Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Sweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell + Interview

Sweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell
"For as long as she can remember, Lucy Aimes has been plagued by a dark, recurring dream of drowning. But when her family moves to an old plantation outside New Orleans, she starts having intense new dreams, vivid scenes of a bygone era filled with people she shouldn't know but does. Searching for answers to her haunting visions, Lucy reluctantly descends into the city's mystical culture.

What she finds is Alex, a charming but mysterious boy who behaves as if they've known each other forever. Lucy shouldn't be so drawn to him . . . but she is. As she tries to solve the mystery surrounding Alex, a centuries-old vendetta unspools around her, resulting in a vicious murder. Now trapped in a dangerous crossfire, Lucy must act fast to save her future—and everyone she loves."- summary from Amazon

Maxwell's debut is a scary but fun book. The mystery surrounding the plantation and Alex makes for a compelling, page-turning read and Maxwell knows when to give enough information but leave some just out of reach. I am a big fan of books that involve voodoo elements because I'm just such a huge fan of various forms of magic, so this was right up my alley. The book is set at a good, slow pace, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat wanting to find out more about what's going on. The attraction between Lucy and Alex makes the book captivating as well, and Maxwell treads the line between romantic and creepy very well when it comes to that part of the story.

Overall, a fantastically written debut and I'm eager to read more from Maxwell, which includes a companion book out this year, which she talks about in the interview below!

and here's an interview with Lisa:
1) How did you get the idea for Sweet Unrest?

The idea for SWEET UNREST started with one of my wedding pictures. There’s a weird smudge in one of them, and the photographer (only partially jokingly) said, "oh, that’s a ghost. We see those all the time.” So that was the beginning of Lucy’s character and the opening lines of the book. From there, I had this idea to write about Zombies, but the more I researched *real* Zombies, the more interested I got in Voodoo. And when I discovered that the first African American Daguerreotype photographer lived in New Orleans… things started coming together.

2) You have a second book coming out in 2016 from Simon Pulse called Heartless Things. Can you tell us about it? Are you working on anything else?

Actually, my second book is a 2015 release with Flux that is a companion novel/sequel to SWEET UNREST. It’s called THE GATHERING DEEP and tells the continuing story from another character’s POV.

Then HEARTLESS (which will be retitled eventually) is in 2016 and another book to be decided from Simon Pulse in 2017. I also have a Middle Grade that’s about to go out on submission called Xavier T. Fletcher, Ornithologist, and the Keeper of the Rend. It’s about birds and boys and goats and monsters and bees and I love it. :O)

3) What do you love most about teaching English? Is there anything you don't like about it?

I love getting to talk to bright students about books and writing—and I get paid for it. There are certain stories and poems that I can teach over and over again and never get tired of them. And I just got to propose and develop a course in YA Literature, so I’ll actually get to teach what I write in 2015 or 2016. There’s plenty I don’t like—starting with the grading. But the hardest thing for me to deal with as a professor is to see students who could really go far not care or not try or not be interested in or believe in themselves enough to put in the time and effort to get ahead. That’s the most frustrating thing—so much potential, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Because, ultimately, learning is internal and personal. No one can make you do it.

4) You blog as part of the Fall Fourteeners. How have they helped you along as you deal with your first published book?

The Fall Fourteeners have been such a lifeline! They’ve been my best cheerleaders and we all have bounced ideas off of each other about publicity and marketing and just surviving this whole crazy launch experience.

5) What book(s) are you currently reading, or are about to start? Any 2015 titles you're excited for?

I’m currently on a binge reading spree, desperately cramming in more words before I get my next round of edits. Today’s book is EVERY DAY by David Levithan, but I have a pile lined up behind that. I’m really excited about the second book in The Winner’s Curse series and also for the follow up to Snow Like Ashes. And I can’t wait for Rachael Allen’s The Revenge Playbook.

6) What is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s)? Or if you don't like those, do you have a favorite snack to have while writing or as a reward for writing?

Favorite flavors are a mix of toasted marshmallow, strawberry something, and coconut.

FTC: Received finished paperback from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

1 comment:

  1. Great interview and amazing book. Lisa is one of my favorite authors.