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  • BN Editors 2:00 pm on 2020/01/30 Permalink
    Tags: book of the month, , guest post, guest posts, january, ,   

    Guest Post: The Unteachables Author Gordon Korman Shares A Reading List for Unteachable Kids 

    The surprisingly heartwarming story of a classroom filled with misfits, paired with a teacher counting down the days to retirement, Gordon Korman’s hilarious middle grade novel The Unteachables is B&N’s children’s book of the month for January. We asked the author to share a reading list for “unteachable” kids, and he recommended some excellent must-reads for young readers—including a mix of beloved classics and brand new stories.

    The Great Brain, by John D. Fitzgerald
    Okay, it’s pretty old—but so am I! This series proves that you can be a genius and an Unteachable at the same time. 

    New Kid, by Jerry Craft
    Required reading for anyone entering middle school. Also, Jerry Craft and I have been running into each other at book festivals for so long that we qualify as camp buddies at this point.
    (Editor’s note: This title won the 2020 Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Author Award!)

    Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, by John David Anderson
    Just because you’re an Unteachable doesn’t mean you don’t have heart! 

    Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, by Judy Blume 
    Believe it or not, I was a fourth-grader around when this came out. It was the first time I really saw myself in the characters of a book. 

     

    Smile, by Raina Telgemeier
    Thanks to this book, I actually feel deprived because I never wore braces when I was a kid. 

    Heads or Tails, by Jack Gantos
    For my money, the top middle-grade writer of all time. His Jack Henry series is my personal favorite. The characters are as unforgettable as they are Unteachable. 

    Wings of Fire, by Tui Sutherland
    I have never attended a single children’s book festival, with any group of authors, where this series did not receive the loudest cheer of the day. 

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams 
    I get it—it’s not a kids book. But a lot of kids read it. It’s weird. It’s hilarious. It’s out there. It’s worth it. 

    Stormbreaker, by Anthony Horowitz 
    You don’t have to be an Unteachable to believe that a kid can be a secret agent. 

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney 
    Over the years, I’ve ready every book in the series three times—once with each of my kids. I found something new and different to love on each go-through. (Plus I was once a balloon-handler for the Greg Heffley balloon in the Macy’s parade, which was pretty awesome!) 

    The Unteachables is on B&N bookshelves now.

    The post Guest Post: <i>The Unteachables</i> Author Gordon Korman Shares A Reading List for Unteachable Kids appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • BN Editors 3:00 pm on 2020/01/22 Permalink
    Tags: guest posts, , sunnyside plaza   

    The Books We Read as Youngsters Stay with Us: A Guest Post by Scott Simon, Author of Sunnyside Plaza 

    Photo credit: Marcos Galvany

    “Believe me,” I’ve always told my daughters, Elise and Paulina. “The Old Man and the Sea. The Diary of Anne Frank. Those books still bounce in my head. New novels I read last week? I’m already a little sketchy. When we’re young, we pack our minds and hearts for the long trip.”

    A while ago, I mused for the umpteenth occasion over family dinner about the time I’d spent as a young man, working in a home in Chicago for adults with developmental disabilities.

    “First day I walked in,” I’d often told our daughters, “you see people at a folding table, finger-painting. If they were kids, you’d say things I’ve always said about your art. ‘Hey, lookee here, another Picasso! Jackson Pollack!’ But when it’s a fifty-year-old man or woman doing the finger-painting you think, ‘Oh, how sad.’ By the third or fourth day, you’re over your pity. You see them as people. You get to know their humor, talents, the courage it takes to get through the day. I never learned more in my life. Someday, I want to write a novel set in a place like that.”

    “You should make it for kids our age,” our oldest daughter, Elise, finally said one night. “So we’ll remember it, like you always say kids do.”

    Our daughters threw my writer’s hat over the wall. I had to follow.

    I had never written a novel for young readers. But I had loved novels by Jerry Spinelli, Laurie Halse Anderson, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, R.J. Palacio, Jenny Han, Stacy McAnulty, and many others along with our daughters. I had seen how Elise and Paulina immersed themselves into those great books. I wanted a story set in the kind of home in which I’d worked, among people inspired by the ones I had known and hoped it might sink into young readers today.

    I asked Elise, who was then fifteen, and her friend, Adelaide, to be my first readers. Their reactions were crucial. I knew as I began to write Sunnyside Plaza that I would break one of the first “rules” of literature for young readers. The narrator of the story is a nineteen-year-old woman, not a child. Sally Miyake, or Sal Gal, lives in a home for adults with developmental disabilities.

    I knew from our own family how young readers could empathize with someone who had altogether different lives from their own. Our daughters had loved characters like Curzon of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Forge, of a different race and time, and Jerry Spinelli’s Crash, of a different place and personality. But wise editors advised that the central characters in stories for young readers usually, kind of, always had to be a young person, too.

    Yet it was important to me to at least try to ask young readers to connect with Sal Gal through her own heart and mind. I didn’t want to concoct some “adolescent savior” character to guide and learn from Sal Gal. I wanted Sal and her friends in Sunnyside Plaza to entertain and enthrall readers with their own ingenuity.

    I wrote about three-quarters of a first draft. Elise and Adelaide said they liked it. They got a lot of the jokes made by Sal and her friends. They noticed errors in continuity—the shirt that’s blue in chapter three that’s green in chapter six, and that I had given two characters the same name. They suggested a contemporary adolescent profanity to replace the one I had used. They guessed about who might prove to be culprits in the story and told me, “Try not to make your book any longer than The Old Man and the Sea.”

    This is sound advice for any novelist.

    And most of all, Elise and Adelaide registered no surprise or disappointment that Sal Gal wasn’t their age.

    “She’s really interesting,” they told me. “You wonder what she’ll do.”

    I finished my first draft of Sunnyside Plaza and sent it to my young critics. But I included something to read in comparison; three chapters of an “alternative” Sunnyside, in which I made the narrator a fourteen-year old girl who meets Sal Gal.

    I asked Elise and Adelaide which storytelling voice they found most engaging. Within two days they delivered their judgment, writing me from school between classes: “Sal’s point of view is more intriguing. Her point of view is very unique.”

    Who says “unique” shouldn’t be modified? I think their use of the phrase is very uniquely brilliant.

    Our daughters and their friend encouraged me to have Sally Miyake tell her own story in Sunnyside Plaza. Elise, Paulina, and Adelaide helped me have faith that Sal Gal’s unique voice could work its way into the hearts of young readers.

    The post The Books We Read as Youngsters Stay with Us: A Guest Post by Scott Simon, Author of <i>Sunnyside Plaza</i> appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • BN Editors 12:00 pm on 2019/11/04 Permalink
    Tags: finding chika: a little girl an earthquake and the making of a family, guest posts, , stories of family, the five people you meet in heaven   

    Guest Post: Mitch Albom on the Inspiration Behind Finding Chika 

    Nearly twenty years ago, I started writing a book called The Five People You Meet in Heaven. At one point in that story, the lead character, Eddie, is talking to his wife, Marguerite, about adopting a baby, as they weren’t able to have kids of their own. Eddie says they’re too old now. Marguerite replies, “What’s too old to a child?”

    I’m not sure how I came up with that sentence. What’s too old to a child? I had just turned forty. My wife Janine and I had recently married, but our efforts to have children had been unsuccessful. Perhaps it started there.

    Still, it was just a line in a novel. Janine and I would not personally face the question until nearly fifteen years later, when we were in our mid-fifties, and a young Haitian girl named Chika entered out lives, needing help to stay alive.

    And suddenly all notions of being “too old” went out the window.

    This is the backdrop of my new non-fiction book, Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family. It’s the most personal story I have ever written. Twenty years after learning beside an old professor named Morrie Schwartz, I had a new life education, courtesy of a five-year-old girl.

    Chika, whose last name was Jeune (which means, fittingly, young) was born three days before Haiti’s devastating earthquake of 2010. She somehow survived it, even though her family’s cinderblock house collapsed around her. She slept that night in the sugarcane fields. So she was born tough. And tough she would stay.

    When she was two years old, her mother died giving birth to a baby brother. Not much later, Chika was brought to an orphanage I operate in Port Au Prince. Her godmother carried her in.

    Chika stuck her tongue out at me during the intake interview. I laughed and she laughed back. I fell for her immediately.

    Chika was brash and bold from the start. She told our older kids where to stand in line, when they could eat, who should get the soccer ball. She was so young, they couldn’t take offense. They mostly laughed and enjoyed her.

    Then one day, when she was five, Chika’s mouth and eye began to droop on the left side. An MRI machine revealed something in her brain that a local doctor summed up this way: “Whatever it is, there is no one in Haiti who can help you.”

    And so Janine and I brought Chika to our home in Michigan, hoping that America’s medical excellence could remove whatever was in her brain was and set her back on her childhood path—and an eventual return to her homeland.

    It didn’t happen.

    Chika, we learned, had something called DIPG, a stage IV cancerous tumor that is sadly always fatal—often within six months of diagnosis. From the moment we got that news in a doctor’s office, everything my wife and I knew about time, age and children was turned on its ear. Chika never moved back to Haiti. Instead, the three of us spent nearly two years together traveling the world in search of a cure.

    What we found, along the way, was a family.

    What’s too old to a child? We asked ourselves that question early on, then quickly moved past it, because Chika had her life to live and we were determined to make it last. It didn’t matter that we were two or three decades older than the parents of kids she would play with, any more than it mattered that we were not her birth parents. Names, titles, ages all melt away when you are entrusted with the life of a little one.

    Sometimes Chika asked how old I was and I’d say “Guess!” and she’d squeal “Thirty!” and I’d say “Nope” and she’d try, “A hundred!” I quickly realized that old phrase “age is just a number” is literally true for young children. They don’t get what forty or sixty means. They only know if you will play with them or not. Eat with them or not. Put them to bed or not. Hold them or not.

    We did all of the above. We never stopped. I found that, quite to the contrary of being “too old”, the pent-up love and affection that we had never spent on children of our own came gushing forth for little Chika. We took her everywhere. We showed her everything. We sang her lullabys. I reveled in our play, our swimming, our reading books together until she fell asleep against my chest.

    I would ask her sometimes if she knew how much I loved her and when she coyly said no, I’d stretch my arms all the way out and then lock my hands behind me, saying “Thiissss much.” It always made her laugh, and calmed her as it calmed me.

    This is not to say that we didn’t feel our years. Waking up in the middle of the night to tend to her needs wasn’t easy at our age. Lifting her from place to place, especially as the disease robbed her of the ability to walk, became a genuine physical hardship. I developed a hernia that would need an operation.

    But there was never a thought of slowing down. We flew her back and forth to New York for experimental treatments. We lived briefly in Cologne, Germany to try an immunology approach. Through it all—making scrambled eggs with her, watching her beat us in card games, seeing her put her hand over my mouth when I tried to sing with her (because Chika was always a solo act) we melded into an unlikely family. How old she was, where she came from, or what we endured together was all secondary to the love that was forged.

    If we were blessed to have the best possible child under the worst possible circumstances, so be it.

    I once told Chika I had to stop coloring because it was time to go to my job. She crossed her arms and made a face. “Your job is carrying me!” she said.

    And she was right. We carried her through the happy months and the inevitable down months and through the doctors and hospitals and homecare that the disease finally demanded. We never lamented carrying her, because that, in my now altered view, is what we are here to do. To carry children. Our children, and other less fortunate children if we can.

    It is an honorable weight.

    What’s too old to a child? No age is too old. Not if you love them. Not if you nurture them. Chika taught me that, and a thousand other things. Bob Dylan once wrote “may you stay forever young” but you don’t need a wish—having children in your life does that for you. We were incredibly blessed to have Chika for the time that we did. Her glow still lights our days.

    Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family is on B&N bookshelves now.

    The post Guest Post: Mitch Albom on the Inspiration Behind <i>Finding Chika</i> appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • BN Editors 3:00 pm on 2019/09/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , exclusive, exclusive interview, guest posts, inspector gamache series, Interview,   

    An Exclusive Interview with Author Louise Penny, Plus a Behind-the-Scenes Look at A Better Man 

    Deftly plotted, witty, and atmospheric, filled with memorable characters, and unafraid to confront uncomfortable truths about humanity, Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series is a true gift to mystery lovers. Penny was kind enough to answer a few of our burning questions, and to give us a fascinating glimpse of her thoughts during the writing of her latest novel, A Better Man

    The 15th novel in the series finds Gamache taking up the reins in his new position as head of homicide, after his recent demotion from head of the whole force. To make matters even touchier, he’s now working alongside his former subordinate, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, on a new case, that of a woman who has gone missing. Gamache finds himself sympathizing with her agonized father, asking himself what he would do, were he in the man’s shoes; when a body turns up, the question becomes even more urgent, and the answer more unsettling.

    Louise Penny, on A Better Man

    I wanted to give you all a little behind-the-scenes look at what I was thinking when I was writing A Better Man, by showing you a few lines and exactly what was going through my mind. Here are five of my favorite lines from the book, along with my personal annotations.  

    Ruth made a noise that could have been a laugh.  Or indigestion.  

    ‘I’ll tell you what is funny.  You crash and burn trying to do something different, while Armand destroys his career by agreeing to go back and do the same old thing.’ 

    I so enjoy writing Ruth, though it takes a, perversely, delicate touch. She needs to be honest and cranky, often insulting, while not descending into caricature or outright nastiness. Here that ambivalence is illustrated, I hoped, through their inability to know if the noise is amusement or indigestion. Though, once again, she uncomfortably states what most are thinking. 

    ‘Consequences,’ said Gamache. ‘We must always consider the consequences of our actions. Or inaction.” 

    This is an ongoing theme within the books, and with Gamache. Considering the consequences, knowing the consequences, weighing the outcomes….and still deciding to act. It’s one thing to act on instinct, and there’s often rare courage in that—but Armand tries to impress on his people that there’s even more courage in looking without blinking at what their actions might mean. Good and bad. Intended and unintended. He goes on to say that, in his opinion, that’s part of their contract with the Quebec population. That those with a badge and a gun, will have the maturity to think before they act.  

    He left the woods late that afternoon, shattered.  

    And now he was back.  

    A better man?  A bitter man?  

    They were about to find out.   

    The homicide team is about to see Armand Gamache, back at work as their Chief Inspector, for the first time since his suspension and demotion from Chief Superintendent. I loved writing this scene…of his return, and their reaction.  And my reaction, to having him back as head of homicide. Where the whole Three Pines series began. Older. More bruised. Both him, and me. And you too, I suspect. Have the years, the events, the vicissitudes made him, us, bitter or better?   

    ‘I see.’  Gamache lowered his voice, though all could still hear the words.  ‘When I was Chief Superintendent I had a poster framed in my office.  On it were the last words of a favorite poet, Seamus Heaney. Noli Timere.  It’s Latin.  Do you know what it means?’ 

    He looked around the room. 

    ‘Neither did I,’ he admitted, when no one spoke.  ‘I had to look it up. It means, Be Not Afraid.’   

    Not completely coincidentally, I have the same poster in my living room, where I see it every day as I write. I’m looking at it now. Fear is such a thief. If I only did what I was comfortable with, there’d be no books, no marriage, fewer close relationships. Less travel, far fewer, or no, risks. And my life would shrink to nothing. Armand knows that the bravest person in any room is the one who can admit he’s scared sh**less. But does it anyway. Here he’s encouraging a young agent to speak his mind, even though he’s afraid.  

    She also happened to be the chief of the volunteer fire department.  Not because she was a natural leader, but because most villagers would rather run into a burning building or a river in full flood than face Ruth Zardo’s sharp tongue.   

    Ha—I’ve used similar descriptions of Ruth, and once again I hoped to illustrate the contradiction that is Ruth…indeed, that is most of us. The elderly poet could stay home, ignoring whatever natural disaster has cropped up. Instead, she takes on a leadership role, whether her neighbors like it or not. Yet she’s strangely effective, partly because the very thing that makes her almost as terrifying as the catastrophe, makes her uniquely effective. Ruth Zardo never shies away from the truth. From a fight. In this book we see her doing just that, with some great success, and with some terrible result. 

    For more behind-the-scenes insight into some of my favorite lines from all of the books and the stories behind them, check out gamacheseries.com 

    Further conversation with author Louise Penny:

    What was the beginning of your fascination with mysteries?  

    Agatha Christie, of course. It was the first ‘adult’ book my mother and I shared. I will always remember her standing on the landing upstairs, a book in her hand. She looked at it, then at me, and gave it to me saying she’d just finished it, and thought I’d like it too. It was a Christie. A Miss Marple, I think, but can’t remember the exact title. It was thrilling, to share a book with my mother. To have that in common. Something that we shared the rest of her life. When things went bad between us, as they sometimes do between mothers and daughters, our truce sign was asking, “What are you reading?” 

    I went on to discover the Simenon books about Maigret. And the fabulous Josephine Tey, which are more crime novels than murder mysteries.  My favorite is The Franchise Affair.  Her books are gems, crystalline, every word, every phrase has a purpose. 

    How do you sit down and start a new novel? What’s the spark? 

    In The Long Way Home, I quote Robert Frost and a letter he wrote to a friend where he describes his creative process as a poet. And he says that for him, a poem begins as a lump in the throat. For me, each book of mine begins as a lump in the throat. Some emotion that I need to explore. My books are about many things, including, but far from exclusively, a crime. Murder is an act, and a dreadful one.  But I spend a year on each book and it must be about more than a crime. And so each book is inspired by an emotion, a theme, a piece of human nature that puzzles and fascinates.  A question that I do not really know the answer to. Most of my books are inspired by a poem, or even a few lines from a poem. I find a bit of poetry, I write it out on a Post-it, and I stick it on my laptop. So when I inevitably get all lost and confused, I can go back to it and say, ‘That’s what the book’s about.’ 

    What kind of entertainment interests you aside from reading? 

    I love music, and listen to it a lot, when not actually writing.  All sorts of music.  In fact, each book has its own playlist, made up of current favorites.  The one I’m listening to right now has Rag ‘n Bone Man, Bizet, Bach, X Ambassadors, some Gregorian Chants, Crash Test DummiesFlatt&Scruggs, Dire Straits, Leonard Cohen, Cosmo Sheldrake. And more. I also relax in front of the TV.  Mostly HGTV.  Trying to work out which home I’d buy.   

    How much of what you write is influenced by current events, by real people, by real places? And how much is completely invented? 

    People might read the books and think I’m creative, and the fact is I’m not. I just write what I see. And I write what I feel every day.  

    The books are definitely drawn from a whole bunch of things. Absolutely from the Eastern Townships of Quebec. The books are many things, probably least among them crime novels. They are definitely crime fiction, but they are love letters to the place I choose to live. I have never been made to feel a stranger in Knowlton. Michael and I were welcomed and embraced. It feels like there was always a place at the table just waiting for us. Much of my life I wandered, geographically and emotionally. Searching for home. I found it in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. I found it with Michael. I found it buried deep inside myself. And that’s what I write about. The yearning to belong.  The search for home.   

    What’s your daily routine? Can you describe for us a typical day at home?  

    Well, not to be too boring, but I write every day, except when I’m between books. I used to be a night person, as a teen (I guess most of us were). But my first real job was hosting a morning show for CBC Radio in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I had to get up at 4am. A few years of that, and voila. A morning person was created. I no longer get up at 4am, but I am up sometime around 6am.   

    I make coffee, and get to work right away, while fresh. I re-read what I wrote the day before, noodling with it a bit, then press ahead with the new writing.  I set a goal of 1,000 words a day. I’m very disciplined, mostly because I need to be.  All I really want to do is lie on the sofa eating gummy bears and watching HGTV.   

    Though it’s no secret why no reality show follows a writer around. At least not this writer. I essentially go from the dining room table, where I work, to the coffee machine. And back. And I stare into space. A lot. I often think it’s unfair that the creative process and doing nothing look exactly alike.   

    In the afternoons, after I finish writing, I often walk into the village for lunch with a friend. I am, by nature, a bit of a recluse, so I need to work at getting out. Though I love my friends and enjoy time with them.   

    Then I answer emails and do any other work that needs to be done, like interviews etc. Not, perhaps, a hugely exciting life. But it’s perfect for me. And I know how lucky I am. 

    How did you come up with the idea for the village of Three Pines? Is it based on a real place?  

    Three Pines has long been both a setting and a main character in my books. It’s fictional, for sure, but inspired by all sorts of villages. Some in Quebec, some elsewhere in Canada. Some Vermont towns have inspired the books, as well as English villages. Three Pines is an intentionally hyper-ideal village. Beautiful and peaceful. At least on the outside.  It plays into another theme throughout the series, one of duality.  The difference between perception and reality.  Between what we say and what we’re really thinking.  Between the public face and the inner turmoil.   

    I consider the books allegories and Three Pines a state-of-mind. A place we find only when we’re lost.  When we need it.  And not home to everyone.   

    I’ve been lost in my life, and tired of sarcasm and dark cynicism. I’d had too much of that. It drained me. Left me hollow and callow. I needed belonging, and kindness. I needed friendship. A warm hearth on a cold night. That’s Three Pines. But, like Gamache, while it’s good, it isn’t perfect. There’s always a serpent, even in Paradise. A shadow to the light. And that’s what makes Three Pines what it is, and the people who they are 

    What do you think it is about your books that makes them so successful? 

    I think the setting helps. As I said earlier, the books aren’t about murder, they aren’t even about death, they’re about duality and belonging, community and love. I think people are also fascinated with Quebec. They’re interested in the French/English culture and the history. I wanted to bring alive the life, culture, music and cuisine of Quebec. To make the books sensuous, engaging all the senses, so that anyone reading them doesn’t feel like a voyeur, but walks into the pages. Stands beside Gamache. Sits in the bistro with Clara and Gabri. Hopes Ruth doesn’t turn her rheumy eye on them.   

    Do you have a favorite character in your books? Do you find them easier to write now that they have been in so many books, or is that actually harder?   

    Trick question! Well, of course, Gamache. Ruth is fun to write. I love that she, like all the characters, I guess like all of us, has a saving grace. She genuinely is embittered, she’s drunk most of the time, she has a potty mouth, she says what she thinks and what she thinks is often not very kind, but she’s clever with it. It’s like she keeps all of her kindness deep down inside.  

    To be honest, I’m finding the characters increasingly interesting as the series goes along. As I get to know them. Like intimate friends, who never bore us.   

    There are, of course, challenges to writing a series with essentially the same characters and setting.  Not falling into a formula, becoming predictable, is a major one. But I get around that, I hope, by changing structure, theme, tone, and pace. By exploring new ideas, ones that make me think, and often make me uncomfortable. And so, also make the characters uncomfortable. And perhaps the reader.   

    I’m very aware that readers are spending precious time, and money, on the books, and I need to make it worthwhile.   

    I also have a duty to the characters who have given me a life beyond anything I could have dare dreamed.   

    A Better Man is on B&N bookshelves now.

    The post An Exclusive Interview with Author Louise Penny, Plus a Behind-the-Scenes Look at <i>A Better Man</i> appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • BN Editors 3:00 pm on 2019/08/13 Permalink
    Tags: , blood truth, , guest posts, , ,   

    A Guest Post from Author J. R. Ward on Blood Truth, the Final Chapter of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Legacy Series 

    The world of J. R. Ward‘s Black Dagger Brotherhood series is darkly thrilling and addictive, filled with characters that fans are voraciously eager to learn more about. As the fourth and final novel in her Black Dagger Legacy series hits B&N bookshelves, Ward was kind enough to tell us a bit about the story behind the quartet.

    I am so excited for Blood Truth to be out! It is the story of Boone, the last of the Black Dagger Brotherhood trainees to get an HEA, and what happens as he goes on the hunt of a serial killer with Butch O’Neal, our former homicide cop, now full-fledged vampire and Brother. In the course of the investigation, Boone meets the female he is destined to be with, but as usual, things are not simple and he and Helania have to fight for their love—and fight to survive a madman!

    Or… is it a madwoman? #nospoilers

    This is the final book in the BDB Legacy series, and as such, it’s nice to revisit these novels and where they came from. This quartet was born out of two objectives: 1) I wanted to write the stories of the training class’s members, and show the fascinating journeys of these young males and females who are joining in the protection of the race; and 2) readers were asking for more on the original Brothers, and I needed to find a way to give them what they wanted.

    A little more on the second part of things. Every one of the big BDB books has an HEA at the end, but that does not mean that the couple in question stop living. In my head, they are all continuing on in the world, fighting in the war, loving their mates, living in the mansion. There is so much going on, and so many things I want to show readers, but there is only so much I can fit into any given book—and there is an argument to be made that, in some of the books, I’ve overdone it with the subplots. The thing is, with the BDBverse as big as it is, and as vibrant and dramatic as it can be, the biggest challenge for any of the books, no matter the series, is how much can I show without losing the impact of the main story.

    Thus, the BDB Legacy! In each of these books, an original Brother is highlighted. They are involved in the main plotline, and integral to it, and so it gives me a chance to update folks in an organic way. Each of these refocuses provides further insight into the original HEA and into the way that couple is evolving. Readers have commented again and again how wonderful it is to see favorite people returning—and I think this is more like we all are in real life. For the most part, people don’t just get married and fall off our radar screens. Even if we don’t see them face to face, or even if we lose touch, we still hear about them. I love being able to include readers into what’s going on in my head!

    As always, I am so grateful to everyone who supports my books and loves the Brothers as much as I do! I really think people are going to be surprised by the twists and turns in Blood Truth—and I have to be honest. Vishous has the best line in the book. Hands down. But he wouldn’t have it any other way, true?

    Happy Reading!

    J.R.

    Blood Truth is on B&N bookshelves now.

    The post A Guest Post from Author J. R. Ward on <i>Blood Truth</i>, the Final Chapter of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Legacy Series appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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