Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Guest Post and giveaway: Andy Marino, author of Unison Spark

A huge welcome to Andy Marino, author of the action-packed thriller, Unison Spark! Today's social network-obsessed teens (and adults...ahem...) will love the fast pace and the super cool setting. Appealing to fans of Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series for sure! 
I'm really excited about this post, as Andy has been kind enough to share some of his favorite books with us! I love learning about what authors like to read and where their writing style may have come from. You never know what you can lean about someone simply by asking them about their favorite books!
Read Andy's post and then see how you can win a copy of Unison Spark for yourself!

Today’s the day that UNISON SPARK hits shelves, and to celebrate I thought I’d mention a few books that have inspired me over the years. I’ve never been too picky about genre, target demographic, or intended age level (although I will own up to getting sucked in by awesome cover art). When I was a kid I read both YA and adult fiction of all kinds, and the same is true now. To honor this distinction, I’ve divided my short list into age-defying categories.
Adult novel I loved as a teen:
THE STAND by Stephen King
I had the mammoth “complete and uncut” edition, the author’s equivalent of an extended director’s cut. King restored a few pages that had ended up on his editor’s floor, bringing the word count up to approximately fifty million. At the time, the book felt BEYOND huge. I was already a Lord of the Rings fan so I was no stranger to sprawling works of fiction, but something about the “real-world” setting of an America decimated by a killer superflu made The Stand feel even bigger. And the abandoned cities and empty countryside were much creepier than Mordor. With the aid of some tape, the ragged mass-market paperback with newsprinty pages that I bought as a kid still lives on my bookshelf.
YA novel I loved as a teen:
REDWALL by Brian Jacques
I think I received this one as a present – I was into fantasy novels, so anything with anthropomorphic rodents, castles, and medieval weaponry on the cover was a pretty low-risk gift for me. This book (the first in a long series) is about an order of peaceful mice who defend their abbey against a roving horde of evil rats and other malevolent creatures. I remember it being so ridiculously exciting and unputdownable that it inspired me to write the author a fan letter (you can read his kind and encouraging reply on my blog). I was never quite sure about the size of the abbey – whether it was a mouse-sized building or an abandoned human-sized building populated by mice. I’d sort of like to think it was the latter.
Adult novel I love as an adult:
CLOUD ATLAS by David Mitchell
David Mitchell is a stone cold genius. I remember reading a review that likened the structure of this novel to “nesting dolls,” and that’s as good a description as any. Here’s how it works: the first section drops the reader onto a boat near New Zealand in the 1850s. Then the story jumps to Belgium in the 1930s at what seems like a strange place for a chapter break. These jarring time-skips continue through four more chapters, until we find ourselves in a post-apocalyptic future. This chapter is complete from beginning to end and serves as a bridge back to the second half of the fifth chapter, which transitions to the second half of the fourth chapter, and so on down the timeline until the book ends with the completion of the first chapter, back in the 1850s. Oh, and each chapter is written in a different style (my favorite is an interrogation of a genetically engineered clone-servant in dystopian future Korea).
YA novel(s) I love as an adult, 2011 edition:
I’ve read several great new YA novels this year, from the post-apocalyptic (Jeff Hirsch’s THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE) to the superheroic (Karsten Knight’s WILDEFIRE) and beyond. If adventure stories aren’t your thing or you’re just looking for a change of pace, check out IMAGINARY GIRLS by Nova Ren Suma. Maybe I’m biased because it takes place in upstate New York, where I was born and raised, but it certainly deserves a mention because of its unexpected qualities. The book is haunting in an off-kilter kind of way that evokes David Lynch, although it doesn’t rely on the brain-melting weirdness of his movies. It’s not exactly a horror novel either, although it does sustain an atmosphere of creeping dread. A plot encapsulation won’t do it justice, and I don’t want to give too much away, but I’d recommend it if you like stories about complex sibling relationships, small towns, or the disturbingly thin line between the living and the dead.
Thanks so much again for stopping by, Andy! 
If you'd like to receive an ARC of Unison Spark, leave a comment on this post by Sunday night. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on 11/13. Two are up for grabs!


Jes said...

I would love to win a copy of this book! I agree that it is great to know what books the authors are really enjoying; I usually find a couple new books to check out from it :)

Kulsuma said...

I love the Uglies series, so I am sure to love this. Sounds fantastic! Do count me in if this is international.

Heidi Grange said...

The book sounds intriguing, especially with the prevalent use of social media in our world today.

hg195 at yahoo dot com

Susan said...

Oooh, I've never heard of this, but it sounds fun. I'd love to win!