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Articles by Melissa

The Winner’s Crime: An Interview with Marie Rutkoski

by Melissa
Author Q & A + YA Fiction / March 03, 2015

Today’s the day! To celebrate the release of The Winner’s Crime—the second book in Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Trilogy—the fabulous Jenn from Lost in a Great Book has shared her interview with the lovely Marie Rutkoski. Read on for fun secrets behind The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime. (Caution! There are spoilers for The Winner's Curse, and possible vague spoilers for The Winner's Crime. You've been warned!)

In January I had the distinct pleasure of chatting via Skype with the ever-charming Marie Rutkoski, author of The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime books. After we had both settled in with our respective cups of tea (Marie’s was an intriguing blue tea from Mariage Frères that I have since attempted to order online), we focused our discussion on all things Kestrel and Arin. Be warned: there are definitely spoilers for book one in this discussion, although I’ve tried to edit out the spoilers for book two.

J: So, I’ve finished book two, and I just have to ask … Are you trying to kill us with this book? I’ll bet you wrote that last chapter with an evil laugh!

M: Ha! I mean… Okay, is this going to be public?

J: It will, but I will edit for book two spoilers, don’t you worry!

M: Oh good, that makes things easier. Well, after I wrote the first book, and I ended it the way that I did, which felt like a true ending to me, it felt like the characters were true to who they are and how I had made them into, and this is what would happen to them. After I wrote that, however, I wondered what might happen to them and how the story would continue. One of the things I felt pretty strongly about was that the tension between Kestrel and her father, for example, could break things eventually, just because they are both so similar, but their goals are so extremely different. I knew that they loved each other but …

J: They really don’t know how to love each other, really.

M: Yes, that’s it. It’s very true.

J: There are events in this book that broke my heart, especially between Kestrel and her father.

M: He would definitely see her actions as a personal betrayal. Part of the reason he has been at war for so long is because he felt that he was building this great world, this empire for her, and in his mind, he knew she was capable of making it all hers. In book one, she tells him that she doesn’t want his life, and all of her actions, even if she doesn’t mean them to be against him, he could take it that way.

J:  She is very much her father’s daughter in her analytical thought processes.

M:  She is, that’s true. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I didn’t set out to break reader’s hearts with the endings of the books, but rather that I see each book as an inevitable conclusion. I did think that it would be interesting to write a book where readers feel that the books is about a certain romantic relationship, but that they also realize that there are so many other relationships that happen that are just as crucial, and end up having as much, if not more, of an emotional impact.

J: Your characters are not one-dimensional; Kestrel is genuinely hurt and abandoned in this book because she has lost everyone close to her in book one. Jess, Ronan, her father … there is so much more to her than just her relationship with Arin, and I found she really came into her own in book two. Book one was so much about figuring out the world, and I found book two was very much a character book. There is still lots of action, but so much of what happens is internal.

I also found it interesting to see how Kestrel and Arin developed and have almost changed roles. In book one, Arin is the enigma as we don’t have much from his point of view because he is hiding his role in the rebellion, while Kestrel is the more open of the pair.

M: That’s a really interesting comment. I was definitely aware that Arin was not a very outgoing character; even in his point of view, we don’t get a lot from him in the first book and that’s very deliberate. I thought of him as a character that does not want to share, so anything he does share is done so grudgingly, but in the second book he does open up more. I hadn’t really thought about the fact that Kestrel would have to keep things much more close to her chest with everyone around her, but I guess she is much more secretive than she was before.

J: In book two, there are some interesting scenes involving a particular moth. Do those chameleon moths exist?

M: Oh, thanks! Well the book is technically fantasy, because of the different world, but I didn’t want it to be fantastical. I love fantasy, but for this book I really wanted to focus on the human – relationship, scenery, etc. I did want to lend little touches to remind the reader that this was not our world. The moths were convenient to me, for various reasons – plot-wise, events…

J: For ….. reasons that will become apparent after release!

M: Yes, exactly! So those, and the dragonflies that appear in the East … when I tend to try to remind the reader that this is a new and different world, it usually comes out in nature somehow. There may be something different, like green storms in the first book, and the crops in the second book.

J: Let’s talk a little about some of the non-story aspects of the book.The Winner’s Curse is so named because the economic theory of, essentially, paying more for something than it’s actually worth at auction. Is there a similar meaning for The Winner’s Crime?

M: The Winner’s Crime doesn’t have as serious a meaning; when you write a trilogy you want the names to go together and have some fluidity to them (example: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Dreams of Gods and Monsters). I wanted to have some kind of cohesion with the first book, and I knew what the second book would be about.

J: What are you hoping people will get from book two?

M: Well, I have had to make a lot of apologies to people on Twitter – “You broke my heart!” “I’m sorry!”

In book one, Kestrel seems kind of unassailable, she’s the girl with all the answers, so I’m hoping in book two you see her much more vulnerable than before. I also think, as a writer, it was really satisfying to write more from Arin’s point of view. That happens a lot in book three as well.

They both grow a lot in these books.

If you’re interested in reading the rest of Jenn’s interview with Marie (or if you want more information on torture and book 3) click here!

I want to extend a huge thank you to Jenn for sharing her interview with us, and to the wonderful Marie Rutkoski for an intriguing behind-the-scenes look into The Winner’s Crime. Be sure to purchase your copy of The Winner’s Crime, in stores today!


16 Reasons to Read #16thingsithoughtweretrue

by Melissa
Fiction + YA Fiction / March 04, 2014

16 Reasons to Read This Book
(yes, I went there!)

#16ThingsIThoughtWereTrue

1)    It’s written by the lovely (and Canadian!) Janet Gurtler.

2)    It features a road trip. Who doesn’t love road trips!?

3)    Social media plays a predominant role in this book.  Our culture is so immersed in social media and 16 Things I Thought Were True does an excellent job of portraying some of the issues that go along with it

4)    This book features a realistic protagonist who has flaws

5)    It’ll make you laugh

6)    It’ll make you cry

7)    It’s about friendship

8)    It’s about family

9)    It’s about love

10)  It tackles the hard issues

11)  It has an awesome hashtag #thingsithoughtweretrue

12)  It's a contemporary YA book, so there’s no need to immerse yourself in a new world or learn new terminology

13)  There’s an element of mystery as secrets are uncovered

14)  It's perfect for book clubs

15)  It’s a great spring break read

16)  Because I said so!

16 Things I Thought Were True is available in stores now. Read it! You won’t regret it.


 


Teen Reads for the Beach

by Melissa
Events + Excerpts + Kids + YA Fiction / June 11, 2013

The sun is shining here at the Raincoast offices which, of course, reminds me that it's just about summer! The fast-approaching season is one of my favourites, because that means there's more time to relax in the sun and read a great book. I've been creating my own summer reading list, so I thought why not share some of Raincoast's awesome summer titles? Here are some books that are ideal for reading while soaking up the sun:
 

   

REAL MERMAIDS series by Hélène Boudreau

A series for young readers, the REAL MERMAIDS books are ideal for summer time since they will inspire you to jump in a pool and act like a mermaid yourself...or is that just me? Hélène Boudreau creates an incredibly fun series that will keep kids reading during those relaxing summer moments and pool-bound during those not-so-relaxing ones.
 

HOW I LOST YOU by Janet Gurtler

Our awesome Sales & Marketing Assistant, Megan, has already blogged about this book here. But just to reiterate, How I Lost You is a contemporary book that delves into the complexities of friendship. What do you do when your best friend seems to be taking advantage of you, and isn't looking out for your best interests? How I Lost You rings true to life as the main character, Grace, struggles between loyalty and standing up for herself, and her dreams.

Located in the Calgary area? Janet will be signing books at the Cross Iron Indigo tonight, June 12th, beginning at 5:00 PM.

You can also find her at McNally Robinson in Winnipeg on June 26th at 7 PM.


The summer is also the perfect opportunity to try some Fierce Reads:



CREWEL by Gennifer Albin

In the words of one of our fantastic publicists, Jocelyne, "Crewel is like if The Giver starred a girl instead of a boy, that girl was like Katniss, and it all involved forbidden romance, dangerous politicking, and some seriously awesome weaving." If that very descriptive and intriguing recommendation didn't make you want to read it, I'm not sure what else will!

The second in the series, Altered, will be out in October.  Can't wait until October? Take a look at sneak peeks from the Prologue and Chapter 1 of Altered here:  PART 1 ; PART 2 ; PART 3 ; PART 4 ; PART 5 

or check out The Department of Alterations, a short story set in the Crewel world.

 

      

OF POSEIDON and OF TRITON by Anna Banks

Another series about mermaids, but this time for the YA crowd. Of Poseidon and Of Triton will immediately suck you into the world of the Syrena (mermaids and mermen) and if you're like me, the books will probably make you want to be a mermaid too. Pick these up for a perfect summer read while you're lying on the beach and be inspired to take a dip in the ocean. Just watch out for sharks!

For more in the Syrena world, take a look at a prequel short story to Of Poseidon.
 

 

SHADOW AND BONE and SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo

If you haven't yet read Shadow and Bone, what are you waiting for? This series is absolutely addictive. The first in the series sets up the intricate world of Ravka and the magical powers of the Grisha. With a strong female heroine, riveting love interest(s), and a fabulous villain who you're guaranteed to love to hate (or just to love), these books are impossible to put down. Word of warning: be prepared to anxiously await the third book in the series, coming in 2014.

For more in the Grisha world, check out Leigh Bardugo's short stories:

       The Too Clever Fox

       The Witch of Duva: A Ravkan Folk Tale

or read an excerpt from Siege & Storm here.

 



UNREMEMBERED by Jessica Brody

With a synopsis and title like this one, it's hard not to be curious about the mystery that Unremembered promises. The first in a series, Unremembered only untangles the beginning of a fascinating tale—one that is full of surprises at every turn. Combining elements of sci-fi, mystery and romance, Jessica Brody weaves a fast-paced tale that will be sure to keep readers hooked until the end. I will leave you with this slightly vague description, since disclosing anything further would ultimately result in spoilerssomething you definitely don't want for this book!

Jessica Brody also wrote a short story to accompany Unremembered. You can find it here.

   

MONUMENT 14 and MONUMENT 14: SKY ON FIRE by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14 tells the story of 14 kidsranging from young children to teenagers--trapped in a superstore after disasters ravage the outside world, and how they must band together to survive. With parallels to Lord of the Flies, this book is full of interesting twists with a cliffhanger ending. The sequel continues the story with an equally gripping narrative. Fast-paced thrillers that will keep you enthralled to the very end, this series is perfect for dystopia-lovers.

Find a sneak peek from Monument 14: Sky on Fire here.
 


 

These last fabulous five authors will also be in Toronto at Indigo Yorkdale on June 19th at 7 PM! Come meet the authors and get some Fierce Reads swag. For more details, or to RSVP to the event, take a look at the Fierce Reads Facebook page.


Fall Kids Books from Raincoast!

by Melissa
Events + Fiction + Kids + Picture Books + YA Fiction / September 18, 2012

Wow, it is already that time of year again! Summer is coming to a close and school is back in session.

While I am sure everyone is dreading the end of summer, the shift into fall isn't all bad... especially when you take into account all these awesome upcoming fall titles, and their corresponding Canadian events:

 
 
IT'S A TIGER!
by David LaRochelle, Illustrated by Jeremy Tankard
available August 2012
 
A story about how things are not always what they seem, this is an adorable picture book from Chronicle Books that children will love to read again and again. Canadian illustrator Jeremy Tankard's gorgeous artwork makes this a picture book that belongs on your bookshelf. 
 
 
Jeremy Tankard will be appearing at Calgary WordFest on October 10th to present both It's a Tiger! and Piggy Bunny.  Tickets are available for purchase at the Calgary WordFest website.
 
 
by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
available October 2012
 
In the newest installment of the Ivy and Bean series, the dynamic duo aren't allowed to go to camp with Bean's sister Nancy because the camp is for 11-year olds, and they aren't 11 yet! Instead of feeling left out, Bean and Ivy take matters into their own hands and decide to make their own camp with their own rules.  With the same fun tone and illustrations we've become accustomed to from Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall, kids will love this new installment of one of their favourite book series.
 
Watch the book trailer below for a far better explanation than I could ever give (plus it's so cute!):
 

Celebrate this adorable series with us on October 13th, the first international Ivy & Bean day! Visit the Chronicle Books website for tons of fun activities. The author of Ivy & Bean, Annie Barrows, will also be in Toronto on October 19th and 20th - stay tuned for more details!
 
 
by Janet Gurtler
available October 2012
 
Who I Kissed is Canadian author Janet Gurtler's third YA novel with Sourcebooks, and one that tackles a topic rarely seen in fiction.  A book about how one little kiss turned main character Samantha's life upside down, Gurtler manages to convey the all-encompassing emotion of guilt in a realistic, relatable way, as Samantha has to deal with the repercussions of her unexpectedly fatal action. Janet Gurtler expertly weaves her way through the intricacies of food allergies while simultaneously exploring the effect of guilt, and the importance in learning to overcome it.
 
As a person with allergies myself, I truly appreciated that aspect of the novel, and Janet's insight into the complex emotion of guilt is guaranteed to keep readers' interest.
 
Come meet Janet at the Shawnessy Chapters branch in Calgary on October 12th, 2012 for the launch of Who I Kissed! Janet will also be in Vancouver on October 15th, 2012.
 
 
 
by Cory Doctorow
available October 2012
 
Pirate Cinema is Cory Doctorow's latest novel and one that will keep you reading until the very end.  Hitting on subjects that are close to home in this period of internet piracy, Pirate Cinema explores a dystopian future that really doesn't seem all that far-fetched. 
 
Intrigued yet? See for yourself by reading the first chapter here
 
 
Cory Doctorow will also be touring several Canadian cities. See if he is visiting your city, and stop by to say hello!
 
September 26, 6:00PM: Oakville Public Library
September 27, 7:00PM: Bakka Books, Toronto
October 19: Edmonton Public Library 
October 20: Vancouver Writers Festival
October 21, 6:00PM: Vancouver Kidsbooks event
October 22: Bolen Books, Victoria
October 25-26 IFOA , Toronto