Interview with Alisha Sevigny, Author of Summer Constellations

 

I recently read an ARC of Summer Constellations by Alisha Sevigny and I loved it so much I had to make sure as many people as possible know about this young adult novel. So I reached out to her and got an interview.

Your new novel, SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS, releases on May 1st from KCP Loft. Tell me how you first got the idea for the book.

As a writer we are always pulling bits and pieces from our lives and this book is very close to home. I grew up in a large family in a pretty remote part of Canadian wilderness.  My parents couldn’t afford to fly us all out for family vacations every year so we did a lot of camping. I remember lots of road trips all over the countryside, alternately reading books in the back seat (didn’t get car sick back then) and scrapping with my sisters and brother in our massive suburban. “She’s on my side of the seat!” 😉

How long did it take you to write the first draft?

I’m a pretty slow writer and the first draft took a while. It’s hard to say because I’m one of those people who goes back and fixes things up as they write so by the time they’re done they have a pretty polished first draft (the con side being that it takes FOREVER). Maybe a year or two?

I absolutely love the campground setting. Where did you get the inspiration for it?

The campground is based on one just outside my hometown. The Pacific West Coast is magical and something everyone should check out once in their lives. The trees there are enormous old growth temperate rainforest and it’s very wild and rugged, but stunning.

Do you have any songs or playlists that remind you of the book?

I actually made a playlist for this book which I am putting on Spotify (once I figure out how). I tried to include songs that bring back those warm summer nights, swimming under the stars and first love…

How long have you been writing, and when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I used to write poetry then stopped once I got to university and learned how bad it was. I started up again after I had my first baby. I wrote my first book, KISSING FROGS, on paternity leave which we took in Panama (where the book is set) where I was inspired by local culture and myths. Canadians get one year off and my husband’s work topped up his salary so we were very lucky to do that. SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS was started after we took our second paternity leave in San Jose Del Cabo (we only have children so we can travel ;). There will be no more babies but hopefully lots more books!

If you could only take three books with you to a deserted island, what would they be?

Hmmm. Probably the first three of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series (Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager). I’ve read it over and over and find something new in it each time. She’s one of the best writers out there.

Where’s your favorite place to write?

I write anywhere, usually in the middle of chaos, but my favourite place is preferably on a balcony in a tropical country, where I can see or hear the ocean. We are an urban family in a big city and don’t own a house OR car which we make up for by trying to travel a bit more. I grew up surrounded by ocean and mountains and I really miss it and find nature stimulates my creativity.

If you could steal a fictional character and put them in one of your novels, who would it be?

Hmm, this is tough. I do have a MG series set in Ancient Egypt I’m working on and the main character Sesha, daughter to the Pharaoh’s royal physician, is a bit how I’d imagine Claire from Outlander would be (if she were a young girl who growing up in Ancient Egypt).

What’s next for you?

I’m also trying to finish my next YA contemporary called Palm of My Hand, about an intuitive palm reader and her mother, who’s a tarot-reading fortune teller. I’m pitching it as a pinch of Jane the Virgin meets Practical Magic.

 

Thanks, Alisha!

Want to know more about Summer Constellations? You can find it on Goodreads, or pre-order it on Amazon. I’m also giving away an advanced reading copy! Use the link below to enter by April 29th. Open internationally!

Giveaway

Enter to win an ARC of Summer Constellations. 

You can now read Motocross Me on Wattpad

After not really knowing what it is for a few years, I’m finally diving into the fun of Wattpad! If you’re not aware, Wattpad is a website where people share their original stories chapter by chapter. People can read them and vote on the chapters and leave comments for the author. It’s a fun social way to read books and since my daughter is addicted to it, I’ve recently checked it out myself.

(As if I needed more books to read than my already HUGE stack of TBR books? *sigh*)

The best part about Wattpad is that it’s all FREE! And I’ve recently decided to upload all of my self published books on there as I transition my work into traditionally published books. My books will still be available at booksellers in ebook and paperback, should you want a real copy. As always, I would be THRILLED if you read any of my books and decide to leave a quick review on Amazon or Goodreads (or both!)

Up first is my debut YA novel, Motocross Me. It’s a contemporary teen romance about a girl who moves to live with her dad on his dirt bike track for the summer, only to fall for two of the fastest dirt bike racers in the state.

Read it on Wattpad here: Motocross Me

 

Stay tuned for more books as I release them! As always, you can sign up for my 6 times a year newsletter to get links to all the fun bookish stuff in my world. (Sign up here: http://eepurl.com/bO3qgb)

 

 

Using Instagram as a Writer

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If you’ve been following me for more than five minutes, you’ll know I’m a huge believer in being a person online. I absolutely can’t stand the mindset of an author marketing themselves in the form of spam on every social media outlet. If someone wants to buy your book, they will. Asking them 10 times a day in the form of a Tweet or post will not make them buy your book. The best way to connect with readers and other writers is simple: be a person. Just a living, breathing, book loving, book writing, person.

The old adage to “just be yourself” works perfectly here. The thing is, your books aren’t you. They’re a product you create and they should be advertised separately. YOU are an author. You have quirks and hobbies and unique skills. You might even have photogenic cats, which is always a plus. You bring a new perspective to everything around you. Let that reflect in your social media account.

Facebook is out. Twitter is becoming a political trash talking message board. Instagram is where the book people are. I’ve talked with a few writer friends and we all agree that Instagram is the most fun you can have in the online book community.

So how do you get the best out of Instagram as a writer?

  • Let your readers see behind-the-scenes. Nothing makes me fangirl more than when my favorite authors post details of their writing lives, snippets of their WIPs, or cute cat photos. Where do you write? What’s your desk look like? Did last night’s casserole inspire a scene in your WIP? Let’s see it.
  • Post Tips and tricks. I’m not the only writer who adopted Victoria Schwab’s using a star-sticker-on-the-calendar-page to mark your writing progress trick. If you have a unique way of laying out your index card plot, post a photo of it. Have a book shelf organizer that’s unique? Post it! Did you finally figure out how to make Word stop correcting already correct grammar? Let us see.
  • Exclusive book stuff. Readers love photos of your first set of ARCs, your cover reveal, the hardback sighting on a bookstore shelf. Anything new about your books should always go up on Instagram first. It gets readers excited and they can spread the word of your new book/deal/cover/etc faster than you can alone.
  • Be a person. This is my favorite one. Post fun and interesting photos of your normal life outside being a writer. This is where your cat photos are necessary. From lattes to silly socks to a rock you found that’s shaped like a heart. These are the posts that separate you from the spam author who only wants to sell books. Trust me, you will sell more books in the long run by making a personal connection with people and from being yourself.
  • Make friends! Interact with other users, both writers and readers. Book bloggers are on Instagram and they’re some of the hardest working most book loving people you’ll ever meet. Comment and like posts and follow people who share your same interests. You’ll make friends in no time.
    • Note: Don’t forget to thank people who post about your book!
  • Share the book love. #Bookstagram is a very big thing right now. It’s the art of arranging books and decorations into taking beautiful, artistic photos. And although I am NOT the least bit talented with photography (sad face), so many book bloggers and readers are! Use Instagram to post photos of your favorite books, your bookshelves, your TBR list. Tag the authors in the pictures you post so they can repost it if they want. Get creative! Nothing makes my day more than seeing a beautiful photo of one of my books on Instagram.
    • Post Reviews. #Bookstagram is a PERFECT way to leave book reviews as well! Since Instagram lets you leave a very long caption for your photos, you can write a review (or copy/paste it from the one you wrote on Goodreads since cell phone typing is annoying) and tag the author. This is a great way to spread the #booklove to your followers.
  • Utilize hashtags! I get about 200% more likes and comments when I use the appropriate hashtags for my book photos. Be sure to click on your favorite ones every so often and like other users’ posts.
    • For authors: #writersofinstagram #authorsofinstagram #WIP #amwriting #amediting #wordcount #writerslife #NaNoWriMo #WritingTip #TeaserTues

    • For sales & book promo: #FreeBooks #ebooks #kindle #Nook (or any other ebook retailer) #KindleUnlimited #NewRelease #CoverReveal #KindleBargains #KindleBargain #BookGiveaway
    • For Young Adult specific: #yalit #IReadYA #YoungAdult #YAbooks #YALitChat #YA
    • For general books or reader posts: #bookgram #bookishfeatures #book #books #bookstagram
      #booknerdigans #bookworm #bookaddict #booknerd #booklover #bookstagramfeatures #booklove #booklovers #bookish #bookswag #bookboyfriend #Bookshelves #Bookshelf #BookPhotography #BookChat #Goodreads #WhatToRead #EpicReads #bibliophile #instabook #instabooksm#igreads #igbooks #reader #amreading #TBR
    • Have your own hashtags! Your author name: #CheyanneYoung, and your books should have one too: #TheBreakupSupportGroup

There you have it. A guide to using Instagram as a writer, and doing it in a way that won’t make you annoying. 🙂 I’d love to hear any more tips and tricks you have in the comments! Until then, if you need me, I’ll be hanging out on Instagram.

Inspiration Collages and Writing

Inspiration Collages and Writing

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Collage of inspiration photos for The Breakup Support Group

As the days are slowly passing until the release of my next book, The Breakup Support Group, I thought I’d share my inspiration collage for it. I used to make inspiration boards after I’d written a book, as a way for the reader to see some images that relate to the book as I imagined it in my head. When I was plotting The Breakup Support Group, I made an inspiration board before I started writing. It ended up being really fun to look back on the pictures while I worked on the story.

I decided to make a board for my current WIP and I saved it as my computer wallpaper. It’s a great way to help me stay motivated while working on the manuscript! I think I’m definitely hooked on inspiration collages.

If you’re a writer, do you use inspiration photos? Let me know in the comments!

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PS- The Breakup Support Group releases on 11/22/16! You can add it to Goodreads here. And make sure you’re signed up for my newsletter because I’ll be giving away paperbacks, gift cards, and a compass bracelet to celebrate release day!

My favorite books of the summer

Summer is nearly over! Of course, here in Texas, it’s hot all the time so summer is a relative term. I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary YA lately, and I’d like to share some of my favorites with you. I’ll keep this post short and sweet because I have a pizza in the oven and nothing comes between me and my pizza.

First up on the rec list:
Resisting the Rebel

Resisting the Rebel by Lisa Brown Roberts. This book was cute, well-written, and had me smiling the whole time. Plus, it had a broody bad boy and who can say no to that?

Next:
Finding Paris

I’m a massive fan of Joy Preble and her witty writing style. Finding Paris was fun, romantic, and shocking. I love when a book sucks me in, wraps me up, and then shocks me with a surprise ending. Get this one, guys. You’ll love it.
We Own the Night (Radio Hearts #2)

We Own the Night by Ashley Poston. This MC is a radio DJ. It’s exactly as awesome as it sounds. I adored this book and read it in one sitting.

Em and Em

Em and Em by Linda Budzinski. The only bad thing about this book is that the title will make you want to eat candy. This one has intrigue and mystery, along with a hot country boy, and hot country boys happen to make me swoon.

Have you read any of these? I’d love to know what you think!

Announcing my new book deal with Swoon Romance

I am VERY excited to share my exciting news with you all! My newest YA book, BREAKUP SUPPORT GROUP, was sold to Georgia McBride at Swoon Romance! (An imprint of Month9books)

I may or may not have been refreshing Publisher’s Marketplace to find my first official PM announcement this morning:

Isn’t it pretty?

BREAKUP SUPPORT GROUP is a fun, heartwarming, heartbreaking, swoony, romance that I absolutely loved writing. More info will come later, but for now, you should check out the Pinterest inspiration board. I’m still adding stuff daily so check back!

               Follow Cheyanne’s board BREAKUP SUPPORT GROUP Inspiration Board on Pinterest.//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js  

Almost exactly one year ago, I got my first book deal for CITY OF LEGENDS and afterward I totally forgot to snap a photo of me signing my contract. NO worries! I remembered this time!

As soon as BREAKUP SUPPORT GROUP is added to Goodreads, I’ll be spamming you guys with links for it, but for now you should follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and you’ll stay up to date with all the fun book news! 

Throwback Thursday – Motocross Me Playlist

I have two playlists for you today. The first was my personal writing playlist while I wrote Motocross Me. You’ll notice that it’s short and that’s because I don’t write well with music. I usually prefer silence, so I listened to most of these songs before I wrote, so they could get me in the mood for the story.

  • We Will Rock You by Queen – The perfect racing song. We used to listen to this while driving to the motocross track every Sunday
  • Let it Rock by Kevin Rudolf – A great pump-up song before the races.
  •  The Distance by Cake – Another great song about racing.
  • All Your Life – The Band Perry – The line about fireflies inspired the firefly scene with Ash
  • Sweet Medicine – Jason Castro

And here’s Hana’s playlist. I think these songs fit her character well. 🙂 
  • Cruise – Florida Georgia Line
  • Hey Stephen by Taylor Swift (This song reminds me of how Hana chases after Ryan.)
  • Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want – The Smiths
  • Your Love Is My Drug – Kesha
  • Shake It – Metro Station (A good hanging out at the motocross track song)
  • All Your Life – The Band Perry 
  • Saying Sorry – Hawthorne Heights
  • The Highway Don’t Care – Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift (Her going away to college song)
  • That’s What I’m Here for – Jason Castro (This song is for the last chapter)
And here’s a bonus set of teaser quote images! 
Happy Thursday everyone!