Mundie Moms

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hallowed Blog Tour: Author & Character Interviews

I am so excited about today's Hallowed blog tour stop. It's HALLOWED release day and Cynthia along with Christian, Tucker and Clara have stopped to answer a few of my questions. I also have an awesome prize pack I'm giving away today. First, let me tell you a little bit about Hallowed, the sequel to Cynthia's debut, Unearthly.

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning. -quoted fromGoodreads

I absolutely love this sequel and I highly recommend PICKING it up TODAY! You can read my 5 star (spoiler free) review here.

Hallowed is such a fabulous sequel. I felt like I was so much emotionally invested in this story with all that goes on. How do you separate yourself or get through writing some of the more emotional/challenging scenes that happen in Hallowed?

The short answer is: I didn't. Separate myself, that is. I totally let myself get caught up in the moment, and there were times when I had tears streaming down my face while I was writing. One particular scene (and those who've read Hallowed will know which one I mean, I think) I was sitting there bawling my eyes out, which was problematic because I was writing in the Pepperdine University library and I was about 6 months pregnant. I think people assumed I was having a breakdown, and it was a tad embarrassing explaining that I was only writing a very sad scene in a book. You should have seen the looks I got! It was emotionally exhausting to write some of those scenes, but at the end of the day I always felt good about them, because what I thought was most important about writing them was to really tap into the emotions that happen when you lose someone you love, and I felt like I succeeded at that.

I adore both Christian and Tucker and with each book I've found it's harder and harder to choose one over the other. What's something you've come to admire about each of them?

I got to know Christian a lot better in the writing of this book, and one thing I admire about him so much is his-- hmm, how do I put this?-- gracefulness when it comes to dealing with Clara. He could have easily been angry about how the whole purpose thing went down, and he could have blamed her for messing up his own destiny, and he could have been a whole lot more arrogant about what he thought she should do to make things right, but he wasn't any of those things. He was so incredibly accepting of her, who she is, what she was going through.

I feel like we got to know Tucker better in this book, too, although in more subtle ways. The thing I admire most about Tucker in Hallowed is how open he is with his heart, and how brave he is in facing all the angel-related craziness that comes his way. The angel stuff scares Tucker, as it would, I think, scare any smart human being, but he tries to accept it, because he loves Clara.

The direction in which some of the characters choose in Hallowed was a little surprising. What character has surprised you the most in terms of their development in Hallowed?

Hmm, tough question. Jeffrey, I think. I knew he was going to be angry about some of the revelations in this book, but the specifics in how he dealt with it were surprising to me. The Boy has some rage issues. And I get that. I feel for him so much, probably more than any of my other characters, at the end of the day.

Clara has this quiet strength I've really come to admire about her. She's really grown into a strong character with all that she deal with in Hallowed. What's one of your strengths that you see in Clara?

One similarity between Clara and I that I consider a strength is her ability to handle tough times with humor. Sometimes this can backfire for her (as it can for me too, eep) by making her seem flippant in the face of some serious-and-not-at-all-funny situations, but overall I think her sense of humor helps her weather the storms.

I love the setting for your series. What's one of your favorite outdoor activities todo when you're in Jackson Hole, WY?

What I love to do most in Teton National Park is to hike to a nice spot, preferably by one of the string of lakes, plant myself by the water, and just gape at those mountains and let their silent beauty fill me up. I would do that every day, if I could. I like to fish and boat and raft and cook hotdogs over a campfire, but more than any of that, I want to look at those mountains. I watch the wind stir the water, the birds (there are eagles and herons and swans) move overhead, the sun set behind those jagged peaks. Sigh. I wish I was there right now.

Did you have any "writing must haves" while you were working on Hallowed? (like music, coffee, chocolate etc).

I am trying to become a writer who can work in the midst of noise, like in the middle of a coffee shop or the park while my kids are playing, but so far I haven't been very successful at that. I need quiet. I also find that I need a bit of wind-down time (around a half hour) where I can relax and empty my brain of all the daily crap, all the papers to grade and housework and marketing stuff, and quiet my mind for the day's writing. Music is great during my wind-down time. I had a playlist of songs for Hallowed (you can find some of these in the sidebar of my blog) that were perfect for getting me into the right mood for the book. I also need a good pen, a nice flowy one. I can be pretty particular about pens.

Character Interviews:


What do you admire the most about Clara?

Clara's beautiful and funny and smart, but she's also humble. She doesn't think she's all that. Plus there's this look she gets on her face when she's trying to be brave that always makes me want to hug her.

Would you rather be on a mountain watching the sunrise or the sunset?

Sunset. On the ski hill. After a full day of mogols and powder.

What do you think your greatest strength is?

I'm patient. I'm not the type who just rushes into things. I wait. I figure it out. And then I make my move.


What's something you always have to have with you?

This is going to sound shallow or whatever, but I'm in love with my phone. I like to be connected with the people in my life, able to talk to them any time. The phone is vital. This was a problem when I was in Italy this summer and couldn't call people.

What's one thing you like about both Christian and Tucker?

One thing I'm proud about, and maybe it's dumb to be proud of something like this, is that I don't date jerks. Both Christian and Tucker are decent people. They're both hot, obviously, but they are also both good guys. Tucker can act the tough cowboy sometimes in front of people, but in private he's unbelievably sweet. Christian can be distant and mysterious, but deep down he's also very kind.

With all you deal with in Hallowed, what's something you come to admire about yourself?

I guess I admire that I held it together when the going got tough. Mostly.


If you could go back and change anything about the past few months, would you?

Oh man, I don't know. Hindsight is 20/20, isn't that what they say? I'm not the type to obsess about what could have been. I want to live my life without regret. There are some things I regret about this past year, definitely. But maybe it's all for the best.

What's your favorite thing about Clara?

I don't have a favorite thing, really. She's the sum of her parts, you know? She gets me, maybe that's the best thing. She makes me laugh. She makes my heart beat fast, every time I see her, but I can also relax when I'm with her.

How would you describe Hallowed in three words or less?

Angels are complicated. So are girls.


Thank you to Cynthia, Tucker, Christian and Clara for stopping by today!

Please be sure to follow Cynthia via her Blog | Twitter | Facebook

You can follow the entire Hallowed Blog Tour to read more interviews, guest posts, spoiler free reviews and enter the other fabulous giveaway that will be posted through out the two week tour.

GIVEAWAY TIME!! Thank you to Cynthia, 1 lucky winner is going to win a fabulous Unearthly/Hallowed Prize Pack:

- A Team Christian Ski Hat (made exclusively for the tour)
- Unearthly patch, poster and bookmark

To enter, please fill out the form below, my standard giveaway rules apply:

- 1 entry per person
- residents of the US only
- 13 yrs & older, if under you must have a parent/guardian's permission to enter
- this giveaway will end on 1/28/12

Blog Tour/ Book Review: Forbidden by Syrie James & Ryan M. James

I'm thrilled to be the next stop on The Teen Scene's Forbidden Blog Tour. Please be sure to follow the entire tour here.

Published by: Harper Teen
To Be Released on: January 24th, 2012
Source: ARC from publisher to review
3.5 stars: I Liked It

She should not exist.

He should not love her.

Claire Brennan has been attending Emerson Academy for two years now (the longest she and her mom have remained anywhere) and she’s desperate to stay put for the rest of high school. So there’s no way she’s going to tell her mom about the psychic visions she’s been having or the creepy warnings that she’s in danger.

Alec MacKenzie is fed up with his duties to watch and, when necessary, eliminate the descendants of his angelic forefathers. He chose Emerson as the ideal hiding place where he could be normal for once. He hadn’t factored Claire into his plans. . . .

Their love is forbidden, going against everything Alec has been taught to believe. But when the reason behind Claire’s unusual powers is revealed and the threat to her life becomes clear, how far will Alec go to protect her? -quoted from Goodreads

Forbidden for me is one of those book that you sit down to read thinking you'll read a few chapters, but before you know it you're almost done with the book. While this book didn't sweep me off my feet, it's one that I really liked spending time reading. The story's intriguing, and it's one that kept me reading, because I wanted to know what was going to be revealed next. More importantly I wanted to know what Claire and Alex where. I love it when an author doesn't reveal everything at once. That's what keeps me invested in the story. Beyond the reveal, Forbidden also has a unique spin on angel lore, a great paranormal mythology, fun characters, and a sweet romance, plus there's a bit of action. Did I mention the main love interest has a Scottish accent?

I liked that the story is told in third person, and from the point of view of both Claire and Alex. It made it really easy to following along, and I liked being able to see both sides of it the story through them. I really enjoyed getting to know them and what they are. The story follows Claire, a teenager who's just trying to blend into her new high school and has grown tired of always moving around from place to place with her mom. Recently she's started to develop some strange powers, and it's until Alex shows up (unrelated to what Claire is dealing with), that she discovers who and what she really is.

Let's just say there's a lot that happens in this story and a lot of people aren't who you think they are, which made the story line that much more exciting. I loved feeling like I was apart of the story in trying to figure things out along with Claire. Especially Alex. He definitely has his secrets, but there's something about him that makes you realize he's not the scary, dangerous kind of guy. The more I learned about him, the more I loved his character. The chemistry he and Claire have is great. I liked they had this instant attraction to each other, which given that the story takes place in high school felt realistic to me. I loved the way they end up falling for each other, even though it's forbidden. Well, there's a few things in this book you'll find out are forbidden, like Claire's existence which was a great spin to this story. I really adored Claire's two close friends and I loved how accepting they are of her and Alex, especially after they find out about their abilities and what they are.

Over all I thought Forbidden was a good read. There's some great fight/action scenes, and I liked two of the plot twists that happen towards the end of the book, which surprised me, because I found part of the story line easily predictable. Even though I felt that way, I still enjoyed it. Sometimes it's fun to sit down and just read a good book, which I felt Forbidden is. I'm definitely looking forward to finding out what direction the series will go in. There's just enough unanswered questions at the end of this book that have hooked me and have me wondering what will be in store for Claire and Alex in the sequel.

Be sure to stop by on Sunday to read my interview with Syrie and Ryan.

Twitter Tuesday - Ally Carter

I may have burned up my router clicking over to the new Gallagher Academy site. Have you guys seen it, yet? I know, I know...what's a MOM doing on that site? Well, I'm checking out the extras that Ally's posting on there. Yes, "bonus stories every week" until the release day of Out of Sight, Out of Mind on March 13th.

And you guys, we get Zach's POV. Not that I'm excited or anything, but I'm refraining from using a ton of exclamation points. So who's joining me on the site? I know, I know, there really should be a Gallagher/Heist Society Moms forum. Whoever starts that, please (oh please), be sure to tweet me.