Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Giveaway, Interview & Review: New Sight by Jo Ann Schneider

New Sight
by Jo Schneider
Young Adult Fantasy
Expected Publication April 22, 2014
Published by Jolly Fish Press

*ARC Provided in exchange for an honest review as part of the tour*

Synopsis via Goodreads:

After succumbing to the sudden and terrifying urge to rip people’s eyes out of their sockets, 16-year-old Lysandra Blake finds herself tied down in a psych ward, convinced she’s crazy. The doctors have no answers, and Lys is ready to give up when the mysterious Jeremiah Mason appears, telling Lys that she’s not insane—she’s addicted to a rare and deadly drug that she has no recollection of using. Mr. Mason offers to take her to his facility where he can treat her. Desperate yet suspicious, Lys agrees to go with Mr. Mason to his facility where she meets with a fellow addict, the tall and handsome Kamau. Together they discover that Mr. Mason may not have told them the truth about their condition—they’re thrown headfirst into a world of daunting powers that are not only unbelievable, they are dangerous.

Grab Your Copy:

JO SCHNEIDER lives in Bountiful, Utah, but she has spent countless hours traveling all over the world. Her goal is to visit all seven continents, and she's nearly finished. Being a geek at heart, Schneider has always been drawn to science fiction and fantasy; she writes both. Based on her travels and her experience obtaining a black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate, Schneider's works feature authentic, impressive settings and extraordinary action sequences.

Connect with Jo:  Facebook   Twitter   Website  

Tell me a little bit about yourself. What do you like readers to know about the author behind the pages?

Hi, I’m Jo. My whole first name is actually Jo Ann, but hardly anyone calls me that. I’m way closer to forty than thirty, but right now I feel like I’m about twenty three because I just got married for the first time. Newlyweds are pathetic. Also, boys are kind of stinky. I have no brothers…some of this little adventure is totally new to me.  Apparently matching isn’t very important to me, because as I look around, there aren’t two pieced of furniture in my house that match. Gotta work on that.

Other than writing, what do you like to do in your free time?

What is this elusive “free time” that you speak of? Like the Rodents of Unusual Size, I don’t believe it exists. But if it did, I would travel the world. I really do want to go to all seven continents—five down and two to go. IF you count New Zealand as Australia. If not, only four down. Best trips so far: Lord of the Rings tour through New Zealand, tour through China with my Kempo class and Israel. But there have been so many more! I love traveling. And to keep safe while traveling, I’ve been in a Shaolin Kempo class long enough (I tell you, persistence is key) that I’ve earned a black belt. Mostly so it would match my shoes. Kidding, I’m kidding. If I’d known how fun hitting and punching things would be, I would have joined a dojo way earlier in my life.

Do you have any advice to individuals who aspire to become authors and get their work out there?

This is simple, but just do it. Yes, yes, stolen from Nike. But it’s true. Like anything else in your life, if you don’t put the time in, your goals will not be met. Fantastic manuscripts do not flow from your fingers each time you sit down at a keyboard. (And if they do, I hate you and am sending the flying monkeys to deal with you.) Put the time in, take the hit to your ego when someone says your writing sucks and make it better. Never give up…never surrender. (Bonus points if you know where that quote came from!)

Why did you choose the young adult genre? 

You may have noticed that I am a bit silly by nature. Sure, I can be perfectly mature and hob-nob with big-wigs and not even crack a geeky joke. But, if I have a choice, I’m laughing and poking fun at people and in general making sure everyone is having a good time. I felt like the Young Adult genre was better suited for my silliness.  Teenagers laugh easier than adults, and they’re always looking for great stores. At least I was. Also, those teenage years are when big changes come into our lives. It’s a natural point for something drastic to happen. As an author, I totally capitalized on that.

If you had to choose another genre to jump into, what would it be?

Suspense. I like making things dark!

What do you do to get into your “zone” when you’re trying to fill pages & create a new world?

Butt in chair. Headphones on—no actual music has to be playing, just the ear buds in place—and either computer or notebook in lap. I write on the computer, but almost always plan on paper. Oh, I also seem to need a variety of colored pens. That’s important.

Do you have any quirky habits that you have to do when you’re writing? A certain spot/chair/seat, a certain song you have to listen to before getting started, a drink, etc.

How long did it take you to write & finalize New Sight?

New Sight took me a year to write (and re-write and re-write about a million times). I declared it finished, went back a few months later and did another small revision.

Will it be part of a series or a standalone?

I hope it will be part of a series! I’m working on book two right now. Well, not right now…

What are the first five words that come to your mind when you think about New Sight?

Wish I could use magic.

Where did you get the idea behind the plot?

Lightning struck my brain. It came to me in the form of a thought as I was driving down the freeway. “Teenagers addicted to magic.” Not sure where it came from exactly, but I suspect all of the story ideas in my mind coalesced, mingled, separated and came up with it. Either that or I’m hearing voices. Either way is fine.

Is there a character in your work that you connect with most out of everyone? Someone’s whose PoV flows effortlessly while you’re writing or someone who you just can’t get enough of? 

Brady. He’s from England, and he’s the funny one. Also, the geeky one. Everything that comes out of his mouth makes me laugh, and even though his story may be the most tragic, he’s got a great attitude. That and he fancies himself a ladies man. And let’s face it, how many geeky guys are actually good with the ladies?

Do you have a favorite scene that you’d like to share a tiny bit about? Just a teensy little excerpt or quote? 

The climax of New Sight takes place at a place called Druid Arch. It’s a little known arch in the middle of Canyonlands National Park. As was writing, I Googled “Places of Power” or something like that, and it came up. The moment I saw it, I knew that it was exactly what I needed for my story. I happen to live in Utah, so I determined to hike to Druid Arch!

Let me point out that I am short and round. I’m in better shape than I look (remember, the black belt), but hiking has never been a strong point for me. The distance to Druid Arch and back is eleven miles. I won’t bore you with the details, but I tricked a couple of friends into coming with me, and we made it there and back. Barely.

You can’t actually get to the arch without anti-gravity boots or a helicopter, but as we sat down, had a snack and looked around, I knew I’d picked the right place. I’d already written the novel, but I felt like I already knew Druid Arch inside and out.

That was maybe the coolest part about the journey of New Sight. The only thing that could have made it better would have been to get the call from an agent saying they wanted my book while I was there. But alas, no cell phone service.

Here’s the moment that Lys steps under the Arch from New Sight.

     Standing at the base of the arch, Lys felt a familiar tug, like she’d spent time here as a kid, but she couldn’t remember the details. The rocks shot into the sky—impressive in their own right. Dark streaks stained them, as if the stone itself wept. The smooth ground beneath the arch sloped gently down to a lower center point

     Lys looked up and could see a small hole situated at the pinnacle. Well, it looked small from here, but the hole itself could be as wide as she was tall.

     Gold tendrils of magic reached down from the hole, wrapped through the stone and continued to the ground. Once they reached the bowl, the vine-like magic followed the circumference of the depression, spiraling downward into the center.

     She looked around in wonder. The magic ebbed through the stone, lapping at her feet like the ocean brushing a sandy beach. She could see every crack in the rocks and every ray of sunshine that penetrated the arch. The light seemed to linger in the arch, giving the entire scene an unearthly glow. The place felt alien, but it also felt like home.

Is there anything you’d like to share? You have the floor. :) 

Follow your dreams, especially when it becomes hard. Don’t hang out with people who don’t push you upward, and always remember that you are awesome.

I think we all need to be reminded of this.

I'm a sucker for a good book about magic and this one did suck me in once it hit a certain point in the plot. 

Poor Lys. That girl went through hell a few times and back again. Getting institutionalized because people thought she was crazy when it was really all linked back to the addiction of magic. I mean, hello... the girl wanted to rip people's eyes out. LOL I loved the twists and turns that the story took. There were a few intense moments when I couldn't turn the pages fast enough but overall, it was a nice, easy pace. 

I enjoyed the characters, though I felt like they could be a little bit more well-rounded. At times, the felt a little flat but it wasn't so bad that I disliked them or felt like putting the book down. 

The visual descriptions! Love! I was swept away by the author's descriptions of the past/history and how it moved to the present. I loved how descriptive the author was - it was like I could've reached out and joined in the craziness. Sometimes, authors are too descriptive to the point where I become bored. It wasn't like that at all with this novel. Jo did a great job. 

So overall, the action kept me glued to the pages and the characters kept me intrigued. 

Definitely a solid 4 for me. 

Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Cover: 3.5 Stars
Characters: 3.5 Stars
Plot: 4 Stars
Climax: 4 Stars
Ending: 4 Stars

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