26 August

Pre-Order Tiger Queen

Tiger Queen, the soon to be released title by Annie Sullivan (author of A Touch Of Gold), will be available everywhere on September 10, 2019.

Summary: From Annie Sullivan, author of A Touch of Gold, comes Tiger Queen, a sweeping YA adventure that tells the story of a fierce desert princess as she fights to save her kingdom. Fans of Rebel of the Sands and Meagan Spooner will devour this retelling of Frank Stockton’s famous short story “The Lady, or the Tiger?”.

In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an old law forces sixteen-year-old Princess Kateri to fight in the arena against twelve suitors to prove her right to rule. For Kateri, losing is not an option because in order to fulfil her promise to her late mother, she must win to keep her crown and lead her people. The situation outside the palace is uneasy. The harsh desert is unforgiving, water is scarce, and Kateri’s people are thirsty. To make matters worse, the gang of thieving Desert Boys, the same group that killed Kateri’s mother and her new baby, frequently raids the city wells and steals water, forcing the king to ration what little water is left. The punishment for stealing water is the choice between two doors. Behind one door lies freedom and behind the other is a tiger.

The people of Achra are growing restless and distrustful of the monarchy, and when Kateri’s final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In her desperation, Kateri turns to the desert and the one person she never thought she’d side with. Her future now, too, is behind two doors—only she’s not sure which holds the key to keeping her kingdom and which will release the tiger.

We are excited to share that when you pre-order your copy of Tiger Queen, you’ll be able to get some exciting pre-order incentives you won’t be able to find anywhere else. You’ll receive a signed bookplate, exclusive enamel pin, Creature Guide, and digital poster.

Email your proof of purchase to tigerqueenbook@gmail.com by September 9 so we can make sure to send you these incentives.

Pre-order your copy HERE!

21 August

Back to School Reading Goals

We are so excited to share this special guest blog from 7/8th grade English and Literature teacher Jennifer Guyor-Jowett!

My earliest memory of setting a reading goal began with a list. I wrote the names of all of the Nancy Drew books into a notebook with a pencil, charting them in order from first published to most recent. My lines separating the columns for Title, Date Read, and Likability Ranking wobbled down the page, and my handwriting certainly wouldn’t have won any awards, but it was all mine. I took great satisfaction working my way through that list, adding the date completed and four or five stars, depending on how much I’d liked the book. Summer churned by as I churned through the titles, reveling as much in the formulaic plot lines and familiar characters as in the completion of my list. Eventually, I read nearly every book that spanned the years from The Secret of the Old Clock, published in 1930 to The Mystery of the Glowing Eye, published in 1974. 

My reading list began intuitively, as a means of celebrating each finished book in a series. As a reader, a parent, and a teacher, I am proud of that list. It acknowledges the journey I took to accomplish my goal, and seeing the few selected Nancy Drew titles that still sit on my bookshelf carries me right back to that summer. My methods of documenting books has evolved from that first hand drawn chart to pinning an image on a Must Reads Pinterest page, which I consistently use as a reference, to my latest celebration, an art journal containing quotes, images, and dates that detail what I love about a book. These various methods have changed as I grew as a reader, as have my reading goals.

Goals can be funny things. The word goal dates back to the mid-1500’s or as early as the 14th century, depending on how strong of an etymological connection there is between the early words. That means we either accept the idea that goals began as the end point of a race (1530s) or as a boundary or limit (14th c). One meaning allows us to reach for an aspiration while the other confines us. 

As teachers and parents, we want to encourage younger readers to challenge and push themselves along to a greater love of books without limitations. It can be a complex task to find a balance between these ideas. If we set our own goals for them, we risk stifling their growth as readers. Reading should be an enjoyable journey, a path we each discover on our own, with hints, tips, treasures, and encouragement offered by experienced book journeyers along the way. The ultimate destination should be one our reading goals can help direct us toward. 

There is great value in setting our own reading goals. After sharing my classroom library with my students last year, I showed them the due date check out card that documents their reading and allows me to see which books have a continuous flow through the room. I held up a card from a previous student who had filled up both the front and back of her card, as well as address labels placed over the completed lines so she could keep going. A 7th grader immediately asked how many books she had read that school year. Eighty-seven. Eighty-seven! He determined to beat that goal. And when he did, he reset his goal to 100. His father later told me he had rediscovered his love of reading that year. Allowing kids to have choice and be the guides of their own journey creates joy and self-discovery as well as accomplishment. 

Reading goals can be simple (the number of books read, read a new author). They can be challenging (read a book a day, beat a previous goal). They should be individual (read more outside of school, try a new genre). But they should always be achievable as a means of determining how a reader wants to grow.

Reading Goal Tips:

  • Make time to read every day
  • Create lists of books that you want to try
  • Be consistent about time and space for reading
  • Document your reading to celebrate what you’ve accomplished
  • Don’t be hard on yourself if life gets in the way of reaching your goal
  • Write reading goals down
  • Utilize an online “bookshelf” like Goodreads for tracking and receiving upcoming book notifications

Tips for Parents/Teachers to Encourage Students to Reach Reading Goals:

  • Provide variety in documenting goals (lists, chart, bullet journal) 
  • Offer different art supplies for creating reading goals
  • Explore images for different methods of keeping a reading goal journal
  • Booktalk the books you’ve loved
  • Read aloud the first chapter 
  • Allow students to sample books and set them aside if they don’t work for them
  • Share lists of books that other students have loved
  • Read the books that they talk to you about
  • Make time and space for reading a priority
  • Discuss reading goals and be open to change
  • Start a book club and make reading goals one of the first activities

Etymology resource: https://www.etymonline.com/word/goal.

My Pinterest Must Reads: https://www.pinterest.com/jagjowett/must-reads/

Pinterest Bullet Journal Ideas: https://www.pinterest.com/jagjowett/bullet-journals/

About Jennifer Guyor-Jowett:

Jennifer Guyor-Jowett is a 7/8th grade English and Literature teacher whose classes continually morph in response to student interests and the many new books discovered. She also works as an editor and enjoys sharing ARCs with her #booksojourn group. Follow her on twitter @Jenjowett where she celebrates her love of reading.

 

19 August

#BookBrag: The Color of Lies

As we look forward to the soft cover release of The Color of Lies by CJ Lyons this week, we wanted to take a moment to revisit this fantastic title!

The Color of Lies Book Cover

I am excited to introduce you to a new YA novel, The Color of Lies, that will have you racing through the pages. In this book, high school senior Ella Cleary’s world is tipped sideways when a young man named Alec shows up on her birthday, claiming he not only once met her, he knows her parents’ deaths over a decade ago were no accident. What is even more disconcerting is that Ella can’t read him: her synesthesia usually gives her insight into the emotions of those around her, but Alec’s aura is completely clear. As Ella and Alec dig into the past, and explore the growing feelings between them, Ella must decide what shades of truth she can really believe.

Intrigued? For more information on the story, and exactly what synesthesia is, I spoke with the author, CJ Lyons.

JA: CJ, nice to see you! I can’t wait to hear more about this book. What inspired you to write The Color of Lies?

CJ: I start all of my books with character. What do they want and why? Then I dig deeper … what do they need most in their lives, something they aren’t even aware of? And of course, being a thriller writer, I focus a lot on what will totally disrupt their life, force them to choose between their greatest desire and what they really need but never even knew.

For The Color of Lies, my first inspiration was the idea of a girl who saw everyone else’s truth … but was blind to her own.

I loved that conflict, the paradox of what we see and believe versus what is real. And how we deny reality, sacrifice it to our dreams by what we choose to believe … It happens every day in the real world. Just look at the epidemic of fake news posing as reality.

What if someone’s entire life was colored by what they wanted to believe instead of what was real? Answering that question led to The Color of Lies.

JA: Ella’s synesthesia plays a huge role in the plot. What is this rare medical condition, and what led you to include it as part of Ella’s character?

CJ: As a physician, I’ve long been fascinated by unique medical oddities such as synesthesia. It’s not a disease, but rather the way the brain processes information is mistranslated into other senses. You may see letters as colors or smell words you read.

I have friends who have it—one is a musician who sees the notes she plays as color and light, another hears colors … I myself have what may be a mild form (or maybe it’s just a symptom of my overactive imagination!). I can taste recipes for food I’ve never eaten before just by reading them.

People with synesthesia experience the world differently, which is not only fascinating, it makes for an intriguing character—especially since we all base our idea of reality on what we see, hear, feel. For people with synesthesia, their reality is already very different than people who don’t have synesthesia, so if we upset that reliance on what is seen, felt, or heard, how do we know what’s real and what isn’t?

Start playing with people’s perception of reality, of their basic, essential truth, and you open up a world of possibilities for a story.

JA: While Ella literally sees the world through a colorful lens of shifting hues and truths, Alec is much more straight-forward and black and white in how he approaches the mystery of what really happened to Ella’s parents. What was it like to create such different characters? And which point of view did you find easier to write?

CJ: Alec was definitely easier to write as he’s a stand-in for the reader—always questioning, observing, wondering why things happened and what might happen next.

But in many ways Ella’s point of view was a lot more fun (despite also being a lot of work). Not only her synesthesia but also the fact she’s simply a basically good, normal, even naïve kid. Her wants are simple: to keep her family safe. But her dreams go so far past that, to the point where she denies them even to herself.

Upsetting her warm, safe world was a bit cruel (thank goodness she’s only fictional!) but also a ton of fun, because once you begin to doubt reality, the path back to the truth is a twisted corkscrew that leads to chaos and suffering.

JA: Ella’s synesthesia also comes through in her artwork—she’s a gifted painter and artist in general. How artistic do you consider yourself? And if you could “borrow” any artist’s skills, which one would you choose?

CJ: My best friend is a talented painter and photographer. While I have no skills myself, I am entranced by light and rich, vivid color, and love to explore her artistic process. I’m honored that she’ll show me works in progress and ask my take on them—and even use my feedback when it resonates with her vision.

I love so many artists’ works that it’s hard to answer who I would choose to emulate. Among my favorites are Chagall, Van Gogh, Cassatt, Hopper, Monet, the list goes on … Really, anyone who uses color to create a deeper understanding of the world and uses art to forge an intimate connection with the viewer.

JA: I’m always curious when I talk to authors: What is your favorite part of this story?

CJ: My favorite is a scene that is almost exactly in the middle of the story and really reveals both Ella’s essential nature as portrayed by her art and Alec’s deeper understanding of her truth—in some ways he knows more about her than she does.

To me, that scene says everything about an artist’s struggle to reveal the truth as well as how we each must define our own sacred truth: who we really are and the kind of person we want to be—no matter the sacrifice.

JA: I was drawn to that scene too! And let’s talk about the beautiful cover as well. What did you think when you first saw it?

CJ: I loved it! The painterly drips and vivid colors! I adore rich, vibrant, pure colors, and to see them pop in the title like that was so much fun.

JA: Finally, I know you are a HUGE reader. If you could only choose five books to last you the rest of your life, which five would you pick?

CJ: Argh! I can give you five, but to be honest whenever I’m asked questions like this my answer is always different.

In no particular order, I’d pick that big fat high school textbook that had all of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets—something in there for every mood, right?

I’d also choose a Ray Bradbury book, probably one of my childhood favs like Something Wicked This Way Comes or Dandelion Wine. He was the first author who showed me that you can create entire worlds with words.

Next, I’d take Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale. I’ve read that book at least twenty times, always finding something new each time since it first grabbed me when I was in college. And I’d be sure to take another childhood favorite, Madeleine L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time as well as a copy of Perrault’s Fairy Tales. My aunt and uncle gave me a copy of Perrault’s when I was eleven and I still have it—it’s one of my most precious treasures.

If I had space to sneak in one more, it’d be JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

And if that combination isn’t enough to transport me and keep me entertained, I don’t know what would!

Thanks so much, CJ! Readers, stay tuned for more on CJ and The Color of Lies, including a quiz and more information on CJ herself. And be sure to preorder the book using one of the links below!

Preorder here:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

About the book: High school senior Ella Cleary has always been good at reading people. Her family has a rare medical condition called synesthesia that scrambles the senses—her Gram Helen sees every sound, and her uncle Joe can literally taste words. Ella’s own synesthesia manifests itself as the ability to see colors that reveal people’s true emotions…until she meets a guy she just can’t read.

Alec is a mystery to Ella, a handsome, enigmatic young journalist who makes her feel normal for the first time in her life. That is, until he reveals the real reason why he sought her out—he wants to learn the truth behind her parents’ deaths, the parents that Ella had always been told died in a fire. Alec turns Ella’s world upside down when he tells her their deaths were definitely not an accident.

After learning her entire life has been a lie, Ella doesn’t know who she can trust or even who she really is. With her adoptive family keeping secrets and the evidence mixing fact and fiction, the only way for Ella to learn the truth about her past is to find a killer.

Perfect for fans of Caroline B. Cooney, Ally Carter, and Jennifer Brown, The Color of Lies blurs the lines between black-and-white facts and the kaleidoscope of reality.

About the author: Pediatric ER doctor turned New York Times bestselling thriller writer CJ Lyons has been a storyteller all her life—something that landed her in many time-outs as a kid. She writes her Thrillers with Heart for the same reason that she became a doctor: because she believes we each have the power to change our world.

In the ER, she witnessed many acts of courage by her patients and their families, learning that heroes truly are born every day. When not writing, she can be found walking the beaches near her Lowcountry home, listening to the voices in her head, and plotting new and devious ways to create mayhem for her characters.

To learn more about her Thrillers with Heart, go to www.CJLyons.net

14 August

#BlinkBlog Author Spotlight: Alison Gervais (Part II)

As we continue to celebrate the release of The Silence Between Us, we are featuring part two of our “Author Spotlight” with Alison Gervais!

Get your copy of The Silence Between Us here!

What kind of impact did writing The Silence Between Us have on you personally?

It may seem silly, but I suppose I didn’t realize just how much of an impact my hearing loss had on me until I was older! I was surprised when my mom told me that The Silence Between Us was her favorite of what I’ve written so far because she saw so much of myself in the story. Writing the book proved to be a good outlet for me to sort of process my childhood in that regard.

What do you hope readers take away from The Silence Between Us?

I hope readers enjoy experiencing the point of view of someone else who’s different than they are. Not everyone experiences the world the same way, and to be able to see that through different lenses can be a great way to learn.

I also hope that readers come away with the knowledge that there is a beautiful and diverse culture behind the Deaf community, and it’s out there right now! Go explore!

How are you reflected in The Silence Between Us (or, how much of you is reflected in the book)?

I’m not actually Deaf like Maya – just Hard of Hearing – but of course my own experiences did work their way into the story. I think that’s something that might be unavoidable for every author. I did face a lot of bullying sometimes, well into my college years, and difficulties finding a job, dealing with employers, etc, but Maya’s experiences throughout the story are also uniquely her own.

12 August

#BlinkBlog Author Spotlight: Alison Gervais (Part I)

To celebrate the release of The Silence Between Us, we have a special Q&A with Alison Gervais! Stay tuned for Part II later this week…

Get your copy of The Silence Between Us HERE.

What was your inspiration behind The Silence Between Us, why did you choose to write an #OwnVoices novel?

Growing up Hard of Hearing, of course I had my own experiences and feelings to draw on when I began creating a character in the Deaf community, but I also had a lot of background knowledge and guidance that came from being a Deaf Services Specialist at an Independent Living Center for two years. My job was to act as an advocate for those D/deaf/Hard of Hearing and provide support in different areas, such as arranging interpreters, procuring assistive technology, and educating the public about the Deaf community. I was also a part of a subset of the Colorado Coalition for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf Blind, called the Advocacy Coalition for Equality; I got to see firsthand just what type of obstacles people in this community face in all aspects of life, and particularly with young students.

This was a very unique experience, and I’m so thankful for the time I was able to spend in this position. So I would say all those pieces of my background, from my personal and professional life, ended up being poured out into The Silence Between Us.

What makes this book special/unique?

I think this book is unique in that we don’t often see many Deaf characters portrayed in literature, and I had the thought that it was about time that changed. Oftentimes we may see secondary characters who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, but it’s not frequent that we get to walk along with them throughout the course of a story and see firsthand what they experience.

It’s also particularly special for me in that I got to incorporate some of my own experiences growing up with hearing loss. I could relate more to Maya as a character in that way, and it made me all the more excited to write her journey.

This book features American Sign Language. Was that hard to write with the copy of the book’s text?

This one was tricky, and it took a while to figure out a way to portray sign language in a way that was comfortable for me. You’ll see some authors depicting sign in italics, or in quotation marks, which is fantastic, but I had the thought that I didn’t want to readers to possibly forget that they were reading a conversation actually taking place in sign language. So I decided to have those conversations written out in all capital letters, like you might see when you’re looking at an ASL textbook. It might come across as strange when you’re first diving into the story, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Using both English and ASL was a particularly important piece of the novel for me, not only as Maya struggles with finding her own identity, but because she has roots in both languages – they are equal parts of her character!

08 August

Blink Blog Author Spotlight: Heather Hepler

We are featuring a special Q&A with We Were Beautiful author Heather Hepler. Learn more about Heather and her recent release below!

Get your copy of We Were Beautiful HERE.

What was your inspiration behind We Were Beautiful?

This book was born out of an anti-fairy tale that I imagined – about a girl with a scarred face receiving a chance at beauty only to find that she would rather go through her life physically flawed than emotionally empty. It morphed from there into Mia’s story – which has a similar theme. Mia has a chance at learning about empathy, forgiveness, and unconditional love if she can see past the physical and emotional scars that she has.

Why is NYC a good location for this book?

NYC is city of diversity and possibility. It’s a city where you can lose yourself and you can find yourself – sometimes on the same day! I wanted Mia to move from the tiny town where she was starting to feel claustrophobic and isolated to a city where she has room to move and to grow. Plus, it’s just plain fun to be in NYC. It’s one of my favorite places to visit.

What kind of impact did writing We Were Beautiful have on you personally?

We Were Beautiful came to me during a time of my life where I needed my own redemption story. Mia’s story gave me the courage to make my own amends and move forward from a painful time in my life. That is one of the best things about writing—you get to fight your own demons and hopefully defeat them.

What do you hope readers take away from We Were Beautiful?

I hope that readers allow Mia’s story to help them overcome their own pain. I also hope it gives them the courage to try new things, be vulnerable, and learn that just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.

What makes this book special/unique?

I think We Were Beautiful tackles something that most anyone will struggle with at some point. Causing harm or doing something wrong is unfortunately a part of even the most carefully lived life. I wanted to show Mia’s movement from guilt and shame to forgiveness and freedom. I also wanted it to be clear that she’s not just sweeping what she did under the rug or making excuses for it, but she’s facing it head on and doing the hard work to move through it.

I also love the love story between Mia and Cooper. It’s not glossy and easy, but real and deep and beautiful.

How are you reflected in We Were Beautiful (or, how much of you is reflected in the book)?

This is such a difficult question because writing is all about the author, I think. It’s the weird blender that each of us has in his or her head. You consciously put things in there, but also life comes along and sneaks in some ingredients that you might not notice. When you write, you switch that blender on. And like the smoothies that I make sometimes it’s delicious, but sometimes, you just have to chuck it out and start again.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned while being a writer?

It can be lonely, typing away early in the morning or late at night, knowing that much of what I am writing will never make it off my hard drive. But it’s also hugely satisfying, bringing something amazing from only my imagination.

Any additional thoughts?

Just a thought to anyone wanting to be a writer or wanting to publish – don’t give up. Sometimes it takes a really long time to find the right story and sometimes even longer before you know how to tell it, but it’s worth it. Whether one person or a hundred million people read it – it’s worth it.

05 August

What Does “Clean” YA Mean?

What Does “Clean” YA Mean?

Here at Blink, we publish clean young adult fiction and nonfiction, and every so often I have a reader ask me what “clean” means. It certainly isn’t meant to be the opposite of “dirty,” and it also isn’t meant to imply that the content doesn’t tackle tough topics. So here’s what clean does mean:

  • Clean YA comes in all shapes and sizes—fantasy, contemporary, historical, and even thrillers. It deals with real issues real people face, whether that’s overcoming a loss, facing a challenge, or finding where you fit in the world.
  • A clean book would earn a PG or PG-13 rating at the movies. Like the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), we look at use of language, mentions of drugs and alcohol, sexual content, and violence to decide if a story fits the bill. Generally, the main characters in clean YA don’t swear, drink, or progress beyond kissing, and they only resort to violence when absolutely necessary.
  • Unlike with the “clean edit” of a song, this genre doesn’t take a gritty book and bleep out the swear words. These books are written with the intention of having clean language and content from the get-go.
  • Authenticity is important. Just because there is no cursing doesn’t mean the voice of the main character isn’t true to teens. In fact, because clean YA follows stricter guidelines, it is even more important that the storytelling is pitch-perfect and characters feel true to life.
  • Protagonists in clean YA are not perfect—far from it! But they often are the types of heroes and heroines who don’t give up, even when they’re facing seemingly impossible odds. Their attitudes are meant to inspire readers to be stronger and more confident no matter the situation.
  • These stories are written for everyone. Clean YA isn’t only intended for younger or conservative YA readers, but for anyone who loves a well-told story.

Blink was created almost three years ago to publish the clean YA that readers want. We had librarians and booksellers asking for those types of books, and we thought “hey, we could do that!” Now our imprint is home to award-winning and bestselling authors and dozens of beloved books. Check out the titles Blink publishes on our Books page, and if you’re interested in finding more to read, you can ask your librarian for recommendations or search “clean YA books” online for extra ideas!

I wanted to close this post with some recent tweets from bestselling author Ally Carter, who is one of the queens of clean YA. She is pointing out the need for writing in this genre, and we’re so glad we are able to provide books to readers around the world! Show your support by tweeting about why YOU love #CleanYA.

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01 August

#BookBrag: The Silence Between Us

As we approach the long-awaited release of The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais, we are excited to feature the Book Brag for this forthcoming title! Learn more about this new release below… 

We are excited to feature our second book brag with award-winning author Alison Gervais (In 27 Days, 2017), whose sophomore novel The Silence Between Us goes on sale August 13, 2019.

Deaf teen Maya Harris must navigate a new life—and love—in this #OwnVoices novel from Alison Gervais. When Maya is forced to attended a hearing school, she sets out to prove that her lack of hearing won’t stop her from chasing her dreams or staying true to herself.

Hannah VanVels: Hi Alison! We can’t wait to hear more about this book. What is the inspiration behind the main character Maya and her story in The Silence Between Us?

Alison Gervais: I’m not sure if there was ever one specific moment where I just knew this was a story I needed to tell. I think it happened on its own, to be honest. Maya was a very fun, unique kind of character to create, and right from the beginning I fell in love with the way her voice began to develop. She’s spunky and not afraid to speak her mind. I myself am the exact opposite, so it was fun to write from such a different perspective.

Hannah VanVels: This book is #OwnVoices. You are very much a part of the community from whose perspective you’re writing. How have your own experiences shaped Maya’s voice?

Alison Gervais: I didn’t actually step foot into the Deaf community until I was already in college, so of course, I’m still learning about their beautiful culture and language, and I think that’s going to be a lifelong journey. I was born with normal hearing that got progressively worse as I got older, so I never really knew about the Deaf world until I was eighteen.

But even though it seems as if I have one foot in both worlds—hearing and Deaf—a lot of my own experiences did wind up shaping Maya’s voice. I’ve been mocked and teased because of my hearing loss, had people reach out and finger my ear or pull out my hearing aid just to get a closer look, even gotten in trouble at work because I didn’t mention I have hearing loss. What Maya faces throughout the story looks a little different, but experiences like those stick with you long after the fact.

Hannah VanVels Friendship is a major theme in this novel. The friendship between Maya and her hearing friend Nina and Maya and her Deaf friend Melissa are complex and nuanced. How is Maya’s connection different with Nina than it is with Melissa? What about makes each of their friendships unique?

Alison Gervais: Maya’s friendship with Nina will always look a little different from her friendship with Melissa, because Nina is hearing, and Maya is not. However much Nina tries to learn about Maya’s world, that’s something she won’t ever have in common with Maya. But despite their differences—or Maya and Melissa’s similarities—they’re all friends, and I think that’s what makes their friendship unique.

Hannah VanVels:  We love books that are inclusive of all different kinds of characters. Why do you think it’s important for YA readers to meet characters like Maya, Beau, Nina, Jackson, and Melissa? What’s is like to create characters who view the world so differently?

Alison Gervais: I think one great way for people to experience characters and stories different from their own is to pick up a book and read, and I think that’s what readers will see when they read The Silence Between Us. And to create characters who view the world in different ways can be a challenge sometimes—it was for me—but I’ve found that the more time you spend in that world writing, the characters take on a life of their own eventually, which is always a good feeling!

Hannah VanVels:  Both spoken dialogue and signed dialogue are represented in this book. How is writing signed dialogue different than writing spoken dialogue?

Alison Gervais: This was one of the major challenges about telling Maya’s story, because American Sign Language is not English, and there’s really no directtranslation from one to the next. I went through my old ASL textbook, a great online tool called lifeprint.com, and spoke with a friend of mine who is Deaf to figure out the best way to represent ASL throughout the story—all caps, for example—and I think the end result is as accurate as I could’ve hoped for.

Hannah VanVelsTell us more about the gorgeous cover!

Alison Gervais: I still cannot get over how beautiful the cover is! Unbelievably the Blink team was able to get in touch with the superbly talented Nancy Rourke, who is an amazing, well-known Deaf artist. The sign on the cover means “friend” and the colors just bring it to life. I am so honored Nancy agreed to make the cover! Definitely check out more of her artwork, because it’s all amazing.

Hannah VanVels:  Any spoilers you want to share?

Alison Gervais: Not a darn one!

Thank you, Alison! We are counting down until this book comes out.

Pre-order here:

AMAZON

BAM!

BARNES & NOBLE

INDIEBOUND

Follow Alison online:

WEBSITE

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

About the Author

Alison Gervais began writing at the age of five and gained recognition by posting her work on Wattpad in 2011. She graduated from Colorado State University – Pueblo with a degree in English and is still figuring out what else she’d like to do in life. As for now, she plans to keep writing, rereading Harry Potter, watching Supernatural and Law and Order: SVU, and enjoying life with her husband and their two cats, Jane and Smoke.