Category Archives: Interview

Fashion-Forward Classics for Your Collection + An Interview w/ the Illustrator

Never before has reading the classics been so fashionably cool. With Splinter’s new Classic Lines of famous works – such as Sense & Sensibility, Wuthering Heights, Pride & Prejudice and Jane Eyre – the classics are now more accessible and visually appealing than ever before. Each cover features designs by noted fashion illustrator Sara Singh, whose work for high-end designers such as Givenchy, Tiffany, and Neiman Marcus has also appeared in publications like Vogue and The New York Times. Today we welcome Sara to the blog for an exclusive interview. But first, let’s take a closer look at this beautiful collection!

This stunning new collection of classics is whimsical and airy, and makes for the perfect gift set or self-splurge – but for only $8.95 each! The first four titles in the collection were released March 6, 2012. The next titles in the collection will be released in September 2012.

Purchase on Amazon: (For a limited time, buy 3 and get the 4th FREE!)
Jane Eyre  |  Pride & Prejudice  |  Sense & Sensibility  |  Wuthering Heights


I received a copy of each of these four books to review. I must say, this is the most beautiful release I have seen of these stories in recent years. The covers are think and sturdy and have a nice, soft texture to them. There are fold-over flaps on both the front and back covers. Hand written titles and accents adorn both the front and back covers, title pages and flaps. Memorable quotes from the stories are inscribed inside the flaps. The hues and watercolor designs all complement each other, making for a fine set sitting on the book shelf.

Check out the photos I took of the set!


An interview with illustrator, Sara Singh:

Hi Sara, how did you come to be involved in illustrating the Classic Lines series for Splinter?

I was contacted through my agent by Splinter.

Good thing, too! Those covers are gorgeous! Where did you get your design inspiration for them?

I Googled men’s and women’s clothing from 1830’s, 1840’s and on. I happened upon an exhibition at Nordiska Museet in Stockholm called Power of Fashion – 300 years of clothing with some beautiful pieces from this period. I also watched Jane Campion’s films The Piano and Bright Star as well as the most recent version of Jane Eye. I’ve always loved costume dramas. PBS and Masterpiece Theatre was also a good source.

Can you tell us anything about the process of designing the covers?

I first had to research and find pictures of clothing. I looked at film to get ideas for poses and movement. I drew and painted poses and colors that would summarize the characters and atmosphere. And then I put it all my drawings together using Photoshop.

Do you have a favorite classic story? If so, which one?

Wuthering Heights

Do you have a favorite fashion designer, or someone that you look up to?

I like so much… Balenciaga and Comme des Garcons, I like the Miu miu line always.

Working in the fashion industry have you crossed paths with any particular famous celebrities? *eye wink*

I am as backstage as you can get… I’m just the illustrator.

(And because we just have to know) What is your favorite color?

All kinds of green…

Chocolate or vanilla?

Vanilla – the real kind with little tiny black specks.

Pepsi or Coke?

Neither, I don’t like the bubbles.

Tom or Jerry?

Which one is the mouse again? I’m the mouse.

You can view more of Sara’s incredible designs on her website at: www.sarasingh.com

Purchase Splinter’s new Classic Lines on Amazon:
Jane Eyre  |  Pride & Prejudice  |  Sense & Sensibility  |  Wuthering Heights


Author Interview + Giveaway: Life on the Edge

Life on the Edge
By Jennifer Comeaux
January 3, 2012
Astraea Press
Author’s Website
Paperback | Kindle

Read Our Review of Life on the Edge

Nineteen-year-old Emily is new to pairs skating, but she and her partner Chris have a big dream – to be the first American team to win Olympic gold. Their young coach Sergei, who left Russia after a mysterious end to his skating career, believes they can break through and make history.

Emily and Chris are on track to be top contenders at the 2002 Winter Games. But when forbidden feelings spark between Emily and Sergei, broken trust and an unexpected enemy threaten to derail Emily’s dreams of gold.

Making the Grade is pleased to welcome Jennifer Comeaux, author of Life on the Edge, for an exclusive interview here on the blog. In addition, she is allowing us to host a giveaway as part of the Kick-Butt Characters Giveaway Hop. Be sure to visit the giveaway page to win a Life on the Edge Prize pack and e-book!

THE INTERVIEW

Hi Jennifer! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in south Louisiana and stayed close to home for college, graduating from Tulane University with a Master of Accounting degree. Currently, I’m the corporate tax manager for a large company in the New Orleans area. I used to write a lot when I was a kid, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I started writing again when a friend encouraged me to explore an idea I had for a story. That idea turned into Life on the Edge!

What do you do when you’re not writing? (For fun, that is!)
Travelling and sports-watching are my two big hobbies. As you can probably tell from the subject of my book, I’m a huge fan of figure skating. I’m also a big supporter of Tulane athletics. I have football and baseball season tickets, and during spring you’ll find me at the ballpark almost every weekend. Travelling is my other love, and I especially enjoy travelling to figure skating events. I usually attend two or three per year.

Life on the Edge is about ice skating professionals. Please tell us about your connection to the skating world. What exactly inspired you to write about the subject?
I’ve been a fan of figure skating since I was a little girl. I always watched every competition and show that came on TV, and I thought it would be so fun to attend a competition. In 2001 I attended my first national championship, and I was hooked! Being at the event was so much more exhilarating than watching on TV. Over the years of attending competitions, I’ve learned more about the behind-the-scenes world, and it only increased my fascination with the sport. I think figure skating is the perfect combination of sport and art–it’s so beautiful yet so physically demanding.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Growing up, I was addicted to the Sweet Valley High series. I think those books influenced me a lot. I loved all the drama and relationships of the Wakefield twins. I wanted to be Elizabeth!

Regarding Life on the Edge, what was your favorite chapter (or part of the book) to write and why?
The dinner party at Emily’s house was one of my favorite scenes because that’s where I first had the chance to explore the chemistry and the blossoming feelings between Emily and Sergei. I love writing those moments where the characters can feel something happening between them but can’t act on it/aren’t ready to act on it yet. The chapter at the Tokyo nightclub was also one of my favorites, but I don’t want to give any details about it that will spoil the story! You’ll have to read the book to find out why that chapter is near and dear to my heart.

Are your characters based on any one (or any ice skaters) you know?
They’re all products of my imagination, although there may be some characteristics that have been subconsciously inspired by skaters I’ve watched over the years. If you find a coach that fits Sergei’s description (young, hot, and romantic!), please let me know!

If there is ONE THING you would like readers to know about Life on the Edge, what would it be?
It’s a feel-good story. When I was working on the book, some people thought I should make the story grittier, but I had to stay true to my vision of the characters. There’s plenty of drama and intensity in the book, but in the end I wanted to leave the reader with warm feelings.

What are your plans for a sequel, if any? Do you have any other stories planned? *eye wink*
I’m currently writing the sequel to Life on the Edge! It’s in the early stages, but I’m very excited to share more of Emily and Sergei’s story with everyone.

What is the one thing you most wish to accomplish in 2012?
I want to finish the sequel and have it published or ready for publication by the end of the year.

Aside from the necessities, if you could take only one thing with you while traveling, what would it be?
My camera! I love taking photos, and I couldn’t imagine being without my camera on a trip. I had to stop developing my trip pictures because I can’t fit any more photo albums on my bookshelf!

Chocolate or vanilla?
Definitely chocolate (and lots of it!)

Pepsi or Coke?
Coke

Tom or Jerry? ;)
Jerry

Thank you for taking the time to talk to Making the Grade! I’m sure I speak for us all when I say we look forward to reading more from you!

Provide a Mad Libs entry for your chance to win
a Life on the Edge Prize Pack!

You must fill out this form to enter.

ONE entry per person.
Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
ONE winner will receive the Prize Pack and e-book.
Giveaway ends at midnight on Wednesday, March 28, 2012.

View the other blogs participating in this Hop (and enter to win even more giveaways!) by visiting the Kick-Butt Characters Giveaway Hop page over at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer.

Author Interview & Giveaway: Jennifer E. Smith

Featured in the Follower Love Giveaway Hop this week is The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. I am honored to have been able to interview Jennifer about her influences, the book, as well as her plans for more contemporary YA fiction!

ABOUT JENNIFER E. SMITH:

Jennifer E. Smith is the author of four novels for young readers. She earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and currently works as an editor in New York City. Her writing has been translated into over twenty languages.

THE INTERVIEW:

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a Young Adult author as well as an editor (though not for YA books).  The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is my third novel, and my fourth – The Storm Makers, my first middle grade book – will be out in early April.

 What do you do when you’re not writing? (For fun, that is!)

Well, I live in New York City, so there’s always something interesting going on.  I spend a lot of time with my friends, trying new bars and restaurants, and I have a dog, so I tend to log a lot of hours at the park.  I also teach therapeutic horseback riding to kids with disabilities one morning a week, which is something I really love doing.

Your writing style could expand into so many different markets, what exactly got you into writing YA fiction?

Thank you!  A few years ago, I joined a “kidlit” book club, and getting to read all those great examples of YA literature really reignited my interest in writing for this market.  In my opinion, there’s no better audience.  I love writing YA, and I think some of the most interesting things happening in publishing at the moment are happening within that age range.  But I also have my first middle grade book coming out in April, and I can’t say I’d never try writing for adults either.  Part of the fun of writing is trying new things, so you never know.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

As a kid, my three favorite books were Bridge to Terabithia, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Tuck Everlasting – they’re all just so sad and sweet, and they each have a very classic feel that still really appeals to me.  Now, as an adult, I still love to read books like that, as well as other great YA novels, but I’m also an editor on the adult side of publishing, so I tend to read a lot of literary fiction too: Jennifer Egan, Cormac McCarthy, Richard Ford, Nicole Krauss, Michael Chabon, David Mitchell, Mary Karr, etc.  I think it’s always helpful to read as widely as possible, and it’s one of the very best things you can do as a writer.

Regarding The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, what was your favorite chapter (or part of the book) to write and why?

I loved writing the scenes when Hadley and Oliver are getting to know each other on the flight to London.  They spend hours talking, and much of it just the kind of silly banter you’d expect when you’ve got time to kill on a plane, so it was a lot of fun to write that sort of dialogue.

If there is ONE THING you would like readers to know about the book, what would it be?

That four minutes can change everything.

Can you reveal anything about your next YA book? *eye wink*

It’s another contemporary love story called This Is What Happy Looks Like.  It all starts when an email goes astray, and two teenagers on opposite sides of the country strike up a conversation as a result, which eventually sparks a very unlikely romance.  I’m getting close to the finish line now, and it will be out sometime in 2013.

You are a star at writing books about road trips and travel. Aside from the necessities, if you could take only one thing with you while traveling, what would it be?

My trusty beagle, Tate.

Is there anything more you would like to say to the readers?

Just…thank you!  The response to Statistical Probability has been overwhelming and so very gratifying.  I’m incredibly grateful to all those who have read it, and it’s so nice to hear from so many of you.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to Making the Grade! I’m sure I speak for us all when I say I can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve next!

Thanks so much for having me!

Enter for your chance to win a copy of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (or one of three other books) in the Follower Love Giveaway Hop!

You must fill out this form to enter.

Four winners will each receive one of the above books.
Open to US residents aged 13 and older only.
ONE entry per person.
Giveaway ends at midnight on Tuesday, February 14, 2012.

View the other blogs participating in this Hop (and enter to win even more giveaways!) by visiting the Follower Love Giveaway Hop page over at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer.