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One of the best parts of being an avid reader is getting to visit tons of different worlds and eras without ever leaving your seat. London in the 1970s? Groovy, baby! Colonial America? Why yes, good sir! Modern-day Italy? Buongiorno! When you read as much as us, you can definitely tell when an author has done his or her research --- the details are crisper and clearer and every description jumps off the page. So how do they do it? In this post, author Diana Rodriguez Wallach shares how she went abroad to beautiful Italy to do some on-site research for PROOF OF LIES, an action-packed thriller with twists, turns and international intrigue. Read on to find out how she (and her travel companion husband) scoured Italy from the ground up to find all of the necessary details for her book.
We always love hearing about an author's inpiration behind a novel. It can be small spark of an idea, but it is able to grow into a story. Stephanie Elliot, author of SAD PERFECT, is here to share her story about how her novel came to be. The title SAD PERFECT was  the first part of the book that came to her, the small spark that ignited into her novel. Inspired by Stephanie's daughter, who has an eating disorder, SAD PERFECT follows Pea who too has an eating disorder and when she meets a boy realizes she can't pretend that everything is okay.
If you're anything like us at Teenreads, you would rather have your head stuck in a novel than in a math textbook. But Erika Lewis, author of GAME OF SHADOWS, came to writing a different way. GAME OF SHADOWS, Lewis's debut, follows Ethan Makkai, who lives in L.A. and can see ghosts. When his overprotective mother is kidnapped, it is up to Ethan to save her --- but he gets more than he bargains for when he learns about a mythological land and his connection to it. Erika Lewis always loved to write, but was not always the biggest reader. In this post, Erika shares her journey from being a math major in college to a published author. For Erika, math is a lot more similar to writing than you might think. 
If you're anything like us at Teenreads, we will do anything possible to hear every detail of a favorite character's backstory. Does Harry Potter prefer chocolate ice cream, or vanilla? Would Celaena Sardothien wear a dress or a totally killer suit to the prom? In this post, author Brenda Drake gives us the lowdown on Nick D'Marco, the carefree yet protective best friend of the main character of her Library Jumpers series. Although the main characters Gia and Arik may take the center stage of THIEF OF LIES and GUARDIAN OF SECRETS, you'll be eager to see more Nick after reading this post.
Here at Teenreads, we know that many of our readers are aspiring authors themselves. If you're one of them, you may keep a list of ideas and characters somewhere, or perhaps you've even begun drafting your first book. Believe it or not, writing your book is only half of the journey to publication. After you've sold your book to a publisher --- and even a little before --- you must deal with the editing stage. In this post, Erica Cameron, author of ISLAND OF EXILES, explains what she loves about editing, and how she was able to strengthen and improve her richly detailed fantasy so that it could become the book it is today.
Themes, tropes, motifs --- you've probably heard all of these words in your English class at school and been asked a question or two about them on a quizz or test. But have you ever thought about how an author goes about weaving important themes into his or her work? The answer isn't quite as easy as you may expect. Below, Merrie Destefano, author of LOST GIRLS --- a gritty and unpredictable thriller about a normal girl who wakes up in a ditch, missing a year of her life --- discusses how she worked several popular themes into her book.
If you're a lifelong reader and professional bookworm, the chances are pretty high that you've considered writing stories of your own, whether for fun or in hopes of eventually getting them published. Although many teens have all of the potential and talent necessary to write and publish their own books, it can be really tricky to navigate the early steps that set you on the path to success. In this post, author Stephanie Morrill --- whose latest book, THE LOST GIRL OF ASTOR STREET, releases this February --- explains how she got on the early track to publishing and offers helpful advice for young authors hoping to make it in the book world.
Every year, librarians, authors, publishing professionals, educators and students convene at ALA Midwinter, a conference held by the American Library Association. The ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world, and their mission to enhance learning and ensure access to books and information for readers of all ages is one they take very seriously. This year, Teen Board member Grace P. had the opportunity to attend and participate in a teen feedback panel. Along the way she picked up dozens of books and had some great interactions with popular YA authors. Although her TBR pile is now nearing a record high, she took some time to answer questions for us about her awesome experience. Read on to learn more!  
Retellings are a hugely popular form of storytelling where famous, well-known stories and tales are given fresh life with new settings, characters and motivations. While the gist of the story may be familiar to most readers, it's always fun to see how authors will put their own spin on it, especially when the story involves complicated themes and plot twists. Teen Board member Ashley D. recently reviewed a retelling of DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE called TEEN HYDE:High School Horror for Teenreads. The timing couldn't have been better as Ashley was also working on her school's production of "Jekyll and Hyde the Musical." After reading and reviewing her book and completing numerous late nights on the stage, Ashley wrote this amazing post comparing and contrasting the two.
As a Teen Board member, I get to review new YA books before they hit the shelves. This month, I read LIFE IN A FISHBOWL by Len Vlahos. Coincidentally, Len actually owns a bookstore, Tattered Cover, right in my hometown. With the help of Teenreads, I was able to meet Len in person and talk to him about his book, writing history and what it’s like owning a bookstore.