Friday, 28 June 2013

INK by Amanda Sun - Meet the Artists

Last week I talked about the amazing new debut coming up called INK by Amanda Sun, included the fab new trailer for it. It has now been put onto Goodreads 'Top New Young Adult Fiction Books' for June 2013 (posted onto Pinterest here) and it is really starting to take the world by storm!

This week I want to delve abit deeper and explore behind the scenes of the cover artists. The book itself is based around the power of ink drawings and as you can see from the cover below the book is illustrated with some gorgeous pictures.

There is even a great little animation video of the cover image, which really brings it to life!

We've got some fab Q&As and background information from the artists to give you an idea about their work and the inspiration behind Ink's illustrations!


Petra was born in Uherské Hradišteˇ , Czech Republic, and currently lives in Munich, Germany, where she is busy with her new son, Maximilian.

Petra studied art at a technical school for applied arts. She earned her modelist/stylist degree from the international fashion school ESMOD in Munich, with a prêt-à-porter collection.

2008 Best Illustration Award for her collection at the China Fashion Week, in addition to numerous design awards.

Today Petra works as a freelance illustrator, stylist and as a fashion designer for Marcel Ostertag. Her illustration style is a combination of traditional method and modern look with a focus on fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Her inspiration comes from many areas—books, magazines, art exhibitions and fashion shows, and just walking around her city with her eyes open. Petra developed her art style after experimenting with aquarelle, a traditional technique of painting in transparent, rather than opaque, watercolors. From there, she developed her own art style, which often combines watercolors with ink. The cover art for INK is an example of this style.

You can see more of her artwork here


I was born in Hong Kong and lived there until age seven. I was then raised in the very rainy but beautiful city of Van- couver. Right now I reside in Osaka, Japan.

I am a graduate of the IDEA Program of Capilano University in North Vancouver.

I don’t think I ever actually decided to be an artist. Creating art was always a part of my being. It has been that way prob- ably since I was first exposed to drawing, which, as far as I can recall, began when a family friend taught me how to draw robots when I was around four years old.

I used pencil crayons to sketch; a bit of tracing paper; then finished with fine-liner, oil-based markers and Chinese calligraphy ink.

The creative process was very pleasant. We had good communication; the author and creative team knew what they wanted and were very encouraging to me. I am pleased that they are happy with the results.

Their modesty and humbleness, respect for tradition, attention to detail, obsession with perfection, and their loyalty to those things have always influenced me as an artist.

The people here do inspire me, because their attitude is more laid-back and casual. They laugh and joke around a lot more than people do in other parts of Japan, which is important to me.

I enjoy many things about Osaka. The convenience of transportation; the abundance of great restaurants; the truly convenient convenience stores; the great routes for bike rides; the beautiful, unique scenery—all these things have made the city really easy to get comfortable with. That said, the space feels too confined here for me to want to make it a permanent home. But who knows what the future will bring!

My exhibitions include: Vorld (2008)—Chickennot Gallery (Kyoto, Japan) 
Personal Circles (2009)—iTohen Gallery (Osaka, Japan) 
Can I Have an Easy Life (2012)—Galaxy Gallery (Osaka, Japan)

Check out Ross' blog here

You can pre-order INK here and it's out 5th July!!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Trailer Reveal - Ink by Amanda Sun

This week I wanted to show you the fantastic new trailer for Amanda Sun's new book Ink!
The first in the Paper Gods collection is out on the 5th July and if you haven't heard of it yet here's a sneak peek:

I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.

Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.

A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.

And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive

And here's the new trailer:

What do you think of it? Are you excited to read it?

Look out for next week's post where we get a behind the scenes look at the cover artist!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Dare You To Blog Tour!

Today I'm honoured to be the first stop on the Dare You To blog tour! Dare You To has been out for a week now, so if you haven't read it yet, you have no excuse! 
For those that need reminding, this is Katie McGarry's second novel, following on from the amazing Pushing the Limits, and focuses on Beth Risk and the journey she takes with starting a new life, whilst not being able to quite let go of her past one, until she meets Ryan and he turns her life upside down...

Here's the trailer to give you a taster of what to expect:

Intrigued yet? 
Get your copy of Dare You To here to find out what happened:

As an added extra, we've managed to get a Q&A out of Katie to give a bit more insight into the story behind the book:

What inspired you to write Dare You To?
In high school, my best friend and I would spend our evenings riding around in her car with the windows rolled down and music turned up. At some point, we would always find our- selves at a late night fast food restaurant. Some of the most interesting things in my life happened between bites of greasy food. Those memories pushed me to write the opening scene of Dare You To and, from there, Beth and Ryan became full- fledged characters who demanded their story be told.

Your first book, Pushing the Limits, takes place in an urban/ suburban setting. What made you decide to set a majority of Dare You To in a rural environment?
I grew up in a fringe neighborhood south of a large city. While we had a city zip code and all the conveniences of a larger population area, we would run into farm land if we traveled a few miles south. Because of that, I grew up with a mixture of friends. I knew people who owned low rider cars with hydraulics along with guys whose tires on their four-wheel drive trucks were almost as tall as me. Beth was definitely a city girl and I liked the idea of shaking up her world by placing her somewhere different. Ryan was then born!

What type of research did you do while writing Dare You To?
Ever since I've known my husband, I've spent a good majority of my Friday nights during the summer up at the ball field watching him play. It’s amazing to see how a group of guys work, and sometimes don’t work, together on the field. I knew immediately that Ryan would play baseball and while I learned quite a bit from my husband, I wanted to understand baseball in the context of a teenager chasing a pro career and/or an athletic scholarship. I visited an indoor base- ball training facility and was able to talk to trainers there. I also spoke with teens and parents of teens in similar circumstances as Ryan. Everyone was extremely helpful and their answers and experiences helped shape the situations that Ryan faced.

I think this is one of the most vital questions that is on everyone's lips who have followed Beth from Pushing the Limits:

Why did you choose not to have Isaiah and Beth end up together?
What if I told you that when I wrote Pushing the Limits, where they appear as secondary characters, I did see them together? I’m sure no one would be shocked by that answer. When I began to examine Beth and Isaiah closely, I realized that in order for them to find peace they needed to be challenged by someone else. Beth and Isaiah are very similar and Isaiah completely enables Beth’s behavior. The two of them had a lot to work through, and as I began plotting, I realized they couldn't grow as individuals as long as they were together. I love Beth and Isaiah as if they are real live people and I truly want them to be happy. Unfortunately, I just didn't think they could find true happiness as a romantic couple. Ryan, on the other hand, is Beth’s perfect match. Beth doesn't see who she really is and because Ryan has no history with her, he’s able to see her very clearly. He falls hard for the wonderful person buried deep inside of her. Beth holds onto a past she can’t change and Ryan helps her learn how to let the past go and look toward the future. Now, one of the many wonderful chain reactions that stemmed from writing Beth with Ryan was the joy of writing Isaiah’s story, Crash Into You. My heart broke several times for Isaiah while writing Dare You To and I can’t tell you how excited I am for my readers to see who Isaiah ends up with and how this will change his life forever. I promise—you won’t be disappointed!

All I will say to this is do not let it put you off that Isaiah & Beth don't get their happy ending together - read it and let Ryan convince you he's the perfect match!

Follow the Dare You To  blog tour to find out what other bloggers thought of it! The details are on the banner at the top of the page!

Find out more about Katie McGarry:
Katie was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan. Writing has given Katie an excuse to pursue her passions. Research for her books has provided her with the amazing opportunity to train with baseball players, ride along in a drag car at ninety-six miles per hour and experience boxing and mixed martial arts.

Katie is the author of the full-length Young Adult novels PUSHING THE LIMITS and DARE YOU TO, and the e-novella CROSSING THE LINE. Her debut novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS, is a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction. Katie’s next novel CRASH INTO YOU will published by Mira Ink in December 2013.

Katie would love to hear from her readers - contact her via Twitter @KatieMcGarry

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Eleanor Wood author of Gemini Rising - Guest Post

Okay, so Eleanor Wood isn't *technically* a Mira Ink author (we're publishing her debut novel Gemini Rising under our dew digital imprint CARINA), but we love her book so much we wanted to share it with you! Gemini Rising is a fresh and edgy contemporary young adult story with a disturbing twist... Now it's over to Eleanor to tell us more:

I hate it when people say ‘I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember’, as if that makes them all special and ‘chosen’, or something.  WE ALL HAVE.  EVERYONE.  It’s like when people who are actors or performers say ‘I was always putting on shows when I was a child, how precocious!’.  WE ALL DID THAT; IT’S JUST COINCIDENCE.
However, I’m afraid I have been writing for as long as I can remember.  I always loved books so much, I couldn’t understand why everyone wouldn’t write their own – I still don’t, in fact.  My first proper ‘novel’ was inspired by Anastasia Tsar, when I was seven – I was obsessed with the idea that she might have escaped, and in my story she had ended up being kidnapped and put to work as a housemaid.  Yes, I was weirdly obsessed with the Tsars, Annie and various grim Victorian morality tales – this was a pretty good mash-up of all of the above.
Throughout my teens, my identity was based around books (as well as Nirvana and smelly vintage dresses).  I wrote a lot, and continued to do so; plays, poetry, fanzines, and mostly yet-more fledgling ‘novels’ – but I never actually finished a full-length novel, as there was far too much mucking about and angst-ing to be done.  I won a few prizes and wrote stuff for the school magazine, but it was when the creative writing portion of my English A-Level coursework was singled out with a letter from the examiner that I started to think it might be a good idea to take it more seriously.

So, from then onwards, I did.  I wrote and wrote furiously (and, of course, read furiously).  I was very into South American magic realism for much of this time, so a lot of my output was highly embarrassing – but it served a purpose.
Eventually, in my early 20s at my kitchen table in Brighton, I wrote a novel called The House of Correction – which was full-length, finished, and pretty good.  It won me the attention of a few agents (to whom I had been writing unsolicited for a few years, as I had literally zero contacts in the publishing world).  After a few more dramas along the way, I ended up signing with Caroline Hardman, now of her own agency Hardman & Swainson.
The House of Correction had some exciting near misses, but in the end it didn’t sell – which broke my heart somewhat at the time, but now I can see might have been For The Good.  The best thing it did for me was to hook me up with Caroline – who is The Most Awesome Agent in the World and, very luckily for me, has been working with me ever since.

Over the couple of years after that, I wrote a few more finished novels – some of which I remain full of love for, but they didn’t quite sell either.  The main thing I was hearing was that they ‘fell between stools’ and ‘didn’t quite fit in’.  I’ve always been a fan of the coming-of-age novel where not a lot happens (inspired by the likes of Esther Freud), so I was writing these ‘adult’ novels that were only-just adult and not really substantial enough, pretty but flimsy.
Amazingly, it was Caroline who suggested that I try writing a novel for teenagers.  At the time, I wasn’t even sure if I liked this idea!  Then I had a go, and it was like everything suddenly fell into place – like meeting a Good Boyfriend after years of messing about with losers, that same feeling of ‘oh, I SEE – it’s supposed to be like THIS’.  I could not believe how easy I found it to slip back into those teenage years – how easy and how FUN.
It took doing this to make me realise quite what an overgrown teenager I am – I feel closer to my 14-year-old self than I do to my 21-year-old self.  The things I like haven’t changed one little bit.

Quite a lot of work later, the result is Gemini Rising.  It’s a classic girls’ school story, very firmly based in reality and driven by character and relationships, but with a spooky edge that (I hope) makes it a bit more interesting.
I think it’s really fun – I loved writing it, I feel pretty proud of it, and I am fairly certain that I would want to read it even if I hadn’t written it.  Whether you are a teenager or not, I hope you agree!
Eleanor lives in Brighton, where she can mostly be found hanging around in cafés and record shops, running on the beach, pretending to be French and/or that it’s the 60s, and writing deep into the night. 
These days, you can read her personal and ill-thought-out ramblings on her blog, The PerfectMixtape or more succinctly on Twitter at @eleanor_wood.

Gemini Rising is out now - get your copy here

Friday, 7 June 2013

'Dare You To' Publication Day Playlist

Happy Publication Day to 'Dare You To' by Katie McGarry!
The day has finally come!

Now for those of you who have already bagged themselves a copy of the book will know that at the back, Katie has included a playlist for 'Dare You To' - these are songs that she has chosen that she feels fit in with various scenes from the book. I have to say they are an excellent choice - after reading the book I listened to the songs and they seem to fit perfectly. I don't know if you ever get moments when you're reading a book and you can imagine the perfect movie soundtrack for certain scenes. This was definitely how I felt when I listened to these songs - if 'Dare You To' was ever made in to a movie (hopefully one day!) these would be the best songs to accompany the story, it is a great mix of older and newer tracks across multiple genres to make it eclectic and very fitting.

I have picked out some of my favourite ones from Katie's list to share - what do you think? Do you agree with the choices or would you pick other songs instead?

Overall Theme:
For the overall theme there are two songs, both very different but I think they really work, especially Dirt Road Anthem.

Dirt Road Anthem by Jason Aldean

F**king Perfect by Pink

Taco Bell Dare:
The Taco Bell Dare scene is where it all began for Beth and Ryan as well as our introduction to the world of Ryan's dares.

U + Ur Hand by Pink

Beth's Mother in the bar:
This is the scene where we start to delve a little bit more into Beth's life and witness the problems between her and her Mother.

Farmer's Daughter by Crystal Bowersox

Beth wakes in Scott's house:
The start of Beth's brand new life in Scott's house...

Heart Like Mine by Miranda Lambert

Isaiah offers to run away with Beth:
Oh, we still can't quite get enough of how cute Isaiah is with Beth - he will give up his whole life for her and this song seems to sum that up.

Somewhere With You by Kenny Chesney

Isaiah betrays Beth by taking her away from her Mother:
It's hard being betrayed by anyone, but especially when you're caught between the two people you care about.

Hurt by Nine Inch Nails

Ryan takes Beth to a field party:
For me this is where you really start to get a good feel for Ryan and Beth and you can see the trust growing between them, and it's really quite sweet.

My Kinda Party by Jason Aldean

Ryan dances with Beth:
Again you can feel the affection flowing between the two of them by now and Nelly's song seems a perfect fit.

Just a Dream by Nelly

Beth tries to scare Ryan away with the truth:
Beth lets her defense mechanism kick in as she is expecting Ryan to run away when she tells him the truth...

Dont Let Me Get Me by Pink

Ryan teaches Beth to float:
In my head, this scene and soundtrack make for the ultimate movie scene...

Broken Arrow by Rod Stewart

Any favourites of these? I think I have a new found love for Jason Aldean, but I know for sure now that whenever I hear these I will picture scenes from 'Dare You To'.

Would you add any others? Or any songs that you had imagined being different with these particular scenes? Share them!

If you haven't got a copy of 'Dare You To' yet, then what are you waiting for? You can buy it here!
Try listening to some of the songs when you're reading and see if you think they work or not!