Imaginary Friends & Other Such Misfits

This has been a great week for my blog. Earlier in the week, I got to write about Desiree William’s new book Illusionary, and today I get to share another awesome new release: Kara Swanson’s YA urban fantasy, The Girl Who Could See.

I think I say this every time. But seriously. Look at this cover. I mean. Really. Perfection.

The Girl Who Could See

It sums up everything bold and beautiful about this novella.

I got to chat with the author and ask her a few questions to get to know her better.

Jeb: I’d love to know about your experiences growing up in Papua New Guinea. 

Kara: Where do I even start? I spent my childhood in an exotic place that only a handful of eyes had ever seen. I ran barefoot through glistening jungles, learned to swim in the river that ran past our house, climbed trees like a monkey, and raised all kind of unique pets. From wallabies (mini kangaroos) to Cockatoos, Hornbills (like a Toucan without the colorful beak), and singing Dingo dogs.

Jeb: Sounds amazing! What’s it like being a third-culture kid? How does that contribute to your storytelling?

Kara: Growing up in a third world country, I learned how to make do without a lot. My imagination became my greatest plaything. And that definitely impacted my writing. I also knew what it was like to live in two very different worlds. I related to characters who didn’t quite fit in anywhere, and had a perspective on life that was hard for anyone else to grasp. I felt like the Pevensie children, returning from Narnia, trying to find a way to have England be home again. Writing soon became a place to expel all the pent up emotion and the many worlds swirling in my mind!

Jeb: Well, all that emotion and all the worlds combined into something beautiful in The Girl Who Could See. Give me some background on this story. What was your inspiration for it? 

Kara: I’ve always had imaginary friends. As a child, I played with them. As I got older, they became the characters of my stories. So when the idea popped into my head of a girl who’s imaginary friend never left—and isn’t imaginary—I just had to explore the possibilities.

I'm the girl who can see through worlds.png

Jeb: I love that! an imaginary friend who never left! Did you have a favourite character?

Kara: Tristan was my favorite character to write, as he was this snarky, strong character! ❤ His perspective was so unique, and how he messed with Fern.

Jeb: Haha, yup, Tristan was a lot of fun. If you were going to sit down with him at a cafe, what hot drink would you order?

Kara: Mmmmm a good mocha Frappuccino!

Jeb: Good choice! What you do to overcome writer’s block.

Kara: I don’t actually get writer’s block. I have so many ideas. If I do slow down, generally I can just sit on the idea for a while and it works it’s way out…

Jeb: Well, that’s completely not fair! 😉 But I do appreciate you answering all my questions and best of luck with your new book baby.

Kara: Thanks so much for having me, Jebraun! I so enjoyed it ❤

Everyone should have the chance to live.jpg

In case I haven’t convinced you yet, here’s a summary of TGWCS:

All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?

Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.

Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.

Doesn’t this sound amazing? Check out more on Goodreads and then run, don’t walk, to buy your copy of the book today!!

Are you ready for your next clue? Yeah? Here it is!

Clue 11 TGWCS Blog Tour Clue

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour from The Girl Who Could See to find all the clues for the scavenger hunt!

JUNE 1ST:

(Release Day/Blog Tour Kick Off Post)
readwritesoar.com

JUNE 2ND:

emilybergstrom.com

writeremilymundell.blogspot.ca

JUNE 3RD:

tabithacaplinger.com

A Little Thought Garden

JUNE 4TH:

northernbellemeg.com

The Simmering Mind

JUNE 5TH:
annie-louise-twitchell.blogspot

gabriellaslade.com

JUNE 6TH:

theleft-handedtypist.blogspot.com

Godbooksandchocolate.blogspot.com

jebraunclifford.com

JUNE 8TH:

zerinablossom.com

JUNE 9TH:

rosalievalentine.com

thefandomstudio.wordpress.com

geekychristianblog.wordpress.com

FINAL TGWCS BLOG TOUR HEADING.jpg

When you’ve collected every clue, go to –> –> –> TGWCS ~ Release day scavenger hunt


Kara SwansonAs the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent sixteen years of her young life in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped suddenly into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the speculative genre. At seventeen, she released a fantasy novel, Pearl of Merlydia. Her short story is included in Kathy Ide’s 21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom. She has published many articles, including one in the Encounter magazine, and she received the Mount Hermon Most Promising Teen Writer award in 2015.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website


Jebraun-Clifford-LR-3

Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it’s no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives in a gorgeous town smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island filled with thermal activity,
stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 First Impressions contest and the 2016 Genesis contest. She loves coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and harbours a secret penchant for British spelling.


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8 More Fascinating Behind-the-scenes Facts About Spark and a GIVEAWAY

I’m on the tail-end of the fabulous Spark tour which means they saved the best for last 😉

In all seriousness, I’m excited to share some more cool stuff about J.M. Hackman’s YA fantasy debut, Spark.

And I’ve got an e-book to GIVEAWAY! Woohoo!

8 More Fascinating Behind-the-scenes Facts about 'Spark' (1).png

Author J.M. Hackman sat down with me in a virtual cafe, where I got a low-down on on all the gossip about Brenna and the fantasy world of Linneah.

Jeb: Very excited to catch up with you about Spark. The first few chapters are intense. Man, you jump into the action right away. So, explain to me where Brenna’s powers come from?!?

JM: She was born with them, although Linneans don’t come into them until their teen years (a lot like puberty).

When I first started writing Spark, I tried to come up with a superpower that hadn’t been done before. Unfortunately, I think Solomon was right—nothing is new under the sun. Still, fire-starting intrigued me.

Jeb: Are you kidding? Fire-starting is cool! It’s a talent that would come in handy in more than one scenario, though I understand Brenna kinda wishes it would go away. She also mentions her frustration that Belgian waffles don’t exist in Linneah. I want to know if there’s a significant story to why she loves them so much?

JM: When they lived in Vermont, Brenna’s mother made them often on Saturday mornings. They would douse them with butter and real maple syrup because everyone in New England (and I mean everyone) uses real maple syrup.

Why does she love them? Have you ever had a Belgian waffle? Fluffy dough, fried to perfection, smothered in syrup, or confectioners’ sugar, or fruit/chocolate chips/whipped topping? What’s not to like?

Why does she love them- Have you ever had a Belgian waffle- Fluffy dough, fried to perfection, smothered in syrup, or confectioners’ sugar, or fruit%2Fchocolate chips%2Fwhipped topping- What’s not to like-.png

Jeb: You’re right. Belgian waffles are awesome. Unfortunately, maple syrup is rarer than dragons here in Middle Earth. Speaking of dragons, in an epic battle with a dragon, who would win…Brenna or the dragon?

JM: Hmm. Brenna hasn’t learned all there is to learn about being a Firebrand. And if she didn’t have protection (i.e., a shield), I think the dragon would win. After all, before dragons became extinct in Linneah, the Firebrand’s main rule was, “Never engage a dragon in an unnecessary firefight.”

Jeb: Sounds like a wise proverb! I love the world-building in Linneah. Are any of the settings (Silvastamen, for example) based on real places?

JM: Cloverdale’s reservoir and spillway are modeled after the reservoir our small town used before the artisan wells were drilled. I haven’t been there in years, but I remember a trip there when I was young. Most of Linneah is lightly wooded, much like central Pennsylvania. Flare (book 2) will take place elsewhere in the Jasper Territory and therefore have different scenery/settings.

Jeb: Well, your memory is a good one because I can picture the Cloverdale reservoir clearly from your description in the book. What about Brenna? Does she have a favorite childhood memory?

JM: When she lived in Vermont, she loved to go ice skating—especially on the dirt road that went past their house! (If it sleets—or rains and then freezes—on top of untreated hard-pack snow, it becomes like an ice rink.) She and the two other neighbor kids would strap on their ice skates and skate in each other’s driveways and the ice-covered dirt road. Going downhill was especially terrifying because it was impossible to stop once she picked up enough speed. She’d just skate into a snowbank to stop.

Jeb: I’ve never been ice skating. I prefer my own two feet flat on the ground, lol. What does it feel like to travel through the portal to Linneah?

What does it feel like to travel through the portal to Linneah-.png

JM: Are you wearing a jasper?

Jeb: Uh…no…

JM: That’s what makes the difference. Without the jasper, it’s harsh. You get blasted with extreme temperature swings, your vision becomes fuzzy, and nausea hits. With the jasper? A brief cold wind, a little hot flash, some hazy vision, and you’re through.

Jeb: Eeek! Sounds a little scary. I’ll stay in my world, thank you very much. Brenna’s hair is gorgeous—did her mother object when she colored it? (Did you notice my attempts at using American English with favorite and colored? I’m biting my fingernails, it’s bothering me so much, lol.)

JM: Good job, Jeb—we’ll convert you yet! Her mother didn’t object—because both her mother and her grandmother have a similar colored hair streak, too. You’ll have to read the book to find out why!

Jeb: Oooh, like the teaser! Any of your characters based on real people? 

JM: I think Brenna is a mixture of my two daughters and a much-younger me. My youngest has ADHD, my oldest is the same age and emotionally like Brenna, and when I was younger, I would say anything (like Brenna, I had no filter).

A few months ago, I realized Baldwin is like my husband: dark good looks, sexy (at least I think so), and very conscientious. He plays by the rules (while I look for ways to break them.)

Brenna James wants three things for her sixteenth birthday- to find her history notes before the test, to have her mother return from her business trip, and to stop creating fire with her bare hands. Yeah, that’s  (1).png

Jeb: Now I’d like to find out a few things about you. I understand you’re a chocolate lover like me. What’s your favorite? If you say white…I may have to unfriend you on Facebook…

JM: White!?! Phth! That’s not chocolate—that’s candy. My favorite is dark. Deep, dark, rich chocolate…excuse me while I wipe the drool off my chin.

Jeb: Yusss! Kindred spirits!!! We’ve both worked at libraries before, too. I always got in trouble for reading the books I was supposed to shelve, hehe (I mean, I worked in my university’s children and YA section…what did they expect?!?) What was the best part about working in a library?

JM: Getting a new shipment of books. I read them first, because my name was at the top of the list. (For what it’s worth, I also got in trouble for reading the books in the stacks. Some people just don’t understand the temptation. All those books, and so little time.)

Jeb: I know, right? Wait a minute. You like dark chocolate, you worked at a library, you were also a teacher. Me tooooo! Were we separated at birth? You’ve got wavy hair and glasses…your name starts with a ‘J’…hmmm…I can’t believe all of these similarities are a coincidence.

more chocolate- yes, please!.png

JM: As far as I know, Jeb, I was an only child and used my vivid imagination to keep myself occupied. I did get a degree in elementary education. Although I enjoyed the kids, I was surprised at how much discipline factored into the job. About 50% is teaching and the other 50% is discipline. Because I tend to throw myself into almost everything I do, I probably would’ve been one of the teachers that burned out.

Jeb: Well, you’re going to excel at writing books. I for one, have loved reading Spark and can’t wait to finish it. And then I get to look forward to Flare getting published.  

JM: Thanks so much, Jeb, for chatting with me!

Jeb: Thanks so much for taking the time to share all about your new book and congratulations!


Author_JM_Hackman_HeadshotJ.M. Hackman has held many positions: assistant librarian, office assistant, office manager, substitute teacher, writer, wife, and mother. She still holds the last three. And loves it. She received a degree in Elementary Education from Pennsylvania State University and now spends her days writing stories, consuming massive quantities of chocolate, and looking for portals to other worlds. You can find her at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |Pinterest

You can purchase Spark from L2L2 Publishing and it’s also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBook, Kobo, and any other online retailer.


Did you miss any of the other blog stops? Then check them out:

5/15: Amy Brock McNew – Spark! Into the World of J.M. Hackman
5/16: J M Hackman – What I Learned While Writing Spark (And Spark Teaser!)
5/17: Emilie Hendryx – Author Chat with J.M. Hackman and The Story Sanctuary – Review
5/18: Michael Israel Harper – Five Reasons Why I Love Linneah
5/19: Kat Heckenbach – Behind-the-Scenes: A Different Kind of Magic
5/20: Writing Prompts, Thoughts, Ideas – Interview

Week 2

5/21: Quills and Inkblotts – Visual Post: The Visual Feast of Spark
5/22: Laura Zimmerman – Book Review
5/23: Lands Uncharted – Behind-the-Scenes: The Evolution of Spark
5/24: Pam Halter – Guest Post
5/25: Pages and Hope – Interview

5/26: Ralene Burke – Confessions of a Small Town Mountain Girl) and 8 More Fascinating Behind-the-scenes Facts about Spark (right here!)


Spark_cover_med_res (2)Do you want your very own copy of Spark? Cos I’ve got one to giveaway!
–> –> –>enter to win!<– <– <–


Jebraun-Clifford-LR-3

Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it’s no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives in a gorgeous town smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island filled with thermal activity, stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 First Impressions contest and the 2016 Genesis contest. She loves coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and harbours a secret penchant for British spelling.


Sign up for my newsletter!
There’s a giveaway for an e-book in each one!

Made to Create ~ Interview with Jebraun Clifford

 

Sheri Yutzy, another YA author interviewed me on her blog this month in a series she calls ‘Made to Create.’ Check out the sneak peek below…Made to Create Interview with Jebraun Clifford

Hello, dear readers,

I’m excited to have Jebraun Clifford with us for our May interview! I met Jeb at the American Christian Fiction Writers(ACFW) conference last fall, and my husband and I stayed with her at her home in New Zealand in February. Jeb is a fellow young adult fantasy author, and her friendship has been a great encouragement to me. I admire the way she combines writing with mothering and working with her church people. I hope I can organize my life so well!

Here Goes Something New!
the lovely Sheri Yutzy

Sheri Yutzy: Welcome to Made to Create, Jebraun! I’ve been looking forward to talking with you about your writing for a long time.

Jebraun Clifford: Thank you, Sheri. It was such fun to meet you at the conference, and then have you and your husband visit us in Rotorua. I love that we can maintain a friendship across the ocean, and I’m also excited to be a part of this series!

SY: Yes, technology can do wonderful things for overseas friendships! Let’s get started. When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?

 

To read the rest of this interview, check it out —> —> —> HERE


Jebraun-Clifford-LR-3

Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it’s no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives in a gorgeous town smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island filled with thermal activity, stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 First Impressions contest and the 2016 Genesis contest. She loves coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and harbours a secret penchant for British spelling.


Sign up for my newsletter!

Each one includes an e-book giveaway