Saturday, February 27, 2016

Chocolates, First Loves and Book Crushes: Melanie Conklin (Interview + Giveaway)

Chocolates, First Loves and Book Crushes is a blog event featuring debut authors answering questions that I have sent them as they talk  about their Valentine's day routines, love, book crushes and more. For a list of all the participating authors, check it out here.

Melanie Conklin is a writer, reader, and life-long lover of books and those who create them. She lives in South Orange, New Jersey with her husband and two small maniacs, who are thankfully booklovers, too. Melanie spent a decade as a product designer and approaches her writing with the same three-dimensional thinking and fastidious attention to detail. Counting Thyme is her debut middle grade novel, coming from G.P. Putnam’s Sons on April 12, 2016.

FIND MELANIE : Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads

1.    Have you always seen Valentine’s as an important event? What do you usually do on Valentine’s Day?
  • Valentine’s Day was always an exciting time for me as a kid. All that candy! And, well, waiting to see who might put a valentine in my pile. I remember one year where we had to make macaroni hearts, with pasta glued to little cut out paper hearts, to hang as ornaments. I was standing at the craft table, and the boy I liked totally moved his heart right next to mine! But then he didn’t talk to me for the rest of the year, so that was a bust. These days, I like to spend Valentine’s Day with my family, who are the loves of my life.

2. What is your fondest memory about Valentine’s Day? Can you go into details about it?
  • Other than the macaroni hearts, my fondest memory is probably from high school, when my then-boyfriend gave me a different hand-made paper valentine every time he saw me, all day. I’d always been envious of the girls who got a dozen roses delivered to class, but having someone go to real time and effort to show me he was thinking about me showed me what mattered. 

3. What has always been your idea of the perfect date?
  • The book store, of course! You’ve gotta know what the guy reads. If he doesn’t read at all, well, all bets are off.

4. Can you tell us about your first love? What was he/she like? 
  • My first love was the guy who made me all of those valentines in high school, and now he’s my husband! Looking back, I feel like I’m looking at different people. We were kids then, but we were also very good friends. We talked about music, and film, and politics—there was nothing we couldn’t talk about, and we were there for each other when things were tough. That’s the way we still are today!

5. Any book crushes/boyfriends?
  • Po from Graceling! I mean really, there’s no competition. Po’s powers are impressive, but he’s also honest, loyal, and patient. All qualities I value a lot, plus, he has gold and silver eyes, people!

6. Are the characters in your upcoming novel big romantics or total party poopers?
  • Thyme is in a very special place in life—she’s got a lot of difficult stuff going on with her brother’s illness, but she’s also experiencing her very first crush. I remember how bewildering it was to realize you liked someone. Like, really like-liked them. I didn’t really know how to handle those feelings at that age, and neither does Thyme! Jake, the boy she’s met in New York, is not just a crush, but a friend. He’s kind and goofy, and it doesn’t hurt that he also plays the guitar.

7. If you can go out on a date with a character in your book, who would it be and why?
  • I think if I were Thyme, I would’ve had a major crush on Jake, too.

8. What would you like to say to any reader out there this Valentine’s season?

  • You are loved!

Title: Counting Thyme                              
Author: Melanie Conklin
Publication: April 12th 2016, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books For Young Readers
Pre-order it on: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | The Book Depository | Kobo | National Book Store / Fully Booked (PH)


When eleven-year-old Thyme Owens’ little brother, Val, is accepted into a new cancer drug trial, it’s just the second chance that he needs. But it also means the Owens family has to move to New York, thousands of miles away from Thyme’s best friend and everything she knows and loves. The island of Manhattan doesn’t exactly inspire new beginnings, but Thyme tries to embrace the change for what it is: temporary.

After Val’s treatment shows real promise and Mr. Owens accepts a full-time position in the city, Thyme has to face the frightening possibility that the move to New York is permanent. Thyme loves her brother, and knows the trial could save his life—she’d give anything for him to be well—but she still wants to go home, although the guilt of not wanting to stay is agonizing. She finds herself even more mixed up when her heart feels the tug of new friends, a first crush, and even a crotchety neighbor and his sweet whistling bird. All Thyme can do is count the minutes, the hours, and days, and hope time can bring both a miracle for Val and a way back home.

Thanks to the wonderful and kind Melanie Conklin for sharing her memories and also sharing to the world the story of Thyme and Val and I'm really excited to read this possibly bittersweet novel! To all my US readers, I know you're out there! Go and join the giveaway, coz it's fairly easy to RT and follow! I'll look forward to y'all's excitement! Tomorrow, closing the event, will be Please Don't Tell author, Laura Tims! Stay tuned! K byeeeeeeee!

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