Happy Star Wars Day – May the Fourth Be With You!

For the uninitiated,  May the Fourth is International Star Wars Day.

The pun, largely credited as the greatest pun of all time, was first used in 1979 when Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party placed an advertisement in the London Evening News after her election win that stated “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations,”

May 4th wasn’t observed as a holiday, however, until a group in Toronto, Canada organized a celebration in 2011. The event has gained traction every year since then and last year Disney celebrated the holiday with several Star Wars festivities and more.

To celebrate Star Wars Day we’re discounting our Lego Star Wars books by 30% or more!

It’s what the galaxy, however long ago and far far away, would have wanted.

Click here to see our Star Wars Lego range

 

Madeleine Roux, author of Allison Hewitt Is Trapped, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Madeleine Roux

author of Allison Hewitt Is Trapped

Ten Terrifying Questions

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1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I grew up in a small suburb in Minnesota, population: “tiny and some cows.” It was a great place to be a kid, lots of room for running around and getting into trouble, and I had two older brothers to keep me in line. I went to elementary and high school there and then I relocated to Wisconsin for college. Beloit College, is what it’s called, and I still live in the area. It also has a population “tiny and some cows,” but at least we have the benefit of amazing local beer and cheese. Wisconsin does magic things with hops and dairy products. I earned a double-degree in Theatre Arts and Creative Writing. In my household we call it majoring in poverty.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

When I was twelve I was convinced I was going to be an Continue reading

Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Meg Cabot

author of Abandon, The Princess Diaries and many more…

Ten Terrifying Questions

——————–

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in In Bloomington, Indiana, which is where I was raised and attended school. I went to college at Indiana University in Bloomington, where I earned a degree in Studio Arts (with a concentration on illustration).

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

When I was twelve, I wanted to be an artist and an illustrator. I was always drawing in my notebooks when I was supposed to be studying Algebra. I illustrated all the books and stories I loved as kid including fairy tales and stories about princesses.

You can see some of my drawings here

and here

As it happens, I also drew a lot of scenes from the Myth of Persephone. I loved the idea of Hades, the King of gods, falling so deeply in love with Persephone, the daughter of the Goddess of the seasons, that he abducted her and took her down to the Underworld. That’s why I’m really excited to have a book coming out in April that is a retelling of the myth that captivated me years ago.

When I was eighteen, I wanted to be a writer. I always loved writing, and I thought about studying Creative Writing at Indiana University. But I met a random guy at a party I went to in high school who told me not to study creative writing because in his opinion studying creative writing as a major sucks the love of writing out of you (he was a creative writing major, so he said he would know). I did not want the love of writing sucked out of me, so I followed his advice (however, I did take a few creative writing workshops at IU and I enjoyed them very much). Instead, I had the love of art sucked out of me by majoring in art. Years later I met that guy from the party again in New York City where I moved after college to be an illustrator, and we got married.

At age 30, I had published my first book called Where Roses Grow Wild (under the name Patricia Cabot) so I wanted to write more books. And I did! I still feel so lucky to be able to do what I love everyday.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

When I was eighteen I believed strongly that writing comes from inspiration. I thought you just got a good idea and wrote it down and – voila! – you were a writer. But the more wrote, the more I know now that writing is also really hard work. You have to do it even when you’re not inspired. In fact, inspiration is really rare, and if writers only worked when we had it, we’d all starve to death.

4. What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

When I was a kid, I read far too many books for me to mention that effected me. Some of what I read included a lot of fantasy, such as Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising series and the Lloyd Alexander Prydain Chronicles. I really loved some classics, too, like A Wrinkle in Time, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Lorna Doone, and the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace. And I am a big fan of Mary Stewart, especially Nine Coaches Waiting, Madame, Will You Talk? and Thornyhold. I would say those books had a big influence on me and still do.

I know this probably doesn’t count as art, but I think it should: I really loved STAR WARS comic books. I don’t like it when people dismiss graphic art and illustration as not art. As an illustrator, I know what a profound influence drawings can have on people. I studied art history, so I certainly have favorite classical artists, too, like Ingres and Manet. But to me, it always goes back to STAR WARS (the original, NOT the ones with Jar Jar Binks).

I am more a narrative, visual person than a music person, so it’s better not to ask me about music.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

Sometimes you have a story to tell that can only be told in that narrative format. It can’t be drawn or filmed, only written, and it needs to be novel length. A friend described it as a shark biting you, and it won’t let go until the story is written down. It’s pretty much like that.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

In my new novel, Abandon, coming out in May, Pierce is a heroine unlike all my others. She’s been through a lot, even though she’s only seventeen. She’s already died (and been revived), but she can never forget what she saw during the short time she was dead — and of course no one believes her.

Now she’s got to face life after death. But she soon learns it’s not as easy to start over as she had hoped, especially since the mysterious stranger that she met while she was dead — John Hayden — won’t seem to let her.

Pierce thinks she knows who John is and what he wants . . . and it isn’t something she’s ready to give him.

But she’s still drawn to him in a way she can’t understand.

And that might be what scares her most of all.

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I hope they fall in love with the characters, flaws and all!

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Oh, whoa. I admire way too many authors to list here. I hesitate to list my favorites because I know I’ll leave someone important out! I love mysteries of all kinds, chick-lit, memoirs, fantasies . . . and I also love to read blogs and magazines of virtually every kind there is. I also read YA! I think anyone who’s written a book—or even an article—is amazing. I know how hard writing is.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

I want to keep giving my awesome readers books that they want to read. If I can do that, then I will be happy.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Really, it is the same advice I have been giving them for years, but it hasn’t changed much:

–The best piece of writing advice I ever got is to try to keep quiet, listen only, and let other people to do the talking. You’ll be surprised how much this will improve your writing skills (and how many people will think you’re a really sage person, when all you’re basically doing is spying on them).

–Do not take rejection personally!

–If you are blocked on a story, there is probably something wrong with it. Take a few days off and put the story on a back burner for a while. Eventually, it will come to you.

–Read-and write-all the time. Never stop sending out your stuff. Don’t wait for a response after sending a story out…start a new story right away, and then send that one out! If you are constantly writing and sending stuff out (don’t forget to live your life, too, while you are doing this) eventually someone will bite!

–Write the kinds of stories you like to read. If you don’t love what you’re writing, no one else will, either.

Good luck, and keep writing! If I can do it, so can you!

Meg, thank you for playing.

VISIT OUR MEG CABOT AUTHOR PAGE

Simon Toyne, author of Sanctus, answers Ten Terrifying Questions


The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Simon Toyne,

author of Sanctus,

Ten Terrifying Questions

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1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in an out-of-the-way, seaside town called Cleethorpes in the north east of England. I lived there until I was 9 then began a gradual migration south, ending up at Goldsmiths College in London where I studied English and Drama.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At twelve, I wanted to be an actor because it seemed glamorous and exciting; at eighteen I wanted to be a film director for the same reasons; at thirty I wanted to be married to a beautiful woman and have a couple of fantastic kids. (Only one of these dreams came true).

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That England would win the world cup in my lifetime.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back – the definitive popular cultural works of my generation. (I’m counting these as one choice as you can easily watch them back-to-back with enough caffeine and sugar and a wee break in the middle).

The Silence of the Lambs, by Thomas Harris. The textbook for the modern thriller. Beautifully written, so well put together. I read it when it first came out and re-read it when I was writing my first novel to see how he dealt with the mechanics of things like suspense and action. I’m about a third of the way through book two of the Sanctus trilogy and just read it again to keep myself honest. I think this may become a small ritual.

Hamlet, William Shakespeare. I studied it at school and still find myself referencing it. It’s also the one play I’ve seen performed more than any other and it still manages to deliver a great night out.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I had carved a pretty successful career as a TV executive, but was feeling Continue reading

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