2021 Debut Author Interview: Miel Moreland!

In 2019, we made it our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and to spread the word about their debut novels. It was such a success last year that we decided to continue the fun for years to come! Follow us this year as we pick the minds of the 2021 debuts and chat with them about their writing process and what it's like to be a new author. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, Twitter chats, and more!

At the end of 2020, we Tweeted about wanting to discover more debut authors and their books. We ended up finding Miel Moreland and her novel IT GOES LIKE THIS, and we have been interested in it ever since! We are so excited to have Miel on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 




Miel Moreland writes character-driven contemporary Young Adult novels. Born and raised in Minneapolis, she has a Midwestern heart but wandering feet. When not making pop music references and celebrating fandom, she is likely to be found drinking hot chocolate and making spreadsheets. She currently resides in Boston

Keep up with Miel: Website / Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads


The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author?

Miel: Absolutely surreal. I’ve wanted to be an author since I was five or six years old, once I realized this was a job people had, and now my book is coming out! Part of me still feels like it’s early 2018 and IT GOES LIKE THIS is just something fun between me and my critique partners. It’s difficult (but exciting!) to try to grasp the fact that people I don’t know are reading it, and my story is becoming part of someone else’s story. 

The Book Bratz:  In your opinion, what's the best part of the writing process? What's the hardest?

Miel: Is it a cop-out to say the best part of the writing process is any part that’s going smoothly? Although I do enjoy revisions in general, once I have a plan for them, starting revisions is often difficult for me because I always have to add tension—and that’s not at all natural for me! I hate giving my characters more problems. 


The Book Bratz: Where did you get the idea for IT GOES LIKE THIS?

Miel: IT GOES LIKE THIS came out of a number of interests or threads in my life that all finally converged together into this one book. I’ve been a pop music fan for most of my life, and for a couple of years before I started drafting IGLT, I researched the music industry and played around with a few music-centric short stories. I started writing the novel about a year after I graduated from college, when I was thinking a lot about changing friendships. And I’d been reading some books where the band (or the team, group, and so on, depending on the book) breaks up at the end of the book. I wanted to write a book that started where the others ended. What happens after? I felt I was presented with this question: does growing up always mean growing apart? I don’t think the answer is always yes. 

The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the most difficult?

Miel: This is such a difficult question, and during different drafts, I had a different favorite band member. Eva might have been my favorite to write overall, simply because I spent the most time in her head and so feel closest to her. Gina was the most difficult, because it took me a long time to be able to identify and articulate her arc, and then longer to properly build it into the book. But I adore her, and she is worth every re-written chapter. 


The Book Bratz: Are there any other books or authors who give you inspiration for your own writing?

Miel: So many! I’ll shout-out just two authors right now: Tess Sharpe and Zan Romanoff. 


The Book Bratz: What do you hope that readers will take away from IT GOES LIKE THIS? 

Miel: It’s okay to change your mind, more than once, about what you want, what you need, and in what places and relationships you are able to be your truest, fullest, most seen and respected and beloved self at any particular moment in your life. 


The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of IT GOES LIKE THIS in the future, or do you have any other projects in mind? Can you tell us anything about them?

Miel: I don’t have any immediate or formal plans to return to the world of IT GOES LIKE THIS, but I would love to at some point! At minimum, I am hoping to share some bonus short stories (including at least one AU, because this is a fandom novel at heart) within the next year. I’ve been working on a few other novels over the past year, but I’m always wary of talking too much about specific projects until deals are announced!


Title: It Goes Like This
Author: Miel Moreland
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: May 18th, 2021

Summary: Eva, Celeste, Gina, and Steph used to think their friendship was unbreakable. After all, they've been though a lot together, including the astronomical rise of Moonlight Overthrow, the world-famous queer pop band they formed in middle school, never expecting to headline anything bigger than the county fair. But after a sudden falling out leads to the dissolution of the teens' band, their friendship, and Eva and Celeste's starry-eyed romance, nothing is the same. Gina and Celeste step further into the spotlight, Steph disappears completely, and Eva, heartbroken, takes refuge as a songwriter and secret online fangirl...of her own band. That is, until a storm devastates their hometown, bringing the four ex-best-friends back together. As they prepare for one last show, they'll discover whether growing up always means growing apart. 


Thank you so much to Miel for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about IT GOES LIKE THISand can't wait for it to be out in the world on May 18th


Celebrate So Excited GIF by Hey Violet



Why Does Seeing Writers Write Make Us More Motivated?



Hi everyone! Today's post is a little different than a bookish meme or a review -- instead, I'm going to talk about writing. As many of you may know -- if not all of you, by this point -- I (Jessica) am a huge romance writer and reader. If it has a steamy or swoon-worthy storyline and it's a contemporary, the chances are it's probably already on my to-read list. Which is why, of course, I've been a huge fan of Jane the Virgin for so long. I'm currently on my eighth rerun because I just can't get enough of it!



And that's when I noticed something -- for those of you who don't know, the story follows Jane, a young Latina woman living in Miami who goes through some pretty hilarious, stressful, and even scary circumstances (which I won't spoil for you!). But one of the biggest parts of the story is the fact that Jane is an aspiring romance novelist, which you see unfold a lot on the screen. And this is what I've noticed: Every single time there's a scene where Jane is working on her novel, or getting a burst of writing inspiration, or staying up until the sun rises to add words to her manuscript, I feel this sudden urge to pick up my own laptop and work on my own book. Every single time. It's seriously like magic -- any time I need some motivation or inspiration to write, I end up watching an episode or two of Jane the Virgin. It's my magic cure for writer's block. 


And I thought I was alone in that endeavor, but apparently not! Plenty of people I've spoken to said that they too feel more motivated to write when a character in pop culture -- whether it's a show or a podcast or even another book that follows another writer -- features someone who is chasing their dream of becoming published. And it really made me think about it -- why exactly is this? My unofficial guess is that there's something about seeing a character in a story that you love achieving the same dream that you want that just really lights that fire in you and makes you want to hit the ground running with your own work. But maybe it's just the fact that Jane the Virgin is a show centered around a woman who is an aspiring writer and a hopeless romantic -- AKA, just like me -- so I see a lot of myself in Jane and aspire to be a lot like her. Who knows? All I know for sure is that an episode or two of the show is like my magic writing potion on the days where the words just won't come, and that's pretty cool.


So I wanted to ask, because I was curious -- does this happen to anyone else out there? Does seeing someone else in a book or movie achieving their writing goals make you want to put the pen to the paper (or your fingers to the keyboard!) yourself, or is this just a me thing? Comment down below and let me know!






Blog Tour: These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy

Hi everyone! Today on the blog, we have an excerpt from THESE FEATHERED FLAMES by Alexandra Overy, courtesy of Inkyard Press. So without further ado, let's get into it!


ABOUT THE BOOK


Title: These Feathered Flames
Authors: Alexandra Overy
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Hardcover, 496 Pages
Publication Date: April 20th, 2021

 Summary: When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm. But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned. As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother. 

EXCERPT

Excerpted from These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy © 2021, used with permission from Inkyard Press/HarperCollins.

Chapter One

The prey wasn’t meant to be a child.

When Asya had smelled the sharp tang of magic—strong even before she emerged from the tree line—that possibility hadn’t so much as fluttered across her mind. It was never meant to be a child.

But the scent of magic was undeniable. That indistinguishable combination of damp overturned earth and the metallic copper of blood, cut through with the acrid burn of power. It was overlaid with the cloying sweetness of waterose, as if someone had tried to mask it.

A futile attempt.

And Asya was sure this time. The person they were looking for had to be here.

The comfort of the forest stood at her back, the dark canopy of trees stretching behind her in every direction. The fading sunlight could not break through the writhing tangle of branches, so in the shadow of the trunks, it was dark as twilight.

Most people feared the forest. Stories of monsters that lurked in its depths, witches who lured unsuspecting children in and tore out their hearts. But to Asya it had always felt safe, the gnarled trunks and rustling leaves were like old friends.

“This is it,” Asya said, inclining her head toward the clearing in front of them.

A slight smile tugged at her lips. Two years ago, when her great-aunt had first deemed her ready to try tracking herself—to follow the magic with only her mortal senses once they were close enough to the source—she’d found it impossible. More often than not, she just led them in circles until Tarya gave up on her. But today, Asya had managed it.

She might not be as unwavering as her aunt, as strong or as dutiful, but at least Asya had succeeded in this.

She glanced over at Tarya, waiting for her reaction. But her aunt stood stiller than the trees, an immovable presence in their midst. The shadowed light filtering through the leaves cast her face in stark relief, carving deep hollows into her snow-white cheeks and emphasizing the wrinkles at her brow. She could have been a painting—one of the old oil portraits of the gods, soft brushstrokes of light adding an ethereal glow to her stern face.

It made her look otherworldly. Inhuman.

Which she was. One of the creatures that prowled these trees.

While Asya, or any other mortal, could smell the residual magic, her aunt could feel it. No amount of waterose or burned sage—or any of the other tricks people tried—could hide magic from Tarya.

Her dark eyes flickered to Asya. “Correct,” her aunt murmured, a hint of satisfaction in her soft voice.

In front of them, the comforting trees gave way to an open paddock. It had been allowed to run wild, chamomile glinting yellow in the long grass, like sun spots on water. Purple-capped mushrooms pushed their way through the weeds, intertwining with the soft lilac of scattered crocuses.

The tinge of pride in Asya’s chest melted away, replaced by a thrumming anticipation. The paddock could have been beautiful, she supposed. But the cold apprehension burning in her stomach overshadowed it, darkening the flowers to poisonous thorns and muting the colors like fog. It was always like this. Ever since the first time Tarya had taken her on a hunt. Once she was left without a task to complete—a distraction—Asya couldn’t pretend to forget what came next. She’d hoped it would get better, but she still couldn’t shake the lingering fear.

She shifted her feet, trying to ignore the erratic rhythm of her heart. She hated waiting. Each frantic beat stretching out into an eternity.

She just wanted this to be over.

After all, her sister had always been the brave one.

But that was why Asya was here. Why she had to follow this path, no matter how she wavered. She owed it to her sister. They were the two sides of a coin, and if Asya failed, then her sister would too.

Tarya’s words—the words Asya had to live by—pounded through her. This is our duty. Not a question of right or wrong, but balance.

Her aunt stepped forward. She moved silently, slipping like a shadow untethered from its owner, from the gnarled trees and out into the overgrown paddock beyond. She didn’t speak—she rarely did when she felt a Calling—but Asya knew she was meant to follow.

Asya took a shaky breath, touching one finger to the wooden icon around her neck. An unspoken prayer. She could do this.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Alexandra grew up in London and moved to Los Angeles to pursue her undergraduate degree in history at UCLA, followed by her MFA in screenwriting also at UCLA. She loves writing in all formats, from novels to screenplays to graphic novels, always centring on fierce women and morally grey characters, often with a bit of magic and murder. When she’s not writing, she can be found baking, fangirling over her favourite books, or cuddling her cat.
Keep up with Alexandra: Goodreads / Twitter / Website / Instagram

We'd like to thank Inkyard Press for having us share this excerpt today -- if you're interested in THESE FEATHERED FLAMES don't forget to add it to your TBR!

Waiting on Wednesday: They'll Never Catch Us by Jessica Goodman

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read! 



Title: They'll Never Catch Us
Author: Jessica Goodman 
Publisher: Razorbill
Hardcover, 284 Pages
Publication Date: July 27th, 2021
Summary: Stella and Ellie Steckler are only a year apart, but their different personalities make their relationship complicated. Stella is single-minded, driven, and she keeps to herself. Cross-country running is her life and she won't let anything get in the way of being the best. Her sister Ellie is a talented runner too, but she also lets herself have fun. She has friends. She goes to parties. She has a life off the course. The sisters do have one thing in common, though: the new girl, Mila Keene. Both Stecklers' lives are upended when Mila comes to town. Mila was the top runner on her team back home and at first, Ellie and Stella view her as a threat. But soon Ellie can't help but be drawn to her warm, charming personality. After her best friend moved away and her first boyfriend betrayed her, Ellie's been looking for a friend. In a moment of weakness, she even shares her darkest secret with Mila. For her part, Stella finds herself noticing the ways she and Mila are similar. Mila is smart and strong--she's someone Stella can finally connect with. As the two get closer, Stella becomes something she vowed she'd never be: distracted. With regionals approaching and college scouts taking notice, the pressure is on. Each girl has their future on the line and they won't let friendships get in their way. But then, suddenly, Mila goes out on a training run and never returns. No one knows what happened, but all eyes are on the Steckler sisters.


I read Jessica Goodman's debut novel, THEY WISH THEY WERE US, last year, and I loved it so much. So when I found out that she had another thriller on the horizon, I eagerly added it to my TBR! You can even read my review of THEY WISH THEY WERE US here.

You guys, I am so excited to once again be shocked and thrilled by another Jessica Goodman book!!!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so I can stop by!

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles That Sound Like They Could Be Crayola Crayon Colors

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl in which we create bookish lists about everything from our favorite characters to love triangles and everything in between! 


This Week's Theme: Book Titles That Sound Like They Could Be Crayola Crayon Colors

Everyone knows that Crayola has some pretty interesting color names. So I was excited to really put on my thinking cap this week to try to find some book titles that would fit as potential Crayola cover names! Without further ado, here are my choices:

         

So those are some book titles that I think sound like they could be Crayola crayon colors! What do you think of my choices? Do you have some of your own? Comment down below and let me know!