Best Stephen King Books

Despite many able to argue that attempting to rank the talents of Stephen King in a ‘Best Stephen King Books’ type-article is a foolish battle, I am going to give it a go as it’s a great excuse to get my King collection out. First time King-readers will also hopefully benefit from this, as let us remember that the great Stephen King has published over 60 books by the age of 64, and with the inconsistency that inevitably brings – reading the wrong novel first might put you off King forever. And oh what a crime that would be!

13 best Stephen King books

The following best Stephen King books list is based on a broad number of criteria, including the number of sleepless nights caused from the nightmares that swiftly followed reading the books…

[top10 position=”13″ bookname=”Misery” authorname=”Stephen King” publisher=”Hodder & Stoughton” pages=”384″ amazonusa=”1444720716″ amazonuk=”1444720716″ amazonca=”0340951435″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

Misery was one of the first King stories that I got my hands on, and I remember reading it from start to finish over the span of no more than three nights. It makes for a fantastic introduction to Stephen King’s writing and I thoroughly recommend it as a potential first King novel to read. Misery is the chilling story of an author named ‘Paul Sheldon‘ who has spawned a series of popular stories about a woman known as only ‘Misery‘. Paul Sheldon decides he wants to write about something new, so he kills off the character known as Misery. On his way back home he has a car accident which overturns his car, leaving him knocked out. He then awakes to find he has been saved and being looked after by a strange woman named ‘Annie Wilkes’, who also happens to be his number one fan. Annie is not impressed with Paul’s decision to kill off Misery, and so Paul, who once wrote to make a living, is now writing for his life. A truly fantastic story, which admittedly should be avoided if you are weak at heart, as there are some tremendously vivid and terrifying gory scenes.

[top10 position=”12″ bookname=”The Green Mile” authorname=”Stephen King” publisher=”Pocket Books” pages=”544″ amazonusa=”0671041789″ amazonuk=”0752834223″ amazonca=”0743210891″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

The Green Mile is a highly acclaimed novel that was originally published over six short separate instalments, each being released a month after the other and ending in a nail-biting cliffhanger. Those were the days…

Many have you have probably seen the movie-adaptation in which Tom Hanks stars, need I really say more? Unlike many other movies based on books, the movie is a loyal and strong interpretation of the book accompanied by remarkable acting. However, despite being a great movie, the book is still king (pun unintended) thanks to the many twists and sub-plots that did not make it into the movie. The story is set in the 30’s and tells the emotional tale of the experiences of prisoners on death row and the guards. The green mile is wonderfully well-written – you feel part of the fictitious world that is full of oppression and segregation that leads to multiple memorable thought-provoking and moving moments. Who said Stephen King can only write horror gems?

[top10 position=”11″ bookname=”Bag Of Bones” authorname=”Stephen King” publisher=”Pocket Books” pages=”752″ amazonusa=”067102423X” amazonuk=”1444720686″ amazonca=”067102423X” amazonimg=’
‘]

Bag of Bones is possibly King’s most ambitious attempt at having a love story. Similar to The Green Mile this is another of Stephen King’s novels that doesn’t strictly follow his early horror style of writing, and as such is not as popular as some of his other work. Which is a shame, because if given the chance, this is another truly wonderful ghost story full of twists and vivid characters. The main character is, as you’ve come to expect with King, a writer called Mike Noonan. Mike’s wife suddenly dies and causes him to have a severe case of ‘writer’s block‘. In order to get over his writer’s block he returns to his summer-house, where he discovers that his wife was on the trail of something highly sinister. With countless twists and turns concluding to a haunting ending, you will undoubtedly be left as breathless and mentally exhausted as I was. Great read…

[top10 position=”10″ bookname=”Firestarter” authorname=”Stephen King” publisher=”Signet” pages=”416″ amazonusa=”0451167805″ amazonuk=”1444708104″ amazonca=”0451167805″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

 

Firestarter is perhaps one of Stephen King’s lesser known novels and doesn’t often feature in lists of the Best Stephen King Books. It might have something to do with the underwhelming reaction people had after seeing the movie-adaptation – many people see films and then read the book if the movie was any good. Whatever the reason is, a lot of King fans are missing out on a very good story which they would surely love. Firestarter is the tale of a father and his young daughter with pyrokinetic powers, who have to constantly be on the run from a government agency trying to capture the young girl to use her powers for their own gain.  The plots are cleverly connected and the likeable characters make you genuinely care for their well-being. Recommended.

[top10 position=”9″ bookname=”The Dark Tower Series” authorname=”Stephen King” publisher=”Signet” pages=”336″ amazonusa=”0451210840″ amazonuk=”1444723448″ amazonca=”0451210840″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

 

The Gunslinger is the first entry of King’s The Dark Tower series and follows the protagonist, Roland, on his quest to the Dark Tower, but before he can get there he must locate his enigmatic antagonist that he kindly calls ‘The Man in Black‘. King took twelve years to write this book, but came up with the epic first line while still at University: ‘The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed’, gripping start for sure and there’s a great deal more of it as you discover how Roland is capable of extreme violence, yet somehow still manages to come across as kind. A great start to a great series and a must-read for any Fantasy/Western book-lover.

[top10 position=”8″ bookname=”Pet Sematary” authorname=”Stephen King” publisher=”Gallery Books” pages=”416″ amazonusa=”0743412281″ amazonuk=”1444708139″ amazonca=”0743412273″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

Pet Sematary (purposely misspelt) is one of King’s most enthralling and chilling novels. I read it for the first time when I was 14 and the disturbing nature of the story hindered the quality of my sleep for weeks (months?), I wasn’t able to pick it up for several years, and for that reason I would wholeheartedly recommend this novel to every horror-lover. The story starts out when the Creed family, a happy family of four and a cat, decide to move house. In their new home, unspeakable evil things start to happen and are certain to keep you on the edge of your seat. Thoroughly frightening and definitely not one for the faint-hearted.

[top10 position=”7″ bookname=”It” authorname=”Stephen King” publisher=”Signet” pages=”1104″ amazonusa=”0451169514″ amazonuk=”1444707868″ amazonca=”1444707868″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

 

It is the story of a sleepy town in Maine, called Derry. Every three decades, mysterious and unspeakable evils occur, first come the rare sightings that are quickly followed by a series of murders of young children. The local residents refer to the being that causer of these acts as It, and not much is known about It, apart from the fact that it can shape-shift and appears to each person as a combination of their worst fears. A group of outcast teenagers decide to take a stand against the ultimate evil, and as adults return to Derry three decades later to fight It. The beauty of this book is in how King sets the mood of the story, by making It live in places within our very own homes that we take for granted, such as drains and sewers and the strong chemistry between the main characters as they are naturally gravitated towards each other due to their outcast status.

[top10 position=”6″ bookname=”Different Seasons” authorname=”Stephen King” publisher=”Signet” pages=”512″ amazonusa=”0451167538″ amazonuk=”144472360X” amazonca=”0451167538″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

Different Seasons is a collection of four different stories that saw one of Stephen King’s first attempts at writing something not strictly horror, however do not despair, there are still plenty of gory moments to keep the hardcore fans satisfied – Starting with Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption (Hope Springs Eternal)  which tells the story of an innocent man in prison convicted of murder, plotting his escape. With fantastic characters and a gripping story, it is a great start to the book. Many people will be aware of Frank Darabont’s adaptation of the book into a movie which revels in the brilliance of the story – Shawshank Redemption, however this should not be the only reason to pick up this book, the rest is just as good.  The second story in Different Seasons is called The Apt Pupil (Summer of corruption) and is about a seemingly normal teenager who discovers that a local resident is a war criminal, and causes him to develop a morbid curiosity about Nazi death camps. The third story is called The Body (Fall from Innocence), which is the touching story of four teenagers who are dared to go into the woods to confirm the existence of a dead body, and ends up becoming a coming-of-age story. Finally we have the macabre The Breathing Method (A Winter’s Tale) which tells of an unmarried and pregnant woman determined to give birth, no matter what… All four stories are severe page-turners and will have you go through a range of strong emotions. Highly recommended for a rainy day.

[top10 position=”5″ bookname=”Carrie” authorname=”Stephen King” publisher=”Anchor ” pages=”304″ amazonusa=”0307743667″ amazonuk=”1444720694″ amazonca=”0307743667″ amazonimg=’
‘ ]

Carrie, as you are probably aware already, was Stephen King’s first novel and kick-started his incredible career. It is hard to believe that this masterpiece was a writer’s first published work, and the popularity and cult-status that it created still remains intact to this very day. Carrie takes you into the world of a lonely and tormented teenage girl who has problems both at home and at high school. Unable to connect with anyone, Carrie finally snaps and unleashes her rage using violence mixed with her telekinetic powers, causing havoc in the usually quiet small town.

[top10 position=”4″ bookname=”Salem’s Lot” authorname=”Stephen King” publisher=”Anchor” pages=”672″ amazonusa=”0307743675″ amazonuk=”1444708147″ amazonca=”0307743675″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

Salem’s Lot was Stephen King’s second novel, following the hit that was Carrie. It was released in 1975 and immediately became another massive hit by terrifying even the most hardcore of horror readers. The protagonist is author Ben Mears, plagued by personal demons, decides to move to an old mansion in Jerusalem’s Lot in a bid to rid himself of them and write a new book. However, Ben quickly discovers that things are not as they seem, and that his home town are under siege by the dark forces of evil. This is a vampire novel, but unlike the recent wave of romantic vampire stories around, these vampires are not friendly or charming at all, they are pure evil. The characters are, as expected, well-developed with believable back-stories that will keep you engaged and highly interested.

[top10 position=”3″ bookname=”The Dead Zone” authorname=”Stephen King” publisher=”Signet” pages=”416″ amazonusa=”0451155750″ amazonuk=”1444708090″ amazonca=”0451155750″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

The Dead Zone comes in at number seven on this Best Stephen King Books list and is a book that I personally was mysteriously put-off reading for a very long time, I still do not know why that was, but I was very mistaken to not pick it up sooner. It was King’s fifth published novel and is one that Stephen King himself later admitted to being one of the few novels that he plotted and actually liked. The Dead Zone is a fast-paced story about a man called Johnny Smith who after a terrible accident is left in a coma for several years. When Johnny finally awakens, he quickly discovers he has obtained the unique ability to limitedly see into the future of people he touches. With this new power and strong desire to use them for good, he unwittingly foresees terrible events. What makes The Dead Zone so special is that the writing is controlled and well-paced, but above all the character development is fantastic.

[top10 position=”2″ bookname=”The Shining ” authorname=”Stephen King” publisher=”Anchor” pages=”672″ amazonusa=”0307743659″ amazonuk=”1444720724″ amazonca=”0345806786″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

The Shining is a chilling story that follows the dysfunctional Torrance family with a sickening past plagued by alcoholism and abuse. The father of the family, Jack, was a teacher until the day he spotted some of his students damaging his car and ended up punching them. After losing his job, the family are forced to move to a far away and isolated hotel, as that was the only place that would offer Jack a job. During a terrible winter the Torrance family are snowed in and forced to look after the hotel on their own,  initially things seem under-control, but as the iconic ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ statement, all is not well…. There are not many characters outside of the family of three, allowing the novel to provide vast amounts of information and back-stories to all them, leading to stand-out character-development, which must rate among Stephen King’s very best..  One of my favourite novels ever written and an absolute must-read for any book-lover – even if you have seen the critically acclaimed movie starring Jack Nicholson.
[top10 position=”1″ bookname=”The Stand” authorname=”Stephen King” publisher=”Anchor” pages=”1472″ amazonusa=”0307743683″ amazonuk=”1444720732″ amazonca=”0307743683″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

To conclude our Best Stephen King Books list, I leave you with the book that marked me the most and despite giving me countless cold-sweated and sleepless nights, I read at least four times. A true premier horror classic that will remain in every horror and King aficionado’s library forever.

The Stand is a book that most readers are familiar with. Initially I thought that having to state a number one for a best Stephen King books list would be a tough task, but after remembering The Stand, it was the easiest one of the list. The story starts in the early 90’s in the California Desert, where a deadly mutated flu virus created by the U.S government manages to escape from a biology testing laboratory through a contaminated guard by the name of Campion. Unwittingly, this panicky character sets off a domino effect where 99% of the world’s population is rapidly killed off by the deadly virus. The only survivors are those lucky (or unlucky) ones that happen to be naturally immune to the virus, but they are terrified and forced to survive in the depressing and desolate landscape. What follows is an incredible story of desperate struggles filled with humanity and real depth. This is possibly the best horror book I have ever read and if you have not read it yet, what are you waiting for?

…King’s delicious talent for story-telling makes his novels tremendously engrossing…

That concludes this Best Stephen King Books list, and I wish I could have included many more, a few notable absentees that I’d like to mention are: Skeleton Crew – A collection of stories, The Long Walk – 100 boys meet for a race, if you break the rules you get a warning, exceed three warnings and what happens is truly terrifying and lastly Christine – The story of a teenage boy who falls in love with Christine, a rather ‘special’ woman.

Stephen King’s vast imagination is one to be jealous of. King’s delicious talent for story-telling makes his novels tremendously engrossing, and his ability to weave and connect his worlds with the vague perceptions we have of our own is remarkable and causes us to have strong feelings and even desires that these tantalizing worlds could actually exist in an alternate universe somewhere. If you have never picked up a Stephen King book, I couldn’t recommend strongly enough to research the one that might initially suit you best and let yourself become absorbed by the incredible worlds of the King.

Let us know your own Best Stephen King Books list in the comments section at the bottom of the page, we’d love to read them.

J.K Rowling Reveals New Book Cover

On Tuesday 3rd July, J.K Rowling’s debut Adult Novel cover was finally unveiled, The Casual Vacancy’. The book cover at a first glance can only be described as basic in design but the bright colours have everyone speculating. With full intent, the bold red cover and yellow frame will serve its purpose and be a definite standout on all book shelves, conveniently overshadowing the  dull coloured 50 Shades of Grey!

..after all the guessing and analysis  the cover basically gives nothing away about the story; it still remains a mystery how a story about a small English town election can be described as: ‘blackly comic, thought provoking and constantly surprising’…

At present, we are all doing the inevitable and judging a book by its cover, the old fashioned style white font against the red makes the title beam, the choice of font and small picture design reads very familiar, drawing similarities to Sarah Water’s previous novels designed by Virago London. However, ‘The Casual Vacancy’ doesn’t appeal to any particular gender making it all the more adaptable to sit on anyone’s book shelf.

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling (Published by Little, Brown, 2012)

We cannot but compare ‘The Casual Vacancy’  book art to its legendary predecessor ‘Harry Potter’ the most obvious observation being how lacking it is of witchcraft and wizardry. This unveiling  is the first step towards a new JK Rowling and it has now dawned upon many that the Harry Potter era is officially over. You do have to wonder, is the unveiling of this cover out to storm E.L James and steal the limelight back? After all, the Grey trilogy did over-take Harry Potter as the UK’s fastest selling paperback of all time.

Frustratingly, after all the guessing and analysis  the cover basically gives nothing away about the story; it still remains a mystery how a story about a small English town election can be described as: ‘blackly comic, thought provoking and constantly surprising’. Still nonetheless J.K hasn’t let us down before so I for one am excited to find out.

The Casual Vacancy by J.K Rowling will be published worldwide and be available in various forms such as, hardback, e-book, unabridged audio download and on audio CD on Thursday 27th September 2012.

We leave you with The Casual Vacancy blurb:

“When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils… Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?”

Let us know your thoughts on the cover using the comments section below.

Author Interview: Anne Kemp

Anne Kemp is the author of the Abby George Series which includes her debut novella, All Fruits Ripe and first novel, Rum Punch Regrets. She is also the columnist behind Anne In Progress which appears monthly in the Frederick News-Post, a newspaper in the Washington DC-Metro area. As a blogger, she is known for penning “Life My Way” and “The Ultimate Late Bloomer.” Her original and honest sense of humor used in her columns and blogs earned her a Bloggers Choice Nomination for Best Humor Blog in 2010. A portion of Anne’s book revenue is donated to Lupus LA. You can find her at annekemp.com, on Facebook or follow her on Twitter!

Q. Your new novel is called ‘Rum Punch Regrets’ please tell us what it is all about.
Rum Punch Regrets is a story about what happens when Abby George (our laid-off, newly-dumped, down on her luck heroine) is offered the chance of a lifetime: Leave the big city and spend some time in the Caribbean. What begins as a favor to her sister becomes so much more. It’s about discovering family secrets while discovering oneself, coming to terms with your siblings and relationships with them and of course, it’s about falling in love.

Rum Punch Regrets by Anne Kemp  (Published by Premier Digital Publishing, 2012)
Rum Punch Regrets by Anne Kemp (Published by Premier Digital Publishing, 2012)

Q. What did you find most challenging and enjoyable when writing the novella and how does it compare to the first book in the series ‘All Fruits Ripe’?
At this point I cannot remember what was challenging and what was just a plain old lesson in patience. I learned a lot writing the novella, All Fruits Ripe, and the novel, Rum Punch Regrets You have your own personal journey you go through when writing, testing your dedication and focus, which can be quite challenging. This is usually followed by moments I cherish where I feel linked to my characters and don’t want to leave them on the page without finishing their story or the chapter. To me, it doesn’t matter if you’re writing a novel or a novella, it’s all coming from the same place.

Q. Why did you decide to write a book series in this particular genre?
I love romance and I LOVE love! I think falling love is so important, even when your heart may be broken. Love is essential and is best when unconditional, so why not celebrate it? Personally, I think fun, enjoyable reads where an author can (hopefully) create relatable characters and weave them into a believable story while dropping them into an engaging setting is the best form of escape. So why not create a world where the heroine is strong, savvy and may just fall in love?

Q. What inspired you to create your character Abby George?
Honestly, I was coming out of one of the most difficult times of my life (personally and professionally) and I began by venting in a journal. That journal ended up being used in a class I was taking when I went back to school through UCLA (University of Southern California at Los Angeles). I had such strong feedback regarding Abby from my classmates and other folks who were “beta-reading” my story. I knew I needed to dive in with her and see where she would take me.

I sat the package on the kitchen table and refused to open it for most of the day, I wanted to just cherish the moment.

Q. You are an avid tweeter and write a successful blog called ‘Life…My Way’. Would you say that these Social Media platforms have helped your writing career?
Definitely! I’ve learned more about writing from having a blog and column, as well as from the writing groups I’ve joined. I’m always writing, thinking and, hopefully, improving. One also cannot discount the value of networking through social media – I love meeting people via Twitter or Facebook!

Q. What has been the highlight of your writing career so far?
At this point, there are three highlights. One was getting my print copy of the book in the mail before it was released. I sat the package on the kitchen table and refused to open it for most of the day, I wanted to just cherish the moment. And the second was when I found out I was on Amazon in the UK. Being a HUGE fan of Helen Fielding and all she has done for the “chick lit” and women’s fiction genres, I was absolutely ecstatic and still am. My third highlight would be this interview, because it’s my first one for the UK!

Q. What are you reading at the moment and who are your literary influences?
I just finished Peony in Love by Lisa See. I’m in a book club and that was our pick last month – it’s a charming read that’s rich in tradition!

Q. So honestly, are any of the crazy ordeals Abby George experiences in the novels based on your own life experiences?
Yes and no. I would say it’s a mixture of situations I’ve been through, sprinkled with stories from family and friends, as well as what I’ve borrowed from my own imagination. I’ve always been told to “write about what you know…” and that’s one rule I always intend to write by!

This is the perfect gift and definitely a book to pack in your suitcase this summer holiday.

Thanks Anne!

Author Interview: Christine Nolfi

Christine  has been writing novels full-time since 2004 and she kindly took time out from her busy schedule to visit the Attic and chat about her novel Treasure Me. Christine has had an adventurous life; she owned a small public relations firm in Cleveland, Ohio but closed the firm after she travelled to the Philippines and adopted a sibling group of four children. Now a full time writer, she loves nothing more than hearing from readers and fans on Twitter so pop by and say hello!  @christinenolfi

Treasure Me by author Christine Nolfi
Treasure Me By Christine Nolfi (Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2011)

Q. Your novel is called Treasure Me and has an eye catching cover! Could you tell us what it is about?
‘Treasure Me’ follows Birdie Kaminsky as she arrives in Liberty, Ohio to steal a treasure hidden since The Civil War. She’s in possession of a charming clue passed down in her family for generations: Liberty safeguards the cherished heart. What she actually discovers has nothing to do with petty gain and everything to do with family, friendship and everlasting love. This is the first offering in the Liberty series—the books are feel-good, often humorous and sometimes poignant contemporary fiction. All of the art for my book covers, website and advertising are created by the fabulous Jan Marshall in the UK.

Q. What was the inspiration behind writing the book?
This is the only novel I’ve ever written that simply arose from my subconscious. I awoke one morning with a very amusing image of a beautiful young thief dangling from a window ledge as she tried to escape from the man whose pocket she’d picked. I wrote the first scene cackling my way through as my fingers flew across the keyboard.

Q. How would you describe your protagonist Birdie Kaminsky?
Birdie is like many of us: vulnerable behind an insolent façade, insecure, lonely even in a crowd. Through her relationship with the town of Liberty’s feisty matriarch, Theodora Hendricks, she discovers that a sense of belonging can reside in the most unlikely place.

Q. You have both Paperback and Ebook editions of Treasure Me. Do you read in print or digital?
Last autumn I bought an iPad and promptly became a fan of eReading. What bibliophile doesn’t love the idea of dragging around 100 books with ease? If a novel catches my fancy, I can download and begin reading within seconds. I also adore the idea of saving money while leaving the trees where they belong in the forest.

I awoke one morning with a very amusing image of a beautiful young thief dangling from a window ledge as she tried to escape from the man whose pocket she’d picked.

Q. How would you recommend your novel to potential new readers in one sentence?
Contemporary fiction with rich prose and deep characterization that will move you to both laughter and tears.

Q. You state you are ‘gifted with an unusual life’ would you say your life experiences have influenced your writing?
Absolutely. I’ve travelled extensively, helped build several companies and owned a PR firm. I met my four children on the steps of a shelter in the developing world and hobnobbed with Hollywood Royalty during my youth. Having known so many people—and having enjoyed such varied experiences—informs my fiction daily. If you ever wonder how I pack so many interesting characters into a book, well, there you have it.

Q. What is the most challenging part of the writing process from blank paper to finished paperback?
These days, the most challenging aspect has nothing to do with the actual writing—I’ve been writing professionally for decades. It’s social media. I’m old-fashioned, and despise the idea of automating responses. If a fan sends a tweet, email or a note on GoodReads, I want to respond. I’m delighted to respond. This silly desire to socialize has cut considerably into my writing time.

Q. What has been the highlight of your writing career so far?
There are several highlights: Receiving mail from readers who’ve enjoyed Treasure Me and Tree; Offering a helping hand to younger writers as they navigate the shoals of independent publishing; And recently Treasure Me was selected by USA Today as one of the best of the Indie novels and became a finalist in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

Q. What do Christine Nolfi fans have to look forward to in the future?
My March 2012 release, The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge, continues to earn 4- and 5-star reviews. The next book in the Liberty series, Second Chance Grill, will arrive in July so stay tuned.

If you want to find out more about Christine you can visit her website at www.christinenolfi.com

Author Interview: Misty Provencher

Misty Provencher has dark hair, blue eyes and computer keys.  She writes young adult books and will be publishing more of them very soon!

Q. For those people who haven’t yet read the first chapters of your book on your blog ‘Nothing can happen today’ (for free!), could you explain what your novel ‘Cornerstone’ is all about? 
Cornerstone is the story of Nalena Maxwell, a girl who’s been nicknamed ‘The Waste’ due to her mom’s problem with hoarding paper.  Nalena’s also been giving a sign which is an invitation into an ancient community that her mother’s kept secret from her.  But Nalena’s sign is the wrong one.  And then there is a boy, one with eyes as open as the sky, that knows just how right Nalena’s sign might be.

Cornerstone by Misty Provencher
Cornerstone by Misty Provencher (Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2011)

Q. Why did you decide to write for the YA genre and what kind of response have you received from this audience? 
I love the freedom of YA.  There is so much drama and rattle-trap emotions going on- I mean, everything means something when you’re a teenager.  What better playground can you ask for as a writer?  And the response to Cornerstone has been incredible.  I did a reading at a local high school and was bombarded with requests for the book, but the challenge for a self-published YA book is usually just trying to get the material to your intended audience.   I’m not on the shelves at their local Barnes & Noble store and most teens don’t have ereaders.  Luckily, I’ve had a great audience of parents and relatives that have read my book and enjoy it enough to buy it for their teens.

Q. Which character did you resonate with most?
Oh man…that’s like asking which of my kids is my favourite.  There’s really no way to choose.  I love Nalena for her ability to accept what is in front of her and just deal with it.  I love Garrett because he’s down-to-Earth and cheezwhiz, he’s easy on the eyes.  Who doesn’t love the Addo in his sweats or the Reese kids, with their screwy ponytails and Hacky Sacks, bouncing off Nalena’s face?  Everyone in the story gives me a bang- even Roger, with his messy past.

Q. Having taken a different route to publishing your book what advice do you have for budding writers wanting to see their ideas in print and read by all? 
Hmmm….do what feels right and try not to criticize others for what they’re doing.  I’ve been on both sides of the fence. There were times when I rode a little too high on my horse being an “I’ll Only Ever Go Traditional” snob and then there were times I wanted to blast the other high-horse-riders out of their saddles for looking down their noses at the self-published authors.  I’m at the point now of breaking a new trail for myself.  I’m just following my gut.  The way I see it, both veins of publication have strengths and, seriously kids, what does it matter how we get into the hands of our readers as long as we get there?

I’d rather get hit by a hundred Kindle books than a hundred real ones, you know?

Q. You use many social media platforms such as Twitter and Blogspot. What is your view on the relationship between Social Media and book publishing? 
It is tres important.  I’m reaching people in all sorts of countries, across the world. Little ol’ me.  I’m just a chick with a book, a blog, and a big mouth on Twitter.  Having readers all over the world is pretty dang cool in my book.  Haha- see what I did there?  And that wasn’t even intentional.  🙂

Q. What would you say has been the highlight of your writing career so far? 
Hands down, just writing Cornerstone. I had a blast just writing the book and even if I wasn’t successful in launching myself through the Traditional Publishing pipe system, I still got some good input and made friends with people who would’ve never even heard my name otherwise.

Q. There is an ongoing war in the world at the moment and it is between our old friend ‘book’ and a new friend ‘kindle’ – which side are you on? 
It’s kinda crazy that I don’t have ancestors in Switzerland, because that’s often where I stand on things.  I mean, hey, I love me some books- the feel, the smell, the physical ownership.  Some books I just have to own and set on my shelf and know that I can touch them whenever I want.  I can give them to friends, I can write love notes in their margins.  My favourite books have creases on the spines that are like road maps to their very best scenes.  But then, I love my Ereader too, because I can stuff a hundred books on it, throw it in my bag, and me and my hundy can go wherever we want.   It’s also nice to lie in bed with an E and not have to flip from side to side.   And if it falls off my shelf, well, I’d rather get hit by a hundred Kindle books than a hundred real ones, you know?

Q. What have ‘Cornerstone’ fans got to look forward to in the near future?
They’ve got Keystone coming up soon, so there’s that.  My cover artist is working on a cover as we speak and I’m cranking through revisions on the manuscript.  Once Keystone is out the door, I’m going to shift gears and work on a dark YA I’ve got that I have been itching to be finish.  Then, I’ll work on the third book in the Cornerstone series and then I’ve got another story that is laid out and standing in line to be inked. Watch this space!

Thanks Misty!

Read the first five chapters by visiting Misty’s blog

http://mistypro.blogspot.co.uk/p/cornerstone-chapter-one.html

Happy Reading!

More Morello Letters Kevin The Warthog

More Morello Letters by Duncan McNair

Duncan McNair is a lawyer by day, author by night and exhausted by morning. He lives in suburban Ealing, London coincidentally with the Italian Morello Family who are prodigious letter writers. This unique idea has created a hilarious collection of correspondence between them and superstars, companies, institutes and celebrities. The Morello family consists of Mr and Mrs Morello, their three idling children and a whole pen full of menageries which live in their back garden. The book showcases witty letters written to and from the Arch bishop of Canterbury, Gordon Brown, Cliff Richard, Sainsbury’s and Cadbury’s to name but a few.

Discover the Morello way of life and meet the family by visiting www.morelloworld.com where you can learn all about Mr and Mrs Morello, Kevin the Warthog, Enoch the goat, Rizo, Amphora and Tosti.

We had superb fun interviewing Duncan and it was a pleasure to meet his cat called chicken and his many other pets which you can see in the video!

Visit the MorelloWorld.com website to get your copy today.

More Morello Letters

More Morello Letters by Duncan McNair

Author Attic is excited to introduce to you its first Humour book, More Morello Letters: Pen pal to the super stars by Duncan McNair. More Morello Letters is the sequel to the best selling Morello Letters which was ranked as the number one book in Humour on Amazon.

Duncan McNair is a lawyer by day, author by night and exhausted by morning. He lives in suburban Ealing, London coincidentally with the Italian Morello Family who are prodigious letter writers. This unique idea has created a hilarious collection of correspondence between them and superstars, companies, institutes and celebrities. The Morello family consists of Mr and Mrs Morello, their three idling children and a whole pen full of menageries which live in their back garden. The book showcases witty letters written to and from the Arch bishop of Canterbury, Gordon Brown, Cliff Richard, Sainsbury’s and Cadbury’s to name but a few.

Discover the Morello way of life and meet the family by visiting www.morelloworld.com where you can learn all about Mr and Mrs Morello, Kevin the Warthog, Enoch the goat, Rizo, Amphora and Tosti.

We had superb fun interviewing Duncan and it was a pleasure to meet his cat called chicken and his many other pets which you can see in the video!

Visit the MorelloWorld.com website to get your copy today.

Author Interview: Jon Skovron

Author Attic is excited to introduce to you its first American YA author, Jon Skovron. He has just released his second book: ‘Misfit’ which resonates with his own experiences. His first book is called ‘Struts & Frets’ and he currently resides near Washington D.C with his two sons.

Q. Congratulations on the release of ‘Misfit’ which is your second published book. Tell us what  ‘Misfit’ is all about?
Thanks! Misfit is about a demon girl in Catholic school.  Jael Thompson has never really fit in. She’s changed schools too many times to count. The only family she’s ever known is her father, a bitter ex-priest who never lets her date and insists she attend the strictest Catholic school in Seattle. And her mother—well, she was a five thousand year old demon. That doesn’t exactly help.

But on her sixteenth birthday, her father gives her a present that brings about some unexpected changes. Some of the changes, like strange and wonderful powers and the cute skater boy with a knack for science, are awesome. But others, like the homicidal demon seeking revenge on her family? Not so much.

Q. ‘Misfit’ is heavily influenced by your own experiences of being an outsider and attending a Catholic School. How did you find the writing process?
This probably isn’t much of a surprise, but I didn’t fit in very well in my super strict Catholic school. And sure, I was punk rock and rebellious and all of that. But underneath it all, I was still very much Catholic in a lot of ways. So when I began to clash with the priests and nuns, it was hard to dismiss that underlying feeling that I was doing something wrong. That perhaps I was in some sense “bad”. Fantasy can be a great metaphor and I thought, “Well, what if I make that literal? What if instead of just feeling evil, you actually were hellspawn?”

While writing this book and going with Jael on her journey toward self acceptance, I think I learned quite a bit about accepting myself.

Misfit by Jon Skovron
Misfit by Jon Skovron (Published by ABRAMS, 2012)

Q. Writing has always been your first love. Which books did you read as a teenager and how did you begin writing?
As a teenager, my favorite books were epic high fantasy like The Belgariad by David Eddings, and dark paranormal fantasy like The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. I was also a fan of sci-fi like The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. And thanks to my english teacher, I was starting to get interested in more literary fiction like The Stranger by Albert Camus and Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett. Basically, if it was dark and strange, I was interested.

I began writing my own stories when I was about thirteen years old. Those stories were fairly blatant rip offs of the authors that I admired, but I think that’s how a lot of writers begin. You start to learn what you like and don’t like, what works for you and what doesn’t. Eventually, when you’ve traced the styles of other writers long enough, you begin to step away from them and into your own voice and style. But that took me a long time to do. In fact, it wasn’t until ten years later that it even occurred to me that I could be a professional author. Maybe because authors were so inaccessible back then. The only way to communicate with an author was to write a letter to the publisher and just hope they passed it on. So yes, I did write but I didn’t pursue it seriously until I’d graduated from college. In the mean time, I pursued much more practical career goals. Like being a rock star or a movie star.

Q. You studied acting for four years. Did this experience influence your writing at all?
My time in an acting conservator actually made a huge impact on my writing. First of all, the sheer luxury of being able to focus almost exclusively on developing your creative process for four years was invaluable. And sure, it was a different craft, with a different set of tools. But ultimately, I don’t see that much difference between art or music or acting or writing. It’s all coming from the same place. It’s just a question of which medium is best suited for you. While I was there, I was exposed to a group of brilliant mentors, peers who inspired and challenged me, and a massive body of literature. After all, what are plays if not literature read out loud?

Two things that are extremely important to me as an author are rhythm and character development. Both of those things I feel I learned in large part during my time as an actor.

Q. Misfit is about a heroine and your first novel, Struts and Frets, is about a hero. How did writing about these protagonists compare and which is your favourite?
Yes, there was a huge different between writing Jael in Misfit and Sammy in Struts &Frets. There was the gender difference. And of course, one of them was half demon, while the other was just an indie rocker. Struts & Frets was written in 1st person, while Misfit was written in 3rd person. Struts & Frets was a very small, personal, intimate story that takes place over the course of a few weeks, whereas Misfit is a massive, complex story that sprawls across thousands of years. But I think the biggest difference is in their personalities. Sammy is a sweet, sensitive guy who just wants to make music. Jael is a fierce fighter, a tad impulsive, but profoundly loyal to those she loves.

They really are so different. I don’t think I could pick a favorite. It would be like asking me to pick which of my two sons was my favorite. I love them both for their strengths and their weaknesses.

Jon Skovron's Struts and Frets
Struts And Frets by Jon Skovron (Published by Amulet Books, 2011)

Q. What are you currently reading?
I usually have two books going at once. One for pleasure reading, and one for research. My current research book is Just Kids by Patti Smith. It’s a fascinating and lovely memoir about Smith’s relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe while they were living at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City in the late Sixties.

For my pleasure reading, I just picked up All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevine, which I’m very excited to read. Gabrielle’s Elsewhere was one of the books that got me hooked on YA in the first place.

Q. What has been the highlight of your writing career so far?
Hmmm, I’d probably have to say the Teen Book Festival in Rochester, NY. They put all the authors up in a gorgeous hotel and took us out to dinner. Then the next morning, they drove us to the event in a vintage bus, where we were greeted by thousands of screaming fans with signs and banners, and even a marching band. It was an incredible day, all about the love of books and reading.

Q. What have Jon Skovron fans got to look forward to next?
I have a couple of short stories coming out in anthologies in the next six months. Both of those stories are somehow connected to the world of Misfit. After that…well, there are a couple of things in the works, but I can’t really talk about those yet.

Thanks Jon.