Tag Archives: Penguin

Guest Post – Letting My Nostalgic Spirit Run Free by Martin Stewart


Today I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to have the amazing Martin Stewart here on the blog with a fantastic guest post all about the amazing The Sacrifice Box!

The Sacrifice Box was released on the 11th January 2018 published by Penguin and I can confirm that it is just pure brilliance!

As Martin Stewart is our #BritishBooksChallenge18  author of the month I also have a brilliant giveaway!

So sit back an enjoy a little about The Sacrifice Box and it’s amazing nostalgia…..


An atmospheric, chilling page turner from rising star Martin Stewart, reminiscent of Stand by Me and Stranger Things.

Sep, Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley: five friends thrown together one hot, sultry summer. When they discover an ancient stone box hidden in the forest, they decide to each make a sacrifice: something special to them, committed to the box for ever. And they make a pact: they will never return to the box at night; they’ll never visit it alone; and they’ll never take back their offerings.

Four years later, a series of strange and terrifying events take place. Someone broke the rules, and now everyone has to pay.

But how much are they willing to sacrifice?


Letting My Nostalgic Spirit Run Free

Having begun its life many years ago as nothing more than a feeling I wanted to capture, it’s beyond thrilling to see The Sacrifice Box out in the world. This is a story of friendship, of togetherness; of the power our fears wield in the dark corners of our souls ― and of the importance of a good mixtape. This is a world of high-tops and Choppers, of Walkmans (Walkmen?) and big hair.

This is the small-town world of Hill Ford, 1986.

The setting fits my character, because I’ve always been prone to nostalgia. Crippling nostalgia, really. I only replaced my childhood Christmas stocking a couple of years ago because it disintegrated (I’m thirty-five years old). I have a custom-built cupboard in my living room for my childhood games consoles: Megadrive, SNES, Playstation (just Playstation, mind ― this is before they were given numbers). Most of my Desert Island Discs would be hewn from the rock of my teenage memories: Oasis, The Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics, Radiohead… (as I write, prompted by this reverie, I’ve just put The Lightning Seeds on Spotify).

I am very much chained to my past.

The Sacrifice Box was, first, a title. Its growth from that point was driven by the image of young people finding an ancient box, filling it with (seemingly) innocuous stuff and discovering that, whatever they give it, the box wants more.

 But there was a problem ― this was a MG story. Ten-year-olds might make a friendship sacrifice of this nature, but not fifteen-year-olds. So the story had to change shape, and it did so with a pleasingly gothic twist: the group would make their sacrifices in the past, lose touch ― and years later, those seemingly innocuous offerings would come back to hunt them. A sacrifice made during a brief, intense, forgotten summer friendship felt just right ― and that’s where my (crippling) nostalgia came in.

Because what I had now was a story that felt a little like The Breakfast Club reuniting to fight the Gremlins, and I found that the tropes of classic 80s stories fit the story I had in mind: intense friendship, kid-centric horror, an unlikely small-town gang facing a threat their parents know nothing about…

I set the story in 1986, and I was able to let my nostalgic spirit run free.

I found it a lot of fun. Nostalgia is driven by comfort, after all ―we remember how free we once were, how unburdened by the concerns of high school and uni and work. The clothes are funny, the haircuts funnier, and the summers never-ending. Our past is known and, therefore, safe.

But danger lurks in our pasts, too, because everything is sharpest when we’re young: arguments, infatuations, self-regard, fear, laughter ― stories. Young lives are lived on a keen edge.

So, who better to write for than young readers?

I hope that you, young readers, love these characters ― Sep, Arkle, Hadley, Lamb and Mack. I hope you love the adventure, as the box tightens its grip. I hope you’re afraid to read the book on the train, for fear of snorting with laughter. I hope you’re afraid to read it in bed at night, for fear of a tap on your window…

There’s just one question left:

What would you sacrifice?

You can buy a copy of The Sacrifice Box here or from your local bookshop!

Or listen to The Sacrifice Box Spotify Playlist here


About Martin Stewart

Before I was a writer, I was a caddie, barman, recycling technician, wine advisor, university lecturer, and English teacher. My time in the classroom inspired me to turn my pen towards writing for younger readers, and now I love visiting schools to help students develop their own writing, and to encourage them to pursue their creative ambitions. As a writer, I’m interested in the stories that take place in the shadows, and exploring the tension between laughter and fear. I love the work of John Steinbeck and Philip Pullman. More than anything else, I love to edit, because that’s where the real writing gets done. You can read about how I became a writer here. As a human being, I’m interested in spending time with my partner and daughter, running on the beach with the dog, trying to make the perfect Old Fashioned, cooking with eggs, re-watching my favourite films as often as possible, and listening to podcasts whenever I can.

You can find out more about Martin on his website – www.martinstewartwriter.com

Or follow Martin on Twitter – @martinjstewart


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Penguin I have 5 copies of The Sacrifice Box to giveaway to 5 lucky winners!

You can enter this giveaway by my twitter here

UK Only

Ends 4th February 2018

Good Luck!


Previously On Tales…..

Click on the below links for previous post with Martin Stewart here on Tales Of Yesterday!

Tales Post – An Alternative “Easter Egg”


A huge thank you to Martin for a brilliant guest post that has made want to go and revisit everything 80’s and to Simon at Penguin for embracing the #BritishBooksChallenge18 author of the month and giving me some fab books to giveaway!

Have you read The Sacrifice Box  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  What are your nostalgic memories?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – The Location Of Crimson Lake by Candice Fox


I am super excited to have the awesome Candice Fox on Tales today chatting about her new adult thriller, Crimson Lake!

Crimson Lake is due to be released on the 4th May 2017 published by Arrow and is set to be a mystery that will keep those pages turning.

“One of the best crime thrillers of the year.” (Lee Child)

“A bright new star of crime fiction.” (James Patterson)

“A masterful novel … Definitely a writer to watch.” (Harlan Coben)

Today Candice shares a little more about the location of Crimson Lake and why she chose to write about it in this fab guest post….


From the New York Times bestselling co-author of Never Never comes an ingenious and edgy suspense novel that will keep you guessing to the very last page . . .

12.46: 13-year-old Claire Bingley stands alone at a bus stop

12.47: Ted Conkaffey parks his car beside her

12.52: The girl is missing . . .Six minutes – that’s all it took to ruin Detective Ted Conkaffey’s life.

Accused but not convicted of Claire’s abduction, he escapes north, to the steamy, croc-infested wetlands of Crimson Lake.

Amanda Pharrell knows what it’s like to be public enemy no.1. Maybe it’s her murderous past that makes her so good as a private investigator, tracking lost souls in the wilderness. Her latest target, missing author Jake Scully, has a life more shrouded in secrets than her own – so she enlists help from the one person in town more hated than she is: Ted Conkaffey.

But the residents of Crimson Lake are watching the pair’s every move. And for Ted, a man already at breaking point, this town is offering no place to hide . . .


The Location Of Crimson Lake

I’ve always said that if I wanted to run away and start again, I’d go to Far North Queensland. The closer you go to the equator in this country, the wilder things get. Everything grows bigger there – the mosquitos are twice the size they are in Sydney, and there are spiders there as big as dinner plates that will trap and catch small birds. It always seemed like a place under the magnifying glass, focusing the heat from above, slightly warped and shimmering. It’s a place where things grow insatiably. You throw a handful of seeds out the window in the Cairns wetlands and in days you’ll have a smattering of different plants growing and curling upward from the black soil.

It seemed an appropriate place for someone wanting to hide, because in this tangled wonderland one could hope to be covered over and forgotten by those growing plants. It’s a shadowy place, somewhere people don’t ask a lot of questions of one another. It also seemed appropriate for Amanda as a permanent fixture, because as we learn in the novel, her own skin is an example of the growing-over of the past by colourful tangles of things.

You can buy a copy of Crimson Lake here or from your local bookshop!


About Candice Fox

Hades, Candice Fox’s first novel, won the Ned Kelly Award for best debut in 2014 from the Australian Crime Writers Association. The sequel, Eden, won the Ned Kelly Award for best crime novel in 2015, making Candice only the second author to win these accolades back-to-back. Her third novel, Fall, was shortlisted for the 2016 Ned Kelly and Davitt awards.

In 2015 Candice began collaborating with James Patterson. Their first novel together, Never Never, set in the vast Australian outback, was a huge bestseller in Australia and went straight to number 1 on the New York Times bestseller list in the US and also to the top of the charts in the UK. The sequel, Fifty Fifty, will be released in August 2017. They have also co-written a prequel novella, Black & Blue, as part of the James Patterson BookShots series.

You can find out more about Candice on her website – www.candicefoxauthor.com

Or why not follow Candice on twitter – @candicefoxbooks


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Candice for a fab blog post!  And to Gemma at Penguin for organising and asking me to host and be part of the blog tour!

Have you read Crimson Lake?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Michelle Toy In Conversation With Jennifer Niven & Lauren James


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Tonight I am doing something very exciting indeed!

It’s no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Jennifer Niven and I am so honoured to have been asked by the lovely Clare Kelly at Penguin to chair an event as part of Jennifer’s UK tour!

I keep pinching myself to check I’m not dreaming.

Of course I agreed and then just to top the icing on the cake I find out it will also be with another of my favourite author, Lauren James, too!

How lucky am I?!

*squeals in excitement*

I’m even on the Waterstones website and everything!

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I’ve been busy prepping questions for this fab event and I thought it would be fun to shine the spotlight on the authors and their books a little and find out a little more about them……


Event Information

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Superstar authors Jennifer Niven and Lauren James join us for an exciting evening of conversation with Tales Of Yesterday Blogger – Michelle Toy!

They’ll be discussing the trials and tribulations of being a teenager of today, as well as first-loves, mental health and time travel!

Expect plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and some serious business, ask your burning questions and get your books signed.

Jennifer Niven is the author behind the tear-jerkers All the Bright Places and Holding Up The Universe.

Lauren James is the author of the time travelling-romance duology, The Next Together and The Last Beginning.

This event is £3.
(ticket price redeemable against a copy of one book)

To book your seat:
Call: 0121 633 4353
Tweet: @waterstonesbham
Email: events.birmingham@waterstones.com
Book online or pop in store and speak to a bookseller.


Jennifer Niven

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Jennifer Niven lives in Los Angeles. Even though she’s always wanted to be a Charlie’s Angel, her true passion is writing. In 2000, she started writing full-time, and has now written eight books. All the Bright Places is Jennifer’s first novel for young adult readers.  As a companion to the book, Jennifer has created Germ, a web magazine for and run by girls (and boys) — that celebrates beginnings, futures, and all the amazing and agonizing moments in between.

       www.jenniferniven.com @jenniferniven

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From the author of the New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places comes a heart-wrenching story about what it means to see someone – and love someone – for who they truly are.

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed ‘America’s Fattest Teen’. But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to see who she really is. Since her mum’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the art of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his own brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game which lands them in group counseling, Libby and Jack are both angry, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world – theirs and yours.

Jennifer Niven delivers another poignant, exhilarating love story about finding that person who sees you for who you are – and seeing them right back.

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Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the ‘natural wonders’ of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself – a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. How far will Violet go to save the boy she has come to love?

An intense, gripping novel, perfect for fans of John Green, Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, Gayle Forman and Jenny Downham.

You can buy Jennifer’s books here or from your local bookshop

You can catch a Q&A I did with Jennifer Niven here

Or an All The Bright Places Spotlight featuring some fab bloggers here


Lauren James

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Lauren James is 23, and graduated in 2014 from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. Her first novel The Next Together, a YA reincarnation romance, is out now with Walker Books in the UK and has been translated into over six languages worldwide. The Last Beginning was published in October 2016.

She is an Arts Council grant recipient, and is longlisted for the 2016 Branford Boase Award. She lives in the West Midlands. You can find her on Twitter at @Lauren_E_James or her website laurenejames.co.uk  

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A powerful and epic debut novel about fate and the timelessness of first love. Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again. Each time their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated. How many times can you lose the person you love? For Matthew and Katherine it is again and again, over and over, century after century. But why do they keep coming back? How many times must they die to save the world? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace? Maybe the next together will be different.  

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Winter, 1940: there is a murderer on the loose at Bletchley Park, the headquarters of Britain’s most daring codebreaking operation against the Nazis. Can two young codebreakers Kitty and Matthew catch the killer?

This standalone short story can be enjoyed by new readers and existing fans of Lauren James’s The Next Together series.

tumblr_o7i0m9jotl1qe8zmko1_250-195x300The epic conclusion to Lauren James’ debut The Next Together about true love and reincarnation. Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long lost relatives. But where do you start looking for a couple who seem to have been reincarnated at every key moment in history? Who were Kate and Matt? Why were they born again and again? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove’s investigation? For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future.    

 

 

You can buy Lauren’s books here or at your local bookshop


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It would be awesome to see you there!

Do tweet @WaterstonesBham for your ticket!

Have you read any of these books or met any of these fab authors before? What questions would you ask if you were chairing the panel?  I would love to here from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Wish me luck!

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Review – Lies Like Love by Louisa Reid


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I have recently read this wonderful book Lies Like Love by the always awesome Louisa Reid and adored it!  I am completely over the moon to be part of the wonderful blog tour for this book!  This book made my heart ache and its memory will definitely be staying with me for a long time to come!

For my stop on the blog tour I am going to share my thoughts on the book and post a review!

A huge thank you to Faye Rogers and Louisa Reid for having me on this wonderful tour and for sending me the book to read.

Don’t forget to check out the awesome giveaway at the bottom of the post!


Lies Like Love

LIES

‘There were a few problems . . . bullying . . . a fire . . .’

LIKE

I think she’s verging on psychosis . . . now she’s lashing out.

LOVE

She’s got no one else to fight for her.’ Sixteen year-old Audrey just wants to be normal. She’s trying to fit in. But what happens when the person closest to you suffocates you with their love? What happens then?


Publisher – Penguin

Published – 3rd July 2014

Pages – 457 pages

Format – Paperback

Category – UK YA, YA Contemporary

Source – I was sent a copy of this book by the wonderful author Louisa Reid as part of the blog tour.  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way and am delighted to write an honest review.  Thank you Louisa for sending this to me to read!


** Please note Tales Of Yesterday Reviews are written as spoiler free as possible**


I have to be honest I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this book.  The blurb sounded mysterious and something I would enjoy, the cover being intriguing and beautiful and having met the author,Louisa Reid, a couple of times now and knowing she is always so lovely and awesome that all these things combined made me super excited to read this book!  What I didn’t expect was to be completely blown away by this book, its imagery, themes….each page hooked me in, making me turn the pages quickly and making me not want to put this book down!

Lies Like Loves tells the story of Audrey, her brother Peter, her Mum Lorraine and a boy called Leo.  Audrey has recently moved into the area and into a house called The Grange, but Audrey is not well suffering from depression and self harming and her Mum is trying to care for her and make her better.  Audrey is trying to take care of her little brother Peter whilst settling into a new school.  That’s where she meets Leo, who is living with his aunt Sue in a cottage not far from The Grange.  But with Audrey’s Mum wanting to protect and care for her daughter will Audrey ever be free to make friends, grow and love?  Will she ever be able to free herself from The Thing that is holding her back and making her unwell?

I can honestly say that my little summary above probably cannot do this book justice!  Louisa Reid writes so beautifully it reads like a fountain pen flowing from the page!  The descriptions and imagery of Audrey’s world she is living in is both beautifully written and horrifyingly suffocating even more so as the book progresses.

Mental health issues are tackled sensitively and honestly in this book, depression and self harm.  Bullying plays a part also and highlights the stigmas that people face with regards to mental health issues.  But Louisa Reid also explores Love and its many different aspects and forms.  The good and the bad.  The butterflies and the storms!  The love of a partner and being loved back and the feelings that love may bring.  The love of a sibling, unconditional and protective.  The love of a mother and tells the story of a relationship between mother and daughter….and Louisa Reid creates a memorable mother in Lorraine, and not in a good way! *shivers*

My feelings for Audrey’s mother Lorraine changed a lot throughout the book….at points I thought I had it all wrong and then at other points I was shocked and disturbed!  You will have to read the book to truly understand these feelings, but just…..no words!

The relationship that builds between Audrey and Leo….my heart aches!

One of my favourite parts of the book was when Leo takes Audrey to the fair and then later on into London.  My heart raced with them and I could feel their love growing page after page!  I could feel how free Audrey felt when she was with Leo and as I reader I yearned for Audrey to be happy and like she felt in these moments throughout the rest of the book!  There’s a moment when at the fair they go on the Waltzers and I could almost feel Audrey’s happiness and all her troubles being spun away!

I also adored Peter, Audrey’s younger brother and her unselfish determination to protect him at any length or cost!  Their relationship was one of the best brother and sister relationships I’ve ever read.  I loved them as much as I loved Laureth and Benjamin’s relationship in Marcus Sedgwick’s She Is Not Invisible!

There are a lot of references to Shakespeare in Lies Like Love and it fitted in perfectly.  Audrey and Leo’s relationship was very much similar to Romeo and Juliet and I would guess that Louisa Reid has a huge passion for Shakespeare as I could feel her admiration through her words.  I may be very wrong here though!  🙂

I have so many feelings for this book and whilst reading this book!  I think I covered the whole spectrum of feelings in one book!  Even thinking about it now makes my heart ache in both sorrow and joy….a real emotional rollercoaster!

What an achievement this book is!  Why have I not read it before now!  I will be racing out to by Louisa’s other book Black Heart Blue asap and I’m sure I will love that as much as Lies Like Love.  I cannot wait to find out what’s next from Louisa!  Up there with the best of our home-grown British authors!   #UKYA !

I award this book 5 out of 5 Tales Of Yesterday Books!

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You can buy Lies Like Love by Louisa Reid here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads wish list here

I met Louisa recently at a couple of events one being #UKYAExtravaganza where I ran some quick fire questions past Louisa and some other UKYA authors!


About Louisa Reid

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Louisa Reid is a writer and teacher living on the Fen Edge. Her debut novel, BLACK HEART BLUE was published in 2012 by Penguin and was shortlisted for the North East Teen Book Award and longlisted for the Carnegie and Branford Boase awards. Her second novel, LIES LIKE LOVE was published in July 2014 by Penguin.

Website: www.louisareid.co.uk

Twitter: http://twitter.com/louisareid

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LouisaHRReid?fref=ts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5313059.Louisa_Reid?from_search=true


Lies Like Love Blog Tour

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Tour Schedule

http://fayerogers.co.uk/tour-schedule-lies-like-love-by-louisa-reid/

Monday 20th April

Fiction Fascination & An Awful Lot of Reading

Tuesday 21st April

Hyper Ashley & Writing from the Tub

 Wednesday 22nd April

Ya Yeah Yeah & Uncorked Thoughts

 Thursday 23rd April

Eat Read Glam & A Thousand Words, A Million Books

 Friday 24th April

Books for Birds & Bookish Outsider

 Saturday 25th April

Tales of Yesterday & The Little Munchkin Reader

 Sunday 26th April

The Book Moo & Serendipity Reviews

 

 


 Giveaway

There is a tour wide giveaway during the tour.

The prizes include;

One Signed Lies Like Love

One Signed Black Heart Blue

One Bundle of Swag

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Have you read Lies Like Love?  What did you think?  Have you read Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading….go pick up a copy of this book straight away!

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Tales Q&A with Jennifer Niven


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 I received a copy of All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven through the post thanks to Lovereading4kids and Penguin just before Christmas.  At the time I was opening my book post round at my Moms (she lives next door)…she saw this book, read the blurb and quickly pinched it off me to read!  My mom has not read a non fiction book since leaving school (she always reads autobiography’s) so I never thought much off it.

Fast forward to New Years Eve…..I walk into my Mom’s house and she is crying her eyes out!  I mean totally sobbing and unable to talk!  Thinking the worst I asked what was wrong!  She merely handed me All The Bright Places back and cried a little more.  She still can’t talk about it without welling up…

I finally got around to reading this book after far too long waiting and through teary eyes I can tell you it’s a beautifully, heartbreaking written book…. I’m not sure how I’m going to put my heart back together!

Once I find the words my review of All The Bright Places will follow soon *blows nose into tissue*, but first I am absolutely honoured, excited and rather speechless to say that I have the wonderful Jennifer Niven on Tales today who was kind enough to agree to a Q&A with me and answer all my questions!

Here we talk about Finch, Violet, playlists, writing, Jennifer’s upcoming UK events and Narnia!

Oh and you may need a packet of tissues *hands tissue to reader*

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About Jennifer Niven

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Jennifer Niven lives in Los Angeles. Even though she’s always wanted to be a Charlie’s Angel, her true passion is writing. In 2000, she started writing full-time, and has now written eight books. All the Bright Places is Jennifer’s first novel for young adult readers.  As a companion to the book, Jennifer has created Germ, a web magazine for and run by girls (and boys) — that celebrates beginnings, futures, and all the amazing and agonizing moments in between.

       www.jenniferniven.com @jenniferniven

#AlltheBrightPlaces


Hi Jennifer.  Welcome to Tales Of Yesterday.  Thank you so much for featuring on my blog…I am very excited and thrilled to have you here!

 Firstly, thank you for writing such a wonderful, beautiful and also important book in All The Bright Places…..it took my breath away and broke my heart…just stunning and I know many people who have said the same too.

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All The Bright Places is about a boy named Finch who wants to take his own life.  A girl called Violet who, devastated by her sisters death, has stopped writing and enjoying life.  They meet on the ledge of the school bell tower and their journey, where they can only be themselves when they are together, begins.  What ensues is a story of love, depression, acceptance and being different. The beautiful writing and perfect quotes throughout the book will stay with you for long after you finish reading. *cries real tears*.

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What inspired you to write the story of Finch and Violet?

In many ways, I wrote the story I knew. Years ago, I knew and loved a boy, and that boy was bipolar. I witnessed up-close the highs and lows, the Awake and the Asleep, and I saw his daily struggle with the world and with himself.  I knew Finch and Violet would have a love story because mine was a love story. As for Violet, she is struggling with loss, and that is something I know too well. I’ve lost both my parents, all four grandparents, and numerous other family members and friends, so loss is something I know inside and out.

[The following was a press release I received from Penguin for a release day promotion that took place back in January where myself, friends and family discussed our bright places – check it out here]

 I wrote All the Bright Places the summer of 2013, following the death of my beloved literary agent of fifteen years.  The last time I saw him, I was nearing the end of a series of books I’d begun writing in 2008 and was feeling depleted and ready—creatively— for something new and different.  He told me, “Kid, whatever you write next, write it with all your heart.  Write it no matter what.  Write it because you can’t imagine writing anything else.”  Neither of us knew what that book would be, just as we didn’t know he would be gone weeks later and that I would be making the transition from adult fiction to YA.  We couldn’t have foreseen all that lay ahead.

After my agent’s death, part of me wanted to just stop.  Stop writing, stop working.  But another part of me said no, push through this, and don’t just push through it, make something great happen. 

Years ago, I knew and loved a boy.  The experience was life-changing.  I’d always wanted to write about it—I just wasn’t convinced I would ever be able to. 

But that summer of 2013, I thought again about this boy and that experience, and I knew in my heart that it was the story I wanted to write. 

So I’m especially proud of this book.  All the Bright Places was written about a very hard, sad, lovely time during a very hard, sad, stressful time— but in just six weeks, the book was born. 

And now here it is in your hands.  (I am still pinching myself that it even exists.)

Thank you, reader.  To me, you are the brightest of places.

How important are names to you in your books?  Did you choose the names Finch and Violet on liking the way they sounded or do they have some special meaning?

Names are important and some characters are easier to name than others.

When I sat down to write Finch’s first chapter, I heard his voice in my head saying, “I, Theodore Finch, being of unsound mind…” I never even thought about his name. It just appeared. (Probably unconsciously influenced by Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, one of my favourite books.) I liked the sound of Finch. At first I experimented with calling him Teddy, but he wasn’t Teddy. He was Finch. Always Finch. Later on in the book, he tells the story of a cardinal that killed itself by smashing into the sliding glass door of his house that only made the Finch seem more appropriate. The name just worked.

Once I had Finch, I worked to find “Violet Markey.” I knew I wanted a classic-sounding name, and landed on Violet pretty quickly. Her last name took a bit more thought. I consulted the baby name guides and tried Violet This and Violet That, but nothing clicked. And you need a character name to click—at least I do—if I’m going to really be able to see that character. At the time I was writing All the Bright Places, I’d just wrapped up my second draft of American Blonde, which takes place in Hollywood in the 1940s. I did a lot of research for that book, and in that research I’d come across the story of an actress named Enid Markey, who played Jane in the very first Tarzan film in 1918. Something about the name stuck. It was different but didn’t seem to be trying too hard, and I liked the way it sounded with Violet. It ended up being perfect. I didn’t choose it so that Finch could call her “Ultraviolet Remarkey-able”—that was just creative serendipity.

Do you see yourself in any of the characters in All The Bright Places or have you used any of your own experiences in the story?

Because of the boy I loved, I feel as if I know Finch better, however I most identify with Violet. Like her, I hated my small Indiana town when I was living in it, and didn’t feel as if I truly fit in, and sometimes I kept my feelings too bottled up because I was always trying to be perfect. Also, of course, like Violet I knew and loved a boy like Finch.

What is a Bright Place?

It can be anything or anyone—a word, a book, a person, an actual place. Anything that makes you happy.

Where or what is your Bright Place?

Home. Anywhere my fiancé and cats are. And Los Angeles, where I live. I’m madly in love with my city!

Did you cry whilst writing All The Bright Places?

I did cry while writing it, but I also knew it was okay to cry because that meant I was accessing the emotion I needed in order to write the story. But then at some point, I stopped crying and really focused on Finch and Violet, these two characters, who were both outside of me and inside of me at the same time.  Writing about fictitious characters helps a lot when writing something so personal because it gives you the distance you need to be objective— at the same time, all that feeling and real-life experience adds layers and depth to the characters and makes them ring more true.

I loved the Virginia Woolf, Dr Suess and Chronicles of Narnia quotes in All The Bright Places – do these have some special meaning or relevance to you to be so prominent in the book?

Virginia Woolf, here’s something I wrote about her writing and how I came to quote her in my book – here 

 As for Dr. Seuss, I’ve loved that book ever since a friend of mine gave it to me as a gift for my college graduation. It’s so deeply wise and true, and it could have been written by my parents because they taught me from childhood that my mountain was waiting.

 And Narnia. That comes from the boy I loved in real life, the one who helped inspire Finch. The first time he called me, soon after we met, he said. “You make me feel like I just stepped out of the wardrobe and into Narnia.”

I hear casting rumours for an All The Bright Places film which is very exciting!  Are these rumours true and have you had much say in the casting at all?

Yes! Elle Fanning is playing Violet, which is amazing because she’s amazing, but it’s also amazing because Elle was the one I pictured when writing Violet’s character. We haven’t cast anyone else yet, but the producers and director are being incredibly lovely about including me in the conversation. We all agree we need a remarkable actor to play Finch—someone charismatic and deep and probably unknown.

Could you tell us about your other books?

My first two books were nonfiction accounts of deadly historic Arctic expeditions, The Ice Master and Ada Blackjack.

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I’ve written a series of historical novels about a girl named Velva Jean who grows up in the mountains of North Carolina and later becomes a pilot in World War II, a spy with the French Resistance, and a movie star in Hollywood. Those are Velva Jean Learns to Drive, Velva Jean Learns to Fly, Becoming Clementine, and American Blonde, which came out last summer.

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I’ve also written a memoir called The Aqua-Net Diaries about my high school years in Indiana. That one was optioned by Warner Bros. and I developed it for TV with my BFF from high school and Charlie Sheen. (An experience that could easily fuel another book!)

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I know at first glance my books don’t seem to have much in common, but I’ve always written the stories I wanted to read.

Growing up who inspired you into writing?  Are there any Authors or books that inspired you?

My mother, who taught me to see the story in everything. She was also an author, and when I was little we had writing time, when she would work at her desk and I would work at mine. Back then, we read each other’s work and shared in the creative process, and we’ve done that ever since (until her death a few months ago). From the first time I tried setting words down on paper, I loved the feeling of stepping into a new world—one I created—and arranging the words so that the new world unfolded and grew.

When starting a new book or idea what does your writing process look like?

It changes somewhat from book to book, but these are the things I always do: work in Scrivener (the best writing program ever!) to create character profiles and organize any research; use Scrivener index cards or actual index cards or post-its to write down scene ideas and plot points; remind myself that so much of writing is play because that takes some of the pressure off; try to write a certain number of pages every day; try not to edit as I write. I’m also really careful about what I let myself read while I’m in the middle of a project because I don’t want to unconsciously mimic someone else’s style. And I always, always read my last draft before submission aloud. I’m completely hoarse by the end of it, but it’s amazing what you hear even when you think there’s nothing left to edit.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

I have three cats—my literary kitties—and they love to be with me while I write. Because of this I keep multiple baskets and boxes on and near my desk so that they don’t have to fight over space. I’m at my desk for hours and so I try to give myself quick breaks now and then. I’ll go onto Twitter or ebay or Germ Magazine (www.germmagazine.com, which I created based on the one Violet creates in the book) or I’ll stalk Jared Padalecki on facebook.

What is your favourite part of the publishing / writing process and the least favourite part?

I love creating new ideas. I love dialogue and characters. I love creating the world those characters live in. Middles are rough for me, but I love writing endings. I don’t like editing but I’m good at it, and it’s so very necessary. I love the people I work with—my editor, my agent, the publishing team at Penguin Random House and all my foreign publishers. I love the librarians and booksellers and, most of all, the readers. But reviews are scary, which is why I don’t read any of them except the positive ones my editor/agent/fiancé throw at me. And the business part of writing—all the non-creative author businessy stuff that takes up most of my time—can be exhausting.

Over on Tales Of Yesterday I have recently been asking YA authors if music has any influence to their writing and/or characters.  Is there a particular song that influenced All The Bright Places and/or it’s characters and if so how or why?

While I can’t write to music (the words distract me), I always create a playlist that I can listen to when I’m not at my desk—when I’m exercising or driving or doing things around the house. Sometimes I can be stuck on a scene or a plot point at the computer, but then I step away and listen to music, and I’m seeing it.

There are actually several songs that make me think of All the Bright Places, and it’s hard to tell if the writing influences the songs I choose to add to my playlist or if it’s the other way around. For some reason, the very first song I started listening to that made me think of the book was “I Got You” by Split Enz. There’s something bright but frenetic about it, and it always, always makes me think of Finch.

For Violet, it’s One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.” The song makes me think of who she must have been before her sister died. I have blasted the hell out of that song pretending it was for research.

Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” and Peter Gabriel’s “My Body is a Cage” were the two songs I listened to over and over as Finch was starting to unravel.

And Goldfrapp’s “A&E” takes me directly into Violet’s last chapter, kind of sparkling and bittersweet. But there are so many songs—I have something like 125 songs on the playlist I listened to while working on the book.

There is this one though—“Sometime Around Midnight” by the Airborne Toxic Event. I hear that, and suddenly the movie unfolds in my mind. I can see Finch running and Violet wondering what on earth is happening to him…

[You really need to check this band out if you haven’t before…I listened to the whole album whilst typing up this Q&A and they are amazing!]

 I’ve created playlists for the book, Violet, and Finch:

Listen to Violet’s playlist – here

Finch’s Songs That Will Change the World – here

All the Bright Places soundtrack – here

What’s next?  Any exciting plans that you are able to reveal?

As soon as I finish touring, I’m going to really start in on my second YA novel. It’s about a boy who can’t recognize faces and a very visible girl who feels invisible. It’s about seeing, being seen, and learning to recognize what’s important. It’s about what makes us love someone.

This sounds fantastic!

 Thank you so much Jennifer for taking the time to answer these questions and feature on Tales Of Yesterday.  It really is an honour and I look forward to reading more books by yourself, meeting you and hopefully the All The Bright Places film!!   Eeeeeekkk! 🙂

PS – Please cast Nicholas Hoult as Finch….perfect person! 🙂

You can meet Jennifer Niven in the UK at the following events – click here for links to the events

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You can find out more about Jennifer, All The Bright Places and her other books at www.jenniferniven.com or follow her on twitter – @jenniferniven

You can buy Jennifer’s books, including All The Bright Places here

Also there is a fab All The Bright Places page on Jennifer’s website Extras! here

I also asked some blogger what their bright places are here

Checkout the Penguin Random House New Zealand Trailer below

Don’t forget to join in on twitter using #allthebrightplaces

Here, thanks to Penguin, are what some readers had to say about All The Bright Places!

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Have you read All The Bright Places?  Did you enjoy it as much as me and my Mom?  What is your bright place?  I would love to hear from you!  Please feel free to leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this page or why not tweet me using @chelleytoy

Be lovely and burn brightly!

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Spotlight – All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven


untitled Today is what they call “Blue Monday” the day of the year where people feel the strain of Christmas gone by, credit card bills start coming in, pay day just seems to far away and it all just gets on top of us and makes us feel slightly…..well blue!

With the release of All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven on the 8th January 2015 the wonderful publishers at Penguin provided me with a “Bright Pack” with All The Bright Place goodies to give out to my family and friends to make them smile and be happy and basically to turn that frown upside down and say goodbye to Blue Monday!  In exchange my friends and family have shared with me their “Bright Places” which you will find at the bottom of this post and by following the #allthebrightplaces hashtag throughout the day.  Join in and be bright!

Thank you so much to Penguin for the “Bright Pack”!  I have really enjoyed giving these out to my friends and family it’s made me happy, my friends and family happy and I am hoping this post and the hashtag spreads that happiness everywhere!

Check out my Q&A with the lovely Jennifer Niven here


About All The Bright Places

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About The Author

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Jennifer Niven lives in Los Angeles. Even though she’s always wanted to be a Charlie’s Angel, her true passion is writing. In 2000, she started writing full-time, and has now written eight books. All the Bright Places is Jennifer’s first novel for young adult readers.  As a companion to the book, Jennifer has created Germ, a web magazine for and run by girls (and boys) — that celebrates beginnings, futures, and all the amazing and agonizing moments in between.

       www.jenniferniven.com @jenniferniven

#AlltheBrightPlaces

I wrote All the Bright Places the summer of 2013, following the death of my beloved literary agent of fifteen years.  The last time I saw him, I was nearing the end of a series of books I’d begun writing in 2008 and was feeling depleted and ready—creatively— for something new and different.  He told me, “Kid, whatever you write next, write it with all your heart.  Write it no matter what.  Write it because you can’t imagine writing anything else.”  Neither of us knew what that book would be, just as we didn’t know he would be gone weeks later and that I would be making the transition from adult fiction to YA.  We couldn’t have foreseen all that lay ahead.

After my agent’s death, part of me wanted to just stop.  Stop writing, stop working.  But another part of me said no, push through this, and don’t just push through it, make something great happen. 

Years ago, I knew and loved a boy.  The experience was life-changing.  I’d always wanted to write about it—I just wasn’t convinced I would ever be able to. 

But that summer of 2013, I thought again about this boy and that experience, and I knew in my heart that it was the story I wanted to write. 

So I’m especially proud of this book.  All the Bright Places was written about a very hard, sad, lovely time during a very hard, sad, stressful time— but in just six weeks, the book was born. 

And now here it is in your hands.  (I am still pinching myself that it even exists.)

Thank you, reader.  To me, you are the brightest of places.

xoxo

Jennifer


Our Bright Places – #allthebrightplaces

I would like to thank my friends and family for taking part and again to Penguin for the wonderful Bright Packs which included books, book marks, posters and quote post it notes – I wonderful pack of happiness.

Me – Chelle Toy – Tales Of Yesterday (my first ever video clip and I am super nervous!)

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CharliTo Another World

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Pauline (My Mom)

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MichelleFluttering Butterflies

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Jessethatjessebloke.co.uk

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Helen Maslin

Check out my review of Helen’s book Darkmere here

SofiaThe Reading Fan Girl

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RosieEat Read Glam

FayeDay Dreamers Thoughts


Don’t forget to join in on twitter using #allthebrightplaces

You can buy All The Bright Places here!

Check out my Q&A with Jennifer Niven here

Here, thanks to Penguin, are what some readers had to say about the book!

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These are our Bright Places – what are yours?  Have you read All The Bright Places?  Did you enjoy it?  Is it on your to be read pile?  I would love to hear from you!  Please feel free to leave a comment by using the reply button at the top of this page or why not tweet me on twitter on @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading and stay Bright!

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