I'm so excited that this day is finally here!! I'm teaming with the amazing A.G. Howard, bestselling author of the Splintered series, for our debut NA book releases! If you're looking for something a bit more mature than our YA, but totally off the NA beaten path, please check out Anita's gorgeous supernatural-gothic-historical THE ARCHITECT OF SONG, and my apocalyptic sci-fi, UNKNOWN!
We are celebrating our joint indie publications with super fun interviews (our characters from completely different eras have interviewed each other!) and then Anita Grace and I interviewed one another. And most importantly, we have joined together for an epic international giveaway!
Here's a quick look at A.G. Howard's book, out now!
A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower - intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.
For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.
To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.
I adored this book!! You can read my thoughts and add it to your TBR on Goodreads here.
Buy The Architect of Song paperback and Kindle on Amazon today!
And a little about my book, UNKNOWN, out now!
In this first installment of NY Times bestselling author, Wendy Higgins’s debut New Adult series, a frighteningly realistic apocalyptic America is brought to life, entwined with searing romantic tension that will leave you eager for more.
Amber Tate believes the worst thing she’ll suffer in life is dealing with the unrequited love she feels for her brother’s best friend, Rylen Fite. She also believes war is something unfortunate that happens places far, far away from her rural Nevada town. She’s wrong on both counts.
When an unknown organization meticulously bombs major cities in the United States and across the globe, a trickle-down effect spreads to remaining towns at an alarming speed—everything from food and water sources to technology and communications are compromised. Without leadership, the nation is split between paralysis and panic, but Amber isn’t one to hide or watch helplessly. She’s determined to put her nursing skills to use, despite the danger, even if it means working alongside the man she can never have.
Add UNKNOWN on Goodreads!
Buy UKNOWN in paperback or Kindle on Amazon! The special ebook price of $2.99 goes up after release day!
Amber Tate: Hi Juliet! We’re so excited to interview you today. We’re all intrigued by your world and can’t wait to learn more about the Victorian Era. I’m from the state of Nevada in America. We’re sort of in World War III right now, writing to you from our secret camp in the desert, so this is a welcome distraction. I’ve got my best friend Remy here with me—*Remy waves crazily*—my stupid brother, Tater is here too—
Tater: Hey! More like handsome Latino Army badass.
Remy: *rolls eyes but can’t hold back a smile* Moving on.
Amber: And we also have Rylen Fite, my, uh…*blushes as she looks at Ry*
Rylen: *half grins* Neighbor? Friend? Practically adopted brother?
Amber: Er, yeah. *clears throat* Anyway. Juliet, I’m totally fascinated with the time you live in. Especially the idea of women having ‘delicate sensibilities.’ Do you find that to be true about yourself?
Juliet: A pleasure to meet you all. No, I do not find ‘delicate’ to be true of me, or any woman, in fact. I’ve always been perplexed by the notion of weakness in beings that grow new beings within their very bodies—all while being nursemaids, cooks, cleaners, caretakers, seamstresses, organizers, entertainers, gardeners, and bookkeepers. I ask of you, who indeed is the weaker sex?
Rylen: I hear we have something in common. I was raised on a farm, so I understand the importance of humans and plants, and the symbiotic relationship we have with the earth. We grew potatoes for food. Can you tell us about what you do?
Juliet: Of course! It is always a pleasure to meet a fellow admirer and respecter of nature. I’m a hat maker; I grow and dry flowers for my masterpieces. I also raise birds, gathering their feathers when they molt (in a symbiotic exchange) to add to my collection of millinery supplies.
Remy: Ooh, ooh, my turn! Can you tell us about your clothes? Do you really have to wear one of those birdcage things under your skirt? And what’s it like to wear a corset? How do you breathe and move?
Tater: Those things are hot. Not the birdcages, but those things that squeeze a chick’s waist and push up her—
Rylen: Dude, shut up. Don’t scare her off.
Amber: Yeah, you pig. Let her answer.
Tater: *whispers* Juliet is deaf though, right? Maybe she didn’t catch the boob commentary.
Amber: Deaf, not stupid. And she reads lips.
Tater: Oh… *embarrassed laugh* My bad. Please continue. *smiles innocently*
Juliet: Corsets and crinolines are an extension of the moral strictures put upon women by societal expectations. Try to imagine wearing a circus tent. Or rather, being a circus tent—one that could house a carousel and never even ruffle a hem from the spinning horses mounted on the platform underneath the structured walls of petticoats. Then, imagine your torso is a wooden post, unable to move or expand beneath the contracting pressure against your ribcage and lungs. If your imagination can supply such savory details, then you’ll know what it’s like to be fashionable and accepted in my time.
Amber: Oh, my God. No offense, but that sounds awful. I feel for you.
Remy: Me too, sister. Although, you look so beautiful. I’d totes be willing to try it for a day. I love dressing up.
Tater: *hands Remy a corset, which Amber smacks from his hand*
Amber: Okay, moving on to something more serious. From what I hear, we’re both dealing with some strange stuff. Sort of supernatural. Unexplainable. So, I have a weird question. Do you believe in ghosts?
Juliet: Not only do I believe in them, but in my experience, the dead speak louder than the living.
Tater: *whispers with wide eyes* Shit just got real.
Amber: Yeah. Thank you so much for meeting with us, Juliet. It was amazing to talk to you. We wish you the best of luck!
*** You can check out Juliet's interview of Amber on A.G.'s blog here!
And now A.G. and I interview each other!
Q: Did any specific songs inspire you while writing your book?
Wendy/Unknown: I wish I could say yes, but I honestly don’t listen to any music while I’m writing. I want to be one of those cool authors who listens to badass playlists to pump them up, but I need complete quiet.
AG/Architect of Song: It's always fun to see how each writer has their own unique routine! I'm the opposite of Wendy. I need music to spark my muse and moods. As for the songs that inspired Architect, they're mainly somber piano accompaniments, romantic ballads, lullabies, instrumentals, and vocals with poignant lyrics and gentle melodies. Here are two, as an example:
1. "Everyone’s Memory is Snow" by Phildel: An instrumental with dreamy, melancholy piano-work reminiscent of snow or petals falling, that inspired me as I wrote many of the bittersweet and heartbreaking moments of the book.
2. "This Voice" by Ane Brun: Ane’s gritty and earthy vocals juxtaposed with the upbeat melody perfectly represent Juliet’s unease yet elation to have discovered a way to hear a voice again—a wondrous secret she can’t share with anyone.
To see all 43 of the songs, follow this link.
Q: Could you share a few images of your characters to give readers an idea of what they look like?
Wendy/Unknown: This has been tough for me, especially a Rylen, and even this is not exactly how I imagine him. But the others are pretty much on point.
Bianca Santos as Amber Tate:
Drew Van Acker (loosely) as Rylen Fite:
Brenton Thwaites as Jacob “Tater” Tate:
And this particular image of Hayden Panettiere for Remy Haines:
AG/Architect of Song: I don't know the models' names, but here are my three main characters...
Lord Nicolas Thornton:
You can find more character and Victorian inspired images on my Architect of Song Pinterest board.
Q: What gave you the idea for this story?
Wendy/Unknown: For many years of my adulthood I had recurring apocalyptic nightmares: flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes, going underground, having the U.S. overrun by enemies and having to hide. It was like the movie Red Dawn. I would wake up terrified and wondering what the heck was wrong with me. Years passed and I began reading a lot of dystopian books, starting with Orwell’s 1984, and moving on to YA. Most of what I read were stories that started in the middle of the action, after the dystopian societies were already set up. I was fascinated by HOW the societies fell, and decided I wanted to write about how a normal girl in the United States would handle losing everything, and how it could be possible for the world to fall in this day and age. Plus, I can never go straight contemporary, so there's some sci-fi flare in there as well.
AG/Architect of Song: I actually wrote a whole blog post about the story's origins once. Short version: I was in a 19th century graveyard and saw a tiny fenced-in plot with a lone headstone and a flower growing beside it. It struck me as odd, that the grave was isolated in such a way, and my muse started dancing around, coming up with all sorts of scenarios as to why it might be. Then I asked myself: "What if the person buried there was somehow tied to that lonely flower? What if their life forces had intertwined?"
All my contemplating birthed a story of a young woman in the Victorian era who touches the flower and awakens a nobleman's spirit. To bond her and the ghost immediately, she would be deaf due to a childhood illness, and his is the first voice she's heard in eleven years. I based Juliet's communication off of a deaf librarian who worked at my elementary school. She read lips so adeptly it was amazing (she'd been reading them / practicing her whole life). I was so impressed by that ability that it left an indelible impression, so I wanted my character to be a tribute to her.
However, since Juliet lives in a more discriminatory era, she would be judged on her deafness by ignorant members of society, and have to learn to embrace as a strength what other people saw as a weakness to overcome their prejudices and show herself for the strong, intelligent woman she is. So that became her character arc which played out through her solving a tragic and dangerous mystery. Sadly, I don't know where that teacher is now, or even if she's still alive (she was in her early fifties back then), but hopefully Juliet did her memory justice. ;)
Q: Could you describe one of your favorite scenes in your book, and/or share an excerpt?
Wendy/Unknown: One of my favorite scenes is when Rylen comes back on a visit from his military deployment, and Amber is seventeen-years-old, looking much more grown than the last time he saw her. I love seeing him take her all in with his eyes, and to feel the tension between them. I have a teaser image with a quote from that scene for you. Enjoy!
AG/Architect of Song: Having a paranormal element offered some creative tools for Juliet to use while sleuthing. From my experience with the librarian in my childhood, I knew Juliet's communication would be tricky. Good lighting and face-to-face proximity were the only ways she'd be able to read lips. For any scenes from afar or in the dark, or were someone’s head turned, she would have to miss out on what was said. But that's where having a ghost as an accomplice comes in handy. She could rely on Hawk to relay the words being spoken.
One of my favorite (and one of the most pivotal) scenes in my book takes place on a rooftop where Juliet is watching an interaction between the viscount and another man through a telescope. Hawk is standing next to them, translating what they're saying to her mind as she's watching through the lens.
Here's a quick unspoilery peek at the setup:
Thank you so much for stopping by my blog, A.G.! What a joy it's been! And now we would like to thank our readers, worldwide, with this international giveaway. :-D Here is what's up for grabs as the Grand Prize: signed paperback copies from both authors, signed posters from both authors, and signed swag from both authors! Second place is signed posters and swag from both authors. Third and fourth places are signed swag from both authors. Please enter with the Rafflecopter form on either of our blogs. Good luck, everyone!
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