Kimberly Karalius: Swoon Reads Author

Hello readers! Today I have a very exciting post to share with you all, because I was given the opportunity to ask the oh-so talented author of Love Fortunes and Disasters, Kimberly Karalius, a few questions to share on Zoie’s Bookshelf! As you all know, that was a book that especially connected with me, my obsession for the month of August. It was one of my favourite summer reads, and for those of you that have not yet gotten your hands on it- do it quick! But in the meantime, read below to see the interview with Kim as she talks about her experience with Swoon Reads, her writing life, and of course her book!

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Kim’s book, Love Fortunes and Other Disasters!

Zoie: You were published under Swoon Reads, a site where writers can submit their YA romances for readers to heart and comment on, and those considered the most swoonworthy are offered a publishing contract for their novel. What was your experience with Swoon Reads like?

Kimberly: I love crowdsourcing in publishing – the idea that publishers value reader opinions and feedback – and the Swoon Reads staff takes that concept seriously when it comes to how they choose which manuscripts they decide to publish. Before joining Swoon Reads, I shared by stories and novel manuscripts on teen writing site, Figment.com. So I was already used to putting my work out there and interacting with readers. When I read about Swoon Reads, I knew I had to join! The Swoon Reads community is very supportive and I love that members of Macmillan’s staff write blog posts on the site with great advice and information.

Since being published, working with Swoon Reads continues to be full of excitement and surprises. I’m glad that I took the chance and submitted my manuscript.

Zoie: I found the whole concept of the love fortunes and the believing town of Grimbaud absolutely fascinating. Where did you gain the inspiration for Fallon’s story?

Kimberly: Love Fortunes and Other Disasters came from a few silly conversations I had with my friends in college. Since girls outnumbered boys on campus, there wasn’t much opportunity for dating. My friends and I used to joke that we’d all graduate to become glamorous spinsters: mansions, butlers, and rooms full of cats (dogs for me – I’m a dog person, haha). I wanted to turn the idea into a novel, but it was tricky for YA. Why would teens worry about concepts like spinsterhood and bachelorhood when they have their whole lives ahead of them? Perhaps… if they were handed their fate on a piece of paper. Zita and her love fortunes took off from there.

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Author Kimberly Karalius

Fallon arrives in Grimbaud already believing in the love fortunes. Her older brother met his soul mate with Zita’s help, and so had generations of Duprees before her. Her expectations shatter quickly and she needs to learn what’s real and what’s not in the charming town – including her growing feelings for a certain heartbreaker! I loved writing Fallon’s journey, especially since her confident personality was so fun to capture on the page.

Zoie: Are there any future works we can look forward to aside from Love Charms and Other Catastrophes, the companion novel to Love Fortunes and Other Disasters?

Kimberly: I have one more charming surprise up my sleeve… to be revealed very soon! In the meantime, I’m working on my third book with Swoon Reads.

Zoie: Are there any specific novels or authors that had inspired you to become a writer?

Kimberly: Many of the great fairy tale authors and collectors like George MacDonald and Andrew Lang inspired me since was little. Francesca Lia Block is one of my favorite authors – her books were my first introduction to magical realism, a genre I love to read widely and write in.

Zoie: What advice can you give to aspiring writers?

Kimberly: If becoming an author is your dream, be tenacious. Try your weird ideas, submit to literary journals, share your writing at poetry readings. Never give up!

Zoie: Would you rather receive a good love fortune, or partake in the rebellion to remove Zita’s tyranny from Grimbaud?

Kimberly: Tough question! As much as I’d love a good love fortune, I’d go with joining the rebellion any day. Underneath Grimbaud’s cheerful, pink veneer lies the negative effects of Zita’s hold on the town, most evident in the existence of the Spinster and Bachelor Villas. I’d love to be part of the group that ends that. Besides, how could I pass up on seeing Femke and Mirthe in action with their weather charms?

Zoie: Seeing the twins in action with their weather charms would be ultra awesome for sure!

I’d really like to thank author Kimberly Karalius for her generous time and in-depth answers. I truly, truly appreciated them! I hoped all the readers out there enjoyed the interview, and are now itching to go get your hands on Love Fortunes and Other Disasters! It has definitely become one of my all-time favourites, and is on my MUST READ list as well!

Again, thanks to Kim for everything- without her this interview or her book would never have happened! You really are an amazing author!

Make sure to check out her blog- www.kimkaralius.com

Read my review on Love Fortunes and Other Disasters here!

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Mad Miss Mimic

In her debut novel, author Sarah Henstra introduces to us a tale of romance, mystery, and adventure.

imageFrom a young age, Leonora Somerville has suffered from a terrible stutter. But what is especially peculiar is that along with this speech impediment is the ability to mimic the voices of others flawlessly. Unable to control who or when she imitates, Leo is christened Mad Miss Mimic, and is underestimated as a seventeen- year-old heiress living in 1872, London.

As the city becomes gripped with opium fever, brother-in-law Dr. Dewhurst endeavours to create an injectable form of the drug, with the help of his business partner Mr. Thornfax. The attention of the latter is soon caught by Leo, but her heart struggles when Tom Rampling, the doctor’s working class boy, begins to frequent her thoughts and always seems to be near. But when an opium gang known as the Black Glove begins to terrorize London with explosions, Leo must find the relations between these attacks and Dr. Dewhurst’s cure, as well as the truth about her two love interests, in order to solve this captivating mystery.

Mad Miss Mimic was an incredibly spellbinding tale, beginning with the gripping introduction, all the way to the characters and the riveting plot. The fact that it was set in first person alone was enough to make it a thrilling page-turner, as readers thrive to learn more about Leonora’s story, when ironically her words fail to speak it out loud. And although this novel was set nearly two centuries ago, the message will forever remain the same: we all have problems and insecurities, but we’re always able to overcome them and settle comfortably into our own skin, as Leo struggles to accept but finally learns is possible.

The vocabulary exhibited was enriching yet refreshing, a welcomed change from today’s display of modernized literature. I felt as if I were in the very room, the descriptive settings seeming to just rise from the page, brought to life by the reader and the author. It was incredibly well written, each word being used historically accurate, graceful and enthralling. It had the writing of a classic but all the characteristics of a great YA.

In this new and engaging read, adults and teenagers alike will find themselves immersed with Leonora’s story, and what it means to find your own voice.

Check out the author interview I did with Sarah Henstra featured on TPL Teens!