Sunday, December 2, 2012

Book Lovers Giveaway Hop Featuring Rachel Harris, author of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century

Announcing the 2nd Annual Book Lover's Holiday Hop.

December 4th to 10th 

Co-hosted by Maryann from Chapter by Chapter
Thanks to both I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Chapter by Chapter for hosting this great giveaway hop! 

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century
I am so excited to introduce Rachel Harris, who is the author of the really fun book, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century! On top of that, she is a super duper nice person, which always is a plus!

Goodreads Book Description: On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother-to-be and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

My Amazon Review: Review of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century

Author Blurb: As a teen, Rachel Harris threw raging parties that shook her parents’ walls and created embarrassing fodder for future YA novels.As an adult, she reads and writes obsessively, rehashes said embarrassing fodder, and dreams up characters who become her own grown up version of imaginary friends. When she's not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, you can find her homeschooling her two beautiful princesses, hanging out with her amazing husband, or taking a hot bubble bath…next to a pile of chocolate. MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY is her debut novel.  She did have her own fantabulous Sweet Sixteen in high school. Sadly, it wasn't televised.

Author Website:

Author Interview Part I.
1. Tell us a little about your journey in writing your first book. What and who inspired its conception?
 My first book is actually a YA Contemporary I hope to be telling you all about very soon (*wink*), but I started writing My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century only a few months later. As a homeschool mom, I was busy catching up on all the classics I never read myself as a child (refusing to read anything else) so I could be well-versed on them and, well, that’s what I thought I needed to do. Never mind the fact that at the time my girls were only 4 and 5 at the time. But in the middle of all that, my wonderful husband decided to buy me Twilight. Luckily, this was April two years ago and all the books were already out, because I read that baby twice in two days, and he quickly bought me all the rest of them. By the end of the week, and the entire series read (including Midnight Sun) I admitted I was obsessed and hooked. I started gobbling up YA books like candy, reading a book or two a day most days, just having an absolute blast. By that August I thought about trying to write my own YA book.

So for inspiration, I blame my husband and Stephanie Meyer, in that order =D

2. I love your protagonist, Cat, and can't help but wonder if she is patterned at all after yourself or other people you know. Can you remark on her in particular and in general, how you come up with characters? Which character was the most fun to write? Which character was the most unexpected?
The main character in that first book I wrote is most like me. I think that’s not usual for authors to do. Cat, on the other hand, the similarities aren’t as easy to spot. First off, she’s a daughter of Hollywood. I’m not. I did work for a summer at Entertainment Tonight so I got a glimpse into that world, but I’m as far from celebrity as you can get. And then, Cat’s funny. I’m so not. I think I’m silly, yes, but that’s mostly because I’m spastic and like to laugh, and people laugh with me (or sometimes at me lol). Cat is good with one-liners. I have no clue where that comes from. But at her heart, Cat is loyal, she’s close to her dad, she longs for that really good, close friend she can lean on and trust. That’s me completely.

As for other characters, I’m a big character writer and reader. When I sit down to plot a book, I always start with them. I start with who the book will be about, and then figure out who the love interest needs to be to challenge/complete them, then fill in the secondary characters with whoever my protagonist needs to reach her character arc. I have fun finding certain mannerisms that are unique to them, certain words and characteristics, and I always hunt for the perfect actor or model picture to fit them in my head.

And as for which character was the most fun to write, and who was the most unexpected, I’ll stick with just My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (though boy does book 2, A Tale of Two Centuries have a fun love interest!!!), and say the most fun AND the most unexpected was Reyna. She was magic personified, she had a bit of mystery surrounding her, she was smart, and cool, and had her own unique sense of humor. I really, really hope to one day do a prequel from her point of view, showing when she first got her powers and the life she led.

3. I absolutely loved the setting of this novel, Florence, Italy. Can you tell us a little about your research into this location (we all want to know, did you actually go there for "research purposes"??).
He he! I’ve been to Florence, Italy, before, but not for this book. My husband did everything he could to try to get me there—he even found a sixteenth century palace you can stay in—but the money just wasn’t there. Sigh…. But the memories from my past trip are still so vivid in my mind that it helped. Plus, Google Earth ROCKS!!!! And it’s scary, too LOL. You can travel anywhere you want from the comfort of your room, in your pjs.

I also did a ton of research on the setting and time period via books and videos, so that helped a lot. My favorite resource: Renaissance Florence on 5 Florins A Day by Charles FitzRoy. It’s written as a modern day travel guide, if we lived in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. So awesome!

4.  For aspiring writers out there, what would you say was your greatest difficulty and what was the greatest lesson in your journey to publication?
Wow, those are two great questions and my Mama brain is completely cramping! Hmm, I’d have to say my greatest difficulty post-publication is writing on a deadline—that’s so hard!!—but during the journey to publication, the greatest difficulty was having patience. It actually all happened really quick for me as far as writing, agent, pub house contract goes, but me wanting to just jump in and write instead of doing all the research and studying I did. I broke my favorite novels down for everything they’re worth, trying to learn everything I could about them: how many pages per chapter and how many chapters total; how they handled backstory and narrative/dialogue; how they actually told the story and handled pacing. And the whole time I was doing that, I was just so eager to get jumping on my own story. But short of getting an MFA, I needed to put my time in to learn craft. And I’m still doing that.

As for the greatest lesson, well my greatest difficulty turned into a pretty awesome lesson, but I’d probably say balancing how to handle critique and other people’s suggestions, while always keeping in mind the story you want to tell. Listen to your gut and heart, let the ideas sit for a minute or even a day, and then take what you agree with, what you think will make YOUR story better. But “your” is the key word in that sentence. This is your baby and at the end of the day, you have to be happy with the book with your name on the cover.  It’s okay not to take every suggestion, even if they come from your editor. They are on your side and want to help make your dreams happen. Talk to them honestly. As long as you are professional about it, they really do welcome your ideas!

5. Possibly, my favorite scene in your entire book was that of the staging of Snow White in Renaissance, Italy. Do you write in scenes or do you have the whole plot outlined? Did aspects in the story change unexpectedly as you were writing? If so, what?
So funny that you mention that scene! I’m actually a *huge* plotter, needing to know exactly where my story is going before I start writing, but that particular part of the story kind of came up unexpectedly. I knew they were going to go out in the country and talk about theater, but when I was in the middle of it, I just started writing Cat leading them in Snow White and it just worked. What’s even funnier is that the song I’d picked out a month or so before that to represent that part of the story was Taylor Swift’s Today Was a Fairytale….and Snow White is a fairy tale. Seems like it was meant to be =D

So yeah, while I plot, occasionally certain things come up that I didn’t intend. Sometimes it is that characters change on their own, other times whole scenes get cut out or added that I hadn’t considered. That’s just another aspect that makes writing fun.

6. Is there a sequel planned? If so, can you tell us a little more about your next book? If not, what do you have next on your agenda?
Yes there is =D A Tale of Two Centuries will be out June 2013. That one is already in my editor’s hands and they are working their magic. I can’t wait for people to read this story—I had so much fun with it! After that, Rearview Mirror will be out December 2013, and that’s what I’m working on now. It’s a YA Contemporary Thriller, and I’m having a blast with it. You can find out more about that project on Goodreads (*grin*)

Enter the giveaway now!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter my other giveaways!
1. Interview and Giveaway with Tracy Rozzlynn, author of the Fast-Tracked and Verita trilogies, Two Sets of Fast-tracked (first two books), Two sets of Verita Trilogies (first two books) OR $25 Amazon GC
Verita and Fast Tracked Giveaway

2. Interview with Eric Gale and giveaway of signed ARC of The Bully Book (INT)
Bully Book Giveaway

This is a giveaway hop! Enter the other giveaways on the list!


  1. In the US :) Thanks for being in the hop!

    jochibi AT yahoo DOT com

  2. Best part of being 16: not having as many responsibilities, and everything you experience is new to you.

  3. the us. the worst part was that i had just moved to a new school so i had no friends


  4. I've been seeing this book everywhere. It looks like a super cute read. I live in the US :)

  5. Am out of the US :) Hope that doesn't really affect anything that much!

  6. I would like to thank you so much for this fantastic book giveaway, that has been on my to-read list for a while now as it sounds like a fantastic read! I was so excited when i read the review & i just loved your interview with the author, hence i cannot wait to read her work.
    In response to your question i would have to say that the negatives of being 16 yrs old are school examinations, feeling angry at everyone and feeling as if no one 'gets you'! The positives are that you get to plan for your dream future career, the school prom which is a big highlight and you get to start a fresh at a College or new place, plus parties are always a bonus!

    Thank you x
    Email: lfountain1(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk
    *UK Resident*

  7. I hate that at 16 one hasn't figured out their style yet. I was in this awkward baggy jean, tight top, crazy hair stage. It was terrible. I didn't know how to do make-up and my eyeliner and eyeshadow would end up all over my face by the end of the day.

    I'm in the US.

  8. I'm from Canada, so ebook for me! =)

    At 16, the best part of my life was that I had time to really pursue the things I was passionate about - in fact, I was encouraged to do so. The worst part was definitely the bullying and the not feeling like I belonged anywhere.

  9. Best part was just having so many friends to share it with.

  10. I am from the outside...of the US :D

  11. I'm from AUstralia, so outside the US!

  12. I'm from the US! I thought the best part of being 16 was feeling like I was closer to adulthood, but the worst part was realizing I wasn't. XD

  13. lol I dont remember when i was 16..(it was awhile awhile back) Im in the US.. There was a line to put that on, on the Easy question

  14. I'm from the US. Worse thing about 16... learning to drive. LOL. still don't like it!
    Thanks for the great contest
    Merry Christmas

  15. From the US. Worst part was failing driver's ed.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  16. Outside the US. I'm from Malaysia

  17. I'm from the US. I'm really excited about this book-thanks for the giveaway! Honestly, being 16 personally doesn't feel any different- except school is getting harder.

  18. From the US, 16 wasn't too bad I mean I went aboard for most of my Junior year and got my license before I left it's what I came home parents divorce! :/

  19. US
    getting my drivers licence i actualy hit a car in the parking lot before i went in to take the test
    kaholgate at ymail dot com

  20. I'm US
    You can Drive & you can Drive ;)

  21. I'm in the US.

    The worst part of being 16 was high school. I hated high school so much that I got my GED at 17 and went straight to college.

    There wasn't a best part for me. I had responsibilities and didn't get much of the benefits like learning how to drive (etc) like most people.

  22. I'm international :)

    I'm logged into Rafflecopter as Kate Ryan

  23. I'm from the U.S. The best part of being 16 was being able to drive.

  24. I am from the US. Thanks for the chance to win!

  25. US! The best part was getting a car. Definitely.

  26. US :) Thanks for the amazing giveaway!! :D

  27. I'm from the US! Thanks so much for the opportunity :) I loved being 16! It was exciting to reach an age that I dreamed about! Of course, I didn't have the cool red convertible I wanted... but that's okay :)


  28. I am in the US
    my1ulabug at yahoo dot com

  29. US. 16 was awesome. Glad it's over though. Many years ago over. :)

  30. I am from the US and the best part about being sixteen is being able to drive and stay out later. The worst part is that you only get to have your sweet sixteen once. Thanks for the giveaway!

  31. I"m from US and I am SO glad I'm not sixteen again though there were good parts like my first job, getting my drivers license and few responsibilities :)

  32. the best part is your entire adulthood is a big huge promise

  33. I don't think I had bad thing about being 16. I liked it, kind of...didn't do much though so, I guess that's why.

  34. INT

    At 16 the best part is going to college! Being independent, choosing your own course and schedule and meeting new friends.

    (We go to college at age 16 where I am.)

  35. US

    The best part of being 16 for me? Hmmm....Wow, that is rough. That's been 14 years for me. Gah, I'm getting old! Looking back, the best part of being 16 was being under my moms wing still. Being protected every step of the way. Knowing that I could 100% rely on her to make sure that I had the things that I needed. It was wonderful!

  36. BEST: having all the privileges of a child with all the freedom of an adult.

    WORST: The highschool drama.

  37. Inside the US :) Ugh, the worst part of being 16 was the angst of not knowing my place in the world. The best was being able to drive. :)

  38. The best part: thinking that I was hot shiz
    Worst: Finding out that I wasn't

    **I'm Canadian

  39. I am from the US and the best part of being 16 was learning to drive and having more freedom! Thanks!

  40. I am from the US.
    The best part about being 16 was definitely being able to drive and get a job to make my own money.

  41. I am US. The worst part was all the insecurities that come with adolescence.

  42. US--good ole NJ!


  43. I'm from the US. Thanks for the giveaway.
    magic5905 at embarqmail dot com

  44. in the us and going for the print (no ereader) thanks for the giveaway! - regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

  45. In the US.

    Happy Holidays and thanks for the amazing giveaway!
    elizabeth @ bookattict . com

  46. I was on my own at fifteen, so my struggles were focussed around paying bills and finishing high school. Boys were always a dramatic force in my life - everything seemed so emotional back then.

  47. I'm from the US. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway!

  48. I'm in the US. Thanks for the great giveaway! This sounds like such a fun book! I'll be looking forward to reading this one! Happy Holidays!

  49. Hmm, I remember liking 16...I think, well I remember being able to drive to school instead of taking the bus which in itself made my year ;)

  50. The best thing about being 16 is being able to drive!

  51. I really want to read this book. It sounds super fun!

  52. Getting my car was the best part of turning 16.

  53. I'm in the US, and the best part of 16 was getting my first job.