Monday, January 18, 2016

NOOKS & CRANNIES Giveaway, and an Exclusive Interview with Jessica Lawson!



Nooks & Crannies by Jessica Lawson, illustrated by Natalie Andrewson (June 2015, Simon and Schuster, 336 pages, for ages 8 to 12)

Synopsis (from Indiebound): "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory "meets "Clue "when six children navigate a mansion full of secrets--and maybe money--in this humorous mystery with heart. Sweet, shy Tabitha Crum, the neglected only child of two parents straight out of a Roald Dahl book, doesn't have a friend in the world--except for her pet mouse, Pemberley, whom she loves dearly. But on the day she receives one of six invitations to the country estate of wealthy Countess Camilla DeMoss, her life changes forever.

Upon the children's arrival at the sprawling, possibly haunted mansion, it turns out the countess has a very big secret--one that will change their lives forever.

Then the children beginning disappearing, one by one. So Tabitha takes a cue from her favorite detective novels and, with Pemberley by her side, attempts to solve the case and rescue the other children...who just might be her first real friends.

Why I recommend it: Nooks & Crannies is clever and charming, with a spunky, inquisitive heroine and one of the most adorable pet sidekicks ever. Ten-year-old me would have hugged this book and carried it around for days. This is the perfect book for a cold snowy winter day, curled up in your favorite chair with a cup of tea and a few English biscuits.

And now, I'm thrilled to welcome author Jessica Lawson back to my blog (see her earlier visit here) for an exclusive interview!

Jessica Lawson, from her website

1) You must have read quite a few mysteries before writing this book. What were your favorite mystery novels when you were growing up?

Growing up (age 8 or so), my go-to mysteries were the Cam Jansen books. As I got older, I graduated to my aunt’s baskets of paperback mysteries—Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins Clark and P.D. James. I was 10-12 years old when I first started reading them, and remember being fascinated by those books. And, while this isn’t book-related, I think that a big love for the more cozy-style mysteries began as a bonding experience with my mom. Starting around age 8 or 9, she would let me watch Murder She Wrote with her (with the fabulous Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher) and we’d make 25 cent bets on “whodunit” after the first commercial break.

2) That's a fun childhood memory! Can you describe your writing routine? And is your writing area, by any chance, a nook? Details, please.

With little ones around (one who still wakes up at night on occasion), my writing routine is very flexible by necessity. To make writing time happen, I’ve tried various strategies like getting up super early or having ready activities for the kids so that I can get an hour here, a half hour there. I can’t seem to stay up late to write—my brain works best in the morning hours and my creative energy is mostly sapped by the afternoon. So while I can edit at night if I’m on a deadline, I write and revise best in the earlier hours of the day.

During warmer weather, my husband will take the kids outside or on a field trip for a few hours on the weekends, which is a big help. I know that some people say that you need to write a certain amount every single day, but it just doesn’t work out that way for me in this stage of my life. I think about writing and my current projects every day, and will have small plot epiphanies or sparks of dialogue come to me (in which case I’ll jot those down on a post-it for the next time I write). But some days, writing gets shoved off my schedule, and that’s okay.

Jessica's writing space: the kitchen table

Photos courtesy of Jessica Lawson












As for my writing space, sadly, it’s not a nook. How I long for a nook! Alas, instead, I park my laptop on the kitchen table and pile an extra chair with my notes. When company comes over, my “office” is moved to my bedroom floor. Not very glamorous, but between the kitchen table and the living/family room couch, I’ve managed to get a lot of writing done.



3) Well, that space seems to be working just fine for you!  Jess, I'm not ready to let Tabitha go. Will there be any further adventures for our plucky heroine?

Thank you for asking~ I would love to revisit Tabitha’s story and see what comes next! That said, there are no near-future plans for another Tabitha book—the books of mine that will come out in 2016 and 2017 aren’t set in that world. But I will be keeping her in my back pocket for future project ideas. I’ve also dabbled with the idea of writing a middle grade starring a 12-year-old Percival Pensive and his sidekick, Timothy Tibbs (the Holmes/Watson-esque fiction-within-fiction characters from mystery books that Tabitha Crum loves)~ if you read NOOKS & CRANNIES, you’ll see that Pensive novel quotes begin each chapter and those two seem like they’d be loads of fun to write about.


4) That would be fun! If you could live in a mansion with hidden passageways, what would you use them for?

Oh, good question! I would use them for quick access to my massive library/kitchenette (I have my own mansion, right? It MUST have a massive library/kitchenette, right?) and for epic games of hide-and-seek and laser tag with my kids (note: I have never actually played laser tag, but it looks fun).


Thanks, Jessica! I enjoyed having you back on My Brain on Books. 

Jessica's website


And now, for the Giveaway details:

Readers, I'm so in love with this book I want everyone to read it. I'm giving away an extra copy to one lucky winner. To enter, simply be a follower of this blog and comment on this post. Mention the giveaway on social media, and I'll give you more chances to win. Open to US mailing addresses only. This giveaway ends at 10pm on Sunday January 24 and the winner will be announced on Monday January 25. So you only have one week! Good luck!

(And don't forget my giveaway for THE GOBLIN'S PUZZLE, still going on here!)

33 comments:

  1. Nice interview! I read Nooks & Crannies and just loved it. Loved the Pensive quotes, loved Tabitha and Pemberley. Jessica's books are so well written.

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    1. Yes, they are, Elizabeth! I'm already looking forward to her next book.

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  2. I loved this book, too! Thanks for doing the fun interview with Jess, who is such a delightful person. :)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Faith. And she certainly is that.

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  3. Great interview and a fun sounding book. The cover is also quite intriguing. Thanks for featuring it this week.

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    1. The cover gives you some lovely little hints to the mysteries inside.

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  4. Congrats to Jessica! I loved Mary Higgins Clark as a kid. Loved learning more about Jessica's writing schedule and work place. My office is the dining room table we never eat on.

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    1. That's funny, Natalie. We never eat on our dining room table either. I guess for the most part, dining rooms have gone the way of mansions like Downton Abbey.

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  5. Thanks for sharing the challenges of getting any writing done, Jess! Now I don't feel so bad about the small bits I manage to get done each day.

    Looking forward to reading Nooks & Crannies!

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    1. Thanks Andrea! I always say that small bits are better than no bits :)

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  6. Wonderful interview! I got Nooks & Crannies shortly after its release and absolutely loved it!

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    1. Thanks, Dianne. I've been wanting to read this book for ages, but in a way I'm glad I waited for cold weather. Such a perfect book for winter.

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  7. I love this lady so much! Her blog had been a huge support for me on my writing journey (even though I don't have anything to show for it).
    I think I need to marathon all her books this year because I'm so behind.

    Thanks for the interview and a chance at winning a copy of her book.

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    1. I suspect your writing journey is more important than you realize, Akoss. Many of us don't have book contracts (yet) but we're learning our craft, and that's what counts. Good luck in the drawing!

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    2. Ditto on what Joanne said, Akoss! It took me 9 books to get a deal and over 600 nos before I got a yes. Trust me, you've got plenty to show for your writing journey thus far!

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  8. Thanks so much for the fun interview and for giving away a copy of the book!

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    1. Thank you so much for agreeing to the interview, Jess. It was fun for me too.

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  9. No need to enter me in the giveaway as I've already got a well-loved copy but I loved getting a peek at Jessica's writing space. I also watched Murder, She Wrote with my mom!

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    1. How cool, Joy, that you and Jess both have that fun memory. And I always get a kick out of seeing authors' writing spaces.

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  10. Thank you for introducing me to Jessica. I really enjoyed your interview. I haven't read this book, but it sounds like a great mystery -- my favorite as a teen.

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    1. Oh, good! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview, Patricia.

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  11. It's great to meet Jessica and best wishes for Nooks and Crannies!

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  12. Thanks for this post. Love the interview. This book has been on my wish list for quite awhile. Thanks for a chance to win. I tweeted the link. (https://twitter.com/rosihollinbeck/status/689193834417238016)

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  13. I have been hearing such great things about this book. So glad to hear you loved it and that you would have hugged it and carried it around with you when you were growing up. I enjoyed the interview with Jessica too! I always love learning more about authors. Thanks for the awesome giveaway. I tweeted and Google+d it. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. Happy to hear that, Jess. And I've noted your extra chances.

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  14. This sounds awesome! :D I'll try to find it in our library! :D

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    1. It's a fun mystery, Erik. Hope you're enjoying the snow. :)

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  15. Nice interview! I especially enjoyed seeing the Jessica's mobile office. Re laser tag, I would tell Jessica she's not missing anything. Everytime I play, children are shooting at me from all sides, lights are flashing, and I have no idea what is going on.

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    1. Good to know that about laser tag! My vision in the dark isn't so hot anyway, so maybe I should rethink that idea :)

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  16. This giveaway is now CLOSED! Thank you.

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  17. Oh, thanks for the recommendation! I have to read this one.

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