Fierce Reads Fall 2015 Book Tour

Stop #4: Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, GA

This Fierce Reads tour featured an amazing group of YA authors: Leigh Bardugo, Josephine Angelini, Leila Sales, and Emma Mills! (read more about them and their new books below! Plus I added a bonus Q&A!)

These ladies are not only fierce but they’re incredibly funny and genuine people. I had an amazing time last night listening to them share about their new books, their experiences, and lots of other fun tidbits. I particularly enjoyed the last question of the night as I felt that each author really had something valuable to share. 

I was able to grab copies of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows as well as Josie Angelini’s Trial by Fire and have them authographed! I’ll have to save up to buy the rest of the books this stellar group has to offer. Fortunately I received some swag including a poster that I got signed by all four talented authors!

I’m really just so happy that I had this opportunity to meet some people that I am not only a fan of but I look up to. They’re chasing their dreams, dipping their toes into the pool of possibility, and their finding their way in the world.


little shop

P.S. Bonus! Kimberly Jones at Little Shop of Stories (the independent book shop that hosted last night’s event) live streamed the interview/Q&A session so I’ve transcribed it and posted it below so those of you that couldn’t make it can read up on what you missed! There are 8 questions from Little Shop and 3 from the audience and just mentally insert loads of laughter throughout the whole thing. Enjoy!

Meet the Authors!

Leigh Bardugo




My Review | Six of Crows

Book: Six of Crows (

Josephine Angelini




My Review | Firewalker

Book: Firewalker (

Leila Sales




Book: Tonight the Streets Are Ours (

Emma Mills




Book: First & Then (

Q & A Session

Q1: What makes your book fierce? [and tells us a bit about your book]

LS: My book is about a girl who becomes obsessed with a blogger based on what he writes about himself and then she ultimately sets out on a road trip to New York City to track him down in person. What makes it fierce is uh the stalking element, and that’s pretty fierce. The road trip is pretty intense, when she gets to New York and does succeed in finding him they have this one epic night of adventure together that I call their “Nick and Nora night” which is also very fierce, and then also I guess she’s described in the book as recklessly loyal and that’s like an integral part of her personality and which ends up being an issue that she needs to work through and I think that’s like a form of loyalty so intense I’d call that fierce as well.

JA: My books are fierce because of witches, baby. But not just regular witches. The way my witches get power…no in the world I’ve created there’s a parallel universe, kind of close to ours but not exactly the same, and witches get power by burning. So burn the witch and she has power. She fuels her coven and her coven seemingly turns into gods so they can do just about anything.

And the book starts out, the first book starts out with a girl from our world, Lily, who thinks she’s sick all the time, liker her body always does these freaky things like she eats something and she gets this massive fever and doesn’t know what the heck is wrong with her. She gets kidnapped by an alternate version of herself and taken into a parallel universe and when she gets there she finds out that the other her is not the Salem witch but she’s evil. Like, she hunts down scientists and hangs them. “Why?” you may say? And that’s why you’ve got to keep reading.

I think my book is fierce just because my main character is fierce and you get two of them so double the fun!

LB: Okay so my book Six of Crows is the story of six kids who are all in pretty desperate situations and who are offered a huge amount of money to try to break into a fortress that has never been breached before – the Ice Court – and heist out a scientist who has secrets in his head that could unleash magical havoc on the world. And some of them have worked together before but they’re not happy to be working together again. They’re all pretty tough group of characters for a variety of reasons but they’re going to have to sort of learn to rely on each other if they’re gonna get out of this mission alive. So it’s a magical heist almost. Sometimes I described it as Oceans Eleven meets Game of Thrones but I have learned that teenagers have no idea what Oceans Eleven is so what I did learn was that if you say Guardians of the Galaxy to a thirteen year old they’re like “I’m in! Give me two!”

So it’s a gang of misfits story. I would say the thing that’s most fierce about it, I mean, I think Kaz Brekker, the guy who runs this gang this crew, is pretty ruthless, like he’s not like a George Clooney suave sophisticated character, yeah he’s not hanging out at his villa wearing sharp suits, he does wear sharp suits but he’s just like the toughest most ruthless kid in the room. And I’d say the setting too [is pretty fierce], like Ketterdam is not the place you wanna get caught after dark. It is the hub of sort of all illegal trade in the world and it’s a place where sort of gangs rule this pleasure district that exists, you know people come from all over the world to see it so yeah I think that’s fierce.

EM: Hello! My book First & Then has been described as Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights so it’s a little bit about sports, it’s a great deal about romance, but what I think makes it fierce is that it’s more than a romance. It’s a lot about family relationships because the protagonist, Devon, has recently had her cousin, or little cousin, come to stay with her family after his mother is unable to take care of him and so it’s about, so she’s been an only child her whole life and suddenly she has to learn how to navigate that type of relationship. So in addition to all the swoony love feels, which I’m a big fan of, I think there are deeper layers to it which I think is a little fierce. And it’s also about fiercely protecting the people you care about.

Q2: This question is for Emma. Although quite a few guys are essential to Devon’s storyline she seems to grow outside of them as opposed to normal boy-girl stories where it’s like primarily only because of them that they grow. So why was it important to you that her voice be a discovery on her own?

EM: I think, yeah there are a number, you know Devon starts to, she lives in kind of a bubble with her best friend Cas who has kind of a thing for her and it’s very much, he’s a lot of things to her as kind of a stand-in boyfriend, as a best friend, as kind of a stand-in sibling. And I think that over the course of the book she really learns to need other people that will fulfill those roles in her life. And she also learns to become a little more self-reliant. And I love that she makes connections with other girls in her class and with her cousin, Foster, and so yeah I really wanted it to be not just about the guys, I mean I do love the guys you know the swoony guys, but I wanted her journey to be a little bit about that. And a great great deal about her self. You know she’s the main person and it’s a lot about her growth outside of those people.

Q3: Leigh, twenty years ago a heist novel like this would have sure been told through the eyes of twenty-somethings or even thirty-somethings. What do you think has happened in recent years that opened the door for more diverse and interesting tales with teen protagonists?

LB: I mean, I think YA happened. Right? Like Twilight happened and Hunger Games happened and Harry Potter happened and all of a sudden it was okay to have people reading stories that were, I mean we always describe them as “coming-of-age” stories but I think of them as transition stories. Like people going through a big change in their lives whether it’s discovering their divergent or it’s falling in love for the first time. But I think that’s something that adults identify with. You know, you get married, you get divorced, you move to a different city, you start a new job, you have a baby and all of a sudden your whole life changes, you have to start hanging out with other parents, your peer group changes, like (I assume) there’s but there’s a whole- I feel like we’re constantly being thrown into these states of upheaval and we’re also constantly having to sort of figure out who we are at different stages in our life and where we belong like where our tribe is. And me, the heist story is just another way of telling “found family” stories, another way of bringing people together who have their own prejudices and their own baggage and then forcing them to rely on each other for better or worse. I mean if you read my trilogy [The Grisha Trilogy] that’s where they also end up there too. Like, I love that story because it’s really resonant for me. I came from sort of a weird broken family and then all of a sudden I was in college getting to sit around a big long table and have dinner for hours at a time and it was like how I imagined families were supposed to be so I think that comes up in my work a lot.

Q4: Josie, I love that your main character Lily, her big battle is essentially her- an alternate version of herself. So what kind of feedback have you gotten from readers about how that resonates with them regarding their own inner struggles and battle within their selves?

JA: I think that the way that readers are taking it is that they’re starting to sit there and go- or it’s more of an internal thing with their selves. They’re looking at it and they’re saying “Wait a minute, could I be evil?” Because as the series progresses Lily the “good witch” she starts to agree more and more with this evil version of herself and then she starts to really question, you know, when you’re given no good choices is there such a thing as evil? Like, if all the choices in front of you are die, die, die, die, die well, you know, what do you do? Like, does that make you a bad person? So I think a lot of people- well what I wanted to do with the series is make people stop and look inside themselves and say “Okay, I could do that.” But, you know, that’s not the sum total of it, maybe I have done bad things in my life but that doesn’t make me a bad person. And that’s not to comfort anybody. Oh no, my books are not there to comfort you and like “I know you’re a good person inside” no actually my books are there to say “Maybe you are a bad person inside. But, you know what? That’s it. And as long as you’re truthful about that and you realize that, well, good on you. “

Q5: Leila, Arden’s trip to New York is so richly visual and feels like a real life epic moment. What was the most compulsive, epic night you ever had and what happened?

LS: Oh my gosh, I have so many good nights. Yeah, and for the book, obviously it’s fiction, but I drew upon some of the best moments of some of my best nights and gave them all to Arden in one fell swoop. So I don’t know, I mean, like New Year’s Eve this year [2015] for example was pretty cool. I’m like a very- I’m very strategic about going out. So New Year’s Eve this year I napped from 7pm to 11 pm then you gotta keep your eyes on the prize, okay? So then I went to this loft party and I stayed there until about 4am. Also key is not drinking, like no alcohol, certainly no drugs, like what is it? “Clear eyes clear hearts can’t lose”? Like party, we’re partying. Okay so I was at this loft party until 4am, then I went to a diner and got some breakfast, then I got in a car with my best friend Emily and we drove to Spa Castle, which is like a warehouse of spa stuff in Queens.

LB: I wanted it to be a castle! So badly! Where knights are like “Here let me exfoliate you.”

LS: I did too, that would be great, but this was in Queens, New York. So we get there right when it opens at 6am on January 1st and we park the car and we’re like, like the place is empty, and we’re like “Hello! We’re here for the baths!” or whatever. We did that until two in the afternoon when everybody else started waking up and showing up and we’re like “Uh, this place is dead.” And we went and got pie. And that was a particularly good night but that’s not, I mean, there are a lot of others.

LB: She literally- we’ve been on tour with her for what? Three days? Four days now? And everyday you scratch the surface of there’s a new Leila adventure. It’s like, no wait! The adventure continues!

LS: Somebody said- one of you said to me earlier that I had so much whimsy in my life. I thought that was really lovely! I really liked that.

Q6: I like a girl with some whimsy! Okay, no spoilers, but what was the moment in the book that made you think “Oh my gosh. This is fierce!” when you were reading one of your tour-mates’ books?

EM: I’ve got one. It’s hard without spoilers but I think, based on the description, from Leila’s book about how they decide to track down this blogger I think is the moment that she’s like “I’m gonna go do it. I’m ready to go find this guy.” I thought that was very fierce.

JA: Okay in your [Emma’s] book what I thought was fierce was there’s- she’s got these characters that are called “the prostitots” and they’re like these freshman girls who dress like prostitutes and I get exactly what she’s- I mean, I saw that word and I was like [drops the mic and stands up hands up]. No but she has this one “prostitot” who is actually- who is brilliant. She’s a great writer, she’s really smart, straight-A kid and it kinda makes Devon, her main character, come into this, like, “Oh so just because you’re into hair and makeup and you wear ha really short shorts it doesn’t mean that you’re an idiot. It’s kind of like redefining another woman in her life, which I thought was a very fierce moment.

LS: I don’t remember the first moment when I was reading Six of Crows that I was like “This is fierce!” because there are so many good moments in there and also because there are some flashbacks, and I’m not sure exactly when in the book they come, but one that really sticks with me is when Kaz is relaying his back-story of how he came to be so ruthless and with such thirst for revenge. And just the image of this kind of like one defining moment in his life just like really stuck with me. And probably that comes like 400 pages into the book or something but- it was definitely fierce before that! But that got me.

LB: Um, this is so hard to do without spoilers. Okay so- uh- alright you’re just gonna have to read Josie’s book because there’s a moment where…where Lily and Ronan and Tristan are forced to work together…

JA: This is in Trial by Fire, the first book, yeah.

LB: …that I really enjoyed. But it was also like, it’s very clear that she’s the focus of all of this. Like it’s not- like she- like Lily is- like she, she’s the focus. She’s the crucible. And I will also say that- Can I say the idea of the crucible?

JA: Yeah that’s fine.

LB: Does it give away too much?

JA: No I don’t think so.

LB: Okay. So Lily’s body burns. Like it’s basically where magic alchemizes. It’s a literal human crucible. And when I read that I was like “Dammit! Why didn’t I think of that?! That’s brilliant!” So anytime I feel that way I’m like “Okay. This is really good.”

JA: And the funny thing is, Leigh is always exceptionally warm. When I sit near her I-

LB: Well I’m also a witch so…

JA: Ha! And I’m like a naturally a chilly person so I’m always like [puts hand on Leigh’s knee] “Is she a witch or isn’t she a witch?”

LB: You’ll have to burn me at the stake to find out!

Q7: Alright, you’re shipwrecked. You can bring the three B’s. A book, a boy, and a bottle. What and who do you bring and why?

LB: Does it have to be a boy? Can it be a babe?

JA: Yeah or like a man?

Q: A book, a babe, and a bottle.

JA: Okay, I’ve got to bring, if this happens to me right now, I gotta have Six of Crows ‘cause I haven’t started reading it yet. I’m sorry! I had a baby! I’ve been doing laundry!

LB: You are dead to me.

JA: I loved the The Grisha Trilogy so much and I’m dying to read it I just haven’t been able to. Yeah so it’d have to be Six of Crows and of course it’d have to be my husband.

Q: What’s in the bottle?

JA: Oh. What’s in the bottle? A nice Pinot Noir. For sure.

EM: We mentioned the book thing yesterday. If we could have a single edition of all seven Harry Potter books in one that would be my book. Yes I would take the Harry Potter books for sure. The bottle, I’m sorry, I don’t drink so it would be water because I would need potable water. The babe, um, I would take Jennifer Lawrence, she seems like a hoot. And I feel like we could get along pretty well. And she survived those Hunger Games and I know they weren’t real but I feel like might have picked something up. She practiced the archery.

LB: And everybody would be looking for her.

EM: Oh yeah!

LB: If you go missing then how tragic. But if Jennifer Lawrence goes missing?? We need the military! NASA! A satellite! Immediately!

JA: Follow the paparazzi!

LB: Okay. Book? I would have the completed A Song of Ice and Fire. That’s right.

Q: So you’d have a time machine?

LB: That’s right! Hey, if you don’t specify then I get to make whatever rules I want. I might actually go to that island to find that there. For the babe…I’m gonna go with Henry Cavill because I feel like I could just watch him walk back and forth all day and be thoroughly entertained.

JA: That’s all he did in Superman anyway.

LB: That’s right. Just walk back and forth. With a cape! I will make him a cape of coconut strands.

JA: Island Man!

LB: And, um, for the bottle…I mean the potable water thing does sound fairly essential. No not whiskey mehh. I’m going with champagne.

LS: Assuming I’m gonna be stranded on this island for a considerable length of time I’m also going to go with all seven Harry Potter books together because I think those could get me through many years. They’re pretty great. For the bottle I’m also going to go with water. I think I just want to be stuck on an island with you [Emma] maybe? Yeah not sparkling water just straight up like a lot of this [holds up a plain water bottle]. For the babe I was moved by Josie’s reference to her husband and felt that perhaps I should answer “My boyfriend” um he’s great but I don’t have to go to an island to see him so I think I would answer with my personal celebrity crush Rob Thomas the lead singer of Matchbox Twenty…

LB: Nooooo.

LS: …because that would probably be the only way I’d be able to see him, unlike my boyfriend who I get to see most of the time…

LB: We will never fight over our men.

LS: …Um yeah I don’t know what we’d talk about but that would be okay, right? ‘Cause I’d have Harry Potter that I’d be reading and then-

EM: He could sing to you.

LS: He’d sing to me.

LB: I would wade into the sea. Tie rocks to my ankles.

EM: Maybe you don’t wanna hear “Unwell” a few thousand times.

LS: I already have.

Q8: Well these are a few of your favorite things: Favorite bookstore, favorite book convention, and favorite book from your childhood.

LB: I feel like we can’t pick favorite bookstore while sitting, you know, we have to pick Little Shop of Stories.

Q: Well, here’s the thing. As an indie [independent store] we like to love on each other. And we want these people when they travel to go visit somebody. So this is going to educate them on awesome indies.

LB: Other than this store.

Q: Like this store is clearly your favorite. I mean, come on. But like, if we got sucked up by a dragon, who else would you go to?

LS: Okay, favorite bookstore-

Q: No one record this part! I’m kidding I’m kidding!

LS: Oh my gosh, I love every bookstore I’ve ever been to and want to give all of them all of my money. If I had to choose one though it would be Hatchards which is in London and has been around since like the 16 or 1700s . It is beautiful, it’s like a castle of books. When my last book came out, This Song Will Save Your Life, in England I got to sign copies there and it was every- it was the first time in my life that I was like “This is being an author.” I love it.

My favorite convention would probably be BEA [BookExpo America] because I also work in book publishing, like I edit children’s books as well, so I get to see everybody, like it’s the last scene in the Titanic or something where all of your friends are there and you’re alive.

And favorite book as a child, I had a lot but I think that I would say probably A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

JA: Favorite book from my childhood is Anne of Green Gables. I love that book. I’ve read it a million times. All of them. Even the crappier ones like way later like when she grows up and her baby dies and it’s just awful! Like oh my gosh.

LS: Spoiler alert!

JA: Oh everybody knows. And everybody who hasn’t read them at this point are not going to.

LB: It’s like when you see someone posting on a World War II book and they’re like “Germany loses?!”

JA: But my favorite bookstore is The Strand in New York City just because I spend a million- like a lot of time there when I was in college. And I had a really good girl friend who worked there so yeah. I got books on the sly! That’s always good. And my favorite book convention? I mean I always had a lot of fun at RT [RT Book Lovers Convention] but it’s not like I got anything done when I went there. So I mean, BEA is good because I feel like “Oh I’m helping my career like a good little girl!” but at RT the parties are a lot of fun. And the authors.

LB: Okay so favorite bookstore…I’m gonna go with Parnassus Books in Nashville. I mean there are so many but I love- I did an event there and there are three dogs, they like roam around and I miss my dogs so much when I travel that I was like “Love me!” We saw a dog at the airport today and I was like “Ohhh! I’ll follow you onto the next flight!” Um, and also there’s an amazing YA community there {Nashville, not the airport]. There were a bunch of just wonderful authors who came out to say hello and it was just a great place.

Um, book festival is rough, man. Because like Decatur Book Festival is fantastic. It is! And I told them when we were coming over “When you go they give you author-cash! It’s like free money! And you buy things in the square!” And it’s also because it’s right next to the convention center where you can go to shops and go to wonderful restaurants and the whole bit. And also YALLWest and YALLFest are all over great.

And book? Okay, so when I was really little I read Many Moons by James Thurber, which no one has ever heard of but it’s so brilliant and poignant and great. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones is a big one for me. I’m so excited to see it on display downstairs! And I’m also going to throw in Dune just because I always throw in Dune.

EM: Favorite bookstore, I have to say a shout-out first to my hometown bookstore which would be, first of all my hometown is in Missouri, and that would be Left Bank Books where I’m having my launch party next weekend. And the second would be Sundog Books which would be in Seaside, Florida outside of Destin. It’s a beautiful store. I go there every year when my family is vacationing. I have fond childhood memories of that bookstore.

Favorite book as a kid was The Twinkie Squad by Gordon Korman. I don’t know if anyone’s read it. It’s, like Leigh’s book, it’s about a band of misfits on a dangerous quest but the stakes are much lower. ‘Cause like they’re sixth graders and they need to break into the school before class but I love it.

JA: Does anyone die?

EM: There’s much less death. There’s little to no death. I’m going to spoil that. But it’s a lovely book. And uh I’ve been to exactly one YA book conference as of now so shout-out to Anderson’s YA Book Conference, which I attended this past weekend. But I’d love to get into BA. I begged to get into BA this past year and they were like “All in good time.” So I hope to get there eventually.

Q: Awesome! Well that’s all the questions that I’ve got. Give them a round of applause! They are cute, they are smart, they are funny, they write books that you buy. Good time. Okay now we’re going to take a few questions from the audience.

Q1: Who would you cast for your books?

[unfortunately the streaming cut off so it missed a few minutes]

JA: …and they’re all so young you kinda want to get them before they’re spoiled, like, before anybody knows about them type of thing.

LB: I’ve seen readers cast Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Cillian Murphy as Kaz and I’m cool with both of those. Matthias was like somewhat inspired by Charlie Hunnam and by Alexander Skarsgard. So yeah. Why but like I dunno they’re all too old.

LS: Yeah like Josie I don’t really know. This Song Will Save Your Life has actually been optioned for film and for Broadway um by these two producers. One was one of the producers on Glee and the other was the producer of RENT, and Avenue Q and a bunch of other musicals and a bunch of other stuff.

LB: Is it Mario Lopez?

LS: Um no. That’s not him. But yeah so if that gets made, which “optioning” does not necessarily mean it will exist, but if it were to exist then whoever-

JA: They know who is good for them.

LS: Whoever they cast is who I want it to be.

EM: That’s tough. I dream of a reader-made fan cast. I think that would be awesome. I usually see for the main guy Ezra, it’s hard to pinpoint somebody but I always saw Cas, Devon’s best friend as like a Dylan O’Brien type. I love him. With the doe-eyes. He’s so dreamy.

Q2: Will we see any of the characters from The Grisha Trilogy in the sequel to Six of Crows?

LB: Uhhh maybe. I turned in the first draft, oh she asked if we’re gonna see characters from the Grisha trilogy in the second book of Six of Crows, uh and I just turned in my first draft to my editor so I don’t know what she’s going to say. I can say I wrote some in but they may not survive the revisions.

Q3: When you all got into college, did you go to college thinking “I’m going to be a writer” or did you go to college thinking something else? Somehow what was that switch that you became a writer?

LB: I get a lot of questions from people asking me if they should be English majors, should they be Creative Writing majors, if they should go into the MFA for Creative Writing, and you absolutely can do those things. I was an English major and I always wanted to be a writer. But I don’t think that being an English major was what made me a writer. What made me a writer was writing. And what got me closer to becoming a published author was finishing a draft. And there are no amount of classes you can take that are gonna get you to that place. For me the switch that had to flip was, I had always thought because I was good at writing and because I loved writing that it was gonna feel good to write. You know, like, it was all going to be moments of “I’m a genius!” But the truth is most of the experience of writing a book is not like that. There are those brilliant beautiful days when the story just flows out of you and the rest of the time you have to deal with the uncomfortable feeling of being bad at something, of not liking what you’re writing but continuing to do so, of struggling with the idea, looking for inspiration and not finding it, writing the scene you know you’re going to have to go back and fix a hundred times but writing it anyway. It’s the- the getting comfortable with failure is so essential to writing a book and letting go of the idea that writing is about some kind of inherent genius or talent. It’s about those things and work. So I think I would say that was the switch for me. Determining to finish a draft no matter how bad it was.

JA: For me I studied Shakespeare and the Greeks and, you know, the really old stuff like strophe and antistrophe. Nobody knows what a chorus is anymore.

LB: We’ll be your Greek Chorus.

JA: Lalala! Yeah but really weird-ass stuff. But I- for me- the thing was that I was doing all this and my directors would pull me aside and be like “You know, you kind of think like a writer” and I was like “Oh no I’m not smart enough for that. I’m not good enough for that.” I could never be a writer because, you know, writers are just up on a pedestal and I ran away from it for years and years. And I think what for me what finally switched was that I had nothing else to lose. Nothing. What else was I gonna do with my life? You know? You just get to this point where you’re like am I gonna be a little disappointed with myself forever or am I just gonna gut it out and finish a draft, because that’s what you gotta do, and then at least I have that. Even if it doesn’t sell. At least I’ve got that. And for me it was just- I was like why am I so…? And yeah, it was terrifying all my life but it was just one of those things like what the hell else am I going to do with my time? What do you do all day that’s better than writing? Like, you get up, you go to Starbucks, you go to the gym… That’s what you want every day for the rest of your life to be? Just write today and write tomorrow and write the next day and write the day after that and you’re a writer.

LS: I agree with Josie on that very much. Of just kinda like…every day on earth being like “Okay what have I done with myself today?” or “What was the point of my being here today?” and when I have written something feeling like “Okay that was the point.” There’s just so much in life that you do it and then it has to be redone. Like, you do your dishes but then tomorrow there are more dirty dishes. You do laundry and tomorrow there are more dirty clothes. You cook food and you eat it and then tomorrow you have to cook food again. And you can make an entire life out of that but I wanted…I always wanted something permanent, like, you do it one day and it’s still there the next day and you can keep making it better and better and expand upon it. I mean, I always was a writer, I always wanted to be a professional writer. I majored in Psychology in college and it had never occurred to me to major in English or in Creative Writing. I mean it hadn’t occurred to me to major in English I think because I loved children’s books so much and I knew I wanted to write YA and I knew that English classes would mostly be on not-YA books, like, Russian literature or something. Faulkner, yeah, I had never heard of Faulkner. Choose any adult classic and I probably haven’t read it. So yeah I majored in Psychology because that was interesting to me and it has actually turned out to be as relevant and helpful in crafting characters as a degree in English would have been.

EM: Well I’m currently a student, I’m a graduate student in a doctoral program in Anatomy and some biology. So I do laboratory research. I got my undergrad degree in Biology. But I’ve always wanted to be a writer, like always. But I wanted both. I wanted chocolate in my peanut butter and vice versa. I don’t have a ton of sage advice, as a newbie, but that would be my advice that you can have both. Troy Bolton proved it. He was on the basketball team at Berkeley where he could also study musical theatre. So I wanted a little bit of that. I wanted a Troy Bolton experience and I’m just so thrilled that that’s kind of where I’m at right now.

LB: I guess I would say too that work makes up so much a part of your life, you know, that if you can find something that you can do for a living that pays the bills that doesn’t destroy you, like, do that. Because if you are working all day at something you hate and worrying about your bills and paying off your student loans it’s going to make it that much harder to come home and devote a part of your heart and your energy to writing. When I was working full time I often would want to just come home, watch Law & Order, and go to sleep. Luckily Law & Order is always on so I was able to do that. But yeah you can find- there can be multiple passions in your life.

Q: Round of applause for these ladies!

Find out more about Fierce Reads!




Check out the mentioned Book Conventions & Festivals!

BEA: BookExpo America:

RT Book Lovers Convention:

Decatur Book Festival:



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