Monday, August 26, 2013

Authors Are Rockstars Tour Stop: Interview with Jeri Smith-Ready + GIVEAWAY!

I'm so excited to be a part of this tour again. This year I'm featuring an author very near and dear to my YA heart, and that's Jeri Smith-Ready! Her books were some of the first YA that I read, along with The Mortal Instruments trilogy. What really drew me to this series was that the story was fresh and so was the romance. Aura ends up being in love with two very different guys. One is her hot rockstar boyfriend named Logan that died from an accidental drug overdose, and the other is an even hotter (at least in my opinion; Team Kilt!) Scottsman named Zachary with a few secrets. To this day, Jeri is one of my favorite authors and Zachary is one of the swooniest boys in YA! If you've seen anything Team Kilt (if you follow anything in the YA world you probably have), he's kind of a big deal and for good reason. But this series isn't only about hot guys, though I do find myself getting distracted at the moment by the idea of Zachary in a kilt... *coughs* Anyway, there's a lot of mystery and friendships and all types of heartbreak. It encompasses something much bigger and much more important than these characters, but they become the forefront of it all. Jeri knows how to write an amazing series! I love the Shade books, and if you haven't read them, you need to so that we can fan girl together!

My reviews ( and yes, they are all 5/5)


Jeri! I'm such a huge fan of the Shade series! But I really want to know if you're going to be writing any
more YA soon and if we can expect to see it sometime soon-ish?

Thank you so much for having me, Nicole! I’m so thrilled to take part in this annual blogger event, and of course happy that you enjoyed the Shade books. As you may have noticed, I’ve been pretty scarce online this, working on my next YA book, a contemporary this time! THIS SIDE OF SALVATION, which comes out April 1 (not a joke, lol), is about sixteen-year-old David Cooper, whose parents disappear the night they believe the world is going to end. It’s part mystery, part love story, part OMG-what-is-up-with-this-crazy-FAMILY type of book. I am super excited about the cover that Simon Pulse designed for it:

Everyone mourns differently. When his older brother was killed, David got angry. As in, fist-meets someone-else’s-face furious. But his parents? They got religious. David’s still figuring out his relationship with a higher power, but there’s one thing he does know for sure:  The closer he gets to new-girl Bailey, the better, brighter, happier, more he feels.

Then his parents start cutting all their worldly ties in to prepare for the Rush, the divine moment when the faithful will be whisked off to Heaven…and they want David to do the same. David’s torn. There’s a big difference between living in the moment and giving up his best friend, varsity baseball, and Bailey—especially Bailey—in hope of salvation.

But when he comes home late from prom, and late for the Rush, to find that his parents have vanished, David is in more trouble than he ever could have imagined...
Which was your favorite character to write in the Shade series?
Probably Aura’s ghost boyfriend, Logan. For a dead guy, he was so full of life! I loved how passionate he was about music, Aura, and his family. It surprised me how much he could still grow as a person after he died.
He intrigued me so much, I wrote a side short story for him in the ENTHRALLED anthology (HarperTeen, 2011) edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong. That short story, “Bridge,” is now out on Kindle as a stand-alone with bonus material, and will soon be available in all ebook formats.
Do you have any crazy writing quirks?
In my first drafts, I write scenes completely out of order and will often stop writing one scene when I get sudden inspiration for another. I figure it’s better to do that than forget what I was thinking. Luckily I use a program called Scrivener, which breaks down the book into smaller scenes, so I can zip around the book with just a click.
I also use TONS of brackets for when I don’t know a fact or haven’t come up with a name for a character yet. There’ll be dialogue like, “Where are you from?” [someone] asks. [someone else] speaks up. “She’s from [place], weren’t you listening?” [someone ELSE else] jumps into the fray. “Leave [him/her] alone!”
Yeah, it’s a little vague at first. But that’s what revisions are for!
Which book in the Shade series was the hardest to write?
Definitely SHINE. First, it was the final book in the trilogy, so all the storylines and character issues had to be resolved, but it also had to have an interesting story on its own. Second, the events of the plot resulted in a calendar constraint—it had to begin on the summer solstice and have its climax on the winter solstice. Third, one of the main characters was out of commission for a third of the book. So it was going to have a different feel than Shade and Shift. But I think that can be a good thing. I never want to write the same book twice, and I’m really proud of how SHINE turned out. The most common adjective I’ve seen to describe it is “perfect,” but having gone through several rounds of edits on it, I know that’s not true, heh. But I’m glad ost fans of the series are happy with how it all ended up.
If you could do one thing differently with any of the books or the series as a whole, what would it be?
I think I would’ve fought harder to tell part of SHINE from Zachary’s point-of-view. I was asked to keep it just from Aura’s viewpoint to make it consistent with the first two novels. But I’ve seen other series now that add or change POVs from one book to the next, and readers seem to love the variety. As secretive as Zachary can be, I’m sure he hasn’t told Aura the whole story of his ordeal in 3A.
What are you working on right now?
I’m midway through the first draft of a New Adult book which is chock full of my two favorite elements: music, and guys with accents. J When that’s done, I’ll be starting my next YA novel, which, if it’s picked up by my publisher, would probably come out some time late 2015. Cross your fingers for me!
Why are you so good at causing your readers pain, and then lifting us up? It's uncanny!
Awww! I have no idea why I cause so much pain. When I started writing THIS SIDE OF SALVATION, I told everyone, “This is the book where no one dies!” Um, that changed very quickly—David’s older brother was killed in Afghanistan, and the whole family is still reeling years later, to the point where his parents are looking forward to the end of the world. Poor David and his sister, Mara, are forced to be the adults when their mom and dad start to lose touch with reality. David just wants to play baseball and hang out with his friends and girlfriend like a normal guy, not be a babysitter or (eventually) private detective. But everyone, including teenagers, has to play the hand that life deals him or her. As for the lifting up, I want even the darkest books to have hope. I think that’s particularly important in writing for teens. I don’t shy away from mature subject matter, because I think most readers 14 and up can handle it the way it’s presented, but I reject the hopelessness and cynicism that many adult literary novels fall into. Even as my characters discover that the world can hurt them—something we all go through at that age—they fight to make at least their piece of it a better place.
Favorite book you've read so far this year?
UNTOLD by Sarah Rees Brennan, the sequel to UNSPOKEN. No series has ever made me laugh and swoon so much from page to page. Her characters are delightful, even the “bad” ones. UNTOLD is coming out in September, so everyone who hasn’t read UNSPOKEN should go do that now! The books’ endings are killer, but in a good way. Bwahahahaaaaa.
Which team are you, Logan or Zachary? (I know, it's like trying to pick your favorite child.)
I am firmly Team Zogan. I wish I could combine them into one person, although they’re so different, that would be a really weird guy. I do think that if they ever had a chance to know each other, apart from Aura, they would be friends. In fact, they are “friends” on Twitter (@moore_zachary and @keeley_logan) and Tumblr  It’s hard to explain, but readers enjoy interacting with them there.
Favorite TV show right now?
The Walking Dead. I loved the graphic novels, so I was stoked when the show started. But it got a little boring midway through Season 2, and I have a VERY short attention span, so we stopped. Then this summer I happened to catch a marathon at the exact episode where I’d stopped watching. So I DVR’d the rest of Season 2 and 3. It gets SOOOOOO GOOD again. I can’t believe the characters that got killed off, but I love shows and books and movies that make me cry. (Oh, that might be the answer you were looking for to question 7!)

ZACHARY: Cheers to Nicole for having us on her site! Some of my best mates are bloggers, so I always
enjoy an extended chat. (serves tea and biscuits—chocolate, of course)

What is your best achievement?
ZACHARY: After all that’s happened in the Shade trilogy, “staying alive” seems a major achievement.
LOGAN: Thanks, dude. Rub it in, why don’t you?
ZACHARY: Sorry, forgot you were dead.
LOGAN: Yeah, right. It’s only my defining characteristic.
ZACHARY: Don’t sell yourself short, mate. Anyone would envy your lovely shade of purple.
LOGAN: It’s not purple, it’s violet! Big difference.
AURA: Unlike you guys, I’m going to take the question seriously. My best achievement was probably solving the mystery of the Shift (with a little help from Zachary, Logan, and my friends) and exposing the human rights violations committed by the Department of Metaphysical Purity.
ZACHARY: What do you mean, a ‘little’ help?
What is your greatest fear?
LOGAN: Being forgotten.
AURA: Being arrested.
ZACHARY: Being late.
What is your biggest regret?
LOGAN: That’s easy: drinking too much on the night I died. If I’d been sober, there’s no way I would’ve done what killed me. I also kinda regret not giving Aura more space after I became a ghost. I tried really hard not to be a stalker—and I think I succeeded—but when I was with her, I could sometimes be a big sucky-needy leechface.
AURA: That’s not true. Well, maybe a little. And you were totally not a stalker. You let me sleep without watching over me. At least…I think you did.
(to Nicole) Sometimes I regret telling Zachary the truth about my feelings for Logan, and vice versa. If I were better at keeping secrets, my life would be so much simpler. But that wouldn’t be fair to either of them.
So my biggest regret is probably the fact that I was so wrapped up in my own grief over Logan’s death, I was totally clueless as to how it all affected my best friend, Megan. I should’ve been more sensitive.
ZACHARY: My biggest regret? One word: Becca. (hides face in cup of tea)
If you had one day to do anything, what would you do?
(Logan and Zachary both eye Aura with a suggestively raised eyebrow.)
AURA: Don’t even think about it, guys. (to Nicole) Next question?
Is the DMP at all justified in what they do, or are they completely corrupt?
AURA: As much as they’ve tormented us, I think the DMP does need to exist. I wouldn’t want to live in a country where ghosts run completely rampant—there’d be no privacy, for one thing, and they could even be dangerous. I also think there’s a huge need for more research into ghosts. The problem with the DMP—with all pre-Shifters—is that they’re afraid of ghosts because they can’t see them the way we post-Shifters can. Once more post-Shifters become adults and have more power, I think the DMP will be more practical. I hope.
ZACHARY: They should be more like their British counterpart, MI-X. MI-X have more experience in paranormal affairs, going back before the Shift, when ghosts became widely seen. So they’ve a less hostile approach.
LOGAN: And a cooler logo.
ZACHARY: Aye, that, too. And MI-X have not been found guilty of torturing me. So they’ve that going for them.
Favorite sports team?
LOGAN: The Baltimore Ravens. Wait, I mean, the SUPER BOWL CHAMPION Baltimore Ravens.
AURA: Me too. I’m still basking.
ZACHARY: For me, it’s the local football club, Partick Thistle. They were just promoted from the Scottish Football League to the Scottish Premier League, which is a massive step up. ‘Mon the Jags!
Would you rather be able to read minds or be invisible?
AURA: Invisibility would be awesome, in case I decide to become a spy someday.
LOGAN: Being invisible sucks, so I would definitely want to read minds. I bet I’d be a better songwriter if I could do that.
ZACHARY: I’d fancy reading minds, but only if I could block my own mind being read. Unlike Aura, I’m fond of secrets, perhaps ‘cos my father’s a secret agent. I was raised to keep my gob shut.
AURA: Or maybe you’re secretive because you’re British.
ZACHARY: True. (to Nicole) If there’s one thing I’ve learned from living in the States, it’s that Americans will tell you anything. It’s what I love most about you. 
AURA: Thanks for having us, Nicole! I’m not online nearly as much as these two guys (I do have a Twitter
account--@Salvatore_Aura--but I only use it for special occasions), so it’s always fun to do interviews.
Especially when there are cookies. (takes four more)
LOGAN: You can follow me on Twitter at @keeley_logan , where I talk about music, sports, and the most
random crap you can imagine.
ZACHARY: I’m at @moore_zachary and my best mate, Martin, is at @connelly_martin. The three of us SHADEboys have a Tumblr, which used to be much more active before The Woman Upstairs got her own Tumblr. I tend to tweet most often between 10pm and midnight eastern time, which is 3-5am my time.
I’ve insomnia, obviously.

Thanks so much Jeri! I still can't believe I got to interview this amazing author. These books are some of the first YA books I ever read!

Award-winning author Jeri Smith-Ready lives in Maryland with her husband and two cats.
Her plans to save the earth were ruined when she realized she was more of a “problem maker” than
a problem solver. To stay out of trouble, she keeps her Drama Drive strictly fictional. Her friends and
family appreciate that.

When not writing, Jeri she can usually be found—well, thinking about writing, or on Twitter. Like her
characters, she loves music, movies, and staying up very, very late.

In Jeri's own words, she has graciously offered up "a signed, personalized copy (winner's choice) of any Shade book. International is fine, though if someone outside the US wins, I will ship them a copy directly from Book Depository and then send them a signed and personalized bookplate separately. So they'll still get a signed copy."
Yes, you heard right. This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL! If you haven't started this series, here is your perfect opportunity.


  1. Love 'em! And after reading it, I adore Zachary even more! Thanks so much for this. I love the Shade books :)

  2. I am so excited for Untold too. Unspoken was the best book I've read last year.

  3. I love the interview. I love the Shade series. Love Zachary especially,.

  4. Love Logan! I can't even read interviews with him without tearing up! "That’s easy: drinking too much on the night I died." *sniffles* This series put me in such a depression LOL Loved the interview! Really cute!

  5. I loved the interviews! I love the Shade trilogy as well! Team Zack! Have added the new book to goodreads sounds great!

    Megan McDade

  6. I loved the interview. It was super cool and I love seeing Jerry talk about her new book and about all of her past books!

  7. Love the post! Jeri is amazeballs :)

    Thanks so much for being a tour host <3


  8. Great interview, Nicole. I laughed out loud, like FOR REAL. :D

  9. Awesome interviews! Can't wait to read THIS SIDE OF SALVATION.

    <3 Logan

  10. Oh my gosh! I'm so jealous that you were able to interview Jeri! She's so amazing! I love the interview! And I love the fact that I can keep up with the characters on twitter!

    Liza @ Book Crook Liza

  11. Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Nicole! Glad you guys enjoyed the interview. We had--I mean, *I* had lots of fun doing it. ;-)

  12. I loved the interview. I loved her books as well considering they are based in baltimore and i pretty much live there. I can go to the places in the book.

  13. I'm team Zachary, all the way, he's so funny! :D

  14. I LOVED this interview! and I so glad I read from Logan again ;)(he's my favorite character ever!!!)

  15. definitely loved the interview,I have a feeling that'll it'll be a good book

  16. The review was very funny and gave a lot of insight on the characters and the author... Now I think I'm going to have to read this series... IT SOUNDS INTERESTING!!!!!!

  17. I love the interview! Logan is awesome!!!

  18. I love to hear what authors are working on next so we can anticipate our next read.

  19. Loved the interview! I love the Shade books so much!

  20. 5 of 5? I must read these. The interviews always set use up for the next new book and it's great. Thanks for sharing so much.

  21. I loved the interviews. I have to admit I haven't read any of this series yet, but I really want to! :)

  22. Thanks a ton for this opportunity! I just can't believe that it's international. I was about to buy all the 3 Shade books this month but if my luck favors then I won't have to buy all of them. I'm so happy for this! Looking forward to the results!

  23. The interview were full of personalities, I enjoyed their banter and appreciates it much :D
    Thank you

  24. Loved the interview. It's fun to read. Thanks for the awesome giveaway! :D

  25. I just enjoyed the interview as a whole. I miss these characters!

  26. They were awesome! It's always good to learn more about authors. Especially when they write such amazing books! :D

  27. I love the interview, character interviews are my fav
    Thanks for the giveaway :)

  28. i loved them!!! thanks for the giveaway.


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