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Monday, October 28, 2013

Review: The Beginning of Everything

Title: The Beginning of Everything 
Author: Robyn Schneider 
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins 
Pub Date: August 27, 2013
Genre: YA 
Rec. Age Level: 13+ 
More by author: The Social Climber's Guide to High School
 Picture Me Gone
Ezra Faulkner had it all: gorgeous girlfriend, popularity, and athleticism and skill that held the promise of a full-ride to university. He had these things, but, after a fatal night where he first lost his girlfriend and then quickly lost everything else, Ezra's present and future are forever altered. Enter Ezra's one-time best friend (of roller coaster decapitation fame) and a mysterious new girl with a smile full of secrets and Ezra's life is suddenly taking off into unforeseen directions. Maybe what seemed like the end, is really the beginning of everything.

The most common statement I've heard in reference to Robyn Schneider's The Beginning of Everything is that it is perfect for John Green fans. This is absolutely true, but I also have to point out that Green's books, while they are very good reads with fantastic characters and plots, all feel very similar to me. Robyn Schneider, on the other hand, brings many things that I love about Green's books - male POV, sarcastic wit, nerdy romance, etc - while injecting her own voice and magic to the premise. So, yes, Green fans will enjoy The Beginning of Everything as it shares the same spirit as books like Looking for Alaska, but it is distinctly different in terms of premise than anything I've read from Green.

Notable Quotes:
“Life is the tragedy," she said bitterly. "You know how they categorize Shakespeare's plays, right? If it ends with a wedding, it's a comedy. And if it ends with a funeral, it's a tragedy. So we're all living tragedies, because we all end the same way, and it isn't with a goddamn wedding.”
 “Words could betray you if you chose the wrong ones, or mean less if you used too many. Jokes could be grandly miscalculated, or stories deemed boring, and I'd learned early on that my sense of humor and ideas about what sorts of things were fascinating didn't exactly overlap with my friends.”
 “You have this maddening little smile sometimes, like you've just thought of something incredibly witty but are afraid to say it in case no one gets the joke.”
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Interview: Natalie D. Richards, author of Six Months Later

Today, author Natalie D. Richards stops by The Hiding Spot to chat about her debut YA thriller, Six Months Later, and reveal some telling details about herself... like her favorite word, which make me wonder if her main character's confusion stems from some personal experience. ;) And don't miss my review of Six Months Later, found here.

The Interview

Did you have trouble writing any of your characters or specific scenes within the novel? Or, were any characters or scenes particularly easy to write?

What a fantastic question!  The characters never give me much trouble because I tend to get to know them as I write them.  During edits, I'll go back and fix all the things that feel wrong.  As for scenes...there were definitely a couple of scenes in Six Months Later that gave me fits.  It usually happens when it's a particularly important scene and I don't feel right until everything's PERFECT.  There were a couple of scenes in Six Months Later I radically changed or deleted because they were just wrong. And boy howdy do I mean WRONG.  ;-)

Has the title changed or stayed relatively the same as your novel journeyed towards publication?

My title took a drastic change and I really love the new one.  The book was nominated as a finalist in the 2012 RWA Golden Heart Contest as Pandora's Clock.  But my amazing editor at Sourcebooks said she really felt like Six Months Later was perfect because it sort of sums up the whole book on three words.  I think she was right!  While I loved Pandora's Clock, I think it indicates paranormal elements that aren’t at play in Six Months Later. 
What book or author has most influenced you as a writer or in general?

This is definitely not a one-author/one-book answer! LOL!  I think there have been dozens of authors that have inspired me and challenged me and, really, changed the way I view books and even reality.  At the very top of that list would be Libba Bray, Barbara Kingsolver, Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green, Neil Gaiman, Gayle Forman.  This isn't a complete list by any stretch of the imagination.

What jobs did you have on your way to becoming a writer/published author? Is there a certain work experience that has shaped your writing?

Well, let's see, I've been an executive assistant, a third-shirt waitress at a pancake joint, a business analyst, a customer service representative, a paralegal, a stay-at-home-mom, a clinical informatics coach for orthopedic's a long and crazy list!  In particular my analyst and paralegal roles taught me the practice of writing on deadline which is crucial in this industry!
If you had to pick a favorite word, what would it be and why?

Discombobulated.  First, because it's fun to say.  Second, because it's often my state of mind!

I also like incandescent, mostly because it sounds so pretty.  ;-)
My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality?

I'm right there beside you with the book escapism. If I had to pick my absolute dream escape, it would be a stack of books I’m dying to read next to a rocking chair overlooking the Atlantic.  I’m from Ohio, but I’m pretty sure my heart is always on the Carolina coast. ;-)
Find out more about Natalie and her book here!