Q&A with #YA Author KD McEntire & W*n REAPER & LIGHTBRINGER

Today, I’d like to welcome to Preternatura author KD McEntire, whose debut YA urban fantasy/romance Lightbringer was released last November. KD lives in the Kansas City area, and is celebrating the release (tomorrow!) of the second in her series, Reaper. You can learn more about KD and her books at her website.
Want to win copies of both Lightbringerand Reaper? Read on…

ABOUT LIGHTBRINGERWendy has the ability to see souls that have not moved on—but she does not seek them out. They seek her. They yearn for her . . . or what she can do for them. Without Wendy’s powers, the Lost, the souls that have died unnaturally young, are doomed to wander in the never forever, and Wendy knows she is the only one who can set them free by sending them into the light. Each soul costs Wendy, delivering too many souls would be deadly, and yet she is driven to patrol, dropping everyone in her life but her best friend, Eddie—who wants to be more than friends—until she meets Piotr.Piotr, the first Rider and guardian of the Lost, whose memory of his decades in the never, a world that the living never see, has faded away. With his old-fashioned charms, and haunted kindness, he understands Wendy in ways no one living ever could, yet Wendy is hiding that she can do more than exist in the never. Wendy is falling for a boy who she may have to send into the light. But there are darker forces looking for the Lost. Trying to regain the youth and power that the Lost possess, the dark ones feed on the Lost and only Wendy and Piotr can save them—but at what cost?

ABOUT REAPER: Reaper is set in a world a breath away from our own. After the death of her mother, Wendy is attempting to fill her mother’s shoes and discovering that the prospect is far more difficult than she ever imagined. Learning that she is part of a powerful and ancient family of Reapers that her mother had forsaken is just the first surprise—Wendy soon discovers that the San Francisco Bay Never is filled with political powers and factions both previously unknown and completely mysterious to Wendy. Since both her mother and Piotr are gone, Wendy must struggle to maneuver between the machinations of the dead and the dark intentions of her living Reaper family. Eventually betrayed and made sick unto death, the clock is ticking before Wendy will fall—she has only a matter of days to unravel the mysteries her mother left behind and to convince her wary family to accept her as one of their own.

Now, let’s hear from KD. Welcome!
Give us the “elevator pitch” for your series.
REAPER and NEVER, parts two and three in the LIGHTBRINGER trilogy, are the next two books to hit shelves. They’re basically expanding on the universe and introducing Wendy to the Reapers, her extended family, and explaining why the Never exists in the first place. Piotr finally fully remembers his past and learns exactly why he and Wendy are so connected.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
I think my favorite scene is in NEVER. I don’t dare describe it in detail – spoilers abound – but we get to see Piotr’s mother. She’s a very interesting character and I had a lot of fun writing her.
Hardest scene you’ve ever written:
There’s an unpublished novel sitting on my hard drive that I wrote and rewrote about half a dozen times before setting it aside. The hardest scene I’ve ever tackled was when I killed off a major supporting character in this particular book. He was such a vivid, fun character and I loathed saying goodbye but it was what needed to happen.           
What’s on your nightstand or top of your TBR pile?
The No-Cry Potty Training Solution is on my nightstand. Fair Coin is in the car. Let’s Pretend This Never Happenedby the Bloggess/Jenny Lawson is in the bathroom and Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett (I’m rereading all my Pratchett in order) is queued up on the tablet.        
Favorite book when you were a child:
Too many to count! I was constantly reading and I devoured every book I could get my hands on. I DID reread most of the VC Andrews books at least half a dozen times by twelve. Ditto for all the available Stephen King – I think I read The Stand ten times before I turned twenty and I first picked up IT at age ten. As for books aimed for my actual age bracket, anything by Christopher Pike or the original LJ Smith would get my birthday cash every time.    
Your five favorite authors:
Stephen King. Terry Pratchett. Holly Black.  JK Rowling. They’re the ones I automatically pre-order when I hear a new title is coming out, but I’m also fond of Robin Wasserman, Kris Reisz, Neil Gaiman, Wil Wheaton, and Scott Westerfield.
Book you’ve faked reading:
I never finished Heart of Darkness but that’s the only book I’ve ever started in earnest that I didn’t complete. (Browsing books in the bookstore doesn’t count!)
Book you’re an evangelist for:
Tripping to Somewhere by Kris Reisz.
Book you’ve bought for the cover:
Twilight. I picked up a copy on Amazon before it hit big just because I had a little spare cash and the cover was very unique for the time.    
Book that changed your life:
Lightbringer. I know that’s not what you’re looking for with this question, but honestly books don’t sway me much. I take all self-help books with a shaker full of salt and while I love fiction, it doesn’t change who I am at my core. It never has. The only book to actually affect my life and how I look at things was the first one I got published. It proved to me that I could do this, that I could actually write for a living, and that other people might be interested in the stories I’ve been telling myself since I was a little girl. (Suzanne sez: I actually think that’s a brilliant answer and wished I’d thought of it.)
           
Favorite line from a book:
Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have.” – Hermione Granger. I busted up laughing so hard I cried. It was just so Hermione, you know?
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Under the Dome (Stephen King). Mostly because I will never, ever read that book again. Or, at least, I don’t think I will. It’s one of the few books I’ve read where I was just SO FRUSTRATED with the characters that I actually wished it was feasible to reach into the book. Why? I wanted to physically throttle almost all of them. I’d like to enjoy the story again without wanting to commit character homicide.
Most horrifying moment while reading a book:
The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum made my sick to my stomach. I finished it but only because I desperately wanted to know that everyone got their comeuppance in the end. I had to put that book down a LOT and it took me a long time to wade through. If brain bleach existed, I’d use it to scour that book from my head… and finding out years later that it was based on a true story made it even more horrid.
Favorite book about books or writing:
On Writing by Stephen King. So far as I’m concerned every writer who wants to get published needs to read On Writing.
What’s next?
I’m finishing up a round of edits for Never, I’ve got a YA manuscript making the rounds, and I’m pounding out some pretty interesting proposals. I’ll be at DragonCon in Atlanta when Labor Day rolls around. Other than that, I’m playing it by ear.
Thanks, KD!
This is a great chance to win the first two books in this terrific series. Note that Lightbringer is a hardcover copy, while Reaper is a trade-sized ARC. Reading KD’s answers made me think about how Stephen King has influenced so many of today’s genre fiction authors, myself included. So for today, if you love All Things Steve, what’s your favorite? I too have read The Stand a bazillion times, but It is the one that creeped me out the most.
You know the drill. One entry for comment, another for blog follow, a third for a Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and a fourth for a Tweet or Retweet. Now…Go forth and comment!

New Releases June 18-25 & Reader’s Choice Contest


We have a moderate-sized list of new releases in a variety of genres this week. New, to help you out, is a designation at the end: SF for sci-fi, F for traditional/epic fantasy; UF for urban fantasy; PR for paranormal romance; YA for young-adult paranormal. As always, comment at the end and tell me which one you’re most anxious to read. If I pick your name, you’ll win it! Details at the end. Here we go….

A Need So Beautiful, by Suzanne Young
(June 21, Balzer & Bray)
Her best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s wrong: She is a kind of angel who feels the Need, a powerful draw to help someone, usually a stranger. There have been others who’ve felt the Need, but they’re forgotten by everyone whose lives they touched. And as everyone begins to slowly forget her, Charlotte must decide if she’ll fight the Need in order to remain herself—no matter how dark the consequences. YA
Dead Rules, by Randy Russell
(June 21, HarperTeen)
Sometimes falling in love means you have to kill somebody. Jana Webster and Michael Haynes were destined to be together forever. But Jana just died in a bowling accident, and now she’s trapped in Dead School. Jana is certain that it won’t be long before Michael kills himself in order to spend eternity with her, but the days are passing and Michael is, inexplicably, still alive. So Jana decides to take matters into her own hands. YA
Fort Freak, edited by George R.R. Martin
(June 21, Tor)
In 1946, an alien virus that rewrites human DNA was accidentally unleashed in the skies over New York City. It killed 90 percent of those it infected. Nine percent survived, mutated into tragically deformed creatures. And one percent gained superpowers. The Wild Cards shared-universe series, created and edited by George R. R. Martin, is the tale of the history of the world since then. Now, in the latest Wild Cards mosaic novel, we meet the world of Manhattan’s Fifth Precinct, or “Fort Freak,” as everyone calls the cop-shop where every other desk sergeant, detective and patrol officer is more than human. Featuring original work by Cherie Priest, Paul Cornell, David Anthony Durham, and many others. Twenty-first in the Wild Cards series. SF
Happily Ever After, anthology edited
by John Klima (June 21, Night Shade)
Happily Ever After is a star-studded book of fairy tales, featuring an introduction by Bill Willingham (Fables) and stories by Gregory Maguire, Susanna Clarke, Karen Joy Fowler, Charles de Lint, Holly Black, Garth Nix, Kelly Link, Peter Straub, Neil Gaiman, Patricia Briggs and others. F
Haunting Violet, by Alyxandra Harvey
(June 21, Walker)
Violet Willoughby doesn’t believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother’s elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose. YA
The Plain Man, by Steve Englehart
(June 21, Tor)
Max August is not invulnerable, but he never ages, a gift he earned while studying alchemy. Now an alchemist, Max is using his abilities to fight the right-wing conspiracy known as the FRC. At the top of the FRC is a nine-member cabal, each member of which is a powerful force in one area of society. When Max learns two members of the cabal are en route to Wickr, a Burning Man-like festival in the American Southwest, he stages a plan to gather information and, he hopes, turn one member against the others. UF
Shadow’s Lure, by Jon Sprunk
(June 21, Pyr)
Caim left the assassin’s life behind when he helped an Empress claim her throne. But now his past is calling. Searching for the truth behind the murder and disappearance of his parents, he discovers a land in thrall to the Shadow. Haunted by temptations from the Other Side, he becomes mired in a war he does not want to fight. But there are some things a son of the Shadow cannot ignore, and some fights from which he cannot run. Second in the Shadow Saga series. F
The Slice, by Greg Taylor
(June 21, Feiwel and Friends)
Four months after they discover that their employer Killer Pizza was a front for an underground Monster Hunting Organization, Toby and his fellow rookie Monster Combat Officers have been invited to New York to tour KP Headquarters. But the exclusive tour is cut short when a monster emergency sends the trio on a mission to deliver Calanthe, a defecting monster with serpent-like abilities, into the Monster Protection Program. Second in the Killer Pizza series.  YA
Spellbound, by Cara Lynn Shultz
(June 21, Harlequin Teen)
What’s a girl to do when meeting The One means she’s cursed to die a horrible death? Life hasn’t been easy on 16-year-old Emma Conner, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But friendly faces are few and far between, except for one she’s drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy who might be her very own white knight. But ever since she saw him, strange things have been happening. Like visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else. YA
Witches of East End, by Melissa de la Cruz
(June 21, Hyperion)
The Beauchamp girls live in the fictional town of North Hampton, and are struggling to stop an arch nemesis and restore the delicate balance between good and evil. De la Cruz weaves characters from her best-selling Blue Bloods young adult series into this new paranormal series for adults. UF
The Banshee’s Walk, by Frank Tuttle
(June 22, Samhain)
When Lady Erlorne Werewilk hires Markhat to identify who is stealthily mapping out the Lady’s estate by moonlight, Markhat anticipates the usual: greedy relatives or rapacious neighbors plotting a land grab. Before the first night is done, the house is visited by murder, mayhem, and the haunting wail of what may be a genuine banshee, come to herald not just one death, but the deaths of all within. Trapped in a house under siege, Markhat must gamble with an old enemy to unlock the secret that lies beneath the Lady’s lands. PR
See anything you want? So…Reader’s choice―you tell me. Just a note: if you like a title but it isn’t the first in a series, you can always request the first in that series instead. (That’s for Reader’s Choice contests only.) As always, four entries possible and please include your e-mail: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for a Tweet or RT about the contest. Now….go!