Interview with Kfir Luzzatto, Author of TESSA

What can you tell us about your new release, TESSA?

TESSA is the first of a planned series. Tessa is a regular sixteen-year-old girl, except that she sees things that are far away. A government agency took her away from her family when she was thirteen and trained her in the remote viewing project. When they assign her to a new project, her innate extra-sensorial ability is unleashed by accident. A chain of events forces her to move fast, using her newly found powers, to complete an unwelcome task and to stay alive when it’s done.

This is a sci-fi/urban fantasy tale for young adults and adults alike, and when you read the last page of TESSA you will be glad that a sequel is coming.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I grew up a bookworm and that played a central role in my drive to write, which I attempted (failing miserably) already at 11. My father was a prolific writer, and so was my great-grandmother, so there is probably a genetic component to that as well.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

1. The Trial, by Franz Kafka – because of the genius that emanates from every page, dialogue and situation in the book.

2. I, Claudius, by Robert Graves – because the people and struggles of the time come alive in this book like nowhere else.

3. Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen, by P. G. Wodehouse – because it is the funniest, wittiest and most enjoyable book I ever read, the dialogue is simply outstanding and the prose is perfect.

4. The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham – because of the vision of a possible, haunting future, which is all the scarier because it is based on human nature, and not so different from the present we witness in some parts of the globe.

5. Memoirs Of A Geisha, by Arthur Golden – because Golden managed to make me care for the protagonist, and to keep reading on, in spite of the long and winding descriptions that should have made me stop reading after page 50.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask

I’d love to interview John Wyndham (although, of course, this might prove a bit difficult since he’s dead). The amazing author of The Chrysalids, The Day of the Triffids, and other great books, once wrote a book titled Plan for Chaos, which he very judiciously suppressed since it is a terrible book. Nevertheless, someone with little literary scruples allowed it to be published posthumously. I’d really like to know how he came to write it, and why he didn’t burn it as soon as it was finished.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

There is this point in a first draft, when all the pieces come together and you truly become immersed in the story. That’s when you really start to write full throttle, the world you have created becomes real to you, and you find yourself wondering what will happen next. I’ve never done drugs or alcohol in excess, so I can’t compare, but I guess that this amounts to being high on writing.

What is a typical day like for you?

Since I have a very busy day job, I relegate reading and writing to evenings and weekends, which means that sometimes writing takes precedence over sleeping, and that’s why I do most of my reading on weekdays, and most of my writing during weekends. I’m not very disciplined, however, so I don’t have specific hours set aside for writing, as many people suggest writers should do. I find that having a plan gets in the way of creativity.

What scene from TESSA was your favorite to write?

Without spoilers, there is a point in the book in which Tessa discovers that the powers that allow her to manipulate others also make her see their human side and force her to be empathetic. That is a turning point in the character development, and writing that scene was especially emotionally satisfying.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Not really. I’m a bit more complex than that … but I do like Sir Winston Churchill’s quip, “Those who seek to appease the alligator will be eaten last.” I find that it applies to many current situations.

Kfir Luzzatto is the author of the new book TESSA.

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Interview with Angelina J. Steffort, Author of Shattered Kingdom

On June 30, my eleventh book, Shattered Kingdom, was released, a (young adult) epic fantasy series about a girl who’s heart could change the course of history. “Fae, magic, and a heart-throbbing adventure will keep readers entranced until the last page,” as readers say and a “perfect read for fans of Throne of Glass.”

The story follows seventeen-year-old Gandrett Brayton, who has resigned herself to a life of servitude as a Child of Vala, devoting her life to the goddess and the Meister who runs the priory where she has lived for the past ten years. When brooding Nehelon storms in and offers her a chance to leave, Gandrett is left with an impossible choice: run, or work for the man who forced her into the Order to begin with. Soon she is being drawn from a simple life of servitude into the political intrigues of Neredyn, and Gandrett must learn that where she is about to go, her sword won’t help her–especially when it is her heart on the line.

In the world of Neredyn magic is forbidden and the Fae have been dormant for centuries. Mages are exiled, except for those few who are gifted by Vala, the goddess of life and water. Sives, the northernmost kingdom has been split even longer and in Shattered Kingdom, for the first time there is a shimmer of hope for peace for Sives, when Gandrett Brayton decides to embark on an epic journey with Nehelon, who himself has a damning secret.

Gandrett is a warrior. Vala’s Blade, they call her for her cunning and her strength and accuracy in combat. But she never went into the Order willingly. She was torn from her mother’s arms and committed into a life in the desert where nothing but the priory of the Order of Vala and the ruins of the once great city of Everrun exist. It is Gandrett’s dearest wish to see her family again, but hoping for something even that simple can be dangerous when your path has been predetermined by the strict code of the Order, where she will serve with her sword until the day she dies. Or will she?

Shattered Kingdom is my first book. Not the first one I ever wrote, but the first story idea I had in 2010 when I ended up writing Wings instead. How that came about? I am glad you asked.

Let me take you back to January 2010, when I was still living in Berlin, Germany, and preparing for a trip to Sweden. The weather was according to the season and whatever time I didn’t spend studying (working on my MBA), I spent on catching up with my work at the company where I was employed back then.

One night, I woke up with a headache, racing pulse making me leap out of bed and dart for the bathroom to down a glass of ice-cold water. That was the time when nightmares were haunting my sleep and even drawing the creatures that I encountered in those hours that were supposed to give me rest and replenishment wasn’t enough to rid my thoughts of them. So I sat down and started writing that scene–the scene where Gandrett Brayton gets picked to join the Order of Vala and is torn from her home at the age of seven. Sixteen long and sloppy pages. And then–nothing. Not even a breeze of a thought.

The next day, I did some research. The geography, the culture, the style of clothing, all of those details, I jotted them down, named them (named the world Neredyn, the bothenia root from which the Sivesian people make ale), specified what they were, why they were, and even put together a cast of about twenty characters. And again. Nothing. No more words that would help me put together a book.

Nothing for eight long years. At least not for Shattered Kingdom. The other ten books (Wings Series and Two Worlds Series) bubbled out of me, but Shattered Kingdom patiently waited in the drawer until 2018 when my illustrator took on the monster-task of creating the map I’d sketched. From the moment I saw Neredyn the way it was supposed to be, the story took form and expanded, and I soon knew that it would be a seven book series rather than a standalone. So this year, when COVID-19 hit and we went into lockdown in March, I was ready and used the limited degrees of freedom to finally write Shattered Kingdom.

And here I am, ten years after that nightmare in Berlin, and blown away by the initial reactions of my readers. Shattered Kingdom has already climbed high on Listopia recommendation lists for Throne of Glass fans. I am receiving wonderful emails with thoughts and reflections on the story, the characters, and guesses about how the story continues (Thank you for all your heartfelt words and great feedback!). Book two in the Shattered Kingdom series is already in the making. Wicked Crown will be released in fall 2020.

Angelina J. Steffort is the author of the new book Shattered Kingdom.

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New Young Adult Books to Read | July 7

Are you an avid reader of Young Adult books? This week you are in luck! With all of these new novels, you’re bound to find a new favorite book to add to your reading list. This week includes new novels from bestselling authors Renee Ahdieh, P.C. Cast, Kalynn Bayron, and many more. Enjoy your new young adult books. Happy reading!



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New Young Adult Books to Read | June 30

Are you an avid reader of Young Adult books? This week you are in luck! With all of these new novels, you’re bound to find a new favorite book to add to your reading list. This week includes new novels from bestselling authors Becky Albertalli, Jay Kristoff, Kit Frick, and many more. Enjoy your new young adult books. Happy reading!



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Bestsellers Now in Paperback | June 2020

Take a look at this month’s selection of bestsellers now in paperback! June had a great selection of bestselling books to check out from thrilling mysteries to enthralling literary reads, and insightful biographies. Pick up these latest paperback books by bestselling authors Louise Penny, J.D. Robb, David Baldacci, John Sandford, Colson Whitehead, Rainbow Rowell, and many more!


Mystery, Thriller & Suspense


Literary Fiction


Fantasy & Science Fiction


Young Adult


Biography & Memoir

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Black-Owned Bookstores You Can Support Right Now

Here at NewInBooks, we believe that it is incredibly important to support black-owned businesses and black authors in the literary industry. Last week we brought you a list of some amazing Black Authors to Support in Your Favorite Genres and now we’re continuing our series of resources with a list of black-owned bookstores that you can support right now. Happy reading!

Shelves Bookstore in Charlotte, NC

MahoganyBooks in Washington, DC

Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books in Germantown, PA

Hakim’s Bookstore in Philadelphia, PA

Harriett’s Bookshop in Philadelphia, PA

AfriWare Books in Maywood, IL

Semicolon Bookstore in Chicago, IL

Pan-African Connection Bookstore, Art Gallery, and Resource Center in Dallas, TX

The Dock Bookshop in Fort Worth, TX

Eso Won Bookstore in Los Angeles, CA

Ashay by the Bay in Vallejo, CA

The Lit. Bar in the Bronx, NY

Pyramid Books in Boynton Beach, FL

Detroit Book City in Southfield, MI

Harambee Books and Artworks in Alexandria, VA

Turning Page Bookshop in Goose Creek, SC

The Key Bookstore in Hartford, CT


Don’t miss our latest post on Black Authors to Support in Your Favorite Genres. Click here to learn more.

Looking for some new release books by Black authors? Click here for our latest recommendations for your reading list!

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New Young Adult Books to Read | June 23

Are you an avid reader of Young Adult books? This week you are in luck! With all of these new novels, you’re bound to find a new favorite book to add to your reading list. This week includes new novels from bestselling authors Elle Cosimano, Veronica, Rossi, Tanaz Bhathena, and many more. Enjoy your new young adult books. Happy reading!



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Black Authors to Support in Your Favorite Genres

“None of us alone can save the nation or the world. But each of us can make a positive difference if we commit ourselves to do so.” – Cornel West

Here at NewinBooks, we are committed to the work of making a positive difference in our community and the world around us. As a company, inclusiveness and equity are tantamount to our vision to support and uplift the voices that do not always get to be heard.

Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing a series of resources you can use to join us in helping to uplift and amplify Black voices in the literary industry.

To kick things off, we’ve compiled a list of amazing Black authors to check out in your favorite genres!

Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Romance

Literary Fiction

Nonfiction

Fantasy/Science Fiction

Young Adult/Children’s

Check out our growing list of Black authors to support right here!

Looking for some new release books by Black authors? Click here for our latest recommendations for your reading list!

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New Young Adult Books to Read | June 16

Are you an avid reader of Young Adult books? This week you are in luck! With all of these new novels, you’re bound to find a new favorite book to add to your reading list. This week includes new novels from bestselling authors Natalie Mae, Lyla Lee, Katie Cotugno, and many more. Enjoy your new young adult books. Happy reading!



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New Releases by Black Authors to Add to Your Reading List

At NewInBooks and Written Word Media, we believe that no story is complete if it does not include all voices. As such, and in light of the recent weeks’ events surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement, we recognize that it is crucial now more than ever to amplify the experiences and voices of Black authors. Below, please enjoy a handpicked selection of new releases by authors from the Black community.


Literary Fiction

 


Nonfiction

 


Young Adult


Romance

 


Fantasy & Science Fiction

 

Children’s Books

 

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