Interview: Jodi Meadows the Awesome!

May 27, 2012 at 11:00 am (Interviews) (, , , )

Hello, friends!

So here’s where Dot finally pulled her big girl panties on. I’ve been wanting for a while to start an interview series with some of the authors I love, but me being me, and being shy and awkward and socially self-concious (even on the internet) ((I swear, I really am shy)) I couldn’t quite convince myself to reach out and ask authors to take time for that. Well, I finally asked, and the awesome Jodi Meadows is here to kick off our interviews!

For anyone who doesn’t know, Jodi is the author of the fantabulous Incarnate, an epic story of identity and romance and a changing world. Seriously. Amazing. So everybody give a cheer for Jodi!

Okay, icebreaker question: who’s your favorite superhero?

Jodi: Currently Batman. I don’t know. I go back and forth a lot on my favorites, and it’s usually the last superhero movie I’ve seen. The husband and I recently caught up on the first two Christian Bale Batman movies in preparation for the third one and they always make my heart go pitter-patter.

I’m sure this is a question that makes you cringe every time, but where did the idea for Incarnate originate?

Jodi: When I was a kid, some of the other kids in day care and I had a hole we were digging under a tree. We were going to dig to China. Well, we never made it to China, but I did find a box of ideas. Millions of them. All the ideas came flying out when I opened the box. I had to shut it quickly to keep them inside. >em>Incarnate was one of those.

(This answer may be a lie.)

Having written three Nosoul books, which was the hardest to write? What was it that made it more difficult than the others?

Jodi: They were all difficult in their own ways, but I think book 3 was probably the hardest. There are so many storylines to tie up, problems to resolve, character arcs to complete. . . . I also had to throw away the first draft of book 3 — all 75,000 words. And then the next 10,000 words when I tried to start over. When I’m answering these interview questions, I haven’t turned the draft in to my editor yet, so I don’t know what kind of changes she’s going to suggest, but right now I’m pretty pleased with the story. I know it will need more work once I have some distance from it, but I think it’s solid right now.

What is a perfect day of writing like for you?

Jodi: Quiet in the house. No distracting drama online. Just a lot of coffee and inspiration.

Is there anything you have to have while you’re writing? Lucky pen, lucky drink, lucky ferret?

Jodi: Nope. I mean, a bottle of water is always nice, because no one writes well while they’re dehydrated. But otherwise, no. I don’t want to need something like candles or a ferret while I’m writing if, say, I want to write during a layover in the airport. I hear they don’t like candles there.

What about a writer’s life has surprised you most since you got your book deal?

Jodi: Hmm. Not sure. I had a lot of friends who were already published by the time I got my deal, so I had the advantage of hearing their stories and seeing them go through the process. I was pretty well prepared!

What about a writer’s life has been the most gratifying?

Jodi: When someone writes to me and tells me that my book made a difference in their life.

What book or books most influenced you as a reader or writer?

Jodi: ALL the books! Everything is an influence. But some of the books that affected me the most deeply: Sunshine by Robin McKinley, Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn, The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (basically all of her books), Winter of Fire by Sheryl Jordan, Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce.

Side note from Dot: having read and loved most of those books- YAY! Anything Robin McKinley or Tamora Pierce is on my must-read list, but Winter of Fire is one of my all-time favorites!

You get to corral a gaggle of fellow YA authors into a single space: what’s the space, and what do you do?

Jodi:Oooh. The space is a bookstore and we talk about books. (Hopefully there’s a cafe in the bookstore so we can drink caffeine and eat junk food.) One of the best things about writers is that they LOVE talking about books they love and books they’re working on. So yeah. That.

What is your most anticipated read of 2012?

Jodi: Oh geeze. I don’t even know. There are a lot. Some I’ve already read: Defiance by C.J. Redwine (fab dystopian fantasy), Timepiece by Myra McEntire (fab timeslip romance), Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock (fab urban fantasy), Everneath by Brodi Ashton (fab myth fantasy), Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins (fab paranormal romance).

Okay, final question: What was it like, that moment when you found out your book had sold?

Very surreal. I had a big clue ahead of time since my agent had to set up an auction, and I’d already had a chance to talk with the editors who wanted to offer. But I kept not believing until the minute we got our first offer because I’d had so much practice in disappointment in the past. My agent called me while I was reading the first offer email and there was a lot of “wow” and stunned silence and then incoherent babbling. I’m still kind of embarrassed about the babbling.

Heh, I don’t think you need to be embarrassed about the babbling- I know my call had a lot of nervous laughters and sudden bursts of Oh my God!

Thanks so much for dropping by, Jodi!

And if you haven’t read it yet, definitely check out Incarnate first book of the NoSoul trilogy, to be followed by Asunder next year!

Until next time~
Cheers!

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Blog Tour + Giveaway: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

January 29, 2012 at 11:59 pm (Blog Tour, Giveaway) (, , , , )

You know what this week is?

It’s Incarnate‘s birthday!!!

That’s right, this lovely book is coming all fresh and shiny into the world, and this is one stop on the release week celebration. (Don’t know the book I’m talking about? That’s okay, you can celebrate anyway, and you can also check out my review.) There are something like fifty blogs participating in this event, with all KINDS of things to do. There are games and activities, treasure hunts, Guess the Blogger, even a knitted Incarnate puppet theatre!

Some of the individual blogs (including this one!) are hosting individual giveaways, but there are also Tour Prizes.
Two runners up will win: signed hardcover of Incarnate, knitted fingerless mitts, and assorted swag.
One Grand Prize winner will win: a signed, annotated hardcover of Incarnate, knitted fingerless mitts, a Jodi-made mask, assorted swag, and a character named after them in book three (who may or may not end up dead).

Frickin’ sweet, right?

So, on to details: of the 45 blogs participating in the release week fun, 19 of us are activity bloggers. If you do the activity on each blog and fill out the included form (absolutely required), you’re entered for more points in the grand prize giveaway. Then, there’s also the Clue Hunt. You can do as many or as few of the activities as you’d like. Just keep in mind: on the blogs that have separate giveaways, you still have to fill out the form to get the extra points for the grand prize giveaway.

(For more information on the Incarnate Theatre Treasure Hunt, check out Jodi’s post)

Want a hint about the Theatre?

Intrigued?

And on to the activity!

In Incarnate, there’s a masquerade where the entire city of Heart comes together in costumes. It’s a celebration of love that transcends lifetimes and surpasses the physical form, a test of sorts to see if two souls can still find each other even in costumes that remain secret. It’s an amazing scene, one that filters through the entire story in small ways. Plus, I’ve always been in love with masquerades. It’s not just that most people don’t know who you are, or even about the thrill that comes when someone does recognize you in spite of everything. It’s the symbolism of the choice, the way those designs become reality in pieces of cloth and accessories. I think what a person chooses, and how they choose to do it, actually says a lot about them. (yes, I overanalyze things; it’s one of the reasons I love doing book reviews)

So here’s the schtick: I have a question for you, and if you answer it in the comments, you’re entered for my giveaway. Winner (chosen by random.org) will win an ARC of the book, plus a handmade Incarnate themed jewelry set. BUT, to be entered for extra points in the grand prize tour giveaway, you HAVE to fill out the form below. Have to. Non-negotiable. If you comment but don’t fill out the form, you’ll still be entered for my giveaway, but it won’t contribute to the overall contest.

And now for the question!

If you were to go to masquerade like the one in Incarnate, what would you be/look like? You can describe it, draw it, link to it, just be creative!

(as an example: I’d be a dragon. Slightly different from the dragons in Incarnate; think a bit like the covers of Sophie Jordan’s Firelight series. Fairly simple, flowing gown that swirls with movement and breezes, deep deep green, and strapless, because the collar bones and shoulders and all the way down the arms would be dusted with a subtle, shimmering green powder in the shape of scales. Subtle- I’m not particularly ostentatious, but it’s really the details that do it. I’d dye my hair for the occasion to match but it would be back from my face and tumbling down my back, with small crystals pinned in to catch the light. The scales would continue up my throat and onto the face, where it would disappear under a green scaled mask with asymmetrical curves. Simple, green wire and clear crystal jewelry, nothing to detract from the scale patterns. I love the strength and elegance and mystery surrounding a lot of the stories about dragons; some stories have them as simply creatures (like Incarnate, and in some they’re wise beasts. I love that dichotomy)

So what would you wear/be to a masquerade? Don’t forget, comment below AND fill out the form! Both giveaways end at 11:59 pm EST on 6 February, so you have a whole week!

And check out some of the other activities!
Creative Reads
Mato’s Blog
Mission To Read
Every blog has a couple of links on it, so you don’t need to go in any particular order. Good luck, and have fun!

Until next time~
Cheers~

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Book Review: Incarnate, by Jodi Meadows

January 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm (Book Reviews) (, , , )

In the land of Range, souls are reborns across thousands of years, a million souls that all know each other, that all carry the knowledge of hundreds of lifetimes.
Ana is new.
No one knows why or how, only that she is a new soul, a replacement for another who wasn’t reborn. Some call her a thief, or a bad omen. Some call her a wonder. Many call her nosoul. But a journey to the city of Heart, and a library that contains all the knowledge of those million souls, may give her the first clues into the mystery of her birth. She just has to survive the journey, the sylph and dragon attacks, the people who may or may not be trying to kill her…and a love as painful and tentative as it is wondrous.

I first talked about this book a few months ago in one of my Cover Love posts, and oh, you guys, I am so glad I snagged an advance of this one. I can normally do the responsible thing and put the books down for bedtime when I have to work the next morning, especially if I know it’s going to be a really active-need-all-thought-capacities-in-place kind of day, but there was no putting this one down until it was done. I stayed up waaaaaaaay too late because I could not stop reading this book.

This is a story steeped in a history from which we always feel slightly removed. It’s all around us, we learn about it, but we’re always a step apart because Ana is. What others simply remember, she has to learn. Ana as a character is beautifully layered, her personal history evident in almost everything she does, in the way she reacts to everything she encounters. This is a girl whose instincts have been absolutely brutalized by years of emotional (and physical) abuse, someone who has been completely cut off from others and can therefore only base her expectations for their behavior off of the one person she does know: her mother, Li, who was spent her entire life savaging her, hating her, for what she is and reminding her again and again that she’s a worthless nosoul, a thief incapable of any real feeling or accomplishment. Though Ana doesn’t want to believe it, though she rails against it, she does believe it. It’s a part of her, a convinction of her own lack of self worth that makes it extremely difficult for her to trust other people, that makes it very hard for her to have faith that she’s not being mocked or set up to fail. She’s bristly and defensive, overwhelmed and a little bit snarly about all the things she doesn’t know, but there are times- amazing, heart-warming moments- where she gets to experience something with a child’s sense of unfettered wonder.

The relationship between Ana and Sam is a difficult one, beautifully so, because it takes a long time for there to be anything approaching equal footing between them. Sam is thousands of years of experience and memories and relationships in an eighteen year old body. Ana is simply eighteen. The things he takes for granted she’s never come up against before, but the delight he finds in her accomplishments is overshadowed by her interpretation of mockery. He rarely outright lies to her but he keeps things from her constantly; he’s dishonest not just with her but also with himself, about his feelings for her, about what it could mean. It’s a relationship built off of a lot of misunderstandings, with moments fraught with tension that suddenly explodes, and it forces both of them to stretch and adapt in unaccustomed ways. The souls in Range have known each other for thousands of years, been connected in nearly every way possible over hundreds of lifetimes, but Ana is something new- which means that what’s between her and Sam is something entirely new as well, and that can be as terrifying and awkward and unwieldy as it is wonderful.

I think what really made me fall in love with this book as hard as I did was the music. Music carries the stories, carries the characters. I grew up with music as an extremely important part of my life, a part of pretty much everything I did, but the ability to write music, to craft it, is something that’s always eluded me. It’s astonishing to me that people can hear these gorgeous compositions inside their head and be able to translate it. Really even just the ability to put it together is staggering to me. The love of music is something Ana and Sam share, and even more, it’s a way they can find common ground, a way they can express themselves past the ability of words. It’s a solid, strong connection between them, a language all of its own, and it’s beautifully worked through both of their lives and the story itself.

It’s a beautifully crafted book, one built on a unique premise and a strong execution, one with an amazing world full of deadly creatures and walls with heartbeats, where hundreds of lifetimes still aren’t enough to teach a person all there is to know about the human spirit.

Incarnate, by Jodi Meadows, hits stores on 31 January 2012, so definitely check it out, and check back here during release week for my part of a VERY COOL blog tour celebrating the release. Trust me, guys, this tour is one thing you don’t want to miss, with lots of awesome prizes and giveaway chances, plus fun things to do across a lot of stops.

Until next time~
Cheers!

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Cover Love: September Edition

September 25, 2011 at 9:17 pm (General) (, , , , , , , , )

I realized last month that I rather like analyzing the covers, so here we go again!

This one is a recent cover reveal (within the last week, I believe), and the farthest out as far as wait time goes. Insurgent, by Veronica Roth (the sequel to this May’s breakout debut Divergent) comes out May 2012 and holy cow what a cover. Along the bottom, we still have the cityscape of Chicago, where our story takes place, but the background coloration is completely different. The first book was a mottled blue grey, like a cloud drenched sky before a storm. Despite that ominous undertone, though, the colors were fairly soft, which made the brilliant flames of the Dauntless symbol stand out all the more. Here, we see a much more sickly cast, the grey-green, tinged with yellow, of clouds gathering for a tornado. Ever seen those clouds in person before? Once you do, you never forget it. It makes the sky look diseased, and it certainly doesn’t give us hope that our friends are going to have an easy ride. And then, set against all this, is the Amity symbol of a tree. Look at the tree, though. To create that spiral shape, it looks as if a strong wind (tornado, anyone?) is actually bending the branches and tearing the leaves away in a circle. Now look closer, at the coloration- closest to the branches, at the top and slightly to the left of the center, the leaves are brown, like they’re dying, and as you cross the circle, the brown encroaches. What does all this add up to? Tris may find that Amity is not sufficient shelter against the myriad dangers tearing apart her world.

I’ve been waiting for this next one since last year. It’s up all over the place at work, it’s all over the internet, and it’s killing me to wait the whole week and change until it’s released. I’m speaking, of course, of Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan, the next installment in the Heroes of Olympus series.

We’ve left behind the rather playful cover of the first book. We don’t have three friends riding bareback on a metal dragon. The stakes are higher and our hero is on his own- both in the story and on the cover. Percy is a creature of water, but somehow we’ve always associated (or maybe this is just me) him with with warmer waters. This may be partly due to the ongoing image of Poseidon as a beach bum in a deep sea fishing swivel chair. Poseidon, I’m thinking, is more than passing fond of Jimmy Buffett. The ice represents a number of things. Obviously, it’s a new setting, someplace completely different, alien to Percy’s experiences (whatever little he may remember of them). It’s cold and harsh, and it’s a strident example of danger. He’s not on a glacier, he’s bursting through a frozen lake. LOTS of dangers available through that. Even the coloration is stark. From the bright teal and gold of the first book, we have very stark gradations of white against a stormy background, deep grey-blues like thunderclouds gathering (unintentional theme, I promise). We know Percy’s older, and we know he’s a fighter, but I think he’s about to prove himself in a completely different arena, one that will require him to take those fighting skills to a whole new level. This one is an SOS for 4 October 2011, so not too long now, however much it may drive me crazy.

I’m normally not a huge fan of the close up model shoots of the face on covers- I personally find them very off putting, like I’m picking up a fashion rag rather than a book- but this is one that actually worked for me.

The colors here are both bright and soft, almost luminous. The girl, clearly lovely, is further softened by (sorry for repeating the word so much) soft focus through the lens. It isn’t so much that she’s blurred as she doesn’t have any sharp edges, like the brightest burst of illumination before the shadows draw crystallized lines. What that light does is draw our eyes to a central point: namely, the butterfly wings that spread across her face like a mask. The colors here are richer- blue and edges of gold instead of the pinks and purples that edge the image. It isn’t just that it’s a mask- intriguing and symbolic of itself- but that it’s a butterfly. Butterflies are extremely rich in symbolism, through many, many cultures, and no matter where you are in the world a butterfly stands for roughly the same ideas. Grace, ephemerality, and reinvention. Or, if you like, reincarnation. The image is a little surreal, the way the wings seem to grow from her rather than simply being placed against her skin, so it gives us the idea that this isn’t quite our world. If we take that assumption, it makes me very curious to know the more literal ways this girl might represent the butterfly she bears. If you’re curious as well, you’ve got a little bit of a wait: Incarnate, by Jodi Meadows, comes out 31 January 2012.

Up next, we have perhaps one of the best uses of color I’ve seen in a long time.

Color, especially in stark contrasts, is one of the first things that draws our eye to a book. It’s the automatic response that makes us reach for the bright colors as children and what makes us notice- right away, without any thought or effort, the one person in a room of dark suits wearing a red silk dress. Brenna Yovanoff’s upcoming The Space Between, out 15 November 2011, does this perfectly. The deep red, mottled with even deeper tones that speak of black, is faintly ominous, deeper than blood, like an ember of rage burning far too long. But red is also the color of passion, not just of anger but of love and lust, and under its shadow, we see a girl reclining. Her immediate background, though, is not that red- it’s cold steel, empty and passionless and sterile. It’s formed into elegant, beautiful designs, full of grace and luxury, but for all that beauty, it isn’t welcoming. It feels like a prison, and the way the girl lies across the steel divan, the drape of her arm, her hair over the edge, even the way she slightly tucks her face into that outstretched arm as she looks out at the viewer, reinforces that. This is a girl who is caught between that coldness and that passion- in whatever form it might take- caught very literally in a space between.

My psych prof once told me that the way someone analyzes something reveals as much about the person doing the analysis as it does about the item being analyzed. This next one might bear that out.

I have a thing for falling. Or flying. Maybe floating. Most of all I love that sensation somewhere between where you're not really sure which it is. Right in that moment, caught in that endless potential of a thousand directions, everything seems simultaneously possible and impossible, the perfect paradox. Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey, out 8 December 2011 gives us that paradox, but then it gives us more: where the girl’s dress should continue on, we get a sense of disintegration. As it goes from the bodice to the skirts, the fabric gives away to something organic- leaves or flower petals, I’m not sure- and it’s equally uncertain whether that material is dried or dead. (The difference between a dead flower and a dried flower, after all, is both striking and significant). It’s a haunting image, a lingering one, but not knowing whether she’s floating or falling…it’s the kind of thing that makes you curious. We don’t get any hints from her background, either, a textured and somewhat uneven grey that could be any number of substances. The cover leaves you guessing, but it also gives you enough detail (a little hard to see in the pictures) to draw you in.

Like before, feel free to weigh in with the covers you really like! What draws you in when you’re in a store, or makes you curious to read more? On the flip side- what really irritates you in covers? What turns you off?

Until next time~
Cheers!

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