Thank you Allen for taking the time to answer the questions =)
I’m interested to hear how you developed the character of Boy Nobody. Did you know who he was going to be before you started or did you get to know him as you started writing? AZ: The character of Boy Nobody arose seemingly out of nowhere while I was working on a different book (a comedy of all things!). I knew he was a dark figure, a teen assassin who worked for an organization that might or might not be part of the U.S. government. I knew that he was alone almost all the time, moving from place to place, never connecting with anyone but seamlessly fitting in wherever he went. And lastly, I knew that he did not have or could not remember his name. These were the basic elements that have grown into an entire series in my head. I’m amazed by it even now.
Do you have a favourite character? AZ: Aside from Boy Nobody, I’m partial to Howard, the geeky teen hacker who befriends Boy Nobody and may or may not help in future missions. Howard is an exile at his own school, a kid who had a tough experience his freshman year that has given him a bad reputation that he can’t shake. Both Howard and Boy Nobody are doing the best they can with the hand fate has dealt them. They are completely opposite in many ways, but in that particular way, they are the same. I’d tell you more, but I don’t want to give away future books! When you write, do you prefer to have a plan or just see where the pen takes you? AZ: It’s a combination of both. I always have a plan, but I’m open to where the pen takes me. You could compare it to a driving vacation. I know which city I’m headed to next and roughly how to get there, but I’m more than happy to stop on the side of the road if I see something that catches my interest. And I may even change the plan if there’s a good reason to do so. As a writer, there’s nothing more exciting than when inspiration takes over and you suddenly find yourself someplace you never expected. But I never wait for inspiration. The artist Chuck Close said, “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just get to work.” So I get to work and amazing things start to happen.
Was there any part of the book you found particularly challenging to write? AZ: The love story. Boy Nobody is a character who has been trained not to feel, so the idea that he begins to have romantic feelings for a girl was very challenging. How does a tough, angry, highly disciplined soldier open himself up to love? This was a big challenge, but it’s also what makes the book so exciting for me. Because as Boy Nobody starts to feel, his world starts to crack open.
What did you enjoy the most when writing Boy Nobody? AZ: I really enjoyed the action sequences. My previous novels were of the funny, heart-breaking variety (some have called them “Lad Lit”), but Boy Nobody is a straight out thriller. There are fights, chases, and all kinds of suspense. Boy Nobody’s voice (and the entire narration of the book) is very stark, so describing those fights with very few words was a wonderful challenge.
What are the main three descriptive words you would want to hear others use to describe Boy Nobody? AZ: Thrilling, heart-stopping, unforgettable. But I’d settle for any one of those three!
Thanks again to Allen Zadoff and Victoria from Hachette
Thank you so much for letting Joey review The Magic Bojabi Tree
Python has wrapped himself around the melon/mango/pomegranate tree with its delicious fruit, and he won't share the fruit unless the animals can tell him the correct name of the tree. Elephant, Monkey and Zebra each in turn visit Lion, who alone knows the name of the tree. But every time, the animals forget the name on the journey back to the tree. Then Tortoise, the slowest, smallest animal goes to Lion - and sings a special song to remind him of the name. It is the Bojabi Tree! Python unwraps himself from the trunk, and all the animals share a feast.
The Magic Bojabi Tree is a thin hardback book with 32 pages full of beautiful, colourful pictures which have been painted in watercolours.
There is a lot of writing in this book so is for older children, at least 4 years old (Joey's age). Joey kept his attention span for the whole story whereas his younger sister, Lacey didn't.
They both loved looking at the pictures and pointing out the different animals in the story such as a lion, birds, elephant etc. Lacey enjoyed making up her own little story from the different pictures.
Joey found it funny when the animals couldn't remember what the lion had told them that the tree's name was. The point of the story being that it's important to listen and then remember what you are told, which Joey was able to understand and get from the story.
The Magic Bojabi Tree is a lovely read with an important meaning behind the story about making sure to listen to what other's are telling you.
The debut adult thriller from a superstar of the YA world.It's been eight years since Geniver Loxley lost her daughter, Beth. Since that day, Gen has been floundering. While her husband Art builds his business reputation and their fortune, she can't let go of Beth. And then one day, everything changes. A strange woman shows up on Gen's doorstep, saying the very thing she longs to hear: that Beth is alive. That she is out there somewhere, waiting for Gen to find her . . . It's insane. Unthinkable. But why would someone make up such a story? Ignoring the warnings of her husband and friends, Gen begins to hope - hope that quickly turns into fear and paranoia. With questions swirling around her head, Gen is determined to uncover the truth. But who can she trust? Why is Art so reluctant to get involved? To save his wife from further hurt? Or something much more sinister? Is Beth even really out there? And, if so, who is responsible for taking her? What is the truth about Beth Loxley?
- I was very excited when I heard McKenzie had released an adult fiction book and I wasn't let down!
- Although I didn't connect that well with the main character I was still able to feel sympathy for her.
- I couldn't put this book down without thinking about it throughout the day and wanting to pick it up again.
- The ending was so intense.
I am a big fan of Sophie McKenzie so when I heard about Close my Eyes and that it was going to be an adult fiction book I was so excited. She is such an amazing author and I always connect a lot with her stories and characters I can never put the books down. Close My Eyes was no different; in fact I was probably more addicted to this book than the others I have read by her!
Close My Eyes is one of those books that even when you’re not reading it you find yourself still thinking about it and wanting to pick it up. I found it impossible to put the book down and not wonder what was going to happen next or where Sophie would take the story and characters.
Gen is the main character, sadly I do feel I didn't connect with her as much as I would have liked too. However luckily this didn't really affect my sympathy for her, being pregnant myself I couldn't imagine what she had been through and really felt her desperation. I liked how Sophie introduced other characters into the book to add to the mysterious feel about who Gen can trust and who she can’t. I didn't know who wasn’t to be trusted right up until the end when Gen discovered who she could and couldn't trust as well.
The pace of the book varies throughout the book, the story line starts very quickly and really pulled me in from the beginning. Things then slow down a little but I liked this as it gave me a chance to get to know the characters and their personalities. Towards the end it becomes like a roller coaster and I literally couldn't put the book down, it was so intense.
Close My Eyes is an intense and roller coaster read which will have you thinking about the own people in your life and how very important trust is in a relationship, whether it’s with friends, family or partner.
Every Thursday l am going to list a book which l really want to read/keep meaning to get to. These are mostly books which have been on my shelf for awhile now but don't have to be, maybe you got it two weeks ago and really want to read it!
This was one of those books which grabbed my attention because of the cover. It looks like a book based in a college which I always love, especially when it features a romance. I pre ordered this after seeing some good reviews on it and that a friend wanted to read it who I could pass it onto. In the end my friend got it from elsewhere and I put it on top of a pile hoping to get to it soon. Gradually more books have been added on top and this is now rather down a pile of books waiting to be read.
"Whoever said football and girls don't mix hasn't read Catching Jordan. I couldn't put it down " -- Simone Elkeles, New York Times bestselling author of the Perfect Chemistry series
ONE OF THE BOYS What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But everything she's ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he's also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan's feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart's on the line?