As some of you know, I’m going to be moving soon, and because of that I decided to bring on a new guest blogger to help fill in the gaps while I’m knee deep in cardboard boxes and dropping carloads of crap off at Goodwill. So, I thought this would be a good opportunity for y’all to get to know Heather a little better, and to introduce Aly!
1. In a sentence, tell us “hi!” and who you are.
Aly: Hello, blogosphere! I’m Aly: a transplanted southern belle, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, fruit lover, and book nerd.
Heather: Hi, I’m Heather…quirky, fun, mom, wife, lover of Jesus, Mary Kay Director, and book nerd extraordinaire!
2. Have you always been an avid reader, or is there a particular moment in time that you can point to or a person that influenced your love of reading?
Aly: As far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved reading. I was the kid who got busted in class for hiding a book in my desk and reading while the teacher was talking. Or I’d get in trouble because I didn’t go to bed when I was supposed to and my parents would catch me. (Minus the parents part, that’s still totally true today.) My school system participated in Pizza Hut’s Book It! program, so I remember flying through books and eating a lot of free personal pan pizzas.
Heather: Well, I have loved reading since I was a kid (like a real one, not the one who still lives in my head) but I haven’t always made time for reading like I do now. I took a few years off from…<ahem>…life when I had my children…yeah…sad but true. Then Dani sort of got me hooked back in. Aly helped too. It’s just a sisterhood of readers over here.
3. So why do you read YA?
Aly: I read YA because it’s awesome. It’s what I’m used to. I’ve been hooked on it since I started reading it as a teenager and I just don’t want to stop.
Heather: I like to keep things PG-13 and that’s easier in YA. Also, I like the hope mixed in with the angst that’s so prevalent in YA.
4. YA … just good imaginative fun or do you think it has a greater relevance?
Aly: Imagination definitely plays a big part in it, but it’s more than that. Some recent YA series have been integrated in to school curriculum and have caused people to pick up and enjoy books that normally would not. I personally would pick a good book over video games, television, or the Internet any day of the week, and I know I can’t be the only one like that.
Heather: Both, that’s what makes it such a beautiful category of literature. You have the freedom and creative license to explore new and fantastical worlds/themes that you can’t do when you become a responsible adult book. 😉 That said, I think YA has a unique platform to address the serious stuff that happens in the teen/young adult years. (I don’t know anyone who would just LOVE to go back to high school and go through all that drama again.) YA allows young people an opportunity to look at those issues from the prospective of a “peer” but through the mind of someone who has already walked through this season of life and is hopefully wiser for it.
5. Why do you think the YA genre has become wildly popular not just for teens but among adults as well?
Aly: A few YA series have transcended the barriers of traditional popularity within the past few years, and it’s really increased the audience. I think people have a greater awareness of how many great YA stories fall within their interest groups.
Heather: I don’t know about anyone else, but I am still a teenager deep down in my soul. Plus I really love stories of first loves and characters that grow and change and become better versions of themselves. YA provides that without a lot of R-rated nonsense. Also, there is the freshness of characters who haven’t grown up yet. So much potential for growth and development.
6. If you HAD to pick just one, what’s your favorite genre/sub-genre at this particular moment in time?
Aly: Paranormal romance
Heather: Ugh…I’m so indecisive about these types of questions. =P I guess right now I’d have to say dystopias but that’s probably because I just read Divergent which is flippin’ awesome!
7. What one thing makes or breaks a book for you?
Aly: If a book has too many characters with similar names and excessive jumping from one storyline to another, I give up. Other than that, there’s very little that will make me walk away from a book.
Heather: Call me crazy but it has to be believable. Not to say it can’t be fantasy. I am a paranormal fan after all. However, I want to feel like I could step into the world created by the author. I want to see, feel, taste, smell, hear that world as I read. I want to get lost in it. I want the characters to be so real I can see them in my head and I get made when the movie version of them doesn’t match what I saw in my head. I want them to be so real that I feel like I know them and that they work in the reality of the book. So, I guess that boils down to world building/setting and character development.
8. Who are your top THREE book boyfriends and why?
Daemon (The Lux Series): no explanation needed. * swoon *
Aidan (The Covenant Series): He’s hunky, strong, intelligent, and cares about more than just himself.
Will Herondale (The Infernal Devices Trilogy): He’s emotionally tortured, and I just want to hug him. And then probably make out with him…
Heather: I have four…sorry, Dani. I can’t help it. It was hard enough to narrow it down to these guys!
Daemon Black (The Lux Series) — <sigh> there are no words adequate enough to describe his awesomeness <sigh>
Will Herondale (The Infernal Devices) — that boy has been through a hell that would have broken a lesser man, yet still pulls off a tremendously awesome leading man.
Prince Ash of the Unseelie Court (The Iron Fey Series) — <sigh> there are those who can pull of prince charming and there are those who can pull of icy prince of aloofness and then there is Ash who is a beautiful balance of both. His is the epitome of strength and vulnerability.
And last but certainly not least because he refuses to be ignored, introducing to the world for the very first time:
Kyle Cooper—because he is the boyfriend my brain came up with for my own book and he is the perfect mixture of boy-next-door, bad boy and my husband all mixed into one delightful piece of literary boyfriendness. Perhaps one day I will share his awesomeness with the world! <muah-ha-ha-ha>
9. Newest favorite book within the last three months?
Heather: Woman, are you trying to kill me here? 😉 In the last 3 months I’ve read, Obsidian and Onyx, Dearly Departed, Shatter Me, Divergent, Iron Fey (the whole thing), Iron Thorn and Nightmare Garden, Here, Brightest Kind of Darkness…just to name a few of the squeal-worthy books I’ve read recently! I hate picking! I guess since you’re forcing me to pick…Shatter Me. Ok so I seriously deleted three different titles before landing on that one, because I couldn’t pick, so clearly I’m indecisive!
10. Who’s your favorite YA female heroine thus far, and why?
Aly: Alex from Jennifer Armentrout’s “Covenant” series. She is an emotional stonewall. She grows so much throughout the story, and I just can’t help but love her back-talking and snappy remarks.
Heather: Juliette from Shatter Me. The girl is amazingly resilient. She can’t touch anyone because her touch is deadly so for the better part of a year she hasn’t touched a soul and she’s been kept in solitary confinement. Yet, somehow, despite societies best efforts to steal her humanity and sanity, she has managed to maintain both. She is a beautifully sweet, loving, and unstoppable heroine.
11. To love triangle or not to love triangle?
Aly: Sure, why not?
Heather: I have no problem with a love triangle if it’s done well and believable. However, YA seems to have fallen into this formula of love triangle drama as follows:
Book 1: Main Girl and Main Guy meet and fall in love while there is a boy waiting in the wings pining for Main Girl.
Book 2: Main Girl and Main Guy have some kind of problem and suddenly Main Girl switches to Boy-Waiting-In-Wings while constantly comparing him to Main Guy.
Book 3: Main Girl and Main Guy work out their problems like grown-ups and Boy-Waiting-In-Wings is either heartbroken of paired off conveniently with Girl-Waiting-In-Wings or killed off
Do I need to draw a diagram? Terribly annoying.
12. If you were a YA heroine, what kind of story would you star in? Brief description of your leading man? And what would the title of the book be?
Aly: I like to think I could handle a paranormal romance. My love interest would be tall, dark, handsome, mysterious . The title could be Enchantment. Or, if I could hijack Obsidian and fill in for Katy, that would work for me too. 😉
Heather: Definitely paranormal somehow. I have to develop some kind of power during it because I am NOT Bella. I will be an equal participant in my love story. My leading man would be tallish with blonde, curlyish hair and slate blue eyes. He has to be a bit snarky, a bit bad boy, and super into me without me knowing it. Lots and lots of beautiful tension. 😉
13. Pick a pen name.
Aly: Allie Fairchild
Heather: Mackenzie Elisabeth Grant
14. Zombies, fairies, vampires and werewolves are about to face off Ron Burgundy style. Which paranormal street gang do you belong to?
Aly: Werewolves. I can’t get on board with eating brains or drinking blood, and fairies are sneaky little buggers.
Heather: Ooo, tough one. Probably fairies but only the Iron Fey kind. I am a terrible liar and I’m allergic to most metals. It just makes sense.
15. And lastly, what 2012 release are you most looking forward to?
Heather: Oh man, it’s a toss-up between Opal and Clockwork Princess.
So there you go! Blog, meet Heather & Aly. Heather & Aly, meet Blog.
Be on the look out for reviews from the two of them very soon!
Thanks for stopping by, y’all!