Friday, December 8, 2017

BY A CHARM AND A CURSE- Author Interview and Book Spotlight with Jaime Questell

Welcome to YA Friday! Today I have an exciting interview with YA author Jaime Questell about her new release, By a Charm and a Curse. She is offering one book up to a lucky reader. To enter, fill out the rafflecopter form below. If you don't see it, click 'read more'.

The Book- (blurb)
Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.

Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for.

Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.

The Interview-

1. Please tell me about your book in your own words (different than the blurb)
CHARM started life as a short story and was quite possibly one of the easiest things I've ever written. In my mind, it's a warped version of Beauty and the Beast, with its curse and slow-blooming love story. Writing Emma and Ben and their crew were so fun to write. When else could I write about a foul-mouthed teen equestrian and a girl whose body has been petrified and turned into a puppet? But more than that, at its heart, CHARM is about a girl who has to learn to love herself and the boy who falls for her in the process.

2. What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or pantser?
I am such a plotter. I love a good outline, and sometimes, when I'm stuck on a scene, I'll do what I call micro-plotting, where I write something that's meatier than an outline but not quite actual prose and dialogue. Having what I need to do next laid out like that usually helps me get unstuck.

3. Did you always want to be a writer?
I was always a voracious reader, but I didn't know I wanted to write until I was in my late twenties. I wrote my first novel (which was horrible), then my second (slightly less horrible), and it stuck. I've been writing for ten years now and I can't imagine not.

4. What were your favorite books as a child?
 Pretty much anything I could get my hands on! I loved the Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High series, and the classics like Anne of Green Gables and the Little House books.

5. For fun- favorite ice cream? favorite TV show? favorite candy bar? 
For ice cream I have to go with Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Therapy. It's heaven in a cardboard tub. And I watch waaaay too much TV! Favorite show currently on the air is How to Get Away with Murder, and my favorite show of all time is Parks & Rec. And I have to say dark chocolate KitKats are my favorite candy bar.

Thank you Jaime!

The Excerpt-

Apologies to the people who love it here, but Claremore, Oklahoma, might actually be a circle of hell. Not one of the horrible ones, for the people who do unspeakable things to cats, but definitely one of the places where people who cheat on their taxes go to live out their monotonous afterlives. The thing that sucks is Claremore is exactly where my mom has ditched my brothers and me for a year, leaving us to live with our dad while she’s off in Guatemala, investigating this teeny tiny isolated village for a grant.
The only good thing about our abandonment is that Mom dropped us off just as Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic was ending its engagement on the outskirts of the city.
“Have you ever experienced the life-altering joygasm of the deep-fried Snickers bar?” Juliet bounds along beside me, same as she did when we were younger, her golden curls springing in time to her steps as we cross the dusty parking lot toward the carnival entrance.
It’s a struggle to keep up, her long legs and general giddiness propelling her forward far better than any jet fuel could. The carnival sits in the middle of a field next to an abandoned mall. Graffiti cartoon animals run laps around the dilapidated building. Someone had written eat me in four-foot-tall letters near one of the entrances, only to have someone add an M at the beginning later. In another color, someone else had scrawled meat is murder, to which another artiste contributed, and it’s delicious u dirty hippy. Charming.
“Jules, I can say with some certainty that never have I ever experienced a candy-induced joygasm.”
“Then I can say with some certainty that you aren’t living your best life.”
Shame that once Le Grande’s Carnival Fantastic blows town, there will pretty much be absolutely zero to do here that doesn’t involve late-night visits to Walmart or football.
We follow the gathering crowds toward the ticket booth, funneling into the entrance beneath pennants made of sun-bleached calico, the patterns mere ghosts of their old selves. We’re not even through the ticket gate and already I can smell sawdust and burned sugar. Shrieks of terror and joy stutter through the wind, mixing with the excited chatter of those waiting in line. Handpainted boards taller than I am lead up to the ticket booth, each one featuring a different performer. A knife thrower done in stark black, white, and orange. Two golden girls standing atop a spotted horse, no saddle or reins to hold them. A boy and girl, near mirror reflections of the other, hovering over a crystal ball, dark shadows creeping in
around them. The biggest belongs to a trio of tumblers who tangle their limbs together until they’re one muscled mass of human impossibility. The sign is a boast, a dare, a promise—come and see these men and be amazed.

And I want to be amazed.

The Giveaway-

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. "What is your favorite carnival attraction or side show?" Well, I'd like to go to those agricultural fairs like they have in Australia where you get to buy tons of fun, different "show bags" from various vendors that are full of cool stuff!

    1. That's sounds like fun, especially the Australia part :)

  2. My favorite attraction is a petting zoo. Aything to do with animals that I can see and maybe touch up close.

    1. When my kids were young we always did the petting zoo at the LA Zoo.

  3. Storylines involving traveling circuses are fun. There is a lot to work with in terms of characters and setting.

  4. We love petting zoo. I have alittle daughter so that's a must :)

  5. My favorite attraction at the carnival (well, anywhere really) is the food! Funnel cakes, cotton candy, soft pretzels, cheese fries. It’s honestly the only reason I went as a kid, and pretty much the only reason I take my kids now :-)

    Thanks so much for the chance, this book sounds delightful!

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