Wednesday, October 18, 2017

YA Guy Interviews... Lisa Maxwell, author of THE LAST MAGICIAN! (Plus a giveaway!)

YA Guy's had the good fortune to share a stage with several bestselling YA authors: James Dashner, Kristin Cashore, and others. (Well, okay, maybe I didn't quite share the stage with them; they were the headliners and I was just one of many fellow panelists.) But I've never had the chance to hang out with a bestseller who also happens to be a friend.

Until now, that is. Because the ultra-fabulous Lisa Maxwell, bestselling author of THE LAST MAGICIAN and other magical, marvelous YA tales, is my buddy from way back when we debuted in Fall 2014. And recently, I had a chance to chat with her about her book.

But why stop with a chat? I'm also raffling off a signed copy of THE LAST MAGICIAN, which is simply one of the best YA historical fantasies out there. Don't believe me? Here's my review.

So, let's hear from Lisa first, and then you can enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter thingie below.

YA Guy: Hi, Lisa, and welcome to the blog!

THE LAST MAGICIAN is a bigger book than any of your previous books, not only in terms of sheer length but in the complexity of the plot, the multiple points of view, the historical background, and so on. Do you think this reflects your maturation as a writer? Or was this book something you'd been saving up all along?

Lisa Maxwell: I think it definitely reflects the experiences of writing my first three books. I have one book that’s shelved where I tried to do a multiple perspective, interwoven story, and I think that mistakes I made trying to write that one very much helped me figure out how to write this one. That being said, I didn’t originally start out to write this book as complexly as it turned out. At first, I thought I was just writing a dual POV with Harte and Esta, but the other characters and their stories and arcs were too complex and essential to the main story to leave out.

YAG: I love the historical richness of THE LAST MAGICIAN, and I know that some of the minor characters (e.g., J. P. Morgan) were actual historical figures. But what about the principal characters? Were any of them either real people or based on real people?

LM: Actually, kind of? I took some of my inspiration for Harte’s background from a book called A Pickpocket’s Tale. It was written by a guy named George Washington Appo, who was a pickpocket and common green games runner in the city, who was also literate enough to write his autobiography. Harte isn’t him, of course, but some of his background was an inspiration for Harte’s backstory. Dolph Saunders was a real guy, but I mostly just stole the name since I really loved the way it sounded. Dolph is a compilation of a couple different historical gang leaders. As for Esta and the rest—they’re all mine.

YAG: I also love time-travel narratives, but I know they can be tricky to write. Did you encounter any specific challenges or plot problems with this aspect of the novel? If so, how did you resolve them?

LM: Everything was a problem. Time travel is so much harder to write than I thought it was when I came up with the idea of making Esta a time traveler. Originally, I hadn’t planned on my thief to be a time traveler, but once I settled on the setting, I realized there was probably no way, historically speaking, that Esta could be the person I imagined with the sensibilities I wanted her to have if she were born and raised in the late 19th century. 

The biggest challenges, though, were rules I imposed on myself. I needed her to have limitations to how and when she could travel, or else she could just magically time travel back to the beginning of the Order and solve everything before it starts. But those limitations meant that I had to make sure there weren’t any inconsistencies in the rest of the book. Don’t even get me started on multiple timelines and time travel paradoxes. The whole thing makes my head hurt, and I’m nowhere close to done thinking about it yet.

Though, I will say that I have solved one paradox/multiple timeline issue AND managed to create a twist that I’m really, really happy about for the next book.

YAG: I can't wait to read it! Thanks again for visiting the blog!

LM: Thanks so much for having me!

Readers, if you want to find Lisa on the web, visit her at And for a chance to win a signed copy of THE LAST MAGICIAN, enter below. The contest is U.S. only, and it runs from now through Halloween (fitting for a book about magic)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

YA Guy Participates in... the Fall 2017 YA Scavenger Hunt!

YA Guy's super excited to participate in this year's FALL YA SCAVENGER HUNT! Not only is Fall my favorite time of year, but I've got a brand-new book out, the YA science fiction adventure FREEFALL, which released September 26. So I'm totally ready for the Hunt, and I trust that you are too! (I mean, why else would you be here if you weren't?)

As you can probably tell by all the purple lettering in this post (not to mention the banner at the top), I'm on the PURPLE TEAM, along with the other awesome authors you see below:

The YA Scavenger Hunt is a bi-annual event first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! Add up the clues on each PURPLE TEAM page, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in our team! There are SEVEN contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! But don't delay: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will be online only until noon Pacific time on OCTOBER 8! (My personal giveaway, though, will run a little longer, until October 10.)


Directions: In the author biography below, you'll notice I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the purple team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form to qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally. Anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, October 8, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered. For more information, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

Personal Giveaway: In addition to the prizes named above, readers who enter my personal giveaway will have a chance to win a signed copy of my new novel FREEFALL! Like the Hunt itself, this personal giveaway is open internationally. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

Okay, got all that? Then let's meet the author I'm hosting, BRENDA DRAKE!

New York Times bestselling author of the Library Jumpers series, the Fated series, and Thunderstruck, creator of #PitchWars, #PitchMadness, and #PitMad, fueled by 22 cups of coffee and Goldfish crackers (but not together), and represented by Peter Knapp with The Park Literary Group.

To find out more about Brenda, go to her website at

About GUARDIAN OF SECRETS: Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairy tales and secret gardens.

Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it.

And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia.

Maybe. If she survives.

To buy the book, follow this link!


The Hunt's over, but my personal giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of my new YA science fiction adventure FREEFALL runs until October 10!

About FREEFALL: When the 1% and the 99% clash, the fate of the human race hangs on the actions of two teens from very different backgrounds in this thrilling sci-fi adventure.

In the Upperworld, the privileged 1% are getting ready to abandon a devastated Earth. And Cam can’t wait to leave. After sleeping through a 1,000-year journey, he and his friends will have a pristine new planet to colonize. And no more worries about the Lowerworld and its 99% of rejects.

Then Cam sees a banned video of protesters in the Lowerworld who also want a chance at a new life. And he sees a girl with golden eyes who seems to be gazing straight through the feed at him. A girl he has to find. Sofie.

When Cam finds Sofie, she opens his eyes to the unfairness of what’s happening in their world, and Cam joins her cause for Lowerworld rights. He also falls hard for Sofie. But Sofie has her own battles to fight, and when it’s time to board the spaceships, Cam is alone.

Waking up 1,000 years in the future, Cam discovers that he and his shipmates are far off-course, trapped on an unknown and hostile planet. Who has sabotaged their ship? And does it have anything to do with Sofie, and the choices—and the enemies—he made in the past?

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a Rafflecopter giveaway