2015 Debut Authors Bash: Special Guest Amanda Panitch

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Hi guys!

Today on the blog, I have an interview with Amanda Panitch on the blog. I also have a giveaway. So don’t forget to enter the giveaway after you read the interview.

Book Link: Goodreads

22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.

Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.

After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.

Now that she’s Lucy Black, she’s able to begin again. She’s even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy’s forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.

One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . .

Interview with Amanda
The twist in Damage Done was so startling and so dark. How did you decide on that twist?

The twist actually came first. I got to know Julia and what she was hiding, and built the book around that.

Where did you get the idea for this book?

I was reading an article about a suicide bomber that mentioned the bomber’s siblings, and I wondered: what would it be like to be that sibling? You’d be grieving the death of your sibling even as you were horrified over what they’d done, which I imagined would lead you toward feeling guilty for mourning someone who’d done something so horrendous. And if you were close, you’d be wondering how you could have stopped it, what you could have done. Julia’s relationship with her brother, a school shooter, grew from there.

I found Dr. Spence’s notes to be the most captivating subplot of the book. Were his insights always a part of the book or did you add them in a later draft?

Thank you! They came out of a suggestion from my brilliant agent and were added in a later draft. It was a lot of fun to explore Julia and Ryan’s relationship from an outside, comparatively unbiased perspective, and give readers that extra view.

Did you know how it was going to end before you started the first draft?

Yes. I’m not generally a big outliner, but before writing a book, I always need to have, at the very least, a good sense of the characters and where they’re going to end up.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I did a lot of research on twins and the bonds between them, as I don’t have a twin of my own (though I do have a lot of siblings). I also learned a lot about school shootings and psychopaths (those were a dark few days), and did some Google Maps exploration of California – the book is set there, but I’ve never been west of Pennsylvania.

That final scene between Lucy & Michael was so intense, and it turned out to be one of my favorite scenes in the entire book. Do you have a favorite scene from this book?

My very favorite part is the last chapter, which is only one scene. Without spoiling anything, Julia’s finally free to be herself and stop pretending to be something she most definitely is not.

I loved how we got to look back at Lucy & Ryan’s childhood. What made you decide to delve into their childhoods?

I thought that we needed to understand their beginning if we were going to understand their ending. If we didn’t get to see their complicated relationship develop, I don’t think their story would have had as much of an effect.

The ending turned out to be very open ended, which I didn’t mind at all. What made you decide to have the ending be open ended?

I’m always surprised when people say this (and a lot of people have), because I actually didn’t see it as being all that open-ended – all the main plotlines have been wrapped up, and we know what happens to everybody. I’m not knocking anybody – I just find it fascinating! Without spoiling anything, I guess we don’t know what’s going to happen to Julia in the future, but isn’t the unknown sometimes more frightening than the known?

What advice would you have for aspiring writers?

Write a lot and don’t give up. Some people get a book deal with their first novel, but most don’t. DAMAGE DONE was the seventh novel I finished.

Also, get to know the industry before you start searching for an agent and/or a publisher. There are a lot of “schmagents” out there – people who call themselves agents but don’t know the first thing about selling a book or managing an author’s career. Some of them are all over contests and social media, so they have the appearance of legitimacy. Being agented or published badly is worse than not having an agent or publisher at all – it might not seem like it when you’re in the trenches and getting rejection after rejection, but trust me, they can tie up rights to your book and future books with bad contracts and make it incredibly difficult to have a future career at all. Even just getting your book read can depend on the reputation of an agent – editors might request to see a manuscript from a schmagent’s pitch just in case, but good luck getting them to take the manuscript seriously.

What can we expect to see from you next?
My next book, NEVER MISSING, NEVER FOUND, comes out next June. It’s a stand-alone YA psychological thriller set in an amusement park like the one where I worked in high school. As a young child, Scarlett was kidnapped and held hostage with another little girl for several years. Eventually she escapes, but in the process is forced to make a terrible choice, leaving the other girl behind. Several years later, she’s regained a semblance of a normal life and is working a summer job at an amusement park, but one of her coworkers strikes her as familiar. Strangely familiar. Could it really be the little girl she left behind? And if it is, what does she want from Scarlett now?

About the Author
Amanda Panitch grew up next to an amusement park in New Jersey and went to college next to the White House in Washington, DC. Amanda now resides in New York City where she works in book publishing by day, writes by night, and lives under constant threat of being crushed beneath giant stacks of books. You can follow her on Twitter @AmandaPanitch, and visit her online at www.amandapanitch.com.

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Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Interview with Liz

Hello everyone, this year I am taking part in Book Blogger Love-A-Thon co-hosted by Kate & Alexa. My interview partner for this was Liz of Along For The Read. We asked each other 10 questions and this is what Liz said.

1. Why did you get into book blogging?

It was a spur of the moment decision that seemed to stick.  I had wanted to write a blog for a while, but book blogs were something that I didn’t even know existed. I had toyed with a bunch of different ideas, but none were ones that I was overly inspired to stick with.  When I was working in a bookstore during the holidays one year, I started to really get back into reading, and started doing online research about which books were worth reading.  That’s when I really discovered Goodreads as a tool, and started exploring the online book loving world.  When I realized that there were a ton of people online who loved YA like I do, I got really excited, and started exploring blogs, and on a whim set my own up to post reviews of books I had recently read.  There was no amount of organization involved, and there still isn’t, but somehow, two years later, I am still here!

2. How long have you been book blogging?

Just over two years.

3. What has been the best part of book blogging?

I think finding a community of people who see teen fiction as something that can be worthwhile and valuable has been the best part.  It has taught me to never be ashamed of what I read, even if there are people out there who may look down on it.  There are so many intelligent and wonderful people who read and write YA, and book blogging is a way of interacting with those people.

4. What was your favorite book of 2013?

I think overall that would be Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller.  I found myself wanting to go back and read it again right away.  It had everything I love in contemporary YA like a solid romance, and a delicate but strong family relationship.

5. What genre did you read the most of in 2013?

I always love the contemporary YA best, and that is what I read most of.

6. What do you like best, hard copies or e-book copies?

Definitely hard copies.  E-books are convenient for travel and easy access, but I way prefer the experience of having the book in my hands.

7. What was your favorite book as a child?

Harry Potter for the obvious choice, but I loved so many books.  The ones that left most emotional impact were Mama’s Going to Buy You a Mockingbird by Jean Little, and A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry. I also loved the big series like Baby Sitters Club (And Little Sister!) Nancy Drew and Goosebumps.  I was big on mysteries and scary stories. I’m going to stop there, really I want to write a list of about 100, but I need to cut myself off before I get out of hand.  

8. Was there ever a point in your life where you just stopped reading?

Yes, definitely.  I had trouble transitioning out of my teen years while still reading. I had a few authors that I loved in high school, like Sarah Dessen, but had trouble finding a ton of books that I loved.  I think I had this idea that I had to grow out of the teen section, but there was never much in Adult fiction that I loved.  So through university I didn’t read much, and it wasn’t until I found the blogging world and rediscovered YA as a genre, that I really got back into reading.  I think that to read, you need to know what works for you, and that took me some time.

9. Are you a re-reader?

Very much so.  I have my favourites that I love to re-read, and for a long time, re-reading was pretty much all I did.  Since finding blogging and having so many new books I want to read, I haven’t done as much repeating, but I still find myself wanting to go back to the really good ones.  Some books are meant to be enjoyed over and over.  I find that really good books have something new to give every time.  Like Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever, which I have re-read so many times, but seriously I find something new in it with every read.

10.  Do you have a reading spot in your house?

Usually I read in bed, but when I am really into a book and not putting it down, I tend to move around, find couches and chairs, places without distractions.

If you aren’t familiar with Liz’s blog, go on and check it out here.