Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hey everyone! Welcome to the YA Valentines Winter Formal tour! You may know of the Valentines from their snazzy little blog, but for this week four of them are hitting the fan blogs! This one week tour features four fabulous ladies debuting in January, February and March!

Today's Spotlight Is....

Bethany Hagen!
Website - Twitter - Goodreads
I have a basement full of books and a computer full of writing. I love drinking coffee and doing karate with my husband (usually not at the same time.)  I've been a model for a painter, stung by a sting-ray, stuck in a coma, and I used to dress up as a 1904 schoolmarm, but I got paid for it, so it's not weird. Currently the day job is in a library, so every once in a while I throw a temper tantrum about the Dewey Decimal system. My debut novel Landry Park came from Dial/Penguin on 2.4.2014. I am represented by Mollie Glick of Foundry Media
I'm a born and bred Kansas Citian, meaning I can tolerate jazz for brief amounts of time and I'm offended by dry rub barbecue. I grew up reading Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, and all things King Arthur. When I’m not working at the library or running around with the kids and the husband, I’m writing or thinking about writing.

If you want to check out my review of Landry Park from the blog tour go HERE! I thought it was a really fun book with a very interesting setting/storyline and some swoon thrown in on the side. As part of spotlighting Bethany and her fabulous book, here's a little bit about Landry Park, followed by an exclusive interview! *wink*

Landry Park
by Bethany Hagen
Published: 2.4.14
Pages: 384

Downton Abbey meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal. In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won't allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty - her family and the estate she loves dearly - and desire.
Amazon classifies Landry Park as "Downton Abbey meets the Selection". What elements of your evolved society were the funnest to those possibly similar aspects? 
I have to say that the Downtown Abbey similarities are the most fun to write.  I love the idea of important conversations happening in between dances and Significant Looks being exchanged over elaborate dinners.  And what's magical about The Selection is that it takes the theme of class and control, and spears it with futurism and romance, to make a compelling mix.  I hope Landry Park was able to do the same!

If you were to pick the best moment in your writing career so far, what would it be?
I think the moment my agent called to tell me that Penguin wanted Landry Park.  Before that moment, I think I never truly let myself believe that I'd see my book in print, and so realizing, for the first time, that it could happen--and WAS going to happen--that was magical indeed.

Any writers or books that inspire you?
My love of the Bronte sisters and of Jane Austen is well-documented, but I'm also a huge fan of Ray Bradbury.  He has a succinctness and a beauty and a particular viewpoint that transforms his sci-fi into something spectacular.

Describe your book in one word. 

What's the best piece of writing advice or tip that you've learned through this whole writing experience?
The best writing advice I have is to just keep writing.  While on submission, while revising, while rewriting, after seeing a cold-hearted review on Goodreads--the important thing is to KEEP WRITING.  NEVER SURRENDER!


Thanks so much Bethany! It was really fun to read your answers! I hope you enjoyed them as well. Now as a bonus, I got to interview all the other lovely ladies on the tour, asking them the same question to see how their answers varied. Check it out!

What drew you to write YA vs. middle grade or adult?

Sara B Larson (author of Defy): I'm not sure that there is an exact reason why, or an "ah-ha!" moment where I decided to write YA.It's just where all of my stories have ended up taking place. It's such a vital time in our lives--when we're discovering who we truly are, and who we want to be. It's a time of intense emotions, when everything is so big and so important, and I love that. I love investigating that, and living in it with my characters. I love experiencing love for the first time with them. I just love it all.

Lynne Matson (author of Nil): ALL THE FEELS! Seriously, YA is THE BEST. Everything is so fresh, so raw, and SO REAL, maybe because it's the first. First person to make your heart skip a beat, first time you stood up for yourself. First kiss, first heartache. First road trip, first time waking up naked on a semi-desrted island, lol. I can't imagine writing anything else.

Bethany Hagen (author of Landry Park): I think it's because young adult fiction, more than adult fiction, has this fantastic blend of literary and commercial elements.  It also has less rigid genre lines--I think a future historical book about romance and radiation would have a much harder time finding an adult publisher for that reason.  Basically, young adult writing has so much freedom and possibility that I find all my stories naturally gravitate to that genre. 

Jen McConnel (author of Daughter of Chaos): I think it's a combination of things. The years I spent working as a middle school teacher really infused me with a love for both YA readers and YA literature, plus the fact that I've always been an avid reader. I think my reading genre of choice for the past decade has been YA, so it was a natural fit. I also write New Adult, which I see as sort of the big sister genre to YA.

Twitter Party!!!

Who doesn't love a good Twitter Party? Not me! Well here's an awesome one for you to celebrate this week's WINTER FORMAL tour! Deets below!

When? February 12th at 6:30 pm EST
Where? Twitter hashtag #YAValsFormal
What? Sara, Jen, Lynne and Bethany chat about books and embarrassing Valentine moments! Virtual snacks, secret fun things and prizes!

You don't want to miss the party(especially the embarrassing moments part ;) OR the rest of the spotlights on the tour. Here's the schedule:

Feb 10 Mon: Lynne Matson @ Fiction Freak 
Feb 11 Tues: Bethany Hagen @ Book Haven Extraordinaire! (You are Here) 
Feb 12 Wed: Sara. B Larson @ Eater of Books
Feb 13 Thurs: Jen McConnel @ YA Reads

AND THAT IS ALL I HAVE FOR YOU TODAY! Thanks for dropping by! I hope you learned something awesome today! Check out the other stops and see you at the Twitter Party! Leave some comment love for Bethany and the rest of the ladies! XOXO,


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