miercuri, 1 mai 2013

January Black Blog Tour Stop (Interview & Giveaway)

~About the author~

Wendy S. Russo got her start writing in the sixth grade. That story involved a talisman with crystals that had to be found and assembled before bad things happened, and dialog that read like classroom roll call. Since then, she’s majored in journalism (for one semester), published poetry, taken a course on short novels, and watched most everything ever filmed by Quentin Tarantino. A Wyoming native transplanted in Baton Rouge, Wendy works for Louisiana State University as an IT analyst. She’s a wife, a mom, a Tiger, a Who Dat, and she falls asleep on her couch at 8:30 on weeknights.

~About the book~

Sixteen-year-old genius Matty Ducayn has never fit in on The Hill, an ordered place seriously lacking a sense of humor. After his school’s headmaster expels him for a small act of mischief, Matty’s future looks grim until King Hadrian comes to his rescue with a challenge: answer a question for a master’s diploma.
More than a second chance, this means freedom. Masters can choose where they work, a rarity among Regents, and the question is simple.
What was January Black?
It’s a ship. Everyone knows that. Hadrian rejects that answer, though, and Matty becomes compelled by curiosity and pride to solve the puzzle. When his search for an answer turns up long-buried state secrets, Matty’s journey becomes a collision course with a deadly royal decree. He’s been set up to fail, which forces him to choose. Run for his life with the challenge lost…or call the king’s bluff.


Refreshingly intelligent and loads of fun!
I lost a few hours as I read this book. It’s a Young Adult novel that is refreshingly and astonishingly intelligent, and the love story is perfectly played out.
Christine Ashworth, Amazon Review

The mystery was intriguing – I loved how Wendy Russo weaved in all her secrets throughout the book, how she incorporated just enough to keep you reading, while never actually divulging much of anything. I was guessing for most of it and that’s pretty hard to make me do.
Julie, Clean Teen Reads

Wendy Russo has created a masterpiece.
Ivan Amberlake, Author


1. Hello, Wendy! Can you tell us something about you and your book "January Black"?
Hello! Well, I'm a thirty-something American, married with a young son. I work for a university managing web content. I'm an author, which is how I came to be on Fantasy Books. I write science fiction and fantasy. 

My first novel, January Black, was published January 15th, and it's about a brilliant and bored young man who is tasked by his king to answer a deceptively easy question. When the only answer turns out to be wrong, finding the right answer becomes a quest through his kingdom's history. 

2. When did you decided that you wanted to be a writer?

I was young. Eleven years old, maybe? I wrote a short story and submitted it to a small competition for young writers. I didn't win.

3. Where do you find your inspiration for your novels? (If it’s not a secret) Have you ever found it in your real life?

Not secret at all. I find it in the world all around me. In the news. From watching people walk through shopping malls. From movie special effects. Ancient civilizations and by asking myself "what if?" Sometimes, when I see a trend in books, I think...I should flip that around. Make something that is traditionally bad into a good thing. I had an idea recently about an angel encountering Lucifer while the guy is installing laminate wood flooring in an apartment building he maintains for poor families. "Corrupting souls?" the prince of darkness wonders aloud, "Who's got time for that?"

4. Do any of your fictional character resemble you?

I think there's a piece of me in all of them. Hadrian has my sense of whimsy. Matty has my curiosity, my wonder, my inner imp. Iris has my caution about the world around me. 

5. What book is the first one that you remember reading? 

Put Me in the Zoo, by Robert Lopshire. A dog is walking through the zoo and he thinks the life the animals have there is great, so he asks to stay there. He's thrown out of the gates by security. Two kids see him sitting on the sidewalk, wonder why he's angry, and ask him why he should be able to stay in the zoo. He shows them a lot of magical things he can do with his spots...change colors, put them on other things, shape them into objects. The kids love his tricks and tell him that he should be in the circus, not the zoo. At the end, he's performing tricks for crowds of spectators. Happy ending. 

It's now one of my son's favorites.

6. Do you have a favorite book?

Neal Stephenson's "The Diamond Age." It's about a poor young girl in a future, dystopian Shanghai, who is raised by a book that is almost artificially intelligent and grows up to lead a rebellion as the political structures of Shanghai collapse. It has fun technology, interesting characters, and at times, I laughed out loud.

7. If you were about to leave on a trip which book would you take with you?

I don't know. My To-Be-Read list is shamefully long. I'd probably take the opportunity to catch up.

8. Tell us one thing you’d like to change about people from nowadays.

I don't know about other places in the world, but in America, we've become very reactionary. If something goes wrong, we want to know what went wrong, who's responsible, and what's being done to prevent it from happening again. And yes, we know that firefighters are still in the building, but why don't you have answers yet, Mr. Mayor?!

Yet often, when the situation is looked at from distance, it's clear to see that what we are reacting to is a symptom rather than a cause. Emotion keeps us focused on avoiding unpleasant things that we have already observed. Meanwhile, life is busy preparing the next challenge, and it will probably look nothing like a problem we've dealt with before.

I'd like people to take a breath, react to problems with more reason, less emotion. 

9. Is there a moment in your life you’d like to live again?

When my son was one year old, there was a moment when I realized he knew a lot more words than he could say. He amazes me.

10. Do you have a message for Romanian readers? Why would you recommend your book?

I have a giveaway coming up when January Black gets it's 100th review, and it will be open to international readers. The prize is a hardcover set of "The Infernal Devices", signed by Cassandra Clare. I'll be posting updates on the giveaway on my Facebook page for anyone who's interested.

January Black is a thought-provoking Young Adult tale, relevant to the modern-day, which places the responsability for education on a student's own shouders, emphases the meaning of liberty, and asks readers what they, individualy, would sacrifice to do what they felt was right.

I've never travelled outside of the United States. I'm fascinated by life in other parts of the world. It's such a thrill to know that readers in Romania now know my name. I hope you'll read January Black. I really hope you'll like it.

More Information:

 ~Blog Tour Giveaway~

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 5/8/13
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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