Monday, November 14, 2011

Pyxis Tour Stop: Interview & Giveaway

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Xpresso Reads is thrilled to be part of the Pyxis blog tour and happily welcomes KC Neal today for an interview. She is also offering an ecopy of Pyxis for a giveaway. You don’t want to miss this debut novel, and for those who have read it, read carefully because she gives us some hot teasers about book two!

THE BOOK:

Pyxis (Pyxis, #1)
KC Neal
Released November 4th, 2011
(Paperback released on Dec. 2nd)
by StoneHouse Ink

Goodreads / Purchase

Two worlds… one 16-year-old girl must learn to protect them both.

The nightmares haunting Corinne and her friend Mason hint at a universe that exists beyond the one they know. Her destiny is to protect a weakness between the two worlds, but her mentor is dead. As Corinne and Mason search for answers, she tries to ignore the sparks igniting between them, but can’t deny she feels safe only when he’s nearby. Will they find help before their nightmares break free?

THE INTERVIEW
Q. Can you tell us a bit about how Pyxis it came about?

After I graduated from a Master’s program last December I suddenly had a lot more time on my hands. I’d written a novel over the previous year or so, but it was in a genre that I don’t really read, and it never quite sat right in my mind. I started reading a lot of YA last year (2010), and I think the combination of all those YA stories swirling in my mind and having the time to write after I graduated was just what I needed to come up with a YA story. I’m not really sure where the idea for Pyxis came from, but the first seed of the story was the pyxis box with the bottles full of mysterious colored liquids that influenced people’s emotions. I thought the story would center around the potions, but it grew into something much larger.

Q. Since Pyxis is the first in a series, do you already have the whole storyline planned to the end, or are you going with the flow?

I have Book 2, Alight: The Peril, fully outlined and I’ve started writing it. But Book 3, which I’ve tentatively titled Valence: The Battle, is still a bit vague at this point. I have several major events in mind that will happen in that book, but I’m not completely sure how the series will end!

Q. What was your most memorable moment while writing this book?

I think when I finished a major revision that took the entire summer and affected about 80% of the book, that was the best writing moment. I really felt like I’d taken the story and the characters to new levels, and it was a huge feeling of accomplishment, and a point I wasn’t sure I’d reach when I set out.

Q. Corinne is a great protagonist, what’s your secret to creating such a realistic character?

That is so great to hear, because in an earlier draft she really wasn’t very likable at all. In fact, for a while I had my doubts that I could create a teenage protagonist that readers would like and relate to. What finally helped me turn the corner with Corinne was a series of journal entries I wrote from her point of view. They were mostly about how she felt about all the people in her life, and it was like magic–suddenly she was a real person, with strengths, weaknesses, subtleties, and complexity.

I didn’t end up including those journal entries in Pyxis, of course, but I have a “bonus material” book in the works that will have Corinne’s journal, plus the prologue to Pyxis (so you’ll find out what happened between Mason and Corinne before he left for Africa). It also will have posts from Mason’s blog, so you can see some of the story from his point of view.

Q. Are any of the characters based on people you know (or yourself)?

I think Corinne and Angeline both have strong elements of my personality. And actually Angeline was named after author Angeline Kace, who is a good friend of mine. They share some qualities, such as deep loyalty to their friends and great enthusiasm. Mason isn’t based on anyone specific, but he’s the kind of guy I wanted to have around when I was Corinne’s age. Sophie, who played a fairly small part in Pyxis but who you’ll see a lot more of in Alight, is kind of an amalgam of three different people I know who are charismatic and fun, but also outspoken to the point that they often offend people. Sophie is going to be a lot of fun to write in Alight!

Q. Can you give us any hints about book 2 (pleeeeaase)?

I know I set up a lot of questions and mysteries in Pyxis, and almost all of them will be partially or fully addressed in Alight. For example, very early in the next book you’ll find out exactly how the pyxis liquids work and what they’re for. You’ll also find out who the other Guardian is, and let’s just say it’s going to make Corinne’s life difficult. Corinne also becomes involved in a bit of a love triangle, as a new love interest is introduced. One thing that will have a profound effect on Corinne is that she’ll find out she’s not the only Pyxis in the world. It will make things easier for her in one sense–it’s always better when you know you’re not alone–but also more difficult in the sense that she’ll realize her pyramidal union is extremely inferior in terms of abilities and how tightly bonded they are. And she’ll come to understand that these weaknesses could easily get someone hurt or killed. In Alight, Corinne must bear some very heavy burdens, which will test her in many different ways. I am very excited about writing this book; it’s going to be full of revelations and confrontations!

Q. What is on your reading list this autumn?

I’m currently reading The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa. I also have Glazier by Bri Clark, The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines, and Arson by Estevan Vega queued up on my iPad. And about 30 other books I wish I could get to sooner. So many books, so little time!

Q. If you could go out for coffee with any author, who would it be?

Orson Scott Card. I read Ender’s Game for the first time a few years ago, and looking back I think that book may in some way have inspired me to start writing novels. I love sci-fi, and Ender’s Game just blew me away on so many different levels. I’ve read some of his other books, too, and he’s just a really brilliant writer.

Thanks so much for having me, Giselle!

I want to thank you for having me on your tour, KC! It was a pleasure chatting with you and I’m impatiently awaiting Alight!

Most of K.C. Neal’s days are filled with some combination of writing, reading, gardening, working, and watching stuff on Netflix with her husband and their maltipoo, Oscar. She has an irrational fixation with L.A., and during occasional trips there she pretends her life is more glamorous than it really is (“Entourage” is her guilty pleasure). She likes to surf and hang out on sandy beaches, especially where drinks are served adorned with tiny umbrellas.

Next stop on the Pyxis Release Blog Tour:
Giveaway
KC has generously offered an ecopy of Pyxis to one of my lucky readers.

Giveaway details:
Open Internationally
Ends November 23th, 2011
Use the Rafflecopter below to enter.

<a href=”http://rafl.es/enable-js”>You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway</a>.

In My Mailbox (9)

Posted by on 11/13/2011 • 155 Comments

“In My Mailbox” is a meme, created by Kristi at The Story Siren, that features books I’ve  received/ purchased/ borrowed during the current week. 

How is everyone on this long weekend (at least for Canadians)? We just celebrated my father’s 60th yesterday. Had a family gathering with some yummy Acadian fricot- If you don’t know what fricot is, you’re missing on some awesome grubs! Also, I just realized the next long weekend will be Christmas! Anyone have their tree up already? So, what have we got here… books! *cheer* I have gotten for review (click on cover for Goodreads):    

I have bought: Click here for my review As you can see I’ve already read/reviewed Touch and it was fantastic so I had to get a nice finished…

Review: Fury by Shirley Marr

Posted by on 11/12/2011 • 25 Comments

FuryShirley MarrReleased May 1st, 2011by Black Dog Books

Goodreads / Purchase

Let me tell you my story. Not just the facts I know you want to hear. If I’m going to tell you my story, I’m telling it my way.

Strap yourself in… Eliza Boans has everything. A big house. A great education. A bright future.

So why is she sitting in a police station confessing to murder?

After waiting 3 months for my copy of Fury to arrive from the other side of the world, I couldn’t wait any longer and just had to dig into it. I was introduced to Aussie authors by my dear Goodreads friends and the premise of this one fascinated me. Reading it again now, though, I realize it doesn’t really tell…

Fresh Batch (Nov 13th-Nov 19th)

Posted by on 11/12/2011 • 5 Comments

Exclusively titled for Xpresso Reads, Fresh Batch features the hottest releases of this upcoming week. Flavour of the week:

Destined

Jessie Harrell Goodreads / Purchase 

When Psyche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girl in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear.

As she feels herself slipping closer into the arms of the prophecy, Psyche must choose between the terrifyingly tender touch she feels almost powerless to resist and the one constant she’s come to expect out of life: you cannot escape what is destined.

Destined is a fresh and heartachingly romantic retelling of the Cupid & Psyche myth from debut novelist, Jessie Harrell.

Check for my…

Fresh Batch (Nov 13th-Nov 19th)

Posted by on 11/12/2011 • 0 Comments

Exclusively titled by Giselle, Fresh Batch features some of the hottest releases this upcoming week. Flavour of the week:

Destined

Jessie Harrell Goodreads / Purchase 

When Psyche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girl in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear.

As she feels herself slipping closer into the arms of the prophecy, Psyche must choose between the terrifyingly tender touch she feels almost powerless to resist and the one constant she’s come to expect out of life: you cannot escape what is destined.

Destined is a fresh and heartachingly romantic retelling of the Cupid & Psyche myth from debut novelist, Jessie Harrell.

Check for my review on…

Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

Posted by on 11/11/2011 • 14 Comments

RoomEmma DonoghueReleased September 13t, 2010by Little, Brown & Company

Goodreads / Purchase

To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack’s curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.

Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating–a story of unconquerable love in harrowing…

Review: dancergirl by Carol M. Tanzman

Posted by on 11/10/2011 • 22 Comments

dancergirlCarol M. TanzmanRelease date: November 15th, 2011by Harlequin Teen

Goodreads / Purchase

Ever feel like someone’s watching you? Me, too. But lately it’s been happening in my room.When I’m alone.

A friend posted a video of me dancing online, and now I’m no longer Alicia Ruffino. I’m dancergirl. And suddenly it’s like me against the world—everyone’s got opinions.My admirers want more, the haters hate, my best friend Jacy—even he’s acting weird. And some stalker isn’t content to just watch anymore.Ali. Dancergirl. Whatever you know me as, however you’ve seen me online, I’ve trained my whole life to be the best dancer I can be. But if someone watching has their way, I could lose way more than just my love of dancing. I could lose my life.

 *A copy was…

Waiting on Wednesday (9)

Posted by on 11/09/2011 • 125 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.  My pick this week:

                                    Cursed                                     Jennifer L. Armentrout

                                    Release date: September 18th, 2012

Dying sucks–and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things–including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden’s adopted father, a man she’s…