Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Shaman's Secret by Julie Copp

  The Shaman's Secret follows the lives of its three main characters; Macca, who has just been wrongly accused of raping a girl in his village, incredibly strong and independent Anani, Macca's cousin, who is a young girl in the Tribe of the Jaguar, and Lorinda, who lives in current times and is the last descendant of Anani. As the book progresses, it mainly follows the story of Anani and Lorinda, their feats, their strengths, and their growth in two different times and worlds. Macca's story is at the beginning, but it's not the last you hear of him.
  Let me begin with my opinion of the story and this section of my book review by saying that not only is Julie Copp talented in the artistic sense (Ms Copp designed and drew the book covers of the Tribe of the Jaguar series herself), but she is also talented in writing and storytelling.
  I enjoyed this book the whole way through, but near the end, and at the very end, my infatuation transformed into full-out love.
  I loved this book, but most of all, I loved the ending.
  This story is very educational, and very informative, but in no way dry. It supplies perfect escapism, as well as information about tribes back in the time of The Shaman's Secret.
  Anani is an incredible main character. She's very strong, she's very independent, and she's a wonderful role model for young female readers.
  I could easily see this book becoming a favorite among young readers, both male and female.
  I'm very, very excited to get back into the world of the Shaman and Anani, and I cannot wait to start book two, Songs of the Windwoman.

Book                                          ebook  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: The Lost One by Meg Collett

The Lost One (Book 2, End of Days series)

By: Meg Collet

Release Date: March 2014

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, Action and Adventure


They say some things must be broken before they can be fixed. But when Michaela hoped to cast doubt on the Aethere, she never thought things would fall apart like they did. Now the Aethere have turned their attention to the End of Days, and they won’t rest until they obtain the tools of Earth's final destruction: the Seven Seals. The world is falling apart at the seams, and Michaela finds herself clutching the threads. She alone understands what will happen if the Aethere ever get the seals, and it’s the one thing she will fight to the death to prevent if she has to. Even amidst the devastation on Earth, Michaela struggles to restore her faith in Gabriel. Together, they'll need to decide if their love is strong enough to erase the line she had fought so hard to draw between holy and fallen. Michaela said she wanted a war, but when the End is looming, what will she fight for?

Author Bio: Meg Collett lives deep in the hills of Tennessee where there the cell phone service is a blessing and internet is a myth of epic proportions. She is the mother of one giant horse named Elle and two dogs named Wylla and Mandy. Her husband is a saint for putting up with her ragtag life. End of Days is her first series.


The Hunted One (Book 1, End of Days series)

Release Date: January 17, 2014

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, Action and Adventure

Blurb: The fallen have trespassed into Heaven for the first time in eternity. Prepared for battle, Michaela and her Archangels open Heaven’s gates to confront the fallen. Only, Michaela’s Archangels—her brothers and sisters in Heaven—betray her. And when the fallen attack the sanctuary in the skies through the gates Michaela inadvertently left open, the holy angels accuse Michaela of planning the invasion.

One simple mistake with a thousand consequences.

Dragged to Earth by an Archangel turned fallen, Michaela will do anything to return to Heaven and save it. In her fervor, she kills the Archangel—something no angel has ever done before. Wingless, without any hope, Michaela welcomes death when an unlikely human ally, Clark, finds her. With the help of Clark and Gabriel, an innocent Archangel whose friendship deepens into something far more torrid and unexpected on Earth, Michaela must prove the holy angels have their own plan for Heaven, and it is one that may prove to be the End of the Days.

It may be too late to save herself, but Michaela is the only one who knows the truth about the holy angels. If she fails, she may never be able to return to Heaven. But even that may be a hopeless dream.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

An Interview with Author A.M. Justice

  I have been positively dying to ask author A.M. Justice interview questions ever since I read her book, Blade of Amber. Finally, one day, A.M. Justice asked me if I could possibly do an interview. I was beyond thrilled! So now, without further ado, my interview with author A.M. Justice.

The Literary Connoisseur: Hello, Ms Justice! Thank you so much for joining us over at The Literary Connoisseur and answering a few questions about your writing, your books, and your career as an author. If you're ready, let's begin. How did the story of Blade of Amber first come to you?

A.M. Justice: When I was in high school I wrote a science fiction adventure in which a group of space Nazis kidnap a teenage girl from Earth. That B-movie premise evolved into Blade of Amber. A lot of elements went into it to make it the alloy it is. First, it’s an adventure story about a girl who is very much like me; Vic carries both my strengths and my flaws. She doesn’t suffer fools but she’s easily intimidated by really charismatic people. Second, it’s scifi-fantasy premise is modeled after similar blends such as Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series, which I read and reread when Blade was gestating. I like when fantasies explain how the humans came to live in whichever strange world they occupy—whenever I read pure fantasies, I always wonder, is this supposed to be on Earth? When? Where? If not on Earth, how did the people get to this place? For my book, I wanted to give readers a backstory to explain how the people came to live on a world with giant insects and people with extraordinary powers. Third, in college I became fascinated with the vengeance culture of the ancient Norse, so I wanted to explore the idea of revenge and the damage it does. Finally, I have always loved fairy tales, and I wanted to do a take on Rapunzel, which is a favorite. All those things were smelted together and thrown on the forge to become Blade of Amber and its sequel, A Wizard’s Lot.

The Literary Connoisseur: Who would you say is the target audience for the Woern Chronicles books?

A.M. Justice:The primary target is young women who enjoy stories that challenge the norms of fantasy and romance. It’s also targeted at the outcasts, women who might have led the debate team or played for the chess club but were snickered at by the cheerleaders and prom queens. It’s a story for the young woman who sits alone while her friends are slow dancing with their boyfriends while she wishes the cutest guy in school or at work would fall for her because she’s smart and interesting and complex. It’s also a story for any woman who likes female protagonists to solve their own problems.

It turns out, I’ve gotten great feedback from women of all ages and backgrounds, and it’s always a pleasure to hear nice things. But I’ve also received good reviews from men, and that means the world to me. I worked really hard on the action sequences as well as the chapters from the male characters’ points of view, and it’s nice to know I succeeded in writing believable men as well as women.

The Literary Connoisseur: Your stories all recently came out in paperback. How exciting! How does it feel to hold your work in your hands and see your name under the title?

A.M. Justice: I’m a huge fan of digital books, so I didn’t expect to be excited when I saw the proof copies of the physical books. However, my heartbeat sped up and I was blinking back tears when I opened the package for the first time. Seeing a printed book, whether you released it yourself or it’s published by someone else, is spectacular.

The print versions of Blade of Amber and A Wizard’s Lot are not yet publicly available. I worked in publishing for many years, and I want the interior design of the physical books to look as professional as I can make it. (This was true of the digital versions as well!) I should be able to finish up the layout tweaks this week and then I’ll issue the announcement!

The Literary Connoisseur: What is your absolute favorite thing about being an author?

A.M. Justice: I love escaping into other worlds and playing with the people who live only in my head. I love how the subconscious takes over and surprises you with unexpected plot twists, or even helps you out by giving the character an apple to eat on page 10, when on page 210 the seeds from that apple will sprouted into a gorgeous tree, laden with blossoms and fragrant with new possibilities. Many times as authors we work backward and will hand our main character that necessary apple in the second or third draft, but sometimes the subconscious has run on ahead, all the way down the road, and it knows what you need.

I also love it when it gets hard and you’ve written your characters into a box canyon and you are despairing of the whole thing because it’s a nightmare and you’ll never fix it, and then your mind suddenly finds the key and you suddenly know how to turn your mistakes into assets. That’s one of the most rewarding feelings in the world.

The Literary Connoisseur: Vic is an incredibly strong and independent female character... How important do you think it is to have such a strong female lead in literature nowadays?

A.M. Justice: In December the Mary Sue published excerpts from a BBC radio interview with Neil Gaiman in which he talked about Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Gaiman pointed out that Buffy wasn’t strong because she kicked butt, but because she acted independently, without waiting for rescue, or approval, from a man. Moreover, Buffy was only one of many strong women on that show (or all of Whedon’s work; I’m not sure he’s ever written a weak female character). The strong, independent woman may seem like a new phenomenon in literature, but I grew up reading books written decades or even centuries ago featuring women who held their own with men, from The Witch of Blackbird Pond (the first novel I ever read) to Island of the Blue Dolphins, to Pride and Prejudice and Middlemarch. When I was young, Little Women was a favorite; one thing I admired about it was that each March daughter exhibits her own version of strength. There’s Beth’s selfless courage, Amy’s sassiness, Meg’s forbearance, and of course Jo’s ambition to rise above the limitations society puts on her. 

To answer your question directly, I think it’s vitally important to reinforce the expectations and ambitions of young women by writing stories in which women are the heroes, not the heroines. By this I mean female characters need to be the drivers of their own stories; they need to get themselves out of jams, whether it’s hand to hand combat with the villain or saving an ailing corporation from financial doom. I have nothing against traditional heroines—one of my favorite characters in literature is Rebecca from Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe. Rebecca is a courageous woman with a strong sense of honor, but she is the quintessential damsel in distress. She sits in a tower, waiting for the hero to show up and rescue her. The resistance she offers the villain is passive and ladylike: she fends off Brian’s advances not by grabbing his sword and attacking but by threatening to kill herself by jumping out a castle window. 

Lisbeth Salander, in contrast, is a traditional hero (or antihero, in her case) as she rides around her motorcycle, exacting revenge and rescuing middle aged journalists. Hermione Granger is a hero because she’s an equal partner to Harry and she makes vital contributions in the war against Voldemort.  But Cannie Shapiro is a hero too, because she deals with the challenges in her life on her own, without waiting for a man to show up and make it all better. 

I think women become more attractive to the genuine Prince Charmings of the world, when the women can stand on their own and solve their own problems. Early in Blade of Amber, Vic has her wallflower moments, but the men in the book are drawn to her because she’s clever and courageous. In the end, Vic discovers she needs someone to help her heal from the emotional damage she’s suffered, but that need doesn’t make her weak, it makes her human.

The Literary Connoisseur: Are you currently working on any new projects?

A.M. Justice: Scion of Sovereigns, Book Three of The Woern Chronicles, is in the hands of some beta readers while I work on line editing it; I hope to release it before the end of the year. I’ve started Book Four of The Woern Chronicles, but I don’t have a clear sense of where that one is going, so I’ve put it on the back burner to simmer while I finish a historical novel I began a while back. The working title is Galileo’s Doctor, and it’s about a young woman who passes as a man in late Renaissance Italy so she can go to university and study medicine.

The Literary Connoisseur: What is your opinion on Indie publishing?

A.M. Justice: The indie route was the right choice for The Woern Chronicles, but I plan to seek a traditional publishing contract for Galileo’s Doctor. I originally followed the traditional route for Blade of Amber, but the book is long and the story unusual, which together made it a hard sell. There are a thousand tales of authors whose rejections spurred them to try harder; it didn’t work out that way for me. I had resigned myself to writing “just for me,” but then a friend convinced me the indie route was feasible. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I went for it, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve loved having total control over the production and the process. I’ve loved learning from all the mistakes I’ve made, and planning how I’ll do better next time. It’s exciting when something positive happens, and those little bread crumbs have been enough to keep me going toward the next challenge. Those are my favorite aspects of being an indie author.

However, like so many writers, I find the marketing to be a real challenge. Screaming “look at my book!” as loud as you can, you’re still one voice among hundreds of thousands. I’m still looking for the golden compass that will open the gateways to all the worlds where my potential readers live. However, everything written about traditional publishing these days suggests that the traditionally published authors aren’t getting a lot more support than I am, especially if they’re new authors. I know one person whose first novel was published by a major house and, while they did send her on a book tour to half a dozen cities, they provided no promotional support for the tour and she read excerpts to empty rooms. It would be easy to shrug off her experience as that of someone who wasn’t really worthy of fame and fortune, but her book blew my mind, it was so good (and I’m a harsh critic; the title is A Thrall’s Tale, by Judith Lindberg). In any case, Judith and her publisher never found the audience for that book, and it didn’t do well.

Nevertheless, a traditionally published book conveys status to an author. That someone gave you an advance for your work, or even just covered the cost of printing and distribution, means someone else believes in you. In the eyes of readers and especially other authors, having a traditionally published book turns a writer from a hobbyist into a professional. I was so excited to open the box full of Four Doors Open today, because those glossy covers mean someone thinks my work belonged between them. The publisher, JaCol Publishing, is a very small press, but size doesn’t matter when you have that endorsement. This is especially so because the editor of the collection is a well-regarded author himself and a powerhouse of an editor (I’ve never seen a better editor).

The Literary Connoisseur: Who is your favorite character in Blade of Amber and why? Do you favor one book over the other?

A.M. Justice: My favorite character is and has always been Geram. From the moment he stumbled into my life, juggling his gear, I’ve looked forward to working with him every time he takes center stage with a POV chapter. There’s a part of me in all my characters; Geram embodies my sensible, no-nonsense, pragmatic side, but he also has a dry and ironic sense of humor that helps him through the worst of times. He finds a way to draw strength as well as knowledge from regret, which is something I try to do. (I think he’s better at it than I am.)

Of course, the series wouldn’t exist without the principals—Vic and Ashel—and this troubled pair occupy most of my thoughts. As fond as I am of Geram, Ashel is my beloved. I love the dark anger and doubt he hides from the world with that glorious smile of his. In A Wizard’s Lot, he chooses a path he would never have imagined when he was at the pinnacle of his fame. Sending him down that road was one of the most rewarding experiences of my writing career.

As for Vic, she and I grew up together, and she’s changed as I’ve changed over the years. I originally thought her story would end with A Wizard’s Lot, and I had no intention of writing another word about Knownearth. Then, when I decided to go the indie route and was rereading the two books to get them ready for publication, I started to wonder what Vic would be doing “now.” I set Galileo’s Doctor on the backburner and started writing Scion of Sovereigns. At first it was more for fun than anything else. Set two decades after the end of Wizard, I put Vic in a domestic situation akin to mine. She is no longer a young warrior; she’s a middle-aged mother juggling work and social and family commitments, just like me. Of course, one key difference is that Vic is a wizard.

As for whether I favor one book over another, like the characters, each book has its strengths and weaknesses. From a narrative perspective, Blade is a more straightforward story, but I love the underpinnings: the forge metaphor and the topsy-turvy mashup of Rapunzel that lies below the surface. Wizard’s metaphorical content is not as pervasive as Blade’s, but the story has multiple interwoven plots carried by a half dozen POV characters. Wizard was a lot harder to write because of those intersecting narrative threads, but that made it a more satisfying book to write (and I hope a more satisfying one to read).

The Literary Connoisseur: Earnk is a very complex character...and his complexity is exactly what I adore about him. Without any spoilers, what will we see from Earnk in the future?

A.M. Justice: I love Earnk too, and through him and his relationship with his father, I got to examine and come to understand some dynamics within my own family. (I’m happy to report that Lornk is not based on anyone I know. His sociopathic behavior comes entirely from my imagination.) What does the future hold for Earnk? He will continue to struggle to find the balance between duty and desire, and that’s all I can say without entering into spoiler territory.

The Literary Connoisseur: Tell us a bit about your latest piece of work, Four Doors Open.

A.M. Justice: Four Doors Open is a collection of personal essays written by four women author. You could think of it as the four of us opening the doors on our lives and minds and letting readers have a peek inside. Two of us took an autobiographical approach, and two took a more poetic and emotional approach, but all of us have insights into love and hate, sorrow and joy, family, friends, enemies, and everything in between. In my pieces, I talk a lot about regret and trying to overcome one’s mistakes and do better the next time. I finish with a piece about my wedding, which took place in New York the Saturday after the 9/11 attacks, and about how no matter what goes wrong in your own life, there are always bigger things in the world.

The Literary Connoisseur: Thank you so much for stopping by and doing this interview for your fans! Have a lovely day, and please continue writing! 

A.M. Justice's books 
(which I've rated five-stars):



For more on A.M. Justice and her writing-

check out her website here!

her Facebook page here!

her Amazon page here!

and Goodreads page here!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Meeting Marissa Meyer - Cress Tour 2014

Marissa Meyer has to be one of the nicest and most personable authors I have ever met! I got to see her for the second time last night (the first time I met her it was for her Scarlet signing in 2013) and she could not have been sweeter. Not only did she sign my paperback copy of Scarlet with the blogger dedication in the back... 

...but she signed my hardcover copy of Cress as well...

...and signed my The Literary Connoisseur bag (first signature!!)

...AND took a picture with The Little Connoisseur! 

I don't think I can say this enough- she was incredible!

Of course it was packed...

But it paid to get there early! 

I was right there!!!

I absolutely loved meeting her again. She was a gem. I loved hearing her talk about the world of Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter, and I cannot wait to get started on her next amazing book. If you're looking for something different, something fun, and something adventurous- pick up Cinder by Marissa Meyer! 

If you're interested in the books...


Book                                  ebook


Book                                  ebook


Book                                 ebook

For more on Marissa Meyer, 

check out her website here!

the Lunar Chronicles website here!

her Facebook page here!

and the Lunar Chronicles' Facebook page here!

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Done With Love by Niecey Roy


Done With Love by Niecey Roy (paperback cover)

Done With Love
Book 2, a What's Love??? series
Romantic Comedy / Contemporary Romance

Done With Love by Niecey Roy (eBook cover)

Once upon a time…

Bridal boutique owner, Alexis Gorecki, used to believe in happily-ever-afters—until prince charming turned into a toad.
Months after being blindsided by her own horrific wedding scandal, Lexie is desperately trying to keep her boutique afloat in the wake of all the bad publicity. Waging war against her evil almost-in-laws —the people who will stop at nothing to ruin her reputation —sounded much better in her head. Lexie's strawberries and cream personality really isn’t cut out for taser guns and blackmail.
To complicate matters, Lexie's first love is back in town with his sexy green eyes and out-of-control abs. He already broke her heart once before, the beast. Leo Moss has always been her weakness and he's made it perfectly clear what he wants. Can he convince Lexie she's not done with love just yet?


Another Shot at Love by Niecey Roy

Another Shot At Love by Niecey Roy

Imogen Gorecki has a problem--her twin sister just got engaged, and guess who's the best man? That's right, her scum-of-an-ex-boyfriend whom she caught cheating with a bottle-blonde, with fake breasts and a stripper's flexibility. There's a disturbing possibility her eyes will never recover.
Gen needs a date for the engagement party, but finding Mr. Perfect in a time crunch is proving impossible. Just when she's about to give up, she face-plants into the crotch of the sexiest guy she's ever met.
Matt Sesnick is everything Gen wants in a man --except he's not interested in a relationship. Can she convince Matt to take another shot at love, or will Gen's pregnant, hormonal older sister, her bridezilla twin, and all of her past Mr. Wrongs get in the way of their happily-ever-after?

“All the elements for a fun, sassy romance: a sexy hero and the unbreakable bond of sisterhood. Delightful!” ~Bestselling Author Kate Perry

“Funny, sassy, sexy and brilliant book…Absolute Must Read!!!” ~Amy from Schmexy Girls Book Blog

“Crazy sisters, best friends, a slimy ex, and a gorgeously sexy sweet man. Who wouldn’t want Another Shot At Love?” ~Stacy Nickelson, It Started With A Book Blog


Niecey Roy new Twitter photo

About the Author

Niecey Roy knew she wanted to be a writer from a very young age, but her moment of enlightenment came after watching the movie You’ve Got Mail. It was then she realized her place in life, and happily parked her butt on writing romance. Her dream was to create sexy vixens, hunky, half-naked heroes, and above all, romance; lots and lots of butterflies in the belly, breathless first kisses and happily-ever-afters.
When she’s not at her day job where she works as a legal assistant, she can be found at home at a cluttered desk, pounding her tired little fingers away on a keyboard with nothing but black pepper flavored sunflower seeds and Visine as her weapons for mass-romance-novel-creation. When her fingers need a break, you’ll find her at a table with friends, drinking a few martinis and showing off a new pair of (sometimes ridiculous) high heels. She’s usually the loudest at the table and most often the one snorting with laughter.
Niecey is the author of Fender Bender Blues, a contemporary romantic comedy published by The Wild Rose Press. Her new novel to be released November 2013, Another Shot At Love, is the first novel in the What’s Love??? series.

Niecey loves hearing from readers!!!


Monday, February 17, 2014

Casey's Courage by Neva Brown

  The story of Casey's Courage by Neva Brown had a lot of potential. Before I started it, I refrained from reading the synopsis, but shortly into it, I got enough of a taste of it to see where it was going to go...and I liked it!
  Casey has been smitten with the gorgeous and dashing Jordan Spencer the Third ever since she was thirteen years old. But since then, the two have not seen each other, or followed through on their infatuation with each other.
  Until now, when Jordan ("Tres") comes back to Casey's ranch to see her...but Casey isn't thirteen anymore.
  Just when everything starts to go smoothly, Casey is thrown from her horse, and suffers a serious head injury. She now must learn to grow and return to the way she was before.
  When I first started Casey's Courage, I expected it to be a flat-out romance novel. Gorgeous heroine, hunky but troubled male love interest, a romantic setting- "But wait! There's something keeping these two apart!" etc. etc.
  I was very pleased to discover that there was more to Casey's Courage. Once I got to the scene where she is thrown from the horse, I was intrigued to see where it was going to go. There was now a legitimate problem that could possibly keep these two from having a happily ever after.
  But I'm sorry to say that it stopped there...as I read on, I became incredibly distracted, and couldn't focus on what was occurring in the book. I unfortunately became uninterested in everything from there on in, except maybe what happened with the couple.
  I'm sorry to say that this was not the book for me.
  But I encourage you all to try it and see if you like it. It has a very promising plot, I found it to be incredibly well-written, and there is a heart-warming romantic story.


Friday, February 14, 2014

MoonWillow's Courage by Hazell Sicily

  In the beautiful and peaceful land of Dumar, humans have a connection with Wings like no other place in the world (or universe). For the longest time, humans have been accepted and claimed by Wings and have developed a connection that becomes unbreakable.
  We are introduced to Carra, our main character, who is closing in on nineteen (the cut-off date for being claimed by a Wing). Carra is frustrated by life and is overwhelmed with pressure from everyone around her, but little does she know that a great adventure is awaiting her.
  In this book Carra is tested mentally, physically, and emotionally almost to her breaking point. But she is strong, and she will succeed in preparing for the Great War. At least, we hope.
  I think I'm really starting to enjoy the Fantasy genre. Before, I was skeptical, but now as I read on, I'm starting to like it more and more.
  I always adore strong heroines in stories, and MoonWillow's Courage is definitely not lacking in that area. Carra is a perfect character to read about if you're a young adult (or older) because she's very strong and strong willed, even though she has some growing to do.
  MoonWillow's Courage is aimed at YA as its target audience, but honestly anyone can read this book and enjoy it. It's highly enjoyable, period. Hazell Sicily certainly has a knack for storytelling.
  There were points where I did get a bit distracted, but that was quickly remedied by me actually focusing!
  This story is packed full of adventure, intrigue, and sentimental moments that will warm your heart.

Book                                 ebook

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

An Interview with New York Times Bestselling Author Ellen Hopkins

After years and years of being a huge Ellen Hopkins fan, I've had the honor of sitting down with her, and asking her the questions every fan has been waiting to ask. This experience was beyond a pleasure for me, this was a dream come true. I even got to meet Ms Hopkins last year in Miami (which was incredible!)...

...and she was amazing, but because of her willingness to do this for a fan and blogger, my appreciation and fondness has grown. Thank you, Ellen, for granting me this honor! 

Here's my interview with New York Times Bestselling Author, and inspiration of mine, Ellen Hopkins. 

The Literary Connoisseur: Hello, Ellen! Thank you so much for stopping by The Literary Connoisseur and answering some questions. Your fans and I are just itching to know the answers! If you're ready, let's begin. Please tell us a bit about how the plot of "Crank" came to you.

Ellen Hopkins: I lived the plot of CRANK, through my daughter's addiction to crystal meth. It was (and continues to be, eighteen years later) a fight for her life and sanity. I wrote the book to gain some understanding of the addiction process and how we lost a brilliant, beautiful young woman to the clutches of meth. I published to book because I wanted to offer the insight I gained to readers and, hopefully, stop a few from making the same choices my daughter did.

The Literary Connoisseur: Have you always been a fan and lover of poetry?

Ellen Hopkins: I have, in fact. I published my first poem when I was nine years old, and continued to publish poetry through high school and college. Later, I joined a local poetry group, where I was lucky enough to gain an amazing mentor who showed me that poetry shouldn't have to be hard to read. It should be accessible, and relatable.

The Literary Connoisseur: What would you like to hear from young adults who have read your books?

Ellen Hopkins: Messages from my readers tend to be: 1. I love your books. (<3) 2. I never finished a book before and I read yours in two hours, and am looking for the rest of them. (<3 <3) and 3. Your books changed/saved my life. (Inestimable gratitude always!)

The Literary Connoisseur: As you probably know, Crank has been banned a few times in schools and libraries. What is your opinion on book banning? How do you feel about Crank being banned?

Ellen Hopkins: I think book banning is the result of fear, and being afraid of books, or the information they contain, is patently ridiculous. I've heard from literally tens of thousands of readers who've told me CRANK kept them from taking Kristina's path, or thanked me for giving them insight into a loved one's addiction. Addiction is scary. Talking about it isn't. It's vital.

The Literary Connoisseur: If you could say anything to anyone who was ever skeptical about your success, what would you say to them?

Ellen Hopkins: That I worked very hard to get here. I wrote for years before I ever realized success, and each of those years taught me how to write better and find my voice. I continue to get better, in my opinion, with every book, and that is a goal for me. I never took shortcuts, never believed my work was better than those rejections slips told me it was. Instead, I found my way beyond rejection by learning my craft.

The Literary Connoisseur: Please tell us a bit about Ventana Sierra.

Ellen Hopkins: Ventana Sierra is the nonprofit I founded in 2012 to help youth-in-need off the streets, into safe housing and working toward career goals through higher education and the arts. We're looking for highly motivated young people, aged 17-25, who are willing to work hard and find a path to success. Some of our "kids" are aged-out of foster care, or have found themselves homeless for whatever reasons.

The Literary Connoisseur: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment as an author?

Ellen Hopkins: That I've written books that will remain on bookshelves and the hearts of my readers long after I've left this world.

The Literary Connoisseur: What would you like to say to aspiring authors out there?

Ellen Hopkins: To be patient. Don't rush into self publishing because of a few rejections. Work hard to develop your craft and find your voice. It might take years, like it did in my case. But every person you meet, every experience you have, every place you travel will only deepen your writing and make it more important to your readers. Don't come here looking for money. If that's the reason you're writing, you'll only find disappointment. If you write great books (not good books), the money will follow.

The Literary Connoisseur: Do you have a favorite place to sit down and write? If so, where?

Ellen Hopkins: Absolutely my office, which has big windows to the Sierra (thus the name of the nonprofit: Ventana = window, and yes I know it isn't exactly grammatically correct!). I love where I live and will never move.

The Literary Connoisseur: Where would you like to see yourself in ten years?

Ellen Hopkins: With fifteen or twenty more books under my belt.

The Literary Connoisseur: What are the noticeable differences between writing YA books, and writing regular fiction books?

Ellen Hopkins: YA is about discovery. Adult is about reflection, even within genre, because the adult experience is all about comparison.

The Literary Connoisseur: Are you currently working on any new projects?
Ellen Hopkins: RUMBLE, the next YA, is finished and in production, set for a September 2014 release. I'm currently writing TANGLED, the next adult. It's a psychological thriller, set for a Spring 2015 release.

For more on Ellen Hopkins,

 check out her website here!

Her Facebook page here!

Her Ventana Sierra website here!

And her Ventana Sierra Facebook page here!

Ellen's Books

Young Adult






I hope you all enjoyed this interview as much as I did! Please check out Ellen's books, they truly are incredible and life-changing. Happy Reading, my lovely Lit-Wits!