Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Our Sweet Six: An Interview with Anita Grace Howard, author of SPLINTERED

Today we're so excited to hang out with Anita Grace Howard, the sweet-and-talented author of SPLINTERED. Anita graciously agreed to be the first author to answer our Sweet Six questions. Sweetening the deal herself, Anita even-more-graciously offered to donate a free audiobook and super-cool swag!

But first... a glimpse of SPLINTERED.

Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on.

There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.


Cool, right? If that doesn't make you want to read SPLINTERED, maybe these blurbs will...

"Splintered is dark, twisted, entirely riveting, and a truly romantic tale.” USA TODAY online

"Splintered is a delicious, mad, wonderful read. I can't recommend it highly enough." --Melissa Marr, author of the New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series

Trust us, you want to read SPLINTERED. :) You really, really do. And we're going to give you the chance to win a FREE copy! But aren't you a little curious about the awesome author who made the world of SPLINTERED come alive?

Thought so. :) Buckle up, here we go! 

THE VALENTINE'S SWEET SIX 

Anita, tell us about your book!

SPLINTERED is a YA fantasy about Alyssa Gardner, the great-great-great granddaughter of Alice Liddell (real life inspiration for the heroine of the famed Lewis Carroll novel). To save her mom from life in an asylum, Alyssa follows a hunch that there might be some truth to the Alice in Wonderland tale. Led by some family heirlooms and a mysterious moth, she and her best friend/secret crush Jebediah Holt stumble into the rabbit hole where they meet creepy and violent counterparts of the original fairytale crew. They soon realize this is not the fairyland of Lewis Carroll's vision, and the only way Alyssa can free her family of its curse of insanity is to fix the things her great-great-great grandmother Alice put wrong. But if she fails, Wonderland will have her head.

What scene in your book do you LOVE the most?

Aside from the kissing scenes? Those are always my favorites. ;) Seriously though, there was one scene that was both my favorite and my least favorite. Chapter 12: The Feast of Beasts.

It's my fave because it’s one of the most “Carrollian” scenes in the book. It’s based loosely on Chapter 9: Queen Alice, one of the wackiest and most visual chapters in Through the Looking Glass. I never forgot that scene after reading it as a kid, so I wanted to give credence to it in my book. I kept my tribute nonsensical like Carroll’s, but at the same time wove in some sadistic and gruesome undertones to darken it.

It's my least fave because of where I was when I wrote it. My son had recently been diagnosed with epilepsy and his pediatric neurologist started him on medication; the dosage was too high for his system and caused him to have severe panic attacks. We spent several nights those first few weeks at the ER, trying to figure out what was going on. It was during one of these trips that I wrote my Feast of Beasts scene. In the three hours we were there, I managed to tap it all out, even while worrying and wondering if my son was ever going to have a normal life again. I put everything I was feeling into my writing, and it came across as chaotic and absurd and terrifying, which was exactly how life felt to me in that moment, and exactly how it feels to Alyssa when she's living that scene in SPLINTERED.

If you had to pick a character you LOVE (and not your own!), who would you pick and why?

Jane Eyre. She’s the epitome of a strong and intelligent female character who never has to sacrifice her feminine side to kick fate’s fickle bootie.

What's the craziest/most memorable valentine you've ever received?

An earthworm ring from the little boy next door when I was in first grade. And yes, it was authentic; the poor worm’s two ends were tied together with dental floss. I still shudder when I think of it. Still, the little boy’s heart was in the right place and I remember it to this day, so he did something right!

If you were a Brach's Heart, what phrase would be written on you?

GAME ON, because I had to fight tooth and nail and never give up to realize my dream of getting a book on the shelves.

The all-important choice: flowers or candy?

Jewelry. Wait, that wasn’t an option??? That’s the same thing my hubby said. Harumph. ;) Okay, all playing aside, I love Godiva dark chocolate truffles. They would be my top choice if chocolate diamonds weren’t available. :)

Anita, you're awesome. I think Brach's need's to add GAME ON as a phrase. And I, for one, am so glad you never gave up! Huge thanks for taking the time to hang out with us, and for your generosity in giving away some sweet treats for readers. 

What treats, you ask, lovelies? How about an audio book and a swag pack? Take a look...


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1 Splintered Audio Book – 10 CD set


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Splintered Swag Pack – 1 signed bookplate, 1 signed bookmark, 1 vintage AIW gift tag

Ready to enter? GAME ON, as Anita would say. :) Just Spread the Word about the SPLINTERED giveaway by doing any TWO options...then leave a comment below to tell us what you did! The contest is open for a week, and the winner will be announced next Wednesday, February 27th.a Rafflecopter giveaway

In the meantime, pop over to Anita's blog and say hello.:)

Thanks for helping up share the YA book love Anita! *throws around Brach's hearts and Godiva Dark Chocolate truffles in your honor*

70 comments:

  1. Wow, the story of that favorite scene is intense. It's interesting how the emotions from something in our own lives can pour headlong into our writing. And jewelry! For the win!

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    1. Haha. Right? There's a reason they say diamonds are a girl's best friend. ;) And yeah, I never expected to be writing in the ER, but it turned out to be the best thing for the book (and my son). ;)

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  2. I think I'll have to eat Godiva dark chocolate truffles as I read your book now. Mmm.

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    1. Haha, Sara! Godiva makes everything better, so I think that's a pretty great idea. :)

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  3. SPLINTERED sounds awesome! Nothing like having a kid in the ER to turn your world inside out and upside down. Loved the earthworm ring story - ewww.

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    1. It speaks volumes that my most memorable valentine's day gift was an earthworm, right? ;P

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  4. I've read Splintered at the library but I would love to get my hands on the audio and that swag looks amazing!

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    1. Aw, may the rafflecopter gods be with you, Dani! Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  5. I always love writing the kissing scenes, too. I am SO excited to read SPLINTERED!! What a great interview (and giveaway)!

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    1. Yeah! Kissing scenes FTW! :)Thanks for stopping by, Jen. And good luck on the giveaway!

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  6. Thanks for having me over, Valentines! <3 Lynne, you did an amazing job w/the interview. :) Oh, and those cyber chocolates really hit the spot. LOL. Congrats to you all on the amazing new blog!

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    1. Totally our pleasure Anita! Thanks for hanging out with us. You're a writing rock star.:)

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    2. *hugs you*
      We're ALL writing rock stars!

      P.S. I was looking at your books page and am dying for when it's filled up w/amazing cover art! Amy's makes me swoony. ;)

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    3. Anita, you make me swoony :) #goatwub

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  7. I tweeted about the giveaway and shared AG's link on facebook! Love this book and would love to hear the audio version!

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    1. Thanks for getting us some traffic! And good luck! (I really love the audio version, BTW, and I'm not in the least bit biased...hee).

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  8. I've been wanting to read Splintered. The cover art is gorgeous and the story sounds fantastic.

    I shared this blog post link on Facebook.

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    1. Thanks so much! I hope you'll enjoy it when you read it. BTW, the cover artist is here:
      www.ladysymphonia.com
      in case you'd like to see more of her amazing work. I could spend an entire day drooling on her website. :)

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  9. I loved SPLINTERED. And I can definitely see the twistiness A.G. must have been feeling while she wrote the Feast of Beasts scene. What a hard time with her son. (HUGS)

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    1. Mary, you rock! And *hugs you* back. Thanks for the sweet note. :) He's doing so much better now.

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  10. Wow, I'm even more excited for this book now than I was before! That scene will be even more powerful, I'm sure, knowing what was going on when you wrote it. Great interview!

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    1. Thank you. :) I learned a lot about writing that day, and even more about being a mom. :) Good luck w/the giveaway!

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  11. Anita, you are such a rockstar. You know how much I love SPLINTERED, and the Feast of Beasts scene was one of the memorable for me. Your story above gives it new meaning. I'm in awe of your writing and your ability to convey such emotion.

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    1. Aw, Amy, you're so sweet! Thank you. :) I think you're amazing, too. I've seen enough of your writing to know that you're also aces at conveying emotion. I can't wait to read OF BREAKABLE THINGS! <3

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  12. This sounds great!! I tweeted and Google +1'ed. :) And btw, the cover is beautiful!

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    1. Thanks! Also, appreciate you helping get the word out, and good luck!

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  13. This book sounds AWESOME!! I can't wait to read it; thank you for writing it! (-:

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    1. You're welcome! It was one of the most fun stories I've ever written. :)

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  14. I love the alice story, this is very intriguing. will be a very good read, i'm sure.

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    1. Yay! A fellow Carollian! Good luck, and hope you get a chance to read (or listen) to it. ;)

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  15. I have heard only amazing things about this book! Thanks for being a Valentine interviewee!

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    1. It was my pleasure. And thank you for the lovely words!

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  16. I love this cover! It does sound awesome :)

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    1. Thank you! The cover gods were very kind, indeed. :)

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  17. I like the idea of a novel set in Wonderland; there are a lot of fascinating possibilities there. And mmm, Godiva chocolates, reading this interview made me want to buy some. I'm like Pavlov's dog when it comes to chocolate.

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    1. Haha. Always nice to meet a fellow chocoholic.

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  18. Looks amazing! The cover is beautiful <3

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  19. You know that's my favorite scene! I always feel guilty for loving it the way I do knowing what you had to go through to get it written but...EEEPS!! It was worth it from a reader's POV. (Not so much the mama's)

    Lovely interview, my friend.

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    1. Aw, thanks. I loves you, Rookie. :) And it did set the perfect tone for that mad scene, but here's hoping those days are behind us 4evah. *knocks on wood*

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  20. I talked this book up to anyone who would listen! I mean, the cover is gorgeous, the modern adaption is catchy and dark, and the author seems super nice on the internets. What is NOT to love about this book? I also loved the promotional lead up to the release. It made it very exciting to finally have the release day where I could get a hardcover copy for my shelf. :) I caught my sister peeking at the ARC a few months ago and now she wants to borrow my hardcover! Can't wait for her next book!! :)

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    1. Sallie, you ROCK! Thank you so much. :) And I really enjoyed the virtual tour, too. Good luck!

      P.S. I should be announcing my next YA title in April. YAY! :)

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  21. I love this book! I'm happy because Splintered will be published in Spain! :)

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    1. LOL. Bethany, you can translate for me when I get an ARC.

      And Aivlis, thank you! I'm excited, too!

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  22. I'd tweet and shared on fb. Can't wait to read Splintered

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  23. I tweeted and wrote a review a while back. I love this book and my husband only listens to audio books so this would be perfect for him.

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    1. Thanks Bridget! May the rafflecopte odds be ever in your favor. ;)

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  24. Ooooo ... Alice in wonderland! Twittered and added it to Goodreads.

    lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  25. Thanks for the GR add, and good luck in the giveaway! :)

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  26. Tweeted about the giveaway as PixieSprinkles3 here:
    https://twitter.com/PixieSprinkles3/status/304752726875705344

    Posted on FB as Pixie Sprinkles here:
    https://www.facebook.com/pixie.sprinkles/posts/161031427383054

    pixiesprinkles at hotmail dot com

    Thanks! =)

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  27. I bookmarked this page because I didn't want to read anything in case it gave something away! lol I am literally in the middle of reading the book right now and am so completely engrossed in it! =) I look forward to reading the interview afterwards though! Please write more books (soon)!

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    1. Aw, thank you Pixie Sprinkles! I really tried not to give anything away. LOL. I am working on a second YA novel right now, so I promise to put out more reads soon. Hope you enjoy the rest of the book, and good luck w/the giveaway!

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  28. I wrote a review of Splintered, plus tweeted, shared on Facebook and Google+ as well as Goodreads about how much I loved it! :)

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    1. Steph, your review is one of my favorites! And you have such a gorgeous blog! Good luck w/the giveaway. May the rafflecopter odds be ever in your favor. ;)

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  29. Shared on Google+ and Facebook
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/113269385362388394198/posts/BoQ94b3Vi9K

    https://www.facebook.com/kala.data.5/posts/346795238762969

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  30. The Feast of the Beast is so memorable - it's stuck in my head forever with such an edge. I'm so sorry about your circumstances!!!! how amazing you got that into the book. Wow! Maybe the worm ring explains some things, too. Lol. Thx for this giveaway!!!!!!


    I shared on FB & Twitter: (oops... that's a really long link.)

    http://www.facebook.com/BurgandyIce
    https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?original_referer=http%3A%2F%2Fyavalentines.blogspot.com%2F2013%2F02%2Four-sweet-six-interview-with-anita.html&text=The+Valentines%3A+Our+Sweet+Six%3A+An+Interview+with+Anita+Grace+Howar...&url=http%3A%2F%2Fyavalentines.blogspot.com%2F2013%2F02%2Four-sweet-six-interview-with-anita.html%3Fspref%3Dtw

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    1. Aw, thank you Laura! And yep, I'm a freak of circumstance. LOL. Thanks for entering, and I hope rafflecopter is kind to you. :)

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  31. Splintered took me back to the obsession I had with Wonderland as a child. So vividly whimsical and twisted that I had to read it twice. I've tweeted about it and told both my sister and mom to buy it on their Nook. I've been so intrigued by these characters that I made a Pinterest bored in their honor. The author has been so kind, responsive and has connected so well with her readers. I've never listened to an audio book. But this is one I would like to listen to over and over.

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    1. Thank you so much, Amy! I really appreciate you talking up my book to your family, too! I hope they enjoy it. I love your pinterest board (have repinned several pics onto the official Splintered board from there!). Good luck w/the contest, and may the rafflecopter odds be ever in your favor. :)

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  32. just found this blog and I'm already in love!

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  33. I tweeted and I added a link to this site's contest on my blog in my review: http://readrinserepeat.blogspot.com/2013/02/book-review-splintered.html

    Stephanie (Go Flash Go) @ Read, Rinse, Repeat

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    1. Good luck Stephanie, and thanks for adding the link!

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  34. Oh I haven't read this book but it looks so good! And this would be my first audiobook! :) I tweeted & followed! :)

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    1. Thanks, and may the rafflecopter gods smile upons you. :)

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  35. Now I really want to eat some chocolate and reread Splintered (or perhaps listen to the audiobook?) Love getting to know some of my favorite authors!

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    1. Thanks Debz! And doesn't chocolate just make everything better? LOL. Good luck!

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