Friday, July 9, 2010

Feature Friday: Author Interview (2) & Giveaway

Andrea Cremer
Andrea Cremer spent her childhood daydreaming while roaming the forests and lakeshores of Northern Wisconsin. She now lives in Minnesota, but she thinks of her homeland as the “Canadian Shield” rather than the Midwest.
Andrea has always loved writing and has never stopped writing, but she only recently plunged into the deep end of the pool that is professional writing. When she’s not writing, Andrea teaches history at a very nice liberal arts college in St. Paul.
In the little spare time she can find, Andrea stares up at trees, rescues infant rabbits from predatory cats, and invents names for pug puppies with her husband. She has an unfortunate tendency to spill things – white carpets beware!
Her debut novel, NIGHTSHADE, the first of a YA fantasy series, will be published in fall 2010 by Penguin (Philomel).
 

NIGHTSHADE (October 19, 2010, Philomel)
While other teenage girls daydream about boys, Calla Tor imagines ripping out her enemies’ throats. And she wouldn’t have it any other way. Calla was born a warrior and on her eighteenth-birthday she’ll become the alpha female of the next generation of Guardian wolves. But Calla’s predestined path veers off course the moment she saves the life of a wayward hiker, a boy her own age. This human boy’s secret will turn the young pack's world upside down and forever alter the outcome of the centuries-old Witches' War that surrounds them all.  


Click Here to visit the Nightshade website.

 Here's my interview with Andrea:

About you:
What do you love about writing?
I love getting to know my characters and the world they occupy – it’s fascinating.

When did you know that you wanted to be an author?
I have always wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t give myself permission to try writing full-time until I was in a horseback riding accident two years ago. I ended up with a broken foot and couldn’t do anything all summer. Since I was stuck on the couch 24/7 I decided it was now or never in terms of giving writing a novel a real shot. Once I started writing I was hooked and there was no going back.

Writers (much like actors) get a lot of rejections. What was your most memorable rejection? What made you keep going?
I’d say what’s memorable about rejections are how unremarkable they are. None were particularly memorable. The path to becoming an author will be full of rejections – but if you really work on your craft and are persistent, it’s just a matter of finding the right home for your manuscript. Whenever I received a rejection I called my brother or a close friend and they would reassure me that the world wasn’t ending.

Who are your favorite authors and what is something that you have learned through them and their books?
I have a number of favorite authors, but I’d say the two that have had the most profound impact on my writing are Marion Zimmer Bradley – for her strong female characters and reinterpretation of mythologies – and Joss Whedon – I know he’s not technically an author, but the writing on his shows, particularly Buffy the Vampire Slayer is brilliant and offers a remarkable way to learn how to create fast, addictive dialogue.

Before you became an author, what other jobs have you had? Which job was the hardest and why?
Ha! I still have another job. I have a Ph.D. in history and I’m a professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. I’m juggling writing, research, and teaching so my life is very busy. The hardest job I ever had was being a teaching assistant in graduate school because I was making very little money while racking up loans, learning how to teach, and taking Ph.D. coursework at the same time.

How do you keep your writing fresh? By that I mean, how do you make your writing so real?
Thanks for saying my writing is real – what a lovely compliment. I don’t have secret formula or anything, but when I’m writing I always focus not on the action that’s occurring but the emotions/conflict/motivation occurring inside a character that’s setting the plot in motion. I think that lends a sense of urgency to both the character development and the events that are taking place.

Tell us about the very first book you wrote. Do you have some never-to-be-published book lying around somewhere?
I do! It’s a fantasy novel that’s based on an imaginary world my brother, best friend, and me created when we were kids. It was a great book for me to start with because the world and the characters were so close to my heart, but it was definitely a practice novel that only my family gets to read.

Other than writing, what do you enjoy doing on the side?
I have two dogs – a pug and a border collie – and I love taking them for walks. My husband and I play World of Warcraft, which is a blast. I also like cooking and doing yoga.

I noticed that while you are not writing teach history in St. Paul. How does teaching help you when it comes to writing?
My teaching and research focuses on early modern history – a time when religious and occult ideologies clashed and changed human societies significantly. I draw on this history and the mythologies tied to them to create the worlds I write about.

What inspires you to write?
Music. I always create playlists for my books and I listen to music constantly for inspiration. Right now I’m listening to a lot of Florence and the Machine and Rogue Valley.


About Nightshade:
Many YA authors are writing about werewolves and vampires right now so what makes Nightshade stand out from the rest?
A few things. First – there’s Calla. She’s a forceful and dynamic heroine who takes control rather than watching the world pass her by. Second – the world of Nightshade is a unique take on history, wolves, and witchcraft; it’s not what you’ll usually find in terms of werewolf tales. Third – Nightshade is told from Calla’s point of view, but it’s the story of her whole pack. Readers who’ve contacted me tend to comment on how much they loved the stories and lives of the supporting characters – they aren’t sidekicks, what happens to them is just as important as what happens to Calla.

What do you think makes a good love interest in your writing?
Tension. It can come in a variety of forms – forbidden desire, teasing, annoyances. Smooth sailing all the way doesn’t create much of an interesting story. I also think true romance has to occur between equal partners – their attraction should build from the way they building on each other’s strengths and challenge each other to become a better person.

Where did the  idea for Nightshade come from and why did you chose to have your main character be female?
Nightshade is Calla's story and she was the inspiration for the book. I tend to write from characters and Calla was floating around in my head for a week or two before I started putting her story onto the page. I knew she was a girl who was also a wolf. I knew she was strong, but also in serious trouble. I couldn't figure out how someone so powerful could be in that sort of a fix. That's where Nightshade's world emerged it was all about building a history and society that explained Calla's predicament.


Calla started it all because I wanted to write a story about a female character who wasn’t being pulled into a magical world – she was already in the middle of it, a leader and a warrior. The world of Nightshade came as I tried to figure out how someone like Calla, a girl who I knew was incredibly powerful, could be afraid and angry. What was controlling her? Why would she be fighting against her own destiny? I realized that she was facing off with something even more powerful than herself. That’s where my background as a historian came in. I teach early modern history (1500-1800) – a period of immense, violent change in human societies. This is the time of witch hunts, religious warfare, colonization, the Inquisition; all types of cataclysmic social transformation that turned the lives across the globe upside down. The more I thought about Calla I thought about the ways in which wolf warriors and witches could have intertwined lives.  The mythology in Nightshade is a blend of history and lore plus new twists I imagined along the way.

Many authors place a piece of themselves into their main character. How are you and your main character alike?
Calla and I really aren’t much alike at all. She’s stoic where I’m an idealist. I’m a hopeless romantic and she’s tough as nails. We both are addicted to black coffee, she and I both have a younger brother, and have the same favorite book: Watership Down by Richard Adams.

The first thing readers notice before picking up a book is the cover. What are your thoughts on the cover and do you think that it conveys the tone/story of the book?
Writers generally have little to say about their covers and just keep their fingers crossed that they don't hate it. That absolutely WASN'T my experience. My editor called me very early on to tell me what they were envisioning. When they asked Suza Scalora to photograph the cover I was thrilled. She is incredibly talented and a lovely human being (I got to meet her when she was on her own book tour in Minneapolis). At each stage in the process they sent updates and asked for my input. Being included in the process was fun and wonderful, but Penguin had a phenomenal vision from the start and I pretty much just kept saying "that's fantastic!" along the way. I do think it conveys the tone of the book well – mysterious, seductive, and deadly. Plus, the flowers are calla lilies covered in blood – they couldn’t be more perfect!!
And finally, what can you tell us about your next book?
Unfortunately very little without revealing too many secrets. What I can say is that readers won’t have to wait a full year to read it: Wolfsbane is scheduled for publication in summer 2011 and Bloodrose, the third book of the trilogy will be published in spring 2012.

In conclusion, is there anything you would like to tell the readers?
Thanks so much for sharing Calla’s journey with me! I love hearing from you.

I want to thank Andrea for taking the time to do the interview with me! I'm really excited for Nightshade to be released and for everyone to be able to read it! In order for one lucky person to read it, I have a copy to giveaway right now!

Rules:
1. You must be a follower of this blog.
2. You must leave a comment on the interview (don't forget to leave your email address)
3.The giveaway ends Friday, July 30th at midnight EST.


Contest closed.

104 comments:

  1. Commenting. :) Great interview, and lovely contest. Thanks!

    redraindrops66(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  2. I can honestly say that I have never read anything by you before but the description of the book sounds so intriguing! I can't wait to read the book.

    halokurtz@aol.com

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  3. This is a great giveaway! I've seen a lot of Nightshade but didn't yet know what it was about. So thanks for the interview!

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  4. Commenting... =D I love your interview...Truely, I do. Your questions were insightful, and the over all impact on me was great. Great contest too...

    wickedlyawesomealice(at)live(dot)ca

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  5. Oops. forgot...
    xnzkisha17@yahoo.com

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  6. Thanks for hosting this giveaway! ^_^

    luraj2612 AT gmail DOT com

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  7. Andrea Cremer seems like such a sweetheart and I've heard so many good things about Nightshade. Getting some more insight into her journey as a writer was great!

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  8. Wonderful interview! I loved all the questions you asked. I love knowing about the author before I read their book.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    vanillaMusic15@aol.com

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  9. I adored this interview. Very insightful and makes the author so much more real. I'm not saying she was imaginary or fake in the first place, but it helps the reader to connect with the book more. I would really love to win this book. I've heard nothing but good things about it. Thank you!

    -Jessica T.

    jessicatapia_afuel07(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  10. I like the fact that the author wrote a "practice novel" that only her family can read and relate to to get herself started.

    autum22@gmail.com

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  11. Nice interview, I loved the answers and to know about her jobs cause this make me know all kind people can write, great giveaway thank you!!!

    atte
    Ambar

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  12. That was a great interview! You asked wonderful questions and I loved reading Ms. Cremer's answers. Congrats on being able to interview her!

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  13. I enjoy reading books with strong female leads. No damsel in distress for those at our house. I looke forward to the adventures of Cala and getting to know her. From everything I have read about this book, I will enjoy it!
    Thanks for the give away!

    kennifernjenny@gmail.com

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  14. Great interview! I have been dying to get my hands on a copy of Nightshade!

    a_readers_adventure(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  15. Great interview and contest!

    That is quite a lot of juggling-- writing, being married, teaching, and puppies!! Go girl!

    brandileigh2003@yahoo.com

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  16. Hey, awesome interview ! And yeah, if I got rejections I would have to go to friends for help also. I think that would be devestating ! I really can't wait to read Nightshade, so it's awesome to know there are other books in the series !

    ~Alison
    lostinbelieving(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  17. Great interview! I think it is interesting that she uses her knowledge as a history professor in her world building. This book sounds wonderful and so intriguing. I can't wait to read it.

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  18. Joss rules!

    Cannot wait to read this book!

    nheck AT natashamheck DOT com

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  19. Joss rules!

    Cannot wait to read this book.

    nheck AT natashamheck DOT com

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  20. Love thy you play WoW I used to play had a gnome Mage but then someone hacked my acct the bliz wasn't much help so I quit

    Cassandra c
    cassandra (dot) crouser (at) yahoo (dot) ca

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  21. I already have a copy of Nightshade, so I'm not entering the contest. I just wanted to tell you that I loved this interview. Andrea is made of win!

    Everyone, you want to get your hands on Nightshade. It is ridiculously delicious. ;)

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  22. Great interview! I don't know if you picked the questions yourself, but they're definitely things I want to hear.

    Happy readings!

    amanda65619@yahoo.com

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  23. Great Interview and great giveaway. I look forward to reading this book.
    marcie.turner@yahoo.com

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  24. wonderful interview! now i REALLY want to read this! must...get...to...bookstore...

    k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

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  25. Wow, I would love to read this book!
    :)


    ricegirl622@yahoo.com

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  26. thanks for the contest

    cassandra c
    cassandra[dot]crouser[at]yahoo[dot]ca

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  27. i love that you listen to music as you write i do to its very soothing, thank you for this awesome contest, this book has been on my list for a while!

    fantasy4eva@hotmail.com

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  28. I can't wait to read this book! Great interview Jeremy.

    Trini A Book Lovers Review
    abookloversreview@gmail.com

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  29. Would LOVE to win this contest. It's so awesome!! :DDD Thanks to you for hosting it, and Andrea for giving the interview and stuff. ^_^

    johnrj(at)mail(dot)com

    :)

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  30. (apologies if this is a repeat, if so delete, internet issues not sure if original comment went through =/)

    Been looking forward to this book since I first noticed it a few weeks ago (stunning cover). Great interview that (oddly) won me over at 'horseback riding accident'. I'm a horse lover and I've been there laid up after a bad fall (didn't break anything but injured my back). Having to stay on the couch/in bed gets old real quick!! Can't wait to read this book!

    chem214(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  31. Thanks for the interview and for the contest!

    megan.qualls (at) gmail (dot) com

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  32. What a lovely interview!

    Thanks for having and for hosting a contest as well.

    I'm a follower.
    ebdye1(at)gmail

    Thanks!

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  33. I want this book! thank you for giveaway

    mail: noemisapi@gmail.com

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  34. Great interview! I can't wait for this book it sounds so good and the cover is well.. just look at it, stunning!
    cool blog!I like the music.
    life_is_amazing91@hotmail.com

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  35. Wow! Amazing interview!
    Enter me please.

    --Courtney Rae--
    courtneyyrae@gmail.com

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  36. I really like your layout!

    Anyway, thanks for the interview. I love Andrea Cremer, so this was really neat! :)
    Love, Hannah
    xoxosweeet at yahoo dot com

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  37. This seems like a really good book. What I like most is the way you created the main character, Calla,she seems strong and capable to handle anything that comes her way.I can;t wait until this book comes out or when I win the contest.;)This was a great interview that made me only wanted to read this book more

    Please choose me
    Pokadots1121@yahoo.com

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  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  39. Awesome interview! Very excited about this book. Thanks for the incredible contest and a chance to win it early!

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  40. Great interview! I am soo excited for Nightshade, I can't wait!

    I follow your blog =)

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  41. Wow. This looks so awesome! The interview was fantastic. It gave me some great insight into the characters.

    I'm a follower.

    k_anon@hotmail.co.uk

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  42. great interview, i love that music is big part of your inspiration, you should share the playlists with us!
    sports[dot]erikalynn[at]gmail[dot]com

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  43. Thanks for this awesome giveaway really amazing interview the playlist is really cool.

    shadowcat456@hotmail.com

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  44. I loved Andrea's answers. As a reader,I totally agree with Andrea that tension in love is what makes it interesting!

    frndz.debas@gmail.com

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  45. Great interview. Nightshade is on my wishlist.
    marlenebreakfield(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  46. Thanks for posting this interview! It was fun reading it!

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

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  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  48. Follower :)
    This book looks incredible. I love YA paranormal books and the cover alone would make me want to read it.
    time4mommy@gmail.com

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  49. Wonderful interview! I've been waiting for this book for a while now. Can't wait for the release!

    -Lisa B.
    angel28140 (AT) yahoo (DOT) com

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  50. Great interview. Thanks for sharing it!

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  51. Great interview! I want to read this book very badly. Yes I do.

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  52. Great interview! So right about love interests!

    I'd love a copy of this! Can't wait to read it!

    saraholutola(@)gmail(dot)com

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  53. Thank for the interview!

    I love the cover of Nightshade the first time I saw it! It is so awesome!

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  54. Opps! Forgot my email.

    bigferret at Email dot com

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  55. I love that Andrea focuses on emotions and motivations - I feel like that's what makes a novel truly engaging. I'm so excited for Nightshade! Thank you so much for this giveaway!

    thebookishtype [at] yahoo [dot] com

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  56. this is one book that I am very excited to read. I love a strong female character. It sounds like Cala is just that - a warrior!

    neniebugs at gmail dot com

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  57. I am so excited about Nightshade. I love this genre and look forward to meeting Cala.

    kjovus@gmail.com

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  58. I really hope i havent already entered this ...ha i have a really bad memory.

    Great interview! Ahh it's so long till next summer!
    Thanks for the contest!
    *crossesfingers*

    khelseabrasuel@gmail.com

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  59. I would love to have my own copy! I am all the way Team Ren!!

    abibliophilesparadise@gmail.com

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  60. Thanks for the interview and awesome contest!!

    bitingreviewsvv@gmail.com

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  61. Great interview. Thanks for the contest!

    Sara M
    sara_UFblog [at] yahoo [dot] com

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  62. Really great interview. I enjoyedI have been dying to get my hands on a copy of Night Shade. That book sounds so good. October seems like such a long ways to wait....lol.

    skyla11377(At)AOL(Dot)Com

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  63. Great interview, really insightful :)

    I was also wondering if the giveaway is international or not?

    email: gla_rez(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  64. I have to agree with you Andrea on Music giving you inspirations to write. I actually have an idea for a book and when ever I hear certain songs I get in the mood to write a chapter or it or a page or two just because of that song lol.

    Awesome interview! :-)

    GoodChoiceReadin (at) aol (dot) com

    http://goodchoicereading.blogspot.com

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  65. Hey guys. Just to let you know this contest is INTERNATIONAL! I would gladly send it overseas for my followers! I love you guys!

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  66. Cool interview! I'm really looking forward to Nightshade. :)

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  67. Oops, forgot my email!

    foshox3@live.ca

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  68. Great interview!

    ashleysbookshelf@gmail.com

    Thanks,
    Ashley

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  69. Sounds like an awesome book! Can't wait!! JessRing84@gmail.com

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  70. Thanks for such an insightful interview! I can't wait to read Nightshade and I'm really looking forward to it!

    amanda.cyx@gmail.com

    *reposted as I forgot to include my email!

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  71. Great interview!
    That's so cool! She plays World of Warcraft? Saweet.
    heathermarie@live.com

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  72. What a great interview I just keep hearing more good things about nightshade and it is not even out yet. Can't wait to read it great giveaway and thank you for the chance!
    tishajean@charter.net

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  73. Thanks so much! What a great interview & contest. Nightshade looks amazing!
    xicecreamsjx@aol.com

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  74. I am looking forward to reading Wolfsbane when it comes out in 2011.


    misty AT lg2 DOT com DOT au

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  75. Thanks for the giveaway! I'm so in love with this cover.
    consumedbybooks@gmail.com

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  76. As I read through this interview, one thing especially stood out to me: Andrea's comment about love interests being equal. This is one thing I mention a lot in my YA reviews. So often, the love interests are lacking, and then, as a reader, I feel cheated and I feel the character was cheated. It's nice to see an author who particularly considers this while they're writing!

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  77. great contest - thanks! Love the interview - so looking forward to reading this book. bevsharp@desch.org

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  78. Lovely interview! I've been looking forward to this book, so thanks for the opportunity to win!

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  79. Great interview--I can't wait to read this book (the cover rocks, too). It's great to be following another South Carolinian! I look forward to future posts.

    msbrebner@gmail.com

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  80. :O involved in the cover process, and it sounds really fun and exciting too!

    feeyonachan at gmail dot com
    Thank you! :D

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  81. I have heard so many great things about this book, Please include me in your giveaway.
    Thanks
    Debbie D
    debdesk9(at)verizon.net

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  82. I love the cover too... I sometimes buy books by the looks of the cover alone and this one definitely screams "buy me"! It's very attractive to my fantasy buff eyes. By the looks of it, Penguin needs to give their art department a raise :)

    Re-posted your contest at: http://contests-freebies.blogspot.com/2010/07/win-nightshade-at-novel-thoughts.html

    I am a follower. My GFC name is Cherry.

    Thank you for the chance to win Nightshade!

    Cherry Mischievous
    mischivus101-warrior [at] yahoo [dot] com

    ReplyDelete
  83. I'm a follower!
    I loved the interview, but I really loved Andrea's answer about love interest. Tension is definitely the secret to a great book, whether is be simply between the characters or within the situation itself!

    Can't wait to get my hands on this book!

    astewart305(at)rogers.com

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  84. Love the interview, I love that her favorite part of her writing is getting to know her characters and their world. I love the way she phrased that! I also love that she gave some love to Joss Whedon :)

    Thanks for the contest!

    allison.dayle at gmail.com

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  85. I want to read this so badly! Amazing interview, and thanks so much for the giveaway. Love your blog ;)

    I've tweeted about the contest and linked to it on facebook. Thanks again!

    Linna
    linna.21pages@gmail.com

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  86. Funny how her reasons to love writing are the same as mine to love reading. Add that to the list of reasons I want to read this book :P
    Great interview! Those were some really good questions

    entrelibros_blog at hotmail.com

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  87. Great interview. Nightshade is one of my most anticipated books of the year!

    spav05(at)gmail(dot)com

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  88. Great interview! I've been waiting to read this book every since i have heard about it!

    TarraAnn85@aol.com

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  89. The author photo is so cute :]

    I love dogs, I bet her pug and border collie look hilarious next to each other ;D

    bookoholiker AT gmail DOT com

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  90. I love her reason for what makes a good love interest and I LOVE the fact that she's still teaching. You go girl :)

    xluvable1ox(@)aol(dot)com

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  91. I am a new follower. Great giveaway. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

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  92. Awesome interview! I love that she and her husband find the time to play WoW (and not get totally sucked in!) while juggling teaching, writing, etc. Authors amaze me for fitting in their “writing time” into their hectic lifestyles. I also love how she balanced two of her professions and incorporated history into her novel. This is an awesome giveaway, Jeremy! Thanks so much! <3

    angelmistress[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  93. Another great interview Jeremy!
    The fact that Andrea is a historian makes things even more interesting, she should have researched a lot to develop the plot.

    amberdi@yahoo.com.br

    Thank you for the opportunity!

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  94. Thanks for the chance to win this!
    Alexandra- d.alexandra2@yahoo.com

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  95. OOOOO... I've heard a lot about her and I can't wait to read her book. Plus it's shiny.

    oreo_93@hotmail.com

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  96. Oh, thank you for the interview and for the giveaway! As for the cover, yes, Nightshade is one of those books which cover would immediately catch my attention. Super amazingly gorgeous!!!

    raila.soares@gmail.com

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  97. Thank you for this fantastic giveaway!

    Andrea, congratulations on the very anticipated upcoming release of Nightshade!!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

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  98. Great interview, the cover of this book is very cool looking:)

    geckyboz@gmail.com

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  99. Great interview! Now I really want to read this book. And thank you for making this giveaway international. :)

    musmekipi at gmail dot com

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  100. so excited for this book!

    purplebookworm02(at)aim(dot)com

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  101. This book sounds really good. And the cover is beautiful!!

    Enter me if this contest is international!

    sara
    yavampire(at)hotmail.com

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  102. I can't wait to read this book!! *SQUEE*

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  103. I forgot to leave my email in my post:

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

    ReplyDelete

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