Pen Friends ~ Please welcome YA Author Candice Yamnitz talking about her debut novel, UNBETHROTHED, publishing journey, writing dreams, and so much more! It’s always a joy to interview new authors, and I’m excited to have Candice here with us today.
SP: UNBETROTHED will come out in February 2022 by Illuminate YA. Please add on Goodreads while waiting! Here’s the blurb:
Around Agatha Sea, princesses are poised, magically gifted, and betrothed.
So, when seventeen-year-old Princess Beatriz still fails to secure a betrothal, her parents hold a ball. Forming an alliance could mean the difference between peace and war, but Beatriz doesn’t want just any suitor. She’s in love with her best friend, Prince Lux. Marrying Prince Lux will always be a silly dream as long as she has no magical gift.
Princess Beatriz will do whatever it takes to obtain a touch of magic, including making a deadly oath to go on a quest to Valle de Los Fantasmas. A valley where no one comes out alive.
If she can manage to succeed, Princess Beatriz could have everything she desires and secure peace for her kingdom. If she fails, she’ll lose not only her greatest dream but also her kingdom, and maybe even her own life.
SP: Hi Ronie! We’re so excited to have you here on the Spinning Pen! We’ve heard in the YA sphere everyone loves your Droseran saga. Word on the street is you’re an incredible writer and your books have mind-blowing twists! Tell us all a little bit about your series.
RK: I’ve spent the last dozen years writing to my brand—Rapid-Fire Fiction—but I finally found a publishing home for my much-beloved series, The Droseran Saga. I’ve always dubbed it Firefly meets Dune … and warned people that while this series falls solidly into the Science Fiction genre, it’s a Space opera, light on science (Ronie doesn’t “science” and liberal with the melodrama and romance for an epic adventure across Quadrants.
SP: Hi Christen! We’re so excited to have you here on the Spinning Pen! Word on the street is you just got a book deal! CONGRATS! We want to hear more! What’s your book about? And most importantly, WHEN can we order it??
CK: I’m so excited to be here! Thanks for having me!
SP: Hi Emilie! We’re so excited to have you here on the Spinning Pen! You are such a diverse writer! You write YA, adult, thriller romance, and you’re a successful bookstagramer, create & sell bookish items, you’re a graphic designer, and cover designer. Is there anything you don’t do?? How did you get into all of this to start with?
EH: Ha! Well, I don’t do math 😉 I started freelance writing and photography about ten years ago alongside my main job and loved it so much I vowed that someday I would just do that as my career. Little did I realize I would get into graphic design as well!
SP: Hi Chelsea! So glad to have you here on the Spinning Pen! You have an incredibly exciting four book deal with a unique release model that frankly, we have not seen done before in the mainstream YA publishing world. People are saying it’s like Netflix but with books! We’d love to hear more about how this exciting model works!
CB: Thank you SO MUCH for having me! I am so excited to be a part of this new model within traditional publishing that, honestly, indie authors have been excelling at for years, the reason being that they understand that readers love to binge their favorite books just as much as people love to binge their favorite shows—we don’t want to wait to find out what happens next to our favorite characters. So I was thrilled to be able to write this 4-book series over the course of 1 year with the intention of all of the books being rapid-released leading up to Christmas. The other thing I love about this series is that, while each book centers on a different couple, the couples are all connected in some way, and they are also all connected to the small (fictional) town of Christmas, Virginia, so that the story of Book 1’s couple, for example, isn’t over at “The End” of Book 1—you’ll still get to see how they’re doing in the background of the other books, and that’s true of all of the couples.
Pen Friends ~ Please welcome YA Author and Podcast Host Laura Juntunen talking about her new post-apocalyptic, sci-fi series, THE SHOCKWAVE; publishing journey; fabulous podcast, Read It With Whiskey; and so much more! I’m so excited to introduce you to Laura!
SP: Hi Laura! Thanks for joining us! Before we get into book stuff, we’d LOVE to know a bit about you and your writing journey?
SP: Hi Brianna! Thanks for joining us! Before we get into book stuff, we’d LOVE to hear a bit about you and your writing journey!
BT: Thank you for having me! My writing journey feels like a voyage I’ve been on my entire life. I’ve always loved stories, and I have several old notebooks filled with my early attempts at novel writing. While they’re highly entertaining, the partial novels I wrote in elementary and middle school aren’t likely to ever see the light of day. I started treating being an author as a career in 2015, after finishing my degree and getting a few years of work experience under my belt. Going to conferences, networking, learning from my peers, and steadily writing that entire time resulted in a lot of growth for me, and definitely led to all my successes so far!
SP: Word on the street is you just signed your first book deal! Wahoo and congrats! How does that feel? What was your response? Crying, sitting in shock, partying all night, or…?
BT: Yes, thank you! I’ve signed a book contract once before, for a children’s novel called The Knight in Battered Armor (released in 2019). This new contract is for my first ever full-length novel though, so it definitely feels like something big, new, and exciting! Because of an email I’d already been sent the week prior to the offer, I knew that a decision was coming soon, and I was on pins and needles, constantly refreshing my inbox. I was hoping for an offer, but didn’t know for sure what to expect.
SP: Hi Meg! Thanks for joining us! Before we get into book stuff, we’d LOVE to know a bit about you and your writing journey! Sure! I started getting serious about writing back in 2014. By 2016, I was attending some writing conferences and had even finished a YA sci-fi book which I pitched to a few agents but didn’t get far with it. A few manuscripts/years later, I applied to Pitch Wars in a different genre, adult mystery, and got chosen by Kellye Garrett and Mia P. Manansala to be their mentee. Even though I worked really hard on that story, it didn’t go far in the query trenches. But while I was lamenting through query rejections, I started drafting a wild story about a girl and a wolf and a sled race! And that was the book that my agent’s grabbed out of their slush pile and is also about to become my debut at Wednesday Books.
SP: Hey MJ! So excited to have you on the Spinning Pen! Before we get started, we want to hear about YOU and your writing journey! What made you want to write and what’s a fun fact you don’t mind sharing?
I loved writing ever since I was a kid. It was a way for me to escape and be creative. I loved reading stories, writing my own version of them when I was done reading (I guess that’s early fanfic?) I also liked to write little serial stories starring my friends and then pass them out every week for them to read. By middle school I was writing fantasy novels by hand but when I got to high school I had to focus on getting a “real job”. Two degrees, a soul-sucking job, and a two kids later I returned to my love of writing, deciding to make a career out of it.
Fun fact: My first published novel was in the 3rd grade. Our teacher had us write and illustrate our own stories. Then she bound them and put them in the school library for the everyone to check out. I still have that book to this day!
SP: Hey Kristy! So glad to have you here on the Spinning Pen. 😊 Before we get started, we want to hear about YOU and your writing journey! What made you want to write and what’s a fun fact you don’t mind sharing?
Ciao— (to say Hello from working on my current novel, set in WW2 Rome. . .) Thanks for inviting me to stop by!
Is it okay to say that becoming an author wasn’t on my radar? While that was a dream job I’d never considered chasing at the time, I DID love visual storytelling in childhood and still do.
When we were young, our mom took my sister and me to the library every week in the summers. I have vivid memories of sitting on the floor in the book aisles, thumbing through thick volumes of Disney animation and art history books. That was when I truly fell in love with stories. But not being gifted in art enough to paint or sculpt or draw as a profession. . . I thought that meant I couldn’t create. It wasn’t until I went to school for art history that I realized a storyteller can (and does!) paint, but we do it with words.