Weariland by Mary Shotwell Author Interview

Hey guys! Another author interview here… I realized I haven’t been active lately on anything or any of the blogs I follow. Things have been hectic for me in the past couple of weeks with my AP tests coming up in the next few months and having to “buckle down” and prepare for all of them. :O Anyways, enjoy reading this! I’ll try to get a discussion post up by Friday.

  • Title: Weariland
  • Author: Mary Shotwell
  • Genre: YA
  • Release Date: May 10, 2016
  • Publisher: Merge Publishing


For fifteen-year-old Lason Davies,
it all started with a text.


The last words of her murdered grandmother haunt Lason as
she travels to England with her sheltering mother for the
funeral. The crime is a sensation, but the clamoring reporters
and news photographers aren’t the only ones interested in
their arrival.

As her mother’s behavior borders on erratic (on a good day),
Lason encounters a stranger from Weariland, a dreary world
once known as Wonderland. He petitions Lason’s help in
finding a secret family heirloom, a key to saving his land—
and to Lason’s past. Lason is swept in an adventure through
Weariland’s unpredictable realm, encountering colorful,
fantastical characters and discovering her family’s elusive
history. But if she isn’t careful, she may never return…

  1. Did you ever experience writer’s block while writing this book?


I don’t believe I experienced writer’s block. I did, however, take long breaks between writing. At that point in my life, I didn’t schedule time to write every day or every week. I had the story in my head, and always knew where to take it, but didn’t always have the discipline to sit down and write.


  1. What was your favorite part about writing this book? 


I enjoyed coming up with the backstory for Queen Ira. It’s dark and horrendous, but it really helped me plan out who she was and how the story will shape up beyond this book.


  1. What was the hardest thing about writing it? 


Finishing it! It was hard to finish because, like I said before, I didn’t take writing time seriously enough. I would go through spurts of writing and long periods of no writing. The story would weigh on me in my head, and I kept telling myself to finish, but I dedicated time to other endeavors. I know now the fault of my ways.


  1. How did you come up with the cover design? Did you design it yourself?


I could give a seminar on this, but I will try to be brief. There were other cover ideas presented, but none of them reflected the feeling and imagery I wanted. I ended up going with an acquaintance of mine who came up with the design. I told her covers of other books that I liked in YA, and that I wanted something more abstract yet attract Alice fans. I loved it immediately.


  1. Who are your writer “idols?”


Michael Crichton is my all-time favorite. He wrote 10,000 words a day, which is crazy. I can do that in a day, but not every day. After finishing my first novel, I have a deeper appreciation for authors that can produce a book a year or more.


  1. What do you think about book trailers? Do you think they are useful?


I like watching book trailers if they tell me more about the book than the blurb. If they simply repeat the back cover with photos, they don’t really impress me. On the other hand, I’ve seen some that are pretty outlandish. I’m not sure if they help in selling books, but having one for Weariland impressed my students!


  1. Who did you first show your book to? 


My mom! She was a champion of my work. She read several drafts, and (of course) provided zero negative feedback. I think I needed that to finish it, but then sought critical friends and family to get to the points that needed improvement.


  1. When did you first come up with this book idea?


While I was attending graduate school in Charleston, SC, I had a poster in my room of Alice and the major characters of Wonderland. I was a fan of Gregory Maguire and wondered if he would ever take on the story retelling (he has since then). I thought, instead of waiting for him to write it, why don’t I?


  1. If you are currently reading any books, what are you currently reading?


I got an advanced copy of Irena Brignull’s The Hawkweed Prophecy at BookCon last year. I haven’t finished it yet, but I like the premise of a witch and ordinary girl switched at birth.


  1. Do you have any tips for any aspiring writers or authors? 


I hated hearing this when I was starting out, but you must write—every day, or at least every week if you want to take writing seriously. I’ve learned the hard way to go through the process of James Patterson. I have an idea, make a beginning/middle/end, then write a detailed outline of each chapter. I force myself to write out what will happen in each chapter before writing full sentences of the manuscript. I need to know everything about my characters—appearance, traits, flaws, conflicts they encounter, and their resolutions. I map out my settings.  Writing “off-the-cuff” slows me down considerably. I do come up with new points to add as I’m writing out the outline in manuscript form, but for the most part, all the major pieces are formed and intertwined the way I want them to be before writing.

Interview of Steve Wiley – Author of The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca (Blog Tour)

Hey guys!! I know this blog has kinda been dead the past couple of weeks, but I’m gonna make sure to start posting more consistently. Well, ANYWAYS, I signed up for a few blog tours and am going to be posting them in the next few weeks. Here is my interview of Steve Wiley. Buy links and any other information will be down below. Enjoy!!! 😀


1.Who did you first show this book to?

My wife was the first reader.  She was offended by the content, which is why I included her in the list of people who could potentially be offended reading this book at the start of the book, here is that excerpt: Content may be deemed offensive by Polish Indians, vice presidents of something, my wife, Finbar Finnegan’s wife, LinkedIn, little kids who think this book is for little kids, Thumbelina, Brown Liners, mermaids, and the wind.  
2. Did you ever think this book would get published? 
I never expected a traditional publisher to take this on.  It’s too risky of a project.  So, it has been nice to read reviews from places like Publishers Weekly who’ve praised the book.
3. How many “nos” did you get from publishers until you got a yes?
I created my own publishing company, called Lavender Line Press, which allows me to donate half the proceeds to Chicago Public Schools.  It would be impossible for me to do that with a traditional publisher.  Interestingly, I think that little strategic partnership landed me my first spot on WGN radio with Patti Vasquez, my first media appearance.
4. What characters are based on real people? 
The characters within the ‘real’ part of this book, the first and last parts, are all based on real people.  The characters within the fictional ‘East Side’ of Chicago we’ve created, are all fantasy.  I had more fun with the fantasy, though it was harder to think up new character details.
5. What character do you think is the most like you? 
Richard Lyons, the main character.  We have quite a bit in common.  We are both vice presidents of something, we both worked downtown in business, we both were reported missing by our wives at one point.  This list goes on…
6. What was your favorite part about writing this book? 
It was nice to get the individual chapters published by literary journals, as I was writing the book.  That was important, it was validation the writing was interesting, and also something I could share with my readers, prior to the book being released.
7. Did you ever experience writer’s block while writing? 
Not with this book, but I was never writing 10 hours a day.  I only write a few hours a day, at most.
8. Are you think about putting this book into a movie? Would you let them have freedom to change some things, or would they have to stick straight to the book? 
This would make for a good Tim Burton flick.  And, I’m a writer, not a filmmaker, so I’d defer entirely to the experts if a move were made.
9. When and how did you first come up with this book idea? 
I am from Chicago, and also love fantasy, so the ideas came pretty naturally to me.  Chicago is a strange place – there is no East Side, a river flows backwards, it’s named after the wind.  There is plenty of material to build a story here.

10. Is there any tips you would share with aspiring writers? 

Write for yourself, even if the words are insane.  Write something because you have a passion for it, not solely because you want it to sell.  This way, you can’t lose – if the final product doesn’t meet your sales goals, you’ll still have a great personal accomplishment.

About the Book


Title: The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan

Author: Steve Wiley

Genre: Fantasy

“Did you know most anything that matters in this city was built by magic before it was built by men? Of course you didn’t. This city is different from other cities. The true history of it is unpublished. Lucky for you, I know it all by heart.”

~ Francesca Finnegan


In Chicago, a secret L train runs through the mythical East Side of the city. On that train, you’ll find a house-cat conductor, an alcoholic elf, a queen of the last city farm, the most curious wind, and an exceptional girl by the name of Francesca Finnegan.

When we first encounter Richard K. Lyons, he is a man who has long forgotten the one night, when he was still a boy called Rich, when Francesca invited him aboard the secret L for an adventure though the East Side. The night was a mad epic, complete with gravity-defying first kisses, mermaid overdoses, and princess rescues. Unfortunately for Rich, the night ended like one of those elusive dreams forgotten the moment you wake. Now, Rich is all grown up and out of childish adventures, an adult whose life is on the verge of ruin. It will take the rediscovery of his exploits with Francesca, and a reacquaintance with the boy he once was, to save him.






Signs You’re A Bookworm

DISCLAIMER: There are quite a few signs that you’re a bookworm. Everyone is different, and we all have different reading habits. These are just signs that I’ve noticed with friends and myself. Enjoy!!

1. You are constantly adding books to your TBR list.

Of course this had to be the number one sign!! I’ve just started out this book blog, and I think I’ve added at least 15 books to my already never ending TBR. There are just so many amazing books out there! So what if you might never have time to finish that TBR? You just keep adding books.

2. You have that ONE book.

This is the book that you are totally OBSESSED with. You refer it to everyone and may even have multiple copies of it. Mine personally is The Diviners by Libba Bray and Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Absolutely loved that book!!!

3. You either have a HUGE library, ENORMOUS e-books library, or a GIGANTIC pile of books from the library (bonus if you have 2+).

You can’t help it if the cover of that book looks gorgeous!! Or what about that special first edition that you may only have one chance of getting?? There’s a reason for getting books even if you don’t read them all! So what if I haven’t read all of the books I have. It’s MY life.

4. You may have pulled just a few all nighters while reading an awesome book.

It’s crazy how when you read a book the world just seems to disappear around you. Even if you have to go to sleep, you just don’t want to leave the world you are in right now. You don’t want to leave the characters and connections you have made. So you stay up and finish the story.

5. You have secretly read a book at school while you were supposed to be doing other work.

I myself have done this one. It’s not the teacher’s fault (or maybe it is 😉 ). Your book is just a lot more interesting. You may have even been caught reading and actually got caught for reading a book since you were supposed to be working on math. That actually happened to me. 😄 It’s always funny getting in trouble for reading when most teachers are encouraging kids to read. Sometimes us bookworms are DISCOURAGED to read.

Thanks for reading this post. Hope you enjoyed these five signs!! Sorry for being so behind. It actually takes a lot of practice to type up these blog posts and keep to a schedule.


WWW Wednesday #2

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

If you have any good book recommendations you might like me to review, please email me or comment down below!! 😛

What am I currently reading?

Image result for the scarlet letter Image result for afterworlds by scott westerfeld Image result for nicholas flamel second book

Yep. I am reading a lot of books currently. There is one book I haven’t put on here…but that’s a secret. 😉 Anways The Scarlet Letter is going down to be one of my favorite classics. It’s a little bit out of the ordinary of what I read, but many friends have recommended it to me. Afterworlds is the book of the week on this blog, and it’s pretty decent so far. Look out for my review! Of course, I had to continue The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series! The Magician is the second book. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy series! The world building is excellent.

What did I recently finish reading?


This book was definitely a gut twister for me. It touched a bunch of sensitive topics. I think it was most likely the best book I’ve read in a good while. You can see my review here.

What am I thinking about reading next?

Image result for the darkest day of the year dean koontz

I picked this book up on a dollar shelf at a bookstore. It seemed pretty interesting, so I think I might review it next. Of course, if I get distracted this book might go as a side read. Haha.


Thanks for reading guys! Hope you enjoyed it. Look out for my book playlist tomorrow for All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven!!

Happy reading and blogging. 😀


The Sunday Post #2

The Sunday Post is hosted by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Hiya! I skipped a week of blogging because I’m still getting into the hang of this. I did post my book review, but I still owe you guys  Signs You’re a Bookworm post. Anyways, I’m looking forward to blogging some more. It’s actually really fun…found my new passion!! 😀

free glitter text and family website at FamilyLobby.com

  • Sign You’re A Bookworm
  • Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld review
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven playlist
  • WWW Wednesday weekly meme

free glitter text and family website at FamilyLobby.com


free glitter text and family website at FamilyLobby.com

Vacation by Thomas Rhett

free glitter text and family website at FamilyLobby.com


free glitter text and family website at FamilyLobby.com

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven Review


  • Title & Author: All the Bright places by Jennifer Niven
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
  • Date of Publishing: January 6, 2015
  • Genre(s): Young Adult Fiction, Romance
  • Buy it: AmazonBarnes & NobleThriftbooks

Summary from book…..

Theodore Finch is fascinated  by death. Every day he thinks of ways he might die, but every day he also searches for…and manages to find…something to keep him here, and alive, and awake.

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

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school…six stories above the ground…it’s unclear who save whom. And when the unlikely pair teams up on a class project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, they go, as Finch says, where the road takes them: the grand, the small, the bizarre, the beautiful, the ugly, the surprising…just like life.

Soon it’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself…a bold, funny, live-out-loud guy, who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet forgets to count away the days and starts living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is a heart-wrenching, unflinching story of love shared, life lived, and two teen who find one another while standing on the edge.


This book is one of the few books that actually made me cry. Let’s just say it’s gonna hold a special place in my heart. It is a huge roller coaster with loops and all of emotion. One page you would be laughing, and then the next you would be crying. I don’t normally like romance YA novels since they seem to always be the same. This one had something special though. It’s not just the wonderful plot twists but just the overall tone that made me want to keep reading more.

The beginning was a little slow at first, but as I got more into the middle it got so much better. The way Ms. Niven twisted the words into such a  beautiful story makes me want to go and buy all of her books. (AHHH. I’m gushing. >_<) The cover was also very eye-catching. When I saw this in the bookstore, I immediately knew that I wanted to buy it.

Theodore Finch…where do I start? I really enjoyed reading his POV. He was both easygoing and off the wall crazy. There were parts of him that were shown in the book that were so raw and emotional. It kind of surprised me since you would expect YA romance to be cheesy and shallow. Finch is a well-written character with a solid back story. He wasn’t particularly my favorite character, but I still liked him. Even though I didn’t make a connection to him, I do understand a little bit about the serious topics that were discussed when reading his POV.

I really did make a connection with Violet Markey. There’s a feeling of loss about her that I have felt before. Her character was definitely my favorite. She seemed to be pretty quiet and introverted. I loved some of the things that she says in her POV. Violet also loved to write which of course I can relate to. Haha.

All the Bright Places was an amazingly well-written book with an incredible plot. Looking forward to reading more of Ms. Niven’s books! I would definitely recommend this to readers who enjoy the not so cliché romance which are really rare to come across. I would give this book a 5/5 since it was that great!! 😀

star star star star star

Thank you so much for reading my review! I know it’s late. :/ I’m currently almost done making a book playlist for this book, so look out for a post about this!!!