Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Five -- Nikki Loftin

Today's Friday Five features Nikki Loftin, author of THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY, published by Razorbill on August 21 (another Penguin sister!)  Nikki is also an Apocalypsies member and a delightful cheerleader of reading and writing.


1.  What is your earliest memory?

Weird. My earliest memory relates to books! I remember sitting in the loft part of a playhouse my dad had built for me behind the house we lived in until I was four. I had a book up there, and I was reading it (yes, I was one of those freaky three-year-old readers), and feeling like I was hidden from the whole world. I think I love that about books the most: the way you can escape utterly into a place where no one can find you. But where you can find yourself, if you spend long enough there.

2.  What would your super power be?

One hundred percent: FLYING. (I’ve actually spent quite a lot of time discussing this question with my sons, who are 9 and 12 years old.  Not sure why it comes up so often, but we’ve spent more than few car rides to school debating the pros and cons of different superpowers.)

3.  What keeps you awake at night?

Zombies. I mean, I’ve sort of learned to tune them out, but the constant scraping at my window, the moaning for “brains” at all hours, and the smell of rancid, rotting flesh? Potpourri can’t touch it. I gotta go with zombies on this one. If anyone can give me a great way to overcome my “inzombnia,” I’m all ears.

4.  What is your most treasured possession?

It’s hard to pick just one, as I discovered last year. We had a fire break out just across the street last year, though. Since we live in a rural, heavily wooded area, and that day had forty-mile-per-hour winds moving from the fire straight toward our house, we had to evacuate! I think it was: kids, then pets, then photo albums and musical instruments. Then the laptops and two enormous paintings I bought in New Mexico.

I know, I know. We could all have been burnt to a crisp, what with all that packing, if the fire had spread faster. But the fire department came and saved the day. Whew!

5.  What intrigues you?

Birdsongs. I’m not sure why.

Also, I love palindromes. My favorite short one is “rats live on no evil star.”

My favorite long one? “Doc, note: I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.”


When Lorelei's old school mysteriously burns down, a new one appears practically overnight: Splendid Academy. Rock-climbing walls on the playground and golden bowls of candy on every desk? Gourmet meals in the cafeteria, served by waiters? Optional homework and two recess periods a day? It's every kids's dream.

But Lorelei and her new friend Andrew are pretty sure it's too good to be true. Together they uncover a sinister mystery, one with their teacher, the beautiful Ms. Morrigan, at the very center.

Then Andrew disappears. Lorelei has to save him, even if that means facing a past she'd like to forget – and taking on a teacher who's a real witch.

What Lorelei and Andrew discover chills their bones – and might even pick them clean!

You can order SINISTER SWEETNESS here!


You can find Nikki at her website.
And on Twitter.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Literary Weekend!

This past weekend, I met up with authors and book bloggers at the Palo Alto Litquake festival at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center.  The weather was gorgeous, the festival fun and free and casual and the conversation amazing (aren't they all when they're centered around books?)

I spoke as part of a panel with authors Corrine Jackson (IF I LIE), Veronica Rossi (UNDER THE NEVER SKY) and Talia Vance (SILVER), moderated by the amazing Pan Van Hylckama-Vlieg, known as Bookalicious Pam to the blogging world, but also a literary agent with Larsen Pomada.  We talked books and the publishing process, and answered the truly difficult questions like "If you went to Hogwarts, which house would the sorting hat put you in?" My answer? Hufflepuff. Because I'm kind of unsortable, and it's the place where people who haven't quite decided where their place is yet.  Veronica would be my roommate. :)

Talia Vance, Corrine Jackson, Veronica Rossi and me.
And no, we didn't color-coordinate on purpose!
We were joined by some members of the amazing Northern California book blogging community and dinner afterwards included lively discussions of our favorite books...
Debbie (@DebWorldofBooks) Nancy (@RavenousReadr) Tara (@tarataterbeans)
Mindy (@bookluvrmindy) Jaime (@arnoldjaime13) and Pam (@BookaliciousPam)
The most exciting part of the day was seeing all of our books together, being sold at the event by Books, Inc.  Corrine's isn't officially published until tomorrow, and Talia's will be in stores on September 8, but we got early pickings (and of course I had to buy both!)