Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Year, New Books Day 5 (Part 2): Amalie Howard + The Almost Girl

2) Amalie Howard
-author of The Almost Girl (January 7th, 2014)

See? Even President Obama approves.

Again, I really apologize for having to double feature authors, but this does not mean that I love Amalie less AT ALL! She's such a fantastic and fun person, and you should really check out her upcoming release;)

Title: The Almost Girl
Author: Amalie Howard
Shelves: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: January 7th, 2014
Publisher: Strange Chemistry

Summary from Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Riven is as tough as they come. Coming from a world ravaged by a devastating android war, she has to be. There’s no room for softness, no room for emotion, no room for mistakes. A Legion General, she is the right hand of the young Prince of Neospes, a parallel universe to Earth. In Neospes, she has everything: rank, responsibility and respect. But when Prince Cale sends her away to find his long-lost brother, Caden, who has been spirited back to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory.

Thrown out of her comfort zone but with the mindset of a soldier, Riven has to learn how to be a girl in a realm that is the opposite of what she knows. Riven isn’t prepared for the beauty of a world that is unlike her own in so many ways. Nor is she prepared to feel something more than indifference for the very target she seeks. Caden is nothing like Cale, but he makes something in her come alive, igniting a spark deep down that goes against every cell in her body. For the first time in her life, Riven isn’t sure about her purpose, about her calling. Torn between duty and desire, she must decide whether Caden is simply a target or whether he is something more.

Faced with hideous reanimated Vector soldiers from her own world with agendas of their own, as well as an unexpected reunion with a sister who despises her, it is a race against time to bring Caden back to Neospes. But things aren’t always as they seem, and Riven will have to search for truth. Family betrayals and royal coups are only the tip of the iceberg. Will Riven be able to find the strength to defy her very nature? Or will she become the monstrous soldier she was designed to be?

Interview Questions with Amalie Howard
Q1) If you were stranded on a deserted island with one other author, who would it be and why?

Hands down, it would be Tolkien because he’s such a brilliant story-crafter. I’d be so engrossed in his stories that I’d probably forget we were even stranded on a desert island.

Q2) When you write, do you have a routine or a ritual of sorts?

Yes, I absolutely do. I like to create a playlist for each book I write. I usually pick out the songs beforehand when I have a budding idea for a story, but it’s a work in progress as the story develops. I update the playlist as I go. In addition, when I sit down to write, I must spend five or ten minutes updating social media sites, just to get it out of the way up front so I’m not distracted when I’m focused on writing.

Q3) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

For any new writer, I would definitely encourage reading as many books as you can get your hands on—the more you read, the more you’ll understand the elements required to pen a great book. Develop and experiment with your own unique writing voice, and find what moves you. Which writing genres and themes are you passionate about? What drives you? Do you like stories, poetry or journalistic writing? Find your niche—people are usually better at writing about what they love or what inspires them because it comes from somewhere real.
Get yourself out there and write regularly—hone your craft. A book that really helped me sharpen my pencil was Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. You should also take part in writing events like NaNoWriMo. Enter writing contests—Writer’s Digest has heaps of them. Join your local SCBWI chapter so that you can meet other writers and find a critique group. Work on building your brand via social media—make your name known. Learn how to use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and other sites to develop your own dynamic, digital brand. Connect and network as much as you can because you never know who could be your next editor, agent or critique partner.
Lastly, don't let rejection hammer you. It's all part of the process. Take in the constructive and make your work the best it can be. Don’t ever give up even when it feels like that’s all you want to do (trust me, every writer has this exact thought at some point or another—you’re not alone). Just believe in yourself and your work, and you can’t fail.

Q4) Do you base any of the characters from your novel off anyone in real life? If so, have you told him/her?

This is a great question (evil laugh)! I wouldn’t say that whole, entire people find themselves in my books, but if I’m writing about a specific character, it helps to pull from real-life inspiration. So if I were writing about a mean girl, yes, I would absolutely use elements from someone I may know (or have known) in real life that would help to make the book character more fleshed-out and authentic. And no, I definitely haven’t said anything to those people—I strongly believe in karma! Lol.

Q5) If you could have one character from The Almost Girl as your best friend, who would it be and why?

I think that Riven, despite her aloofness, would make a great best friend. She’s fiercely loyal, she has mad combat skills and she’s fearless. I think we would be a good match as friends because she’d help me push the limits and step out of my comfort zones, and I’d help her get more in touch with her emotional side.

Q6) What made you decide to become a writer?

I’ve always loved writing. I had my first poem published when I was twelve and I won an award in a global youth writing competition when I was fifteen. In my stories, I really loved being able to create other worlds with interesting, multifaceted characters and I liked being able to redefine myself in those characters. They were all different versions of me in different worlds with infinite possibility at their fingertips. Becoming a published author and being able to share my storieswith readers is a dream come true for me.

Q7) What other books can we expect from you soon?

I have four books coming out this year, so 2014 is going to be an exciting time! THE ALMOST GIRL with Strange Chemistry comes out in a few days on January 7th and ALPHA GODDESS with Sky Pony Press comes out on March 4th. Following WATERFELL, which came out last November, the second book in the Aquarathi series, OCEANBORN from Harlequin TEEN, will be out in August. Lastly, the sequel to THE ALMOST GIRL is scheduled for November. As far as future projects go, I’m working on a few different things, including a YA techno-thriller and a contemporary novel.

Q8) What is the one book/author that got you into reading?

My favorite book as a child that made me fall in love with reading was Grimm’s Fairy Tales. My illustrated copy is over twenty-five years old. I loved the fact that those stories weren’t afraid to venture into the darker nature of fairy tales. That was the book that really set the seed for my compulsive interest in fantasy and mythology.

Q9) What are your goals as a writer?

Craft great stories and share them with the world. Read, write, connect and share.

Q10) What is the one word that comes to mind when others hear your name?

Hopefully, it’s prolific. But if I had to guess,I’d say enthusiastic. I get tend to get excited very easily, and I love helping people with projects and realizing their dreams.

And because Amalie is so amazing, she is donating ULTRA AWESOME PRIZES! Here's what the prizes are:
1) A SIGNED finished copy of The Almost Girl
2) Signed swag + bookmarks
yes, the giveaway will be international!

Rules of Entry:
1) OPEN INTERNATIONALLY- therefore, if you are from outer space, sadly, you cannot enter.
2) No cheating with your entries, I always check.
3) The winner has 48 hours to respond to my email, or else I will be forced to pick a new winner.
4) The prizes will be sent out at the author's discretion.
5) Please actually take the time to read this post with Amalie. Authors are crazy busy, and deserve as much love as you can give them.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
In addition to the individual giveaways each author is hosting, I am also going to have a grand prize giveaway that will run for the entire month. This is because some authors cannot contribute a giveaway, so I figured I'd give something of mine as well.

Grand Prize Giveaway:
2 Surprise 2014 ARCs + swag
Yep, these will be from my own shelf. Yep, this giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. Yep, it is a surprise and I am not telling you what the ARCs will be but here's an idea of what MIGHT be in it:

Any of these books are fair game! But in the end, the winner will only get 2. And I promise that the surprise ARCs will be good:)

Here are the rules of entry:
2) The winner has 48 hours to respond to my email. If not, I will have to pick a new winner. 
3) The prize will be sent out at my discretion, so I might take me a little longer than a week to get it to you.
4) In order to earn the maximum amount of entries, you can comment on EVERY SINGLE DAY of New Year, New Books!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Wow! It's so amazing that she has 4 (FOUR) books coming out this year! The Almost Girl sounds awesome! Hope I can get my hands on it sometime. :)

  2. Whoa . . . four books? I've heard a few good things about Waterfell and The Almost Girl sounds pretty good, so I'll definitely keep an eye on this author!

  3. Almost girl has an air of Terminator but the story is combined with a good mix of sci-fi!

  4. I can barely believe that there will be four books coming out in just this year alone. That's very impressive!

  5. Love this interview! <3 Amalie Howard is so nice and amazing. And she has FOUR books coming out? Geez! Girl has skills!! Can't wait to read them :)

  6. My mom just showed me a copy of Hans Christian Andersen that she bought. It was printed in 1930 o.O with illustrations!!! I adore illustrations.

  7. I loved the interview. The almost girl looks great. I also want to read Waterfell and Alpha Goddess.

  8. This is by far the most impressive giveaway I've seen. I didn't even realize that Amalie Howard had another book out, but when I saw the cover for The Almost Girl, I just had to have it. It looks like an incredible read. I loved the fact that Howard isn't afraid to use variations of people she's met in her life to use as a basis for characters, even the not so nice ones. And the fact that she was willing to help aspiring writers by giving some really great material resources to get discovered was more than generous on her part. I've met a few authors who refused to answer questions like that in interviews or at events.

  9. The Almost Girl sounds like a great book and the cover looks so cool!

  10. Honestly? The clip of Obama clapping made me laugh and that's why I entered!

  11. I'm so excited for this giveaway

  12. Eep! I love Amalie and I love her books and I can't wait to get my hands on Alpha Goddess and the Waterfell and Almost Girl sequels! I still need to read Bloodspell.. I'll squeeze that in soon!

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  14. I have heard a lot about this book. Looks like exciting science siction novel:-)

  15. I have seen this book everywhere lately, and my interest piques more and more each time. I really enjoyed getting to know a little about the author that wrote this great book!

  16. I've seen many blogs talk about this book.
    And the GIF of Obama made my day! haha Perfect!