Friday, 22 August 2014

Author Interview - Pippa Jay, author of Restless in Peaceville

Welcome to my latest author interview! Today, I'm talking to Pippa Jay, whose latest book, Restless in Peaceville, was released on Wednesday!

Tell me three interesting facts about yourself!
I love to do freestyle street dance for exercise, I have a celtic butterfly tattoo on my right wrist, and my nickname as a child (even into my teens) was Dormouse due to my habit of curling up in a nest of blankets to sleep.

Summarize your book in one line.
Luke Chester thought being dead would solve all his problems, but being undead sucks worse.

Tell me something cool/crazy/quirky about the book – it can be anything!
I have a fight between a vampire and a zombie, something I’ve not seen anywhere else. Want to place bets on who wins?

Why did you decide to write this particular book?
I got absolutely obsessed with a film called Warm Bodies, despite not being a fan of horror, zombies, or anything remotely scary or gory. I loved how it made me feel sympathy for a character that should be seen as a terrifying monster. Also I’d read books with zombies that weren’t like the classic Hollywood creatures (by Terry Pratchett and Piers Anthony), so I started researching how the brain eating thing began and really digging into the whole zombie mythology. What I learned was so interesting--and inspired by Warm Bodies--I decided I wanted to write a book about a different kind of zombie.

Best part of the writing process? Finishing. Lol.

Share one thing you learned writing this book.
That I really can’t say I won’t write a particular genre. Because every time I’ve thought “This isn’t my kind of thing to write” I’ve gone ahead and written it anyway, and been really happy (if slightly freaked out) by the results. Never say never!

Tell me about one strange experience you’ve had. Again, it can be anything!
Hmm, not so much me exactly, but when my husband and I were first living together, we rented an old house near the centre of our home town. One evening he went into the second bedroom, light off, and saw someone standing there. He thought it was me waiting to jump out on him, but a moment later I came out of the bathroom and the figure disappeared. He was really spooked! We’d also had our stereo system switch itself on a couple of times, yet it never did it before we’d moved into that house, and never did it again after we moved out.

Name one fictional place you’d love to visit.
Pern. It has dragons!

Name one real place you’d love to visit.
Louisiana. I set my book there and had to rely on research, Google maps, and friends who live and/or were born there to get the details right. I’d love to go there and see it for real! And of course meet the people who helped me with it.

Share one sentence/mini-excerpt from the book!
The demon rolls its glowing red eyes. “Die of stupidity, did we?”

Book info:
Welcome to Peaceville, population 2067 and rising...from the grave...

Luke Chester has had enough. He’s the school geek, the girls laugh at him, he’s lost his dead-end job at the pizza place, and in the midst of the world’s messiest divorce his parents don’t even know he exists. An overdose of his mom’s tranquilizers and a stomach full of whiskey should solve all his problems...

But they don’t. Instead, Luke finds himself booted out of the afterlife for not dying a natural death, with nowhere to go but back to his recently vacated corpse and reality. How the hell is he going to pass for one of the living without someone trying to blow his brains out for being one of the undead?

And it just gets worse. He’s got to fight his own desperate craving to consume the living, evade the weird supernatural hunter who’s having a field day with the new undeads rising, and there’s this creepy black shadow following him around. Add to that the distraction of female fellow undead Annabelle burning to avenge her own murder, and clearly there’s no rest for the wicked. Jeez, all he wanted to do was R.I.P.

Restless In Peaceville, a YA supernatural story coming 20th August from Lycaon Press. Add it to your Goodreads shelf here -
Sign up to my newsletter for release info here -

Author bio:

After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.
Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. She’s a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Readers Favorite Contest, the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place), and a semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Awards.

You can stalk her at her website, or at her blog, but without doubt her favourite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

What's Up Wednesday

It's time for What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!

What I'm reading

I read Dust to Dust, the final book in the Experiment in Terror series by Karina Halle. I never expected to love this series as much as I did, and I'm sad it's over!

I also read Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, which has been on my list forever! Assassin nuns in medieval France? Hell yeah!

What I'm writing

I finished my draft!!!! :D In a crazy marathon session on Saturday, I wrote over 6000 words. I'm still not sure how I managed that...but my artsy WIP is finished! :D Well, the first draft is, and it'll be joining the other two drafts I've finished this year in the "Needs Serious Revision" folder. But for now, yay! *dances*

I've also been doing more outlining for the Shiny New Series and officially started writing it! ^_^ I'm casually working on the first book for now, because the next couple of weeks are going to be busy. It's my first adult book, which is proving an interesting challenge (especially as the voice is turning out to be similar to my YA books!). And I still haven't nailed down the genre. (It's urban fantasy with alternative universes, so it's basically tap-dancing over all the sub-genres of fantasy...)

What inspires me

Epic marathon writing days! Until Saturday, I hadn't had one of those in a while! :D And now, I'm inspired by my shiny new manuscript! ^^

What else I've been up to

I finally watched Guardians of the Galaxy, and I absolutely loved it! My boyfriend and I also spent a day in London, seeing the sights, and then we went to a gig. ^_^

I've also discovered the genius of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast. It's awesome. 

And today, I'm travelling up north to visit my boyfriend for a few days. Then I'll have one day to pack for my second impromptu mini-break of the year. On Monday, I'm going to Italy with my family for three days! So life's going into Crazyville for a bit, and my presence on le interwebs might be a tiny bit scattered (I'm on a train today, but I'll return comments as soon as I can!).

Monday, 18 August 2014

Monday Mini-Reviews - Mary: The Summoning by Hilary Monahan and Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

MARY: The Summoning (Bloody Mary, #1)
There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.

Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them--Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna--must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.

A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY." A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.

Once is not enough, though--at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary's wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.

A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary--and Jess--before it's too late?

My review

The creepy cover and blurb caught my attention immediately. This is one seriously scary story! It starts with the well-known game “Bloody Mary”. Shauna’s friend Jess is obsessed with the idea of summoning the ghost of Mary from a mirror, and manages to convince Shauna, Kitty and Anna to go along with her plan. None of them expect it to really work, and for the gruesome spectre to walk out into the real world. Mary attaches herself to Shauna, haunting her through every reflective surface and threatening everyone she cares about.

There are very few books which I can honestly say terrified me, but this one did. From the beginning, it had me glued to the pages. The characters and their friendships are well-drawn and the added conflict when Mary targets them made each chilling reveal even more effective. The suspense kept me riveted and it never slowed down, keeping just the right pace. I haven’t read a ghost story this good since ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD. Recommended for all fans of creeptastic horror!

4.5 stars.

Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly, #1) 

 There's something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia....

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family as fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walkers by. But this is nothing compared to what she's just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor...from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she'll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel, the situation becomes dire. An now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

My review

I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this book for ages, but as it isn’t published in the UK, it’s taken me ages to find a good-quality second-hand paperback. But it was worth the wait! Susan Dennard’s debut novel transports us to a 19th-century Philadelphia with a zombie problem, and I was thoroughly swept up in the story. Eleanor Fitt’s brother has disappeared, and when Eleanor receives a note from him delivered by a dead man, she decides to seek out the Spirit-Hunters, a group dedicated to fighting the supernatural forces invading the world.

I’ve honestly never read a book quite like this. 19th century and zombies is a combination that works (perhaps surprisingly) really well, and the storyline is enjoyable with no dull moments. The developing romance between Eleanor and Daniel and the social complications of this are well-handled and the chemistry between the characters is one of the books’ strengths. A creepy and unique historical-paranormal mystery for anyone looking for a unique spin on zombies!

Rating: 4.5 stars. 

Ready. Set. Write! Week 10 Update

Ready. Set. Write! is a writing challenge hosted by Alison Miller, Katy Upperman, Erin L. Funk and Jaime Morrow, between now and the 25th August!

How I did on last week’s goal(s)

I finished my draft at 75K - so that's 11K written this week! :D On Saturday, I wrote SIX THOUSAND words. Seriously. o.O That beats my lifetime record! Possibly, I made a deal with the devil in my sleep, because I've no clue how it happened.

I also wrote more of Book 1 of Shiny New Series! I've finished the outlines for the series and more or less got all the major information down, but I'm still adding little details in, and tweaking and refining things. The Muse has spoken - this is going to be my next WIP! :D And I'm at 6000 words already!

My goal(s) for this week

I'm not setting a goal this week because my schedule's all over the place! I'm travelling up north for my boyfriend's birthday and then have to pack for a family holiday. (I'm going to Florence with my family for a few days next week, which should be fun! ^_^) So...not much writing time. *sniff* Though if this idea continues to be so persistent, you never know what might happen!

A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

THE END! (I didn't actually write "The End". :P)

The biggest challenge I faced this week

Balancing writing with various other real-world things...because the slightest disruption to my routine makes my concentration go walkabout. Luckily, it didn't last!

Something I love about my WIP 

I love that I never expected a new idea to sneak up on me and take over so quickly! I have several other projects I could work on, but this one insists on being written next. :P

I'll post my final Ready. Set. Write! update early next Monday/Sunday night, because I'm flying to Italy on Monday morning! ^_^