Wednesday, June 22, 2016

2016 YA Debut Authors Bash- Emily France- Q&A and Giveaway

Emily France

Emily France graduated from Brown University before going on to law school, where she was the editor-in-chief of the law review. She finds creative inspiration in all things spiritual, from sitting with Benedictine monks for 4 a.m. vigils in a Rocky Mountain monastery to trekking to Buddhist and Hindu temples in India. Now she writes full-time and lives with her husband and their fearless Tibetan Spaniel in sunny Colorado—the closest place to Nirvana she’s found. Signs of You is her debut novel. Visit Emily online at and follow her on Twitter @EmilyFranceBook.

1.  I love that this book has a historical element to it.  How much research did you have to do to include the relic of St. Ignatius?
  • I did a lot of research for this book, and it was one of the most fulfilling parts of the entire project. My story has a spooky mystery that’s rooted in religious relics and lore, and I’ll never forget when I came across my first “breadcrumb” of research about it all. I saw this lone entry in an encyclopedia, and it said that one of the most famous religious books of all time—The Spiritual Exercises, by St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits—was missing. The original copy had been lost long ago. I started researching who wrote it and what it was about, and what I found was fascinating. I couldn’t get enough of it. I read as many books that I could find on the subject; I sought out librarians to help me find more; I even visited a retreat center in the mountains of Colorado and was taken through The Spiritual Exercises by a Jesuit priest! And it all started because I happened across one line in an encyclopedia. I think it pays to be curious and follow your interests. You never know where they may lead you.

2.  Who is your favorite character in this book?
  • Well, when I started writing this story, these four characters showed up on the page—Riley, Kate, Jay, and Noah—who had met in their high school grief support group because they’d all lost someone close to them. Because of what they shared, their bond went way beyond “best friends” and straight into family territory. And I’d have to say that it’s this entire group that is my favorite “character.” Whenever I would throw these four in a scene together, something unexpected happened—instead of being a dark group bogged down in grief, these guys were hilarious. They had this amazing chemistry. What I loved most was their dialogue; the minute I put them on the page, the lines would just fly out of their mouths at a record pace. Here I was writing about how to navigate grief, about four teens who were forced to grow up early because of trauma, and they were making me laugh every single day. I think lightness in the face of grief is one of the gifts that come when you find others who understand it.

3.  What books/authors most made an impact on you/inspired you to write?
  • I have always been an avid reader, and my favorite books are countless. My parents love to tell the story that I announced I would be a writer at the age of five! A YA book that really inspired me was The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky. The family mystery, the friendships, the voice… I loved it all.

4.  What would you tell your teenage self if you could write an email and send it back in time?

Dear Ninth Grade Emily,
You know that guy Kevin who just asked you to the Homecoming Dance? The one who is super cool and popular? Whose friends call you the Queen of the Nerd Herd? Um, sit down and get ready for this. Are you sitting down? Promise?

You’re going to marry him. Yeah, him.

As it turns out, he really, really likes all the things about you that you’re always worried about. Like how you never have the cool crystal necklaces or perfect jeans that everyone else has. Or that you always sit in the front row and raise your hand like Hermione Granger and answer every single question. Or how you love to go to Pizza Hut and talk about the cosmos and politics and whether or not God exists. Because those nerdy things you can’t help about yourself? They’re what make you you. And it’s the greatest thing ever to be loved for who you are. To be seen. So don’t waste so much time trying to be someone else. It doesn’t work anyway. Kevin ends up being the person you love most in the world, and he fell in love with Queen of the Nerd Herd You. Yay.
Oh, and buy stock in Google.
Grown Up Emily

5.  What were your favorite books growing up? (I’m a Fear Street girl)
  • My top three from childhood would have to be the Nancy Drew series, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Phantom Tollbooth. And I devoured Sherlock Holmes stories!

6.  I’m a big Potterhead… What houses would you sort your characters in?  What about a Patronus?
  • The main character Riley is most definitely Gryffindor.  She has such a quiet courage that she isn’t even aware of at the beginning of the story. I think she understands how strong she is by the end. Her best friend Kate is probably Hufflepuff for her loyalty and steadfastness. But I’m not going to sort Noah and Jay, though. I want the readers to decide who, in the end, they really are.
  • As for Riley’s Patronus—a hummingbird.

7.  What 3 Hashtags would you most associate with your book? (could be a word or phrase or anything that would instantly make you think of Signs of You)
  • #lookforsigns  #mysteriesinhistory  #friendsarefamily

I LOVED the answers you gave Emily!!  Seriously, so thoughtful & now I'm even more super excited for this book!!  Also, that's so cool about Perks.  I'm from Pittsburgh, so I'm a big supporter of all things local :)  And thanks for reminding me to tell my past self to buy stock.... I'd go with Apple, but Google wouldn't be bad either ;)

Signs of You
Pub Date- July 19, 2016

Since sixteen-year-old Riley Strout lost her mother two years ago, her saving grace has been her quirky little family in the grief support group she joined as a freshman. Jay, Kate, and Noah understand her pain; each lost a loved one, and they’ve stuck together in spite of their differences, united by tragedies only they understand.

When Riley thinks she spots her mother shopping in a grocery store, she fears she is suffering some sort of post-traumatic stress. Then Jay and Kate report similar experiences. Only Noah hasn’t had some kind of vision, which is perhaps why he’s become so skeptical and distant.

When Noah disappears, Riley fears she’s lost another loved one. As they frantically search for him, she, Kate, and Jay are drawn into the mystery surrounding a relic that belonged to Jay’s dead father and contains clues about the afterlife. Riley finds herself wrestling with her feelings for both Noah and Jay—which have become clear only in Noah’s absence. If Riley is to help those she loves, and herself, she must set things right with the one she’s lost.

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  1. Oh, I've heard about this book. I'll have to pick it up when it releases! Thank you for sharing. What a fun interview!

  2. Love this interview! I hadn't heard of this book yet but between the synopsis, cover and this interview, definitely adding to my TBR!

    1. That's great!! Thank you so much for saying that... I never know if I'm asking good questions or not!

  3. I love that cover. Three teens that lose their parents finding each other and now strange things start to occur, this sounds like a great novel.

  4. That cover is gorgeous! The book sounds good too. Great interview!!

  5. I loved A Wrinkle in Time when I was younger, too. Great interview Michelle and Emily! I am so excited for this book. :)

  6. This book looks super engaging and interesting! I'm also trying to read more contemporary so I think this one will be worth it!

  7. interesting sounding

  8. If nothing else had convinced me, Emily's letter to her ninth grade self totally won me over. I LOVE it!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. I loved that letter too!! She definitely went above and beyond my expectations for that question!!

  9. Thanks Michelle for having me on your beautiful blog! I loved your questions and had so much fun answering them! And thanks for all the lovely comments about my book, everyone. You've made my day! :)