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Top reads for 2013 January 6, 2013

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Book lists, Book picks, Fun stuff.
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Sorry for the lag between posts. Wish I could say I was out time traveling but it was something more mundane: work! However, I’m back. So here’s a look at my fave reads from last year and what I’m looking forward to reading in 2013. (This is part of a post I did for my friends at www.sookiestackhouse.com. You can read their faves here!) Did I miss any of your faves? Let me know in the comments section. Happy New Year!

MY FAVE 2012 BOOKS:

1. Poison Princess (Book No. 1 in Arcana Chronicles) by Kresley Cole (This is a YA book but it’s a combo of a dystopian world/Tarot card characters and a smoking hot attraction between the heroine and lead male character. Great read.)

2. Iced (Dani O’Malley series No. 1) by Karen Marie Moning (Ending is predictable but I just wanna know more about the Fever world!)

3. Deadlocked (Sookie book No. 12) By Charlaine Harris. (Coming off the disappointing Dead Reckoning, I liked this second-to-last book in the series.)

4. Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr (Promising start to a nifty series set in world of daimons vs. witches)

5. Days of Blood & Starlight (Book No. 2 of Daughter of Smoke and Bone) by Laini Taylor (Fantastic sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, whose opening line is “Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”)

BOOKS I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO READING IN 2013:

1. Dead Ever After (Last of the Sookie books) by Charlaine Harris

2. Frost Burned (Book No. 7 of the Mercy Thompson series) by Patricia Briggs

3. Dead Silence (Book No. 4 in the Body Finder series) by Kimberly Derting

4. Endless Knight (Book No. 2 in the Arcana Chronicles) by Kresley Cole (tentative title)

5. Burned (Dani O’Malley Book No. 2) By Karen Marie Moning

‘Body Finder’ author Kimberly Derting pens new series — ‘The Pledge’ March 27, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in News.
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New YA author Kimberly Derting last month released DESIRES OF THE DEAD, her second book in THE BODY FINDER series about 17-year-old Violet Ambrose, who can hear the echoes of the dead. Kimberly has about 100 pages to write by April 1 for her third installment in the series (she’s yet to name the book), but she’s already got a new series that debuts Nov. 15: THE PLEDGE. (Check out our interview with her on Last Bite Podcast with my pal Maria! It should post in another day but CLICK HERE for the link!)

Here’s a description of THE PLEDGE from Kimberly’s website:

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It’s there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she’s never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.

DID YOU MISS THESE? (CLICK TO READ!)

Our podcast with YA author Melissa Marr!
Book pick: DARKEST MERCY fitting ending to WICKED LOVELY series
Alyson Noël’s latest — ‘Shimmer’ — is out!
Check out the new paperback cover for ‘Shadowfever’
Now what? An Amish/vampire novel? Yes — ‘Forsaken’


Q&A: Author of ‘The Body Finder’ on echoes and serial killers July 20, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors.
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Sixteen-year-old Violet Ambrose hears dead people. She’s inherited the ability to sense the “echoes” the dead leave behind — the dead who have been murdered — from her grandmother. When a serial killer comes to town and starts murdering teen-age girls, Violet steps in to track the killer, who retains the imprints of these echoes. That’ the premise behind THE BODY FINDER, the debut novel by Kimberly Derting. I wondered why she decided to tell this story and what is up next in the series:

Q. You’re a new author, so what inspired you to write a YA paranormal vs another genre (or even an adult paranormal because Violet’s story could’ve been told through the eyes on an adult)?

A. My first attempt at writing a novel (using that word loosely) was a full-on adult horror novel called ONE OF THEM, because I wanted to write like Stephen King (HA!).  Fortunately, it was never published but it did make for really good practice.  Only when I finally gave up on that manuscript did I discover (and fall in love with) YA!

Q. You mentioned at a book signing that your husband gave you the idea for THE BODY FINDER. Tell us a bit more about this.

A. Here we go … his favorite question!  Yes, the original idea actually came from my husband, who said (one day while we were driving): “What if there was a kid who could find dead bodies?”  Of course, in his head it was a middle-school-boy adventure book.   But I loved the basic idea … as long as it was a girl in high school and she had a love interest.  It took some time to hammer out the rules of her creepy ability (how she would find the dead bodies), but once I did, I was obsessed with getting her story on paper. To this day though, my husband will still refer to himself as my co-author!

Q. The concept of an echo is intriguing. Do all of the dead have an echo or just those who meet a violent end? (In the book, even animals have echoes!)

A. Violet doesn’t understand all of the parameters of her “gift” yet, and that’s something that she considers/explores a bit more in DESIRES OF THE DEAD, but there are definitely some bodies that she senses more strongly than others. Also, one doesn’t have to necessarily die violently to have an echo.

Q. We know Vi gets her gift from her grandmother. Does the “gift” skip a generation because neither of her parents have the ability? Will we learn more about how Vi’s grandmother handled her gift? (Did Vi ever meet her? Curious about this part of the story!)

A. This is another thing that Violet delves into a little more in book two, so I won’t say too much.  I will say that it’s a gift that only the women in her family tend to inherit (her maternal grandmother was the last one to have it), and while it doesn’t necessarily skip generations as a rule, her mother most definitely doesn’t have it!

Q. In one part of the book, Vi visits a cemetery and the dead call out to her. It’s intriguing because you mention very specifically about the echoes she hears. How did you write that scene? Did you visit a cemetery?

A. Yes, there’s a specific cemetery (not too far from my house) that I envisioned when I wrote the scene. I really loved writing that scene because I wanted to give the readers a sense of how beautiful the call of the dead can be for Violet.

Q. Do all “killers” leave an imprint that Vi can sense?

A. Violet believes so, although some deaths have much stronger echoes than others.  And “killers” is a fairly loose term, since it includes hunters, those who’ve killed in the line of duty … and her cat.  Violet will learn more as the books progress, but some of the laws of her ability (like with psychics) will be elusive and hard to put a finite rule on.

Q. Was it hard to balance Vi’s romantic yearnings as a teen with the serial killer story?

A. It’s funny actually, because initially, there weren’t as many scenes from the killer’s point of view.  I thought they were maybe too dark for a YA novel.  So when my editor came back and asked for more of them, I was thrilled!  I know, I know, this makes me sound sick and twisted!

Q. Is there more to Jay than meets the eye? He seems so protective of Vi — almost like an Alpha Teen Dude!

A. I think Jay just worries about her the way anyone would worry about someone if…you know … they were hunting for a serial killer!  But despite all of that, Jay still loves Violet unconditionally.  By the way, we should totally go into business together selling Alpha Teen Dude shirts.  Love that phrase!

Q. Those nasty high school upper classmen! Are those characters based on your own high school memories? If not — where?

A. No, I actually had a good high school experience, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have the chance to witness plenty of bitchy girls along the way.  And for some reason, girls seem to be so much nastier than the guys.  If the guys don’t like each other, they just stay out of each other’s way for the most part … girls will go out of their way to be hateful.

Q. You almost end THE BODY FINDER with a cliffhanger but then you give us an epilogue. Why did you choose this format vs just a straight out narration?

A. I wanted the shock value, it’s as simple as that.  I’m afraid if I explain more, it’ll be too spoilery!  😉

Q. Tell us how you went from idea to writing to getting published.

A. As I mentioned before, I had written another novel before that never got published (and I spent years trying!).  So with THE BODY FINDER, I was surprised when everything happened very quickly.  I finished the manuscript in about six months, attended a writer’s conference where I met my agent, and within a month of submission we were already fielding offers from publishers.  It was pretty amazing!

Q. I know you have kids, but are any of them old enough to read your stories? (If so — do you ever talk to them as you write to get ideas or feedback?)

A. My oldest daughter was my first beta-reader (besides my husband—the “co-author”—of course).  She was the perfect age for it (unlike my husband) and I only asked if she would read the first 50 pages to let me know what she thought.  That was at around lunchtime.  By the time I was going to bed, she’d printed out the entire manuscript and was just finishing up!  That was pretty high praise, considering she wasn’t much of a reader then.

Q. Do you have a title for your series and do you know how many books you’ll write?

A. It’s the Body Finder series, and at this point I’m hoping there will be at least two (maybe even three) more beyond Desires of the Dead (since I already have them plotted out).  Now it’s just a matter of the stars aligning to see if it works out that way!!!

Q. I know DESIRES OF THE DEAD is next in the series. What can you tell us about it? Any sneak previews coming?

A. I can give you a peek at the jacket copy from the ARC:

When Violet Ambrose’s morbid ability to sense the echoes of those who’ve been murdered leads her to the body of a young boy, she draws the attention of the FBI. She is reluctantly pulled into an investigation that will endanger more than just her secret…but her relationship and possibly her life as well.

Q. What are you reading now?

A. Right now I’m reading an ARC of Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (and LOVING it!).

Q. Anything else you’d like to add?

A. Thanks so much for having me today …this was so much fun!!!

Check out Kim’s Website HERE. And you can follow her on Twitter @kimberlyderting. You can also follow her on Facebook under her name.

***

Miss these? A few other author interviews on the blog.

Chris Farnsworth — ‘Blood Oath’ author on his vampire, movie and what part of the novel is true!

Teresa D’Amario

Lucy Monroe — On her medieval Scottish werewolves

Alexandra Ivy On her vampires and werewolves

Enid WilsonWhat ‘Really Angelic’ author says when people don’t like her books

Gena Showalter — On her fave characters, books and Kresley Cole

Keri Arthur — On her Riley Jenson series and why it must end!

Christine Feehan — Drake Sisters and Dark Slayer

Alyson Noel — Her Immortals Series

Charlaine Harris — Her latest Sookie book and HBO’s TRUE BLOOD

Jennifer Lyon: BLOOD MAGIC

Shana Abe: THE TREASURE KEEPER

Susan Squires: TIME FOR ETERNITY

Linda O Johnston: ALPHA WOLF


Book pick: ‘Echoes’ from the dead make ‘The Body Finder’ intriguing YA debut novel June 20, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Reviews/summaries.
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6 comments

Violet Ambrose hears dead people. The 16-year-old inherited the ability to sense the “echoes” the dead leave behind — the dead who have been murdered — from her grandmother. When a serial killer comes to town and starts murdering teen-age girls, Violet steps in to track the killer, who retains the imprints of these echoes.

Pretty heavy for a teen, eh? But author Kimberly Derting, in her debut novel THE BODY FINDER, manages to weave the suspenseful and at times disturbing story of a serial killer together with the life of a teen-age girl who is struggling with all of that other awkward stuff like snotty high school seniors, the guy you don’t want to date — and the guy you wish you were dating — to make this YA story a fast and interesting read.

Derting is really telling two stories here, and at first that’s  a bit confusing. There’s the story about Violet being able to hear the echoes from the dead and track the serial killer. But a second storyline focuses on Violet and her best friend, Jay Heaton, who seems to have suddenly gotten more handsome and charismatic over the summer, leaving Violet confused about their relationship. It’s obvious to everyone around them — and those reading the book — that they will wind up together. OK — maybe it’s not so obvious to some of the characters in the book who compete for the teens’ affections.  But it’s  kind of charming if you’re in one of those moods where you want to relive those angst-ridden “does he love me or love me not” days.

The really intriguing part of the story: The echoes Violet hears. The dead who were murdered call out to her. Not just human dead. As a little girl, she’d find small animals that had been killed. Sometimes by her own cat. The echoes dim once the dead have been properly buried and the unnatural death somehow resolved.

Walking through a cemetery, the sounds reach out to her.  She hears the “echo” — sounds of fireworks popping — of Edith Bernhard, who died at age 65. What happened to her? She didn’t die a natural death. A man who died in his early 30s has an echo that smells like strong coffee. He died more than 40 years ago but still calls out.

Even more interesting is that these echoes aren’t just one way. A murderer — or even someone like a police officer who has killed in the line of duty — retains the echo of his/her victim. So Violet can sense a killer based on that imprint. That’s how she tracks down the murdered girls’ hidden bodies and their killer. (Yup — she even senses the imprints on her cat!)

Her family knows about her ability — as does her uncle, who is the chief of police in her hometown. And her buddy Jay — who can be way overprotective and overbearing as guys go — knows, too. But Violet is a teen with her own mind and does her own thing — so she’s not some helpless heroine.

The ending — which I won’t give away — is a little predictable.  The serial killer conclusion is wrapped up in a way that leaves you feeling rushed after the insights that Derting gives us throughout the novel by alternating chapters with the killer’s thoughts and building suspense. But I liked this novel because Derting kept my attention. She didn’t go overboard with descriptions or emotions. And the whole concept of the echoes was compelling. I’m also  curious how this new YA author will develop the echoes idea and characters in the next book of this series, DESIRES OF THE DEAD, due out next March.

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