Ali: Hello Debbie, it’s so nice to get a chance to chat with you. Would you please introduce yourself? Debbie: I’m Debbie, I’ve been married to my husband for 18 years. We have two amazing teenagers. I am an avid reader and have always loved writing. My favorite genre is YA/NA- there’s just something unique about that time of discovery, independence, learning who you are, epic tales, and first love. I also am a big fan of PNR, UF, Fantasy Romance, thrillers, and the occasional contemporary romance.
Ali: Hello, Sarah! It’s so lovely to meet you. Congrats on the release, and thanks for the chance to talk about Breathing Underwater. Could you take a moment and introduce yourself? Sarah: Hello hello! Thank you so much for having me, it’s a pleasure! I am originally from Utah, and the oldest of eight kids. I’ve also had some experience living in San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas, and DC. I got an MFA in fiction from Brigham Young University and now I’m getting a second MFA in poetry from the University of South Florida in Tampa. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I could first read, and since those days when Ramona and the Pevensies were some of my best childhood friends! My other obsessions are things like David Attenborough documentaries, Broadway music, anything with caramel, Pixar movies, and Colin Firth. I’m excited to share Olivia and Ruth’s journey with you all!
Breathing Underwater’s blurb begins with “Breathing Underwater is a sparkly, moving middle-grade novel from Sarah Allen, and a big-hearted exploration of sisterhood, dreams, and what it means to be there for someone you love.” Tell us more about that, if you would, please! I started writing this book during a time in my life when so many of my loved ones, best friends and my family, were going through some very hard, tender things, including some serious struggles with mental illness. I was desperate to find a way to help, and the answer to what I could do seemed to be…not much. So I wrote. I wrote about a girl struggling to learn how to help her sister, and learning that loving her and accepting her for who she is really was enough. I learned so much about myself along the way.
Ali:It’s so nice to be able to talk with you, Michelle. Could you please take a minute and introduce yourself? Michelle: My name is Michelle Areaux and I write paranormal and fantasy novels. I’m a small-town Kentucky girl and love living out in the country with my husband, two sons, snd three spoiled dogs.
What genre do you write? I write primarily young adult fantasy and paranormal romances.
You have a series called Crow Haven. What’s it about? Crow Haven is about Lizzie, (Sadie’s daughter from my Wicked Cries Series) who moves to a small, Kentucky town. Once there, she meets a mysterious family who has secrets much darker than hers.
This game is ‘Tell Me a Secret, Tell Me a Lie.’ It’s just what it sounds like. I give a prompt, and you, the character, gets to determine if you want to hint a secret or lie: one or the other.
Tell me a secret about the last lie you told your partner or Tell me a lie you told your partner to keep that secret.
*Asher explodes with laughter* Asher: Tell her where Felicity thinks you are today man. Jason: F%^$ off Cameron: You lied to her? Jason: I didn’t… it’s not… I may have extended the truth but only because I knew she’d want to come
Tell me a secret you can’t tell your bestie or Tell me a lie you just told your parents.
Would you rather hear your parents do the deed or put up with Khloe hitting on the guys again?
Jason: What the actual f*#%? Why would you ask that? Asher: *retches* You’re triggering some serious shit here, I hope you know that. Cameron: No way, you heard them go at it? Asher: Dude, not cool! Jason: Seriously, can we move on? I just can’t…
Would you rather wake up and find you had three-inch-long eyelashes or go to bed without lips?
Asher: Oh my god, where are you getting these questions? *explodes with laughter*
Ali: My questions today are about the cover artwork of the Aldebarian Alliance series. The Lasaran and Segonian covers are very dynamic, how do you feel they express the stories you were telling?
Dianne Duvall: I admit my book cover preferences have been strongly influenced by the years I worked in the independent film industry. I was accustomed to seeing movie posters that reflected a film’s storyline and—at the same time—piqued moviegoers’ interest. So I wanted the covers of the Aldebarian Alliance books to reflect what readers will find in the new series. And I believe they do a stellar job (forgive the pun).
Quite a bit of The Lasaran takes place on Earth. Taelon (the hero) is alone and suffers greatly before Lisa finds him, risks much to free him, and shows him the first kindness he’s known in years. So I wanted to cover to reflect his solitude, which it does well. 🙂 When he and Lisa later venture into space, their trip is a very active and harrowing one, as reflected by the battle erupting in the background.
The Segonian, on the other hand, takes place entirely in space. The hero is the fierce commander of the battleship Ranasura. And the heroine is a powerful immortal warrior from Earth. So both totally kick ass. 🙂 They also forge a friendship before they even meet in person while Dagon and his crew race to reach Eliana before her oxygen runs out . . . a friendship that continues to grow once they meet, soon deepening into love. I think their stance on the cover—both their closeness and their ferocity—reflects this well. The book is also full of action, as evinced by the background.
I have read that you have received a good deal of negative feedback because you named a female main character after yourself. I think it’s brilliant, and haters gonna hate. What was your thinking there? Why did you want to name her after you? And how much of Janie, the character, is you? Ooh, those are loaded questions. This is going to be a lengthy response! To properly explain, I have to give a lot of background. I originally drafted this story on Wattpad a few years ago. I had no idea it would become so successful—it had over 24 million reads before I pulled the incomplete draft. So I was not prepared for the attacks that came from the instant Team Kylie readers. They didn’t care about the fact that Jane, Janie’s G&M form, was named after me because I was trying to heal myself. When I decided to write G&M, I was grieving my best friend’s death, my marriage was falling apart, and I was suffering from severe depression, anxiety, PTSD from sexual abuse and other traumatic stuff, and learning to cope with a Bipolar Disorder diagnosis. All they cared about was “this is Kylie’s story… get over yourself.” They didn’t care about anything I was actually doing—only that they wanted Kylie and Logan, and it was wrong of me to shove myself down their throats. Or to give myself the hottest guy. Lol.
Anyway, it was my late friend, Tifani, who told me on the day we found out she wasn’t going to survive that I needed to share my story. After writing the first chapter as a sort of memoir/horror story, I chickened out. Then I saw Jane in my mind. She was me, but also not. I gave her part of my soul, my name(Janie is a diminutive of Jane), and I gave her every bit of sorrow, fear, pain, but also happiness, my hopes, and my heart. I still almost changed her name, but it felt wrong to ask another to suffer what she would. Together, we pulled each other through the journeys we were on. She gave me strength and I made her fight harder to show me I could survive. When it came time to writing WAotBBW, she was meant to be there for reasons readers will find out. And on her first appearance in the book, I wrote Janie instead of Jane. I hit backspace, but she appeared in my mind, shaking her head at me. Her boys did the same, and I realized she was telling me to be braver, be greater. To truly not hide anymore and embrace myself. After all, the story I was telling with WAotBBW is my way of speaking to my daughter and the continued path of healing I was undertaking for myself. So even with the insults, the threats, and plagiarism I held strong. I couldn’t turn my back on my girl. So Janie is my acceptance that I’m a very flawed girl. I’m one that can be hated and admired. I can be broken and healed. I can be brave and I am always loved. Never forgotten.
For people who aren’t familiar with your book, what genre is Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Lol it’s all over the place. I mainly consider it A Coming of Age Fairy Tale Adaptation. But it has just about everything besides SciFi.
WAoTBBW is a spin-off from your previous series, Gods & Monsters. Could you explain where the characters of Kylie Hood and Logan Grimm come from and who they are? Ooh, you have to keep reading to find out. The big reveal comes in book 3 of the Big Bad Wolf Trilogy. It’s a huge twist when you read all of my books.
I have not read Gods & Monsters yet, but could you tell me what cross-over characters appear in WAoTBBW, and why should we know them? Gosh, there are too many to name. I’ll say every “soul” WAotBBW comes from G&M. Readers love finding out as they read. Some know right away who is who and others are stumped, but I do clarify in WAotBBW.
If you could, please take a minute to introduce yourself to readers. I’m Janie Marie. I live near Austin, Texas, with my husband and our three children—plus four adopted fur babies. I’m the only girl of six children. My parents each had two sons before marrying and having me then my little brother was a surprise. I remind him all the time I was supposed to be the last. Lol. I’m totally winging this author thing, but I’m happy to constantly grow as I share my life and art.
And it will in no way affect the way I think about you as a person, but what are your thoughts on coffee? Keep in mind coffee drinkers are the best people in the world. Haha, I don’t like it. I love the smell and have had friends give me various types, and I just don’t like it. My morning drink is always Dr Pepper.