and knows he will lose Eden if he can’t help her find a way out.

Out in the wastelands, Noah has no memory of what happened before he was abandoned in a war zone. All he wants is to know who he is, and if he can trust the strangers who rescued him from the rubble.

With lies surrounding them on all sides, Mason and Noah must piece together the truth if they want to escape. Failure is not an option when it means being purged from existence.

Kat was kind enough to answer a few questions about PURGE and writing to help celebrate her book birthday! Check out her responses...

If you had to describe PURGE in five words or fewer, what words (or phrase) would you use?

Two trapped teens: no escape!

Finish this sentence: PURGE will appeal to fans of...

... THE MAZE RUNNER (maybe? I think?)

If you were making a playlist to go with PURGE, which songs would you choose to represent Mason and Noah?

For Mason, I'd choose You & Me by Disclosure feat. Eliza Doolittle (Flume Remix) because it's kind of trippy, and the video is super hot and reminds me of Mason together with Eden - the girl who changes the way he thinks about everything.

Noah's song would have to be something angsty and confused and intense, so I think Can You Feel My Heart by Bring Me The Horizon is perfect!

As an avid and talented photographer, what's the most interesting photo you've taken recently? Can you share it with us?

Haha, thank you! I love taking photos of the weird and wonderful Welsh scenery, and this is one of my recent faves. It looks so desolate and creepy, I think it fits in well with certain scenes in PURGE.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

The YA landscape is constantly evolving, so read as much as you can - especially new books that are coming out - and don't get tripped up by trying to write to trends. Find your own niche, and if it doesn't exist, create it!

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Kat!

Want to get your hands on PURGE? If you're in the UK, you can purchase via Amazon, The Guardian, or Waterstones. If you're in the US (or elsewhere), you can get your copy from The Book Depository.

Other helpful links:

Add PURGE to your Goodreads TBR
Follow Kat on Twitter
Follow Kat on Instagram ( this...she takes amazing pictures!)
Visit Kat's website