Weather Witch Blog Tour: Interview and Giveaway


I’m thrilled to be part of the Author’s Taproom’s blog tour for Shannon Delany’s new series the Weather Witch. I was a huge fan of Shannon’s 13 to Life series and am really enjoying her new series. My review for the book should be up sometime soonish. Check out my awesome interview with Shannon below, as well as learn about how to win some awesome prizes and learn more about this awesome new book series.


About the book:

In a vastly different and darker Philadelphia of 1844, steam power has been repressed, war threatens from deep, dark waters, and one young lady of high social standing is expecting a surprise at her seventeenth birthday party–but certainly not the one she gets!

Jordan Astraea, who has lived out all of her life in Philadelphia’s most exclusive neighborhood, is preparing to celebrate her birthday with friends, family and all the extravagance they might muster. The young man who is most often her dashing companion, Rowen Burchette, has told her a surprise awaits her and her best friend, Catrina Hollindale, wouldn’t miss this night for all the world!

But storm clouds are gathering and threatening to do far more than dampen her party plans because someone in the Astraea household has committed the greatest of social sins by Harboring a Weather Witch.

Trailer:


Interview with Shannon Delany

Describe your book in five words or less.
A storm of strife.

How does writing the Weather Witch series differ from writing the 13 to Life series? Do you find writing one harder than the other?
The voice and POV of Weather Witch is vastly different than 13 to Life. In 13 to Life you were Jessie, or Alexi… It was 1st person and you saw through their eyes only. Weather Witch is more removed in some ways. I’m tackling hard topics (again) but in a way I hope makes readers ask themselves questions. 13 TO LIFE was easier to write because (having done 5 books in 1st person POV) I have more experience writing that way.

Which character in the Weather Witch was your favorite to write and why?
Oh, wow. I actually enjoyed writing Bran the most. He’s dark and troubled and there’s just so much to him (even beyond the series’ pages). He was like 13 TO LIFE’s Max–a character who was only supposed to be cardboard–a tool to the story’s progression or, at most, another character’s foil, but he wouldn’t settle for that.

Do you outline or just write and see where it takes you? Did you know the how the series was going to end before you started writing?
I don’t really outline. I’m sure I should–I think it’s what grown-up writers really do–but I tend to jot down my promotional ideas, do a synopsis, a few sketches and then I start writing. The most amazing thngs happen when you just write and let them happen. Pieces puzzle together and the “aha! moments” pounce on you.

What is harder to write, the first sentence or the last?
Honestly, everything in between is the hardest to write! I often know the beginning and the end and only need to tweak and tighten them a few times before I’m happy with them, but what many authors call “the soggy middle” is the area of a book where the plot bunnies roam and distractions catch the eyes of your characters.

What is your strangest writing habit?
The fact I don’t currently have any writing habits? I used to, but writing has been a bit haphazard for me recently–many things beg for my attention so my schedule is all wonky and the only thing I do regularly is open the document I’m working on, skim a few paragraphs and dive in to the new writing.

I love the world you created in Weather Witch. What served as your inspiration for this series?
Thank you! I’ve always been fascinated by clouds and thunderstorms and the power they have. Connect that to my early memories of being on a sailboat with my mom and day and my love of history and places like Philadelphia, Herkimer, Bangor, and Salem and my hatred of slavery and torture as a means of gaining a person’s compliance and BOOM you get Weather Witch.

If you could spend a day with a character from any book who would it be and why?
Hagrid from the Harry Potter series. He’s a good-hearted guy, a bit of a bumbler, but tremendously intriguing. Plus he has interesting pets and a garden. I’m cool with all that.

If you had a time machine and could travel to any time and place, where would you go?
I used to say if I had all my immunizations up to date, water purification tablets and Purell aplenty I’d go back to the Renaissance and hope to meet Queen Elizabeth I, Grania O’Malley, and maybe see a Shakespeare play at the Globe. But now? I don’t know. I’m finally starting to like the here and now. Or at least feel like I’m part of it.

What YA book do you wish had been published when you were a teen?
There are actually quite a few. I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed Harry Potter then (though I love it now) but I might have connected to The Hunger Games. I loved The Blue Sword and anything else with female heroes.

About Shannon Delany:

Shannon Delany has been writing fiction since she was a child. Inspired by a teacher in 4th grade and the creative endeavors of her parents, she was frequently encouraged to find her voice. First published in 8th grade in a short story anthology, she caught the writing bug for good and used her teen friends as beta readers but it wasn’t until after being a middle school teacher that she pursued writing seriously. She freelanced for magazines and newspapers and then won the first-ever cell phone novel contest in the western world with 13 TO LIFE. An agent and a press release followed quickly and she was snapped up by St. Martin’s Press where she has happily remained through 5 novels in the 13 TO LIFE series and three novels in the WEATHER WITCH series. She also contributes to charity anthologies, has a small heritage farm and a blog talk radio show called BOOKED! with Shannon Delany.


Blog Giveaway Information

Leave a comment on this post, including a method of communication, to be entered to win a mini-prize pack. Contest open internationally. Mini-prize pack includes:

  • a signed mini poster
  • a signed postcard and more story-related goodies

Tour-Wide Giveaway Information

Shannon Delaney will be giving away the following to a few lucky winners:

  • a signed copy of Weather Witch
  • a Weather Witch coffee mug with special goodies (all connected to the story)
  • signed copies of 13 to Life and Secrets and Shadows
  • a handcrafted mask
  • a special metal and crystal bookmark
  • a mini top hat
  • a silhouette of their own profile cut and matted by me (it’ll take a few weeks after getting their profile before I can get it to them, of course).

Just fill complete the raffelcopter below to be entered to win. Giveaway open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry + Q&A + Giveaway!

Pushing the Limits

Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 9780373210497
Pages: 384
Websites:

Rating: 4 Stars

“My father is a control freak, I hate my stepmother, my brother is dead and my mother has…welll…issues.  How do you think I am doing?”  – opening line of Pushing the Limits

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that  horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude   and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. Echo and Noah couldn’t be more different, but they find themselves united by a common goal: to sneak into their court- ordered social worker’s case files in order to learn the truth about themselves and their families. What they didn’t count on is falling in love — and now Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.


Oh god, this book. This book gave me all the FEELS. I knew this book would be dealing with some serious stuff but I didn’t expect to feel such a wide range of emotions. I laughed, I bawled my eyes out, and even got angry. So many feelings that I wasn’t expecting.

Pushing the Limits was so much more than a romance story. While the romance was smoking hot, I have to say I enjoy learning more about Noah and Echo as characters and seeing them overcome their struggles more than the romance. Both Echo and Noah are very trouble characters and have dark secrets they have kept buried inside. Katie McGarry was not afraid of tackling the nitty gritty and serious issues, which I really liked. She was able to capture the emotional struggles Echo and Noah were facing so well that I was in tears for these poor, poor characters.

Normally I am not a fan of alternating points of view, one of the characters always seem to come off as weaker or it just does nothing for the plot, but in the case of Pushing the Limits the alternating point of view worked perfectly. I loved getting into both Echo and Noah’s head. The writing helped create these characters who you come to care about and get emotionally attached to. Katie McGarry wrote these fabulous characters and as a reader you were truly was able to get into each of their heads. When a chapter ended and switched characters it didn’t feel awkward, the story flowed and it didn’t feel like head jumping (thankfully!).

Now Noah and Echo, man, I just wanted to give them a hug. And boy, do they need one. Noah is the boy everyone warns their daughters against, but he’s so much more. While he has the tough, bad boy exterior, Noah is one of the most caring, motivated, strong teenagers I’ve seen. Despite all the struggles he’s had to face, like losing his parents and growing up in foster care, he’s extremely dedicated to his two brothers who have been separated from him. Noah’s devotion to his younger brothers, oh god. It was the sweetest thing. The scenes with Noah and his brothers made me tear up so much, I’m not afraid to say it. He loves them so much and will do anything for them. Noah gives everything to those he loves and will do anything to protect those he loves, such an admirable trait. I loved that aspect of his personality so much. I loved how he grew as a character over book. 

And then there is Echo. That poor poor girl. She definitely has it rough. Her father is overprotective and overbearing, she is not allowed to see her mother because of an event Echo cannot remember but left her with horrible scars over her arms. Despite everything, Echo still wants to remember the horrible event that almost killed her and still cares for her mother. Her struggle to learn the truth about that night was hard to read. All she wanted was to know. When she finally learns the truth, I was in tears with her. Like Noah, she grew so much over the story. She was willing to come to terms with what happen and open up to those around her, thanks to Noah. While they might be the two messed up character ever, they were so adorable and perfect together.

The romance in this book was electric. Noah and Echo’s chemistry jumped off the page and you couldn’t help but want them to be together. They needed to be together for each other. But the romance did not define this book. Yes, it might be how they market it, what with the cover and all but it was so much more. The emotional struggles in the book are what really made me love it. The romance was a nice bonus.

If you read one book this year, it definitely should be Pushing the Limits. Its such a great read that captivates you with its amazing characters and draws you in with their struggles. I’m super excited to see what Katie McGarry writes next because she has me next. A companion book staring a secondary character for this book is being published so I’m super excited for that! Hands down, Pushing the Limitis a must read.

P.S. I think these lines from the Broadway show Next to Normal define what Noah and Echo both are ultimately working toward in their struggles: “I don’t need a life that’s normal—/ That’s way too far away, / But something…next to normal / Would be okay. / Yeah, something next to normal— /That’s the thing I’d like to try. /Close enough to normal / To get by…”


Q & A with Author Katie McGarry


Q: What was your inspiration for writing Pushing the Limits?
A: I had two main inspirations: One, I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write a story in which my characters felt strong enough to leave their pasts behind and create new futures for themselves. The first scene I ever saw in my mind was Echo and Noah leaving town after graduation. Two, I wanted to write two characters who were facing over- whelming issues and who, through battling these issues, found hope at the end of their journey.

Q: How did you come up with Echo’s name?
A: Echo went through several name changes as I wrote the manuscript. For a while, she had a very normal name, but it always felt off. It wasn’t until I looked at Echo from her mother’s point of view that I found her name. Echo’s mother loved Greek mythology so it made perfect sense that she would name her children after the myths. I read several Greek myths and the moment I found Echo’s,  I fell in love. Echo,  to me, was the girl who lost her voice. Thankfully, she finds it by the end.

Q: Which character is the most “like” you?
A: All of them. I gave each character a piece of me (though some have larger slices of me than others). Overall, I’d say I’m a strange combination of Echo, Lila and Beth. Echo has my need to please, Lila has my unfailing loyalty to my friends and Beth encompasses my insecurities.

Q: Did you experience friendships with Grace types when you were in high school?
A: Yes. And the more people have read this story, the more this question comes up. Grace has struck a stronger nerve in people than I ever would have imagined. It seems most of us have un-fortunately experienced a relationship where a person wants to “like” you and wants “be your friend,” but only if it serves their needs. In case anyone is wondering, that isn’t friendship.

Q: Are there any parts of the story you feel particularly close to?
A: Yes. The relationship between Noah, Isaiah and Beth. Beyond my parents and sister, my nearest family members were over fourteen hours away. My friends became my family. The peopleI grew up with were more than people I watched movies with or talked to occasionally on the phone. These were people with whom I shared life’s most devastating moments, but also my hardest laughs. These were people who I would have willing- ly died for and I know they would have done the same for me. They shared my triumphs with smiles on their faces and con- gratulatory hugs. They held me when I cried and offered to beat up whoever hurt my feelings. These were also the same people who were more than happy to get in my face if they thought I was making a wrong decision.

Q: Did anything that happens to Echo happen to you?
A: Sort of. I was bitten by a dog when I was in second grade and repressed the memory. It felt very strange to have no memory of an incident that other people knew about. It was even strang- er to have injuries and not have an inkling where they came from. In college, I finally remembered the incident when a dog lunged at me. I relived the horrible event and sort of “woke up” a few minutes later to find myself surrounded by people I loved. Even though I “remember” the incident, I still don’t remember the whole thing. I only see still frames in my mind and there is no blood in any of the memories.

Check out the book trailer!


About author Katie McGarry:

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and she remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Writing has given Katie an excuse to pursue her passions. Research for her books has provided her with the amazing opportunity to train with baseball players, ride along in a drag car at ninety-six miles per hour and experience boxing and mixed martial arts. Katie loves to visit schools and talk to teenagers about her research, writing and the truth that no dream is out of reach.



Giveaway Information

I’m giving away one copy of Pushing the Limits. Information about the giveaway is listed below. US and Canada only.
  • Fill out the form below completely!
  • Open to US and Canada ONLY
  • Must be 13 years or older to enter. If under 13, parental consent is required. 
  • One entry per person. Multiple entries will be deleted.
  • Ends September 5, 2012