Mundie Moms

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

WINTERSPELL by Claire Legrand; Blog Tour: Author Interview & Giveaway

Hello & Welcome to the next stop in the WINTERSPELL blog tour!

I am so thrilled about today's stop, because Claire Legrand is on the blog today!!! Before I share my recent interview with her, check out a little bit about her new release. If you've not yet added it to your TBR list or picked up the book, I HIGHLY recommend that you do.

By: Claire Legrand
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Released on: 9.30.14
Purchase it from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.
New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor's ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother's murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.
Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.
Her home is destroyed, her father abducted--by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they're to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets--and a need she can't define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won't leave Cane unscathed--if she leaves at all.
Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

Hi Claire! Congrats on the release of WINTERSPELL. First off, I totally love the cover. Did you have any input in it? What was your first thought when you saw it?

Hi Katie! So excited to be here at Mundie Moms today. And thank you! I love the cover, too. I actually was able to contribute quite a bit to the cover process! When it comes to covers, everyone at Simon & Schuster has always been very collaborative with me. We all obviously wanted the cover to have a wintry feel—kind of essential! We also wanted to capture Clara’s strength, and hint at some of the darker magic running rampant in the kingdom of Cane. (The bird on the cover, for example, has particularly ominous significance.) When I first saw the cover, I did a little happy dance—okay, let’s be honest. I did a HUGE happy dance. As an author, it’s always so nerve-wracking, seeing your cover for the first time. You know everyone at your publisher has worked so hard on it, and you have an idea of what it should like in your head—heck, you’ve probably had a picture of it in your head for months, even YEARS at that point. So it’s always a big moment, and I’m so happy to say that each time it has been a moment of joy and celebration for me.

I love that Winterspell takes place in 1899 NYC. What kind of research went into your story's time period? Do you outline first, and then do your research, or how do you go about it?

Clara’s New York City is kind of a skewed version of New York City. Almost like a NYC from an alternate universe. So not everything in this 1899 NYC is exactly like our 1899 NYC—but nevertheless, I did do some research, mostly before writing the story. My agent was a big help with this. For example, the crime syndicate Concordia in WINTERSPELL was inspired by the real-life political organization Tammany Hall. Boss Plum, who is dead by the time WINTERSPELL begins, but whose widow, Patricia Plum, has taken over Concordia, was inspired by the influential Tammany Hall figure Boss Tweed. I also watched a couple of films that helped me understand the aesthetic and mood my NYC needed to capture—Gangs of New York (which takes place earlier than 1899, but still served as good inspiration), and The Age of Innocence. I tried not to get too bogged down in nitty-gritty details because ultimately this is not a historical novel, and I also didn’t want to linger too long in NYC. After all, the bulk of the story takes place in a totally different world!

I love that you combined some of my favorite elements into Winterspell. What was one of your favorite elements to write about and why?

My favorite thing about writing WINTERSPELL was creating the look and feel of Cane, the Nutcracker prince’s kingdom. (Obviously he’s not an actual nutcracker in WINTERSPELL, but you get what I mean.) I loved infusing this world with a steampunk-ish element, letting the faeries and their magic run wild. It’s a land of contradictions and unpredictability, much like the queen who rules it. You look one way, and oh hey! An elaborate obsidian palace! You look another way, and oh dear. It’s a slum, crusted with old snow, full of human detritus. It’s this nightmarishly beautiful wonderland of metal, ironwork, technology, and magic, and I had such fun crafting it.

Clara has a lot going against her in the story. She becomes a pretty strong character over the course of her journey. What is something that made you admire her, and what is something about Clara that surprised you? 

I so admire Clara’s unique strength. I hesitate to use the word “weak” because even at the beginning of the novel, I don’t consider Clara weak. Let’s just say she’s broken when WINTERSPELL begins. She has trouble finding worth in herself, in her body, in her mind. She’s gone through so many horrible things and come out the other side utterly lost. I think it’s realistic to expect a 17-year-old girl who has endured traumatic events to not quite have her act together, don’t you? I admire that, even with that lack of confidence and fear constantly weighing her down, she manages to do these incredibly scary things—traveling to another world, fighting faeries who revile all humans, and most of all, confronting her own doubts about herself. This goes hand-in-hand with the thing that surprised me about Clara—her bravery. I saw a lot of myself in Clara—my own insecurities, my own doubts—but I’m not sure I could ever find the kind of bravery she demonstrates in WINTERSPELL.

I love fairytale/story retellings. For those who don't know, WINTERSPELL is inspired by The Nutcracker. What is one of your favorite story retellings?

This is not a young adult novel, but I absolutely adore Anne Ursu’s BREADCRUMBS. It’s a middle grade re-telling of the classic fairy tale “The Snow Queen.” It’s about friendship and sacrifice and family. It’s beautifully written and exquisitely imagined, and I just can’t recommend it highly enough.

Can you tell us what you're working on next?

I’m working on a couple of middle grade novels right now—one of which I hope to be able to announce soon! No official young adult projects in the pipeline at the moment, but I of course have tons of ideas waiting for their turn. It’s just a matter of time.

Thank you Claire for stopping by! Congratulations on your new release!
Thank you! I always love stopping by Mundie Moms!

About Claire
Claire Legrand is the author of books for children and teens, including The Cavendish Home for Boys and GirlsThe Year of Shadows, the upcoming Winterspell, and its prequel, Summerfall. She is also one of the four authors of The Cabinet of Curiosities
When not writing books, she can be found obsessing over DVD commentaries, going on long walks (or trying to go on long runs), and speaking with a poor English accent to random passersby. She thinks musicians and librarians are the loveliest of folks (having been each of those herself) and, while she loves living in central New Jersey, she dearly misses her big, brash, beautiful home state of Texas. 

Her work is represented by Diana Fox of Fox Literary, LLC.  

ENTER TO WIN: 10 Prize Packs
10 prize packs/10 winners! The prize packs = finished copy of Winterspell + swag (bookmark, bookplate, character postcards) + map of Cane + Winterspell-themed jewelry.US only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow The Tour
Week One
9/22/2014- Alice MarvelsReview
9/23/2014- The Midnight GardenGuest Post
9/24/2014- Magical Urban Fantasy ReadsInterview 
9/25/2014- CuddlebuggeryGuest Post
9/26/2014- FiktshunGuest Post

Week Two
9/29/2014- Novel SoundsGuest Post
9/30/2014- ParajunkeeInterview 
10/1/2014Mundie MomsInterview 
10/2/2014Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post
10/3/2014Dark Faerie TalesReview 

October 2014 YA Releases

Happy 1st day of October. I have no idea where this year has gone. I am not ready for it to be October yet, though I do love this time of year. I'm really excited about this month's book releases. There are a ton of awesome books hitting shelves, YA, Kid Lit and New Adult alike. Check out this month's Young Adult releases:

October 7th, 2014

October 14th

October 21st

This list is complied from the following: Epic Reads, Goodreads, and books I've received from authors/publishers to review. *Don't see a new YA releases you know is out this month? Just leave me a comment with the book's info, and I'll include it on the list. *  Thank you for stopping by & HAPPY READING!

Killer Instinct Contest with Author S.E. Green

It's officially October! That means it's time to announce an exciting month long contest Killer Instinct author S.E. Green is doing! 

S.E. Green is looking for you! You get to put your artist skills to the test, and recreate your favorite/ creepiest Killer Instinct scene. 

The rules:
1) Recreate your favorite / creepiest Killer Instinct scene
2) Email it to
3) Deadline for submissions is October 31st, 2014

The Prizes:
Cash prizes will be awarded. 
10 lucky winner will also receive an autographed copy of the book. 

The Details:
Winners will be chosen and announced by author S.E. Green. 
Prizes will be provided by the author and Simon & Schuster

About The Book

By: S.E. Green
Published by: Simon Pulse
Released on: 5.6.14
Add it to Goodreads

She’s not evil, but she has certain... urges.

Lane is a typical teenager. Loving family. Good grades. Afterschool job at the local animal hospital. Martial arts enthusiast. But her secret obsession is studying serial killers. She understands them, knows what makes them tick. Why? Because she might be one herself.

Lane channels her dark impulses by hunting criminals—delivering justice when the law fails. The vigilantism stops shy of murder. But with each visceral rush the line of self-control blurs.
And then a young preschool teacher goes missing. Only to return... in parts.

When Lane excitedly gets involved in the hunt for “the Decapitator,” the vicious serial murderer that has come to her hometown, she gets dangerously caught up in a web of lies about her birth dad and her own dark past. And once the Decapitator contacts Lane directly, Lane knows she is no longer invisible or safe. Now she needs to use her unique talents to find the true killer’s identity before she—or someone she loves—becomes the next victim...

The Young Elites by Marie Lu, Waiting On Wednesday #227

By: Marie Lu
Published by: Putnam
To Be Released on: October 14th, 2014
Series: The Young Elites #1
Pre-Order Your Copy From: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound
Add it to Goodreads


I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

I seriously adore Marie, and totally love her books. This is one of those books that has been on my radar for awhile now, and I'm over the moon that it will be released this month. I've already started this book, and all I can say is, AWESOME! 

Read an excerpt.You can find out more about The Young Elites from my interview with Marie Lu, here, and by visiting series's site here.

What book are you waiting on?