Author Takeover #13: Libby Cudmore, author of: THE BIG REWIND + Giveaway!!



I am so excited about a lot of things today. First: AUTHOR TAKEOVER IS BACK! It’s been so loooong. I promise you great authors you guys, watch out! And second: because an amazing debutante is here on the blog for today. Thank you so much Libby for chatting with me and dishing out deets about THE BIG REWIND! What a great way to make a comeback, by featuring an awesome book and author. 

The Book..


The Big Rewind

Libby Cudmore

Published February 2nd 2016 by William Morrow Paperbacks

A > Mystery | Music

Purchase it: Amazon | BN



Jett Bennett moved to New York to become a music journalist. What she found was a temp gig as a proofreader, but at least she’s fitting in with the artists and musicians in the tragically hip Brooklyn neighborhood she calls home.

But when Jett opens up her mail and finds a mix tape meant for her neighbor, KitKat, a local queen bee renowned for her “enhanced” baked goods and retro videogame collection, everything changes. Jett drops off the cassette and discovers that it’s game over for KitKat: someone bashed her head in with a rolling pin… and left her pot brownies burning in the oven.

KitKat’s boyfriend, Bronco, is M.I.A. Her sister is so desperate that she asks Jett to snoop around. Then there’s that mix tape. Jett didn’t know KitKat well, but she knows music. And a tape full of love songs from someone other than Bronco screams motive—sending Jett and her best friend, Sid, on an epic quest to find KitKat’s killer through record stores, strip joints, vegan bakeries, and basement nightclubs—a journey that resonates with Jett, and her past, in unexpected ways.


The Author:

LCudmoreconnect: twitter | website | goodreads page 

Libby Cudmore worked at temp agencies and record stores before settling down in Upstate New York to write full time. Her forthcoming debut novel, THE BIG REWIND (William Morrow, February 2016) is being hailed as “smart, poignant, and addicting,” (Kristi Belcamino, BLESSED ARE THE DEAD). Her short stories have been published in PANK, THE BIG CLICK, THE STONESLIDE CORRECTIVE and BIG LUCKS. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and makes all her own notebooks.


The Interview..

  1. Hi Libby!! Thanks for stopping by on the blog!! We’re so excited! To start off, can you tell us how you got into writing? Is this your first profession? 🙂

    I’ve been writing since fifth grade, when I had a dream that I had written a book.  My dad, Dana Cudmore, was a writer (The Remarkable Howe Caverns Story) and my mom was a storyteller, so I grew up reading a lot and hearing stories told.  But originally, I wanted to go into musical theater.  I didn’t get into my top-choice of theater colleges, and ended up going to Binghamton University, where I really focused on my writing.  Now I work as a reporter for the Hometown Oneonta/The Freeman’s Journal, which I love doing. 

  2. Murder and Music seems to come together in your debut novel, The Big Rewind. Was this the original concept that you wanted for your first novel?

     Like most writers, I have a few “first novels” that didn’t sell.  I didn’t sit down and say, “I’m going to write about music and murder,” the story came to me and evolved organically.

  3. How would you introduce your main character, Jett, to us? Did you have a particular muse for her?

    I wish I could say Jett was me, but she’s much cooler than me!  But one of her friends is inspired by a girl I went to college with, and I “cast” a few of the characters with different actors so I could get a sense of how their dialogue would sound so that I can make sure each character has their own “voice” — most notably, early drafts of Sid had cast him as Walton Goggins, who I think is just darling.

  4. How did the whole concept of the book materialized in your head? Is there an event or a person or something that sparked the plot? 🙂

    I was on the bus home from work, listening to Syd Straw’s “CBGB’s,” and the whole first chapter came to me like I was watching a movie. And it all just took off from there.




(Pictures of the notebook I started in! – Libby)

5.      The title and the cover of the book is really eye catching, how did you decide it? And will you change anything if you could?

The original title was No Awkward Goodbyes, in homage to Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye, my favorite novel.  It was a clumsy title, so I worked with my great editor, Chelsey Emmelhainz at William Morrow, to come up with something a little more streamlined, and sure enough, I got my Chandler homage.   And the wonderful HarperCollins art department gave me my cover.  They hit it out of the park on the first try.

6.      What is the hardest thing you ever did while writing The Big Rewind? Can you share a bit of your experience?

 Writing this book taught me to enforce a writing routine.  I work long days at the newspaper, so if I was going to get any writing done, I had to carve out and protect that time.  I had to be honest with myself, which is never easy, and realize that the earlier in the morning I got up, the more work I got done.  So 6:45 am, I’m out of bed and turning on the coffee maker.  Doesn’t matter if worked until midnight the night before.  I put in at least an hour with either an open document or a notebook.  Some days I just have time for that hour before I have to go into the office.  Some days I have the whole morning.  But if I hit snooze, I may not have any time. Teaching myself that discipline was difficult, but it made me a better writer.

7.      What will readers expect from the romance aspect in this book?

 There are a couple love stories throughout, but they don’t always end the way the characters want them.  It’s very realistic in that way, which I think is something the readers will really connect with.  But don’t worry!  There is a big romance.  It still makes me swoon when I read over it.

8.      Did something creepy or funny or even scary thing that happened while writing The Big Rewind?

When I finished the first draft, I woke up one morning and just felt flooded with poetry.  I’m not a poet by any stretch of the imagination, but my sentences all felt abstract and fractured in this fascinating way.  So I wrote a whole series of poems about TV shows like The Shield and Burn Notice and The X-Files.   And I thought that I was going a little crazy from burn-out, but then I was at a reading and two other novelist friends of mine read what they called a “post-novel poems.”  Apparently, they’re a very real thing.  I posted a few of them on my blog, and one go picked up in the lit mag Paper Darts.

9.      Are you working on something new already? Do you have a WIP that you can tell us about? 🙂

I do have a WIP in very early stages, but right now, I’m working on a few short stories, seeing where those go.  I’m also hosting a weekly live-tweet event I call #RecordSaturday, where I share an album from my vinyl collection.  It’s a lot of fun; I’ve played Warren Zevon’s Excitable Boy, the Flashdance soundtrack, The Smiths The Queen is Dead.  Sharing music is really important to me, so I’ve been really enjoying that.  A couple of Sid and Jett’s favorite albums are coming up, so keep an eye out! 

10.  Lastly, what’s your three current book/song favorites?

 My favorite songs at the moment are Steely Dan’s “The Second Arrangement” (which only exists as a demo; the original was lost during the recording of Gaucho) as well as Duran Duran’s “Pressure Off” and The Smiths “There Is A Light and It Never Goes Out.”  As for books, right now I’m really in love with Matthew Quinn Martin’s Nightlife, Donna Minkowitz’s Growing Up Golem and April Ford’s The Poor Children.

Thanks again, Libby, for the Q&A!

Listen to The Big Rewind Playlist!!


The Giveaway..

And because Libby and people over at Harpercollins are generous, they’re giving away 2 print copies of The Big Rewind to a lucky US/Canada residents!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thank you so much about stopping by guys! Don’t forget to share your thoughts about THE BIG REWIND! Have you read it? Will you be reading it? We wanna hear everything! 🙂

AUTHOR TAKEOVER #12: Kit Alloway, author of: Dreamfire




Author Takeover is a new feature here in HBT where we let our current favorite authors took over the blog. Expect Guest Posts, Interviews, LOTS of Playlists, giveaways and of course, a bunch load of FUN!

I’ve heard nothing but GOOD- AMAZING things about this book. All of the bloggers I trust love this and I can’t wait to read it! Thanks Kit for being awesome and visiting Her Book Thoughts! 


The Book..



Dreamfire (Dreamfire #1)

Published February 24th 2015 by St. Martin’s Griffin
YA > Fantasy | Paranormal

Purchase it: amazon | bn



About the book..


Joshlyn Weaver has always lived with a big secret. Ordinary kids spend their free time going to the movies, hanging out with friends, and searching on the internet.
But for her, an evening at home usually means entering people’s dreams. For many generations, her family has been part of a very powerful and very secretive society of dream walkers. Tasked with the responsibility of lowering the world’s general anxiety — which only leads to war and strife in the waking world — their job has always been to stop nightmares before they go too far.
By stopping nightmares while sleeping, they help to stop nightmares in real life.
But when an ancient feud within the dream walker society resurfaces right when a seemingly unconnected series of very strange and very scary events start occurring during her dream walks, Josh finds herself in a race against time. The one true dream walker has never been known. Could she be the one?


The author..



connect: twitter | website | goodreads page | facebook



KIT ALLOWAY lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her family and four very small dogs.




The Interview..


  • Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?


Hmm. I am thirty-three. I live with my boyfriend and our four Chihuahua mixes, who are attention hogs and the best snugglers ever. I watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books, and recently I began taking some undergrad English classics. I absolutely love museums.


  • Can you share with us how the whole concept of the book materialized?


I wrote the first draft fifteen years ago, so I don’t remember everything. All my life I’ve had nightmares, though, so the idea probably came from them. I originally wanted the story to be a graphic novel, but I can’t draw, so I had to write it instead. I was very inspired by the YA horror trilogies of the 1990s (many of which are being reprinted now), and I wanted to use that format, so I originally wrote the book in three parts. Deloise is largely based on my own younger sister, and Young Ben and Davita both had real-world inspirations, too. The early drafts of Dreamfire were very different from the published version—Feodor wasn’t even in them! I minored in Russian and East Europeans studies in college, and I knew I wanted to include an Eastern European villain, so I worked him into later drafts, and now it’s impossible to imagine the story without Feodor. Honestly, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this novel, it’s how integral revision is to writing.


  • What makes Joshlyn different from other YA heroines? What should we expect from her?


I love Josh, and I love what an unusual heroine she is. She isn’t beautiful. She isn’t popular. She doesn’t even own a cell phone. But she has this overriding, obsessive passion for dream walking. (Not coincidentally, it bears a striking resemblance to my teenage obsession with writing.) I think she’s interesting because she’s so good at this one thing, and more or less incompetent in every other area of her life. Plus she’s funny, and practical, and she cares desperately about her family and friends.


  • Your book cover is really gorgeous, but would you change it if you could?


No. I love the cover, especially the colors. I’m completely happy with it.


  • Who is your favorite character to write? Least favorite?


Whim is the most fun to write, because anything could come out of his mouth. I never know what he’s going to do next. But I also love writing Josh because her perspective comes very easily to me. Josh’s grandfather, Peregrine, is the hardest character to write. He’s despicable, and I guess I must not be, because I have a hard time getting into his head.


  • Is there something weird, funny, or scary that happened while writing Dreamfire?


The first nightmare that Josh and Will go into together, the one with Meepa the Albino Koala, was based off my own childhood nightmare about Kermit the Frog. In my dream, every time I said Kermit’s name, he would switch from good to evil or vice versa. But I kept forgetting that’s how it worked and accidentally saying his name, and I spent a lot of the dream running in terror from him. Which is weird, because I loved Kermit as a kid.


  • What can readers except from the romance angle in this story?


There were two things I was going for. First, I wanted the romance to be a subplot that would serve the adventure story, not the other way around. (I’m not sure why the book keeps getting shelved under Teen Romance, since it’s obviously a fantasy/sci-fi/adventure.) Second, I really wanted the romance to develop out of Josh and Will’s genuine affection for each other. I read so many books where guys act like self-destructive jerks and girls try to save them. I don’t find that romantic, and I don’t want to promote that model. So I wrote a love story I could get behind.


  • Are you working on something new?


I just finished final edits on the second book in the Dream Walker Trilogy, and I’m about halfway through a rough draft of the third. The story gets a lot darker in the second book, and a lot more action oriented. There’s also a major new character who just so happens to be a princess.


  • If you’re Joshlyn and can enter anyone’s dreams, whose dream would you enter?


I’d like to peek at the nightmares of YA author Christopher Pike. He was a huge influence on me when I started writing, and I still think his writing has a sort of effortless cool that no one has ever duplicated. Also phenomenal plotting. I suspect he has some fantastic nightmares. Second choice is David Lynch, the artist and filmmaker. Although his nightmares are probably terrifying.


  • What are your current YA favorites?


I thinkI was blown away by 50 Cent’s Playground. Amazing book. I just started Daniel Handler’s Why We Broke Up and am loving it. I’ve been taking some English classes, so I’ve mostly been reading classics lately. I highly recommend Hope Leslie, which was written before YA was a genre, but is about a group of Puritan teenagers sorting out their love lives in the aftermath of the Pequot War. Probably the most satisfying book I’ve read in a long time.



Thanks again, Kit for the Q&A! I REALLY cannot wait to get my hands on a physical copy of your book! You’re so awesome 🙂


The Giveaway..



a Rafflecopter giveaway

What do you guys think of Dreamfire? Will you be reading it? Share your thoughts!


Author Takeover #11: Kate McGovern, author of: Rules for 50/50 Chances




Author Takeover is a new feature here in HBT where we let our current favorite authors took over the blog. Expect Guest Posts, Interviews, LOTS of Playlists, giveaways and of course, a bunch load of FUN!

Probably one of the most anticipated YA Contemporary that will come out this year, that’s why I was so ecstatic when Kate let me interview her about the book and even herself. She even gave me an e-arc because she’s amazing like that. Thanks Kate!! Read below the interview and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!! 🙂 


The Book..



Rules for 50/50 Chances

Expected publication: November 24th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
YA > Contemporary | Romance

Purchase it: amazon | bn



About the book..


A heartrending but ultimately uplifting debut novel about learning to accept life’s uncertainties; a perfect fit for the current trend in contemporary realistic novels that confront issues about life, death, and love.
Seventeen-year-old Rose Levenson has a decision to make: Does she want to know how she’s going to die? Because when Rose turns eighteen, she can take the test that will tell her if she carries the genetic mutation for Huntington’s disease, the degenerative condition that is slowly killing her mother. With a fifty-fifty shot at inheriting her family’s genetic curse, Rose is skeptical about pursuing anything that presumes she’ll live to be a healthy adult—including going to ballet school and the possibility of falling in love. But when she meets a boy from a similarly flawed genetic pool, and gets an audition for a dance scholarship in California, Rose begins to question her carefully-laid rules.


The author..



connect: twitter | website | goodreads page | facebook



Kate McGovern has taught theatre and language arts to middle schoolers in Boston, New York, and London. A graduate of Yale and Oxford, she currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was born and raised. This is her first novel.


The Interview..


  • Hi Kate!! Thanks for stopping by on the blog!! We’re so excited. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 🙂
Thanks so much for inviting me to chat with you! Let’s see…By day, I work in education. I started my career working in schools as a reading specialist and theatre educator, and now I’m the publications director for a national organization that helps school districts make sure all students have access to great teachers and schools. I LOVE my job. Some random facts about me—after almost a decade living in New York City, London and a tiny village in the English countryside, I now live back in my hometown of Cambridge, MA. I’m a proud aunt of four and a huge fan of long train rides, thunderstorms, ocean views and bright nail polish.


  •  Rf50/50C is your debut novel. I was wondering if this is the genre that you really wanted to write? What other genres do you think you’ll also try?


I love contemporary YA, and I think I’ll stick with it for a while. But as a reader, I also love mysteries and thrillers, so I’d like to try my hand at that at some point. I love middle grade fiction too, so we’ll see.


  • Was the book inspired by an event in your life? A person? Or something? 🙂 Can you share to us how did the whole idea of the book came to you?


The book isn’t inspired by personal experience, but it is inspired by a true story. Several years ago, I read an article about a young woman who was in a similar situation to Rose. Her story really stuck with me. I’ve always been interested in medicine and genetics, and I started reading more about Huntington’s. At one point, I was considering a career change to become a genetic counselor, but instead, I started writing RULES. I think it’s fascinating that we have access to so much more information about our genes—and what they mean for our futures—now than we ever have before. I’m drawn to questions about what we do with that information. When is it helpful to us and when might it do more harm than good?
  • Your book cover is really gorgeous and so is the very unique title, but will you change it if you could? How did you decide all of this?


Thank you! I wouldn’t change anything about the title or the cover. The cover gives me “the shivers” (as Owen Meany, one of my favorite fictional characters, might say). I didn’t have any control over the cover art—that was all the talented designer and folks at my publishing house. I think they did an amazing job. The title took me a while to land on, but once it came to me, I knew it was right. I never considered changing it.


  • Who is your favorite character to write? and the not-so-favorite one? Can you share us why?


I had so much fun writing Lena. She’s a true mix of several of my close friends, two of my college roommates in particular. They’re very different in real life, so it was really fun to bring pieces of them together in one character. Lena has some pieces of my high school best friend in her, too. I have a lot of really important female friendships in my life, so I wanted Rose to have a truly enriching, sustaining friendship with another girl.


  • Is there something weird, funny or even a scary thing that happened while you were writing?


RULES used to have a whole, elaborate subplot, with a really important character. I spent a LOT of time figuring it out, and then both my agent and my editor advised cutting the whole thing. Sitting down to start that revision was probably the scariest moment in the writing process. But the book is definitely better without that subplot. (This is one of the many benefits of working with an agent and an editor who are as wise as mine. They’re always right.)


  • What will readers expect from the romance aspect in this book?


I don’t think RULES has a very conventional romance. Rose is reluctant to give too much of herself to Caleb at first. Some readers might find that frustrating, and I can understand that. (My boyfriend would say I didn’t have to fictionalize too much of that, by the way!) I wanted to portray a relationship where the girl doesn’t rush in with her whole heart right away. Rose is more guarded, for some good and some not so good reasons, but that’s human. Falling in love can be scary.
The other thing about the romance is RULES is that it is interracial—Rose is white and Caleb is black—and that was an important choice. I think we don’t see enough mixed race relationships in YA yet, although we’re starting to see more of them. I wanted their relationship to portray the ways in which race is both present in their lives—it affects them and they talk about it, in sometimes uncomfortable conversations—but it also isn’t the central feature of their relationship. I think this is realistic for many of us. My boyfriend is Indian-American. We talk about race and culture and the ways we were raised differently. Those things are part of our relationship, but they also don’t define our relationship. I wanted to write an interracial love story that both acknowledged race and didn’t make race the primary “issue” of the book.


  • Are you working on something new already? Do you have a WIP that you can tell us about? 🙂
I am working on something, yes. It’s also YA contemporary. It’s a love story that emerges from a single, devastating event. That’s about all I’ll say for now 🙂


  • If there’s something you want your readers to remember about your main character, Rose, what do you think should that be?
Rose does her best in unspeakably difficult circumstances. She is both lovable and frustrating, like most of us are at times. I hope readers remember how hard she’s trying, and how much she’s shouldering. I dealt with a health crisis in my own family this year, which was MUCH less dramatic than what Rose is dealing with, and it gave me a new level of respect and admiration for Rose. Seeing a loved one, especially a parent, struggle with their health is very scary and complicated.
  • If you’re in Rose’s position, would YOU want to know how you’re going to die?


I think I would want to know. But I also believe it’s really hard to say conclusively unless you’re in that situation. I’m absolutely grateful not to have to make a decision like that, and I have a huge amount of respect for those people who are faced with that choice, regardless of what they decide. To know or to not know are both incredibly brave, difficult choices.


  •  Lastly, what’s your three current YA favorites? 🙂


Oh, this is a fun one! Let’s see. I just read Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer and couldn’t put it down. I got it from the library but it’s one I’ll have to buy, too. I know I’ll re-read it.
Two other new favorites are both debut novels: Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos, and Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. Material Girls is a smart, thought-provoking critique of consumer culture, all wrapped up in a page-turning dystopia. Everything, Everything will make you laugh/cry/swoon on every other page. Both are must-reads.


Thanks again, Kate for the Q&A! I REALLY cannot wait to get my hands on a physical copy of your book! You’re so awesome 🙂


The Giveaway..



a Rafflecopter giveaway


What do you guys think of Rules for 50/50 Chances? Will you be reading it? Share your thoughts!


AUTHOR TAKEOVER #010: Kim Liggett, author of: BLOOD AND SALT




Author Takeover is a new feature here in HBT where we let our current favorite authors took over the blog. Expect Guest Posts, Interviews, LOTS of Playlists, giveaways and of course, a bunch load of FUN!

BLOOD AND SALT is absolutely one of my most anticipated book this year. The cover, the synopsis… it all sounds awesome and epic! I’m so honored to have KIM today on the blog. Read the interview that we did and find out more about her and the book! You can win one of Kim’s favorite 2015 book too!


The Book..



Blood and Salt

Expected publication: September 22nd 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
YA > Fantasy | Horror

Purchase it: amazon | bn



About the book..


Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn in this one-of-a-kind romantic horror.
“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”
These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.
Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.
As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.


The author..



connect: twitter | website | goodreads page | facebook



At sixteen, Kim Liggett left her rural midwestern town for New York City to pursue a career in both music and acting. While attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Kim sang backup for some of the biggest rock bands in the 80′s.
After settling down to have a family, she became an entrepreneur, creating a children’s art education program and a travel company specializing in tours for musicians.
She’s married to jazz musician Ken Peplowski, has two beautiful teens, and a very neurotic dog that drags her through Riverside Park everyday on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.


The Interview..


1. Hi Kim!! Thanks for stopping by on the blog!! We’re so excited! To start off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 🙂
I’m a former backup singer—turned entrepreneur—turned author. I started writing Blood and Salt as a love letter to my daughter. She was going through a tough breakup from her first crushing love and I wanted to show her how I saw her—how strong, complicated, interesting, beautiful and brave I thought she was. I only meant to write a few chapters and then I just couldn’t stop. And now I have four books under contract with two different publishers.


2. Your debut novel, Blood and Salt, is pitched as Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn, we’re really curios on how did this idea came to you. Can you share how did the whole concept materialized in your head? 🙂
I love horror and I love romance. They call it romantic horror, but I prefer Hormance.


3. How would you introduce your main character, Ash, to us? Did you have a particular muse for her?
Absolutely. My muse was my daughter, Maddie. Ash’s twin brother Rhys is based on my son, Rahm.


4. The title and the cover of the book is really eye catching, how did you decide it? And will you change anything if you could?
I developed an extensive Pinterest board for Blood and Salt, which the designers used as inspiration. My editor sent over the cover—I loved it—and that was the end. It’s not the most elaborate cover of all time, but it’s perfect for the book. Perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing.


5. Why Kansas? Can you tell us about the setting of the book because it seems like a big part of the story.
I grew up in Kansas—a tiny town much like the town in BLOOD AND SALT (minus the creepy cult). As a kid, I felt like the land was magic—hidden away—a secret. I was a weird kid, with more imaginary friends than real ones. These were the stories I created to survive.


6. What will readers expect from the romance aspect in this book?
The romance is incredibly hot. You might need to fan yourself a little. ; )


7. Did something creepy or funny or even scary thing that happened while writing Blood and Salt?
I think I’ve blocked it out. This book has consumed the last five years of my life. Body and soul.


8. Are you working on something new already? Do you have a WIP that you can tell us about? 🙂
I just finished my first book for Tor Teen—It’s called THE LAST HARVEST. That will come out in September of 2016.It’s straight-up YA old-school classic horror.
And I’m currently finishing up the sequel to BLOOD AND SALT, which will come out in the fall of 2016.


9. Lastly, what’s your three current YA favorites?
City of Savages by Lee Kelly
Unmarked by Kami Garcia
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma


Thanks again, Kim for the Q&A! Kim is also shared with us her inspirations while writing the book. You can check it out on her PINTEREST PAGE!! 


The Giveaway..



a Rafflecopter giveaway


What do you guys think of BLOOD AND SALT? Will you be reading it? Share your thoughts!


AUTHOR TAKEOVER #009: Sarah McGuire, author of: ‘Valiant’ + Giveaway!!



Author Takeover is a new feature here in HBT where we let our current favorite authors took over the blog. Expect Guest Posts, Interviews, LOTS of Playlists, giveaways and of course, a bunch load of FUN!

Retelling has been everywhere in the blogosphere and I think VALIANT deserves to be on your list! Check out my Interview with the wonderful Sarah. 


The Book..




Published April 28th 2015 by EgmontUSA
YA > Fantasy | Retelling

Purchase it: amazon | bn | indigo



About the book..


Reggen still sings about the champion, the brave tailor. This is the story that is true.

Saville despises the velvets and silks that her father prizes more than he’s ever loved her. Yet when he’s struck ill she’ll do anything to survive–even dressing as a boy and begging a commission to sew for the king.

But piecing together a fine coat is far simpler than unknotting court gossip about an army of giants, led by a man who cannot be defeated, marching toward Reggen to seize the throne. Saville knows giants are just stories, and no man is immortal.

Then she meets them, two scouts as tall as trees. After she tricks them into leaving, tales of the daring tailor’s triumph quickly spin into impossible feats of giant-slaying. And stories won’t deter the Duke and his larger-than-life army.

Now only a courageous and clever tailor girl can see beyond the rumors to save the kingdom again.


The author..



connect: twitter | website | goodreads page | blog



Sarah McGuire loves fairy tales and considers them the best way to step outside of everyday life. They’re the easiest way, at least: her attempt at seven to reach Narnia through her parents’ closet failed. She lives within sight of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, where she teaches high school creative writing and math classes with very interesting word problems. Valiant is her first novel.


The Interview..


Hi Sarah!! Thanks for stopping by on the blog!! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 🙂
I am a high school math teacher who loves fairy tales. I drink way too much coffee and couldn’t get everything done if I didn’t take afternoon naps— long ones.


Valiant is your debut novel, is writing a retelling novel your original plan? If no, what’s the genre you really like to write? If yes, can you tell us why and how you gotinto writing Valiant.
I have always loved fairy tales, and had written a retelling that I put away. So I knew the next book I wrote would be a retelling.


 Describe your book in 5-7 words for us
Clever girl verses an army of giants.


How did you decide your novel’s book cover? If you’ve given the chance to change it, will you? (It looks really pretty!! :D)
I didn’t decide on Valiant’s cover— it was shown to me, fully formed. (Much like Athena springing from Zeus’ forehead.) The wonderful artist, Shobhna Patel, created the papercut work for the cover after reading Valiant. It’s such a lovely, unique look.
There is one situation where I’d change the cover. If Valiant stayed in print for quite a few years, the cover might then need an update. (A girl can dream her book would be in stores that long, right?) Then, perhaps, Valiant would have a new cover.


How will you introduce Saville to us?
People and reviewers have portrayed Saville as strong. And she is. But I’d like to think that strength comes from something other than generally kick-assery. She does what she does because she cares deeply for the people in her life. She has a bone-deep drive to protect those she loves.


Can you share something weird, funny or even a scary thing that happened while writing Valiant?
Oh this is horribly mundane, but I dented my sofa cushion— there was that much butt-in-chair time. I was part of a whole novel workshop and only had a few months to write the first draft of Valiant. So once the school year was over, I wrote. One day, I got up to go to the kitchen for a snack, and when I looked back at the sofa, I realized I’d dent the sofa cushion. It’s still a bit less plush than the other.


Are you working on something new already? Do you have a WIP that you can tell us about?
I’m playing with another retelling, but am still working on it. I hope I can tell you about it soon!


Can you share three retelling books that you also enjoyed?
I’m a huge fan of Shannon Hale. I love Goose Girl and Book of a Thousand Days.



Thanks again, Sarah for the Q&A! We’re excited to hear about your inspiration when it comes to Valiant’s setting!


I tried to think of pictures that I could attach about the story’s inspiration. Most of Valiant came from my own imagination, but as I was writing it, I read about Predjamski: a castle in Slovenia that was built at the entrance of a cave system. Although I imagined the castle in Valiant as looking VERY different, I thought perhaps you’d like these links. There wouldn’t have been caves in Valiant if I hadn’t read about Predjamski. 🙂




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What do you guys think of VALIANT? Will you be reading it? Am I the only one who think that this has one of the most unique premise EVER?! Share your thoughts!