Books' Purchase Links:
The Sound of Us
The Art of Falling
Until We End
Secret of Isobel Key
Her Secret Inheritance
Road to Somewhere
Beyond Our Stars
My Soon-To-Be-Sex Life
Sparkie 6 Month Anniversary
What has been your best experience since the release of your book?
Ashley Poston: Definitely all the support on Twitter and Facebook! I never thought I’d have so many people out of the blue just tweeting me to tell me how much they loved my story! It means a lot to me. I think every author has one story that’s their “baby” and mine is The Sound of Us. While it’s a very funny, very light-hearted YA/NA crossover (think Fangirl), its tackles some heavy-hitting stuff that’s pretty personal to me. And it’s surreal and wonderful and thrilling to read how much other people enjoyed it!
Caroline Dunford: I loved seeing the face of my heroine Sharra on the beautiful cover. She is just as I imagined her.
Cat Kalen: I am thrilled with reader response. I heard from students who were using my book for their school reports and it thrilled me.
Christine Duval: Really it is more than one moment. It is all the times women have come up to me, written to me, tweeted to me about how Positively Mine reminded them of their own situations. Many are women who were teen moms or who found themselves unexpectedly pregnant in college. I am so moved that something I created has had meaning in another person’s life.
Frankie Brown: Meeting so many wonderful people! The Sparkies are a wonderfully sweet, vivacious group, and the online YA book community is a ton of fun.
Jen McConnel: Listening to the amazing audiobook for the first time! My narrator, Carolyn Bonnyman, has the perfect voice for the story, and I could listen to her all day long. It’s funny, too; when I was revising the sequel, I heard it in her voice. She’s become an integral part of my story, and I’m so glad!
Jenny Kaczorowski: The moment my book popped up in my local library’s eMedia collection! More than any other publishing dream, I’ve always wanted to have something I wrote in libraries. I stumbled across it by accident and nearly screamed.
Jenny Morris: Reading people’s reviews and knowing they totally got our story. It’s still crazy to me that a total stranger is reading something that I wrote and relating to it.
Judith Tewes: My title isn’t out in the world yet (releases in July), but I’ve had a blast supporting my fellow Bloomsbury Spark authors as each new title has launched.
Kate Jarvik Birch: It might sound a little sadistic, but hearing that my book has brought someone to tears is one of the best feelings EVER—it’s also pretty awesome to hear that I’ve made them yell and cheer, but for some reason the tears feel like the biggest payoff.
Kelley Lynn: Fans (Eep! I still can’t believe I have fans…haha) contacting me wanting to talk about the book. I actually had one twelve-year-old girl somehow get a hold of my phone number. She called me and in this really sweet, shaky voice, asked how she could get a signed copy of my book. It was just so flattering and is totally the reason I do this.
Marie Langager: It’s an awesome feeling when you connect with readers. Especially when they’re in a country you’ve never been to!
Theresa DaLayne: Since my book doesn’t release until mid-August of this 2014, I probably haven’t had it yet. THE EDGE OF YOU is my new adult debut, and although Ron and Lilly’s story isn’t full of rainbows and gumdrops, it’s real. I think my favorite part about writing the story was reliving my years spent in Kodiak Island, Alaska, where I grew up. A few characters, like Lori for example, play a small but beautiful role, and are depictions of real people. It was an honor to incorporate part of my life into the story that will be shared with so many others.
What is the best thing about being part of Bloomsbury Spark?
Ashley Poston: Definitely the authors. We’re like one big family. I’m thankful and so very glad to have met every single one of them. They’re all so talented, and they’ve enriched my life more than they know!
Caroline Dunford: Everyone has been so warm and welcoming.
Cat Kalen: The support from Meredith and all the authors. Everyone is so giving, helpful and wonderful, not to mention talented!
Christine Duval: The enthusiasm of everyone involved with it! It has been so amazing watching Spark grow under Meredith’s guidance and I feel I’ve made a bunch of new friends on this journey. I love hearing about everyone’s successes and learning what’s coming next while watching our readership grow.
Frankie Brown: Again: the people. Meredith is incredible, and everyone at Bloomsbury--from the social media team to the cover designers--is passionate about what they do. It's infectious.
Jen McConnel: It’s so hard to pick one thing, but I’d have to say that the sense of community is amazing. The authors, the team at Bloomsbury, and our fearless leader, editor Meredith Rich, all come together to create a wonderful, enthusiastic literary family.
Jenny Kaczorowski: The support! Meredith is an amazing editor, the cover artist for FALLING is amazing, and the other Spark authors are fantastic! Not only are we publishing siblings, but friends. I love having so many people with me on this journey!
Jenny Morris: The Sparkie Family. Meredith connected all of us together and the other authors really are amazingly supportive, and the best cheerleaders.
Judith Tewes: Bloomsbury Spark is in good hands with our editor, Meredith, and I love how she’s willing to take risks in her selections for this new YA / NA line. Spark titles (and authors) are ones to watch!
Kate Jarvik Birch: Being part of the Spark family has introduced me to a tight knit group of fantastic writers, all of whom support and buoy one another. Plus, it’s given me a chance to read some pretty stellar books by my fellow authors.
Kelley Lynn: Can I say everything? Everyone on the Bloomsbury Spark team is so wonderful. Meredith, and her supporting cast are the best. And the other authors in this family are so talented and nice. It’s just such a wonderful community to be a part of.
Marie Langager: I feel so lucky to be a part of this group of fantastic authors. So much support and so much fun. You really get to be a part of something special and make friends along the way!
Theresa DaLayne: My publishing career has had its peaks and valleys, but being a part of Bloomsbury Spark is most definitely a peak. My editor, Meredith, and the talented cover art department have worked hard to ensure I love the cover to my book. That’s something invaluable. And my fellow Sparkies are just about the best group of young adult and new adult authors I’ve had the honor of working with. With only six months under Spark’s belt, the future of our growing family is bright!
What are you working on now?
Ashley Poston: The sequels to THE SOUND OF US, actually! WE OWN THE NIGHT follows Ingrid, who hosts a late-night radio show to escape the reality of her small-town life, and finds herself drawn to a regular caller who is trying to escape his own life, too. It’s like Sleepless in Seattle if the main character was Rebel Wilson. YOU BURY ME is about two ex-best friends who find themselves on a road trip to complete a bucket list their late friend left behind. I’m really excited for both of them, and I hope you are, too! While they’re not direct sequels to Junie and Roman’s adventures in love, JuRo definitely make appearances (and maybe some other lovely secondary characters, too?)
Caroline Dunford: I have stories I'm working on, but I don't tend to reveal anything until the time is right!
Cat Kalen: I’m working on Pride Unleashed and Pride’s Pursuit the follow up books to Pride’s Run.
Christine Duval: The sequel to POSITIVELY MINE! The first draft is done, I am happy to say, and I am getting ready to send the detailed synopsis off to Bloomsbury!
Frankie Brown: A lot of different things! Stay tuned...
Jen McConnel: I’m shifting gears out of NA mode for awhile, and focusing on revising the second book in my YA fantasy series from Month9Books. It’s fun to flip flop between contemporary with a touch of paranormal and full-on fantasy, with witches and gods and goddesses popping up like whack-a-mole. GODS OF CHAOS, the sequel to DAUGHTER OF CHAOS, is due out next March...squee! There’s always another story to be told, and I can’t wait to see what comes next!
Jenny Kaczorowski: I am working on two follow-ups to THE ART OF FALLING, set in the same high school but following different characters. THE TRICK TO LANDING is about Summer, a semi-pro skateboarder trying to build a new life after a DUI. After moving to Oceanside, she meets Bastian, a brilliant photographer fighting for a future beyond the bleeding disorder that defines his life. Their romance is messy and painful, but very sweet. THE RHYTHM OF BREATHING follows Abby, Bria’s best friend in FALLING. When she kisses Jackie, the drummer in a metal band, on New Year’s Eve, she expects it to be a one-time fling. Instead, she finds herself head over heals for a boy with a dark past, deep scars and exactly what she needs to confront her own issues.
Jenny Morris: I am working on a story outline for a follow-up to ROAD TO SOMEWHERE. It follows Charlie to college and Lucy in her last few months of high school. Kelly Lynn and I are excited about the possibility of continuing the sisters’ story. I’m also working on another collaboration called REMEMBER. It’s Romeo and Juliette meets Total Recall.
Judith Tewes: I’m gearing up for the release of MY SOON-TO-BE SEX LIFE, can’t wait for the blog tour madness to begin.
Kate Jarvik Birch: What am I NOT working on now? I’m just finishing up co-writing a middle grade novel about unlikely friends navigating middle school while trying to discover whether magic is real. I’ve got another YA novel, PERFECTED, coming out July 1st from Entangled Teen and I’m busy writing the sequel, which is due out next year. I’ve got some picture book projects in the works and still need to find the time to write the screenplay I’ve been marinating for years. Phew, I’m exhausted just thinking about it!
Kelley Lynn: Jenny S. Morris and I are working on the sequel to ROAD TO SOMEWHERE. We just love being back in Charlie and Lucy’s world! I’m working on the final edits for another edition to the Bloomsbury Spark family, ONE WISH AWAY, which is a science fiction twist on the ‘when you wish upon a star’ theme. I’m also negotiating a contract for another YA Contemporary and my super duper agent, Jamie Bodnar Drowley, and I are putting the finishing touches on a YA Thriller so we can start submitting that soon. Busy, busy, busy J
Marie Langager: I’m finishing up a project that has been a long time in the making. Imagine a protagonist who’s a little bit like Jo March but hears voices and is very, very angry. She’s viewed by many as odd and unfixable. In this character’s world the Archbishop teaches her to stay away from the lying peddlers of magic. This book is madness, magic, darkness, and lots of cool new magical weapons!
Theresa DaLayne: I’m working on a few projects at the moment. One is a new adult story about a nineteen-year-old California socialite with a kleptomaniac habit that gets her in big trouble. It started out as a fun, rich-girl-gets-forced-into-being-a-maid kind of story, but when my main character meets a kind-hearted guy with a humanitarian streak, her eyes are opened to a whole new world. That’s where the real life change happens, and I can’t wait to see where my agent puts it! I’m also working on the first of a new adult thriller series, tentatively titled, GLACIER PEAK. It’s totally different than anything I’ve ever written in the sense that most times, my heroine grows into her role as a leader. In this story, my main character struts into the story with a snarky attitude, the mouth of a sailor and a hair trigger temper. When her father goes missing, she sets out on an epic five-day hike through the wilderness to find him. And when she meets a guy covered in tats with a hidden agenda, the temperature in the tent goes from zero to smoldering. It’s all set in the rural mountains of Washington State, where the weather is unpredictable, the wild animals are hungry, and the romance is ice-melting.
THE SOUND OF US EXCERPT
Despite my best friend being a Roman Holiday aficionado, I only know three things about Roman Montgomery.
One, he has honey brown hair that’s usually gelled up in a wave.
Two, he doesn’t have any visible tattoos—although there were rumors he had a song quote below the belt.
And three, Roman Montgomery would never, ever be seen shopping at a cruddy old Stop-N-Shop in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Apparently, I don’t know anything about Roman Montgomery after all.
The longer he holds my gaze, the more I can’t write him off as a good look-alike—it’s the angle of his nose, the sharpness of his cheekbones, the way one eyebrow is always a little higher than the other. He’s gained a little weight since his last interview with GQ, or maybe it’s more muscle, I don’t know, but it’s definitely him.
Suddenly, I jerk my eyes away from his gaze. Oh, God, I have underwear with his face on them. I am beyond mortified. The blush on my cheeks is so hot, it probably matches my hair. And he seems entertained by it.
“I should be flattered, meeting you here again,” he goes on. “Last night we got off on the wrong foot.”
I quickly turn my back to him. Last night I even touted that I hated his band. See, this is why I shouldn’t talk to strangers. “It’s fine. I don’t care.”
“Let’s try again?”
“Uh—no, no thanks.”
But apparently “no” is not in his vocabulary. He slips around in front of me so smoothly, it could be a dance move. He juts out his tattooed hand. “Hi, it’s nice to meet you.”
Is this a joke?
Excerpts from Positively Mine by Christine Duval
Once inside, we start where we left off, shirts and jeans shed fast. Then we’re on my bed, and he’s kissing me everywhere, reaching his hand down to just the right spot. Jeez.
I shift and lean forward, trying to grab for his boxers. Mike moves too, so now his face meets mine, and breathless, he asks, “Do you want to?”
My heart is pounding. But when I look into his eyes, warm with anticipation, reality hits like a cold hard smack in the face. I’m pregnant with another person’s baby! I am horrible. Horrible. I push him away. I can’t hold the tears in.
Mike’s face switches from eager to alarmed. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?”
He keeps talking while the tears stream down my face, my lips squeezed together, trying to figure out how I’m going to explain. “What is it? Are we moving too fast? Talk to me.”
I can’t look at him, so I just stare out the window and blurt it out, “I’m pregnant.”
Mike sits up. “You’re what?”
I swallow hard. “I’m pregnant.”
“With whose baby?”
“He doesn’t go here.”
“Wow!” Now it’s Mike’s turn to stare out the window. “So you’ve gotten together with me twice all the while knowing you were pregnant with someone else’s kid? That’s bad, Laurel!”
I want to disappear. “I know.” I get up from the bed and pull on my clothes, waiting for him to say something. He just lies there. Too long.
When he finally speaks, the coolness in his tone is alarming. “What were you thinking?”
“I wasn’t. I don’t know. I like being with you.”
“Sounds like you liked being with the baby’s father, too,” he snaps.
I deserve that. “I’m sorry, Mike. I’ve been…”
“What?” he barks, anger clearly on his face now.
I’m feeling the tears coming again and try my hardest to swallow them. “I’ve been confused.”
He is up now and getting dressed. “Confused? What does that even mean?”
“The holidays can be stressful for everyone, but especially if you’re pregnant or just had a baby. As you leave here tonight and deal with potentially difficult people or situations over the holidays, I want you to focus on acceptance. In other words, don’t try to control the uncontrollable, and don’t try to change a person who can’t be changed. People are who they are. With acceptance comes forgiveness, and with forgiveness comes inner peace, and we can all use some of that.”
Her words strike a nerve, and I can’t help speaking up. “But what if the problem isn’t that you can’t accept them, but they can’t accept you?” I ask.
“In what way?”
“It’s like, with my father, I’m the symbol for everything that has gone bad in his life. So instead of us getting closer, he pushes me further away. And now he’s getting married, and he’s about to start a new life with someone, and I’m afraid I’ll never get the chance to show him that I’m a real person, that I exist.”
The entire group is looking at me, staring actually. Kyle is the first to speak up. “But you aren’t giving him a chance to accept you. You haven’t even told him you’re pregnant and you’re five months into it. You push him away as much as he does you.”
“That’s not true.”
Audrey chimes in. “It is, Laurel. You’re nice and all, but you’ve told, what? Two people you’re pregnant, other than us and a couple of doctors. You drive an hour to a support group when there is probably one right near Milton. How much longer are you going to keep this secret? If you told your dad, maybe he’d see that you’re a real person. Real people screw up.”
“Wow.” I wrap my arms across my chest. I feel invaded.