Reader mail/FAQ: What’s the deal with Norwood and Heloise?


Be warned: this post is FULL of spoilers, so if you haven’t read the entire trilogy yet, stay away.

Norwood and Heloise. Did they really love each other? I could never get a good read on how Heloise felt, and Norwood… you’d think a husband would have a little more grief knowing that their wife was suddenly suffering eternal torment. How old are they? Were they partners? After ROGUE, what happens to Norwood?        — Carly E.

Norwood and Heloise are in their late forties/early fifties, they were partners before becoming Etcetera directors, and yes, they really did love each other. As Norwood mentions in Rogue, they even wanted children at one point, but ultimately chose to stick with their careers instead (since Grims can’t have kids while they’re in the Grimsphere). So of course Norwood is devastated by what happens to Heloise, but I think he’s the kind of guy that funnels most of his emotions into rage — rage that he takes out on Lex, Uncle Mort, and the rest of the gang, and uses it to fuel whatever he can do to control the destruction of the Grimsphere. Because, remember: from Norwood’s perspective, Uncle Mort is an alarmist crackpot who’s been wrong about things before, and Norwood is the voice of reason who’s trying to help. The Grimsphere is his entire way of life, everything he’s ever worked for. Of course he doesn’t want to see it destroyed; none of the Grims do! But he doesn’t know the extent of the problem like Uncle Mort does, and while, yes, Norwood should have listened when Uncle Mort was trying to convince him, he was still acting in what he thought was the Grimsphere’s best interest.

Having said that, he goes about it in a variety of deplorable ways: secretly bombing Croak in order to get people to vote for him as mayor, throwing everyone in jail, sentencing Lex and the gang to the Hole, etc. It’s not like he’s this misunderstood hero who was just erred on the wrong side of history; he is, in many ways, a very cruel man. So what happens to him after Rogue? Well, it’s probably not what you want to hear, but I think he’d probably just lick his wounds and move on with his life. Sure, he deserves some sort of punishment, but to him, being stripped of his Grimhood is the worst possible thing that could have happened, and continuing to live on in this world that’s just a shadow of his former life would likely be a daily torture. Still, he’s a smart, ambitious, ruthless guy, and he should have no problem jumping back into the modern world. I bet he’d fit right in on Wall Street.

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Upcoming March appearances

By which I mean events that are taking place in the month of March, not events that are themselves marches. I don’t march. I’m too short and I look like a child having a tantrum.

YA Q&A Panel
Join me, Cara Bertrand, Kim Harrington, A.C. Gaughen, and Anne Cardi as we discuss books, writing, and probably the bookstore’s adorable bunny logo.

Saturday, March 14
Blue Bunny Books & Toys
577 High Street – Dedham Square
Dedham, MA 02026

NYC Teen Author Festival
This runs from March 15-22 (check out their website for the full schedule) but I will only be there from Friday to Sunday. Free and open to the public!

• YA Explains it All 
This is billed as the “Ultimate Q&A”, and promises to be a really funny panel!
Friday, March 20
42nd St. New York Public Library, Berger Forum

•No-Foolin’ Mega-Signing at Books of Wonder
Wherein I and a billion other authors will sign copies of books for you.
Sunday, March 22
Books of Wonder
18 West 18th St.

Hope to see you soooon!

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Interview with my editor Julie Tibbott, author of MEMBERS ONLY – plus giveaway!

I honestly have no idea how editors do it. They have SO MANY BOOKS to deal with, all the time, constantly, waterfalls of books and meetings and revisions and deadlines, and all while dealing with those nutcase authors and their nutcase emails.

Which is why it’s so amazing that my editor, Julie Tibbott, found the time to write a book amongst the madness. And her second book, at that! It’s called MEMBERS ONLY, and it is about cults and secret societies, which is so friggin’ cool, and – well, here, I’ll just let her tell you about it.

Members Only book coverGive us the MEMBERS ONLY spiel.
Throughout human history, people have banded together to pass on traditions, climb the social ladder, and often just have a good time. And sometimes, keeping other people out is part of the fun. (Every hot club needs a velvet rope, after all.) But some of these groups have proved so exclusive and secretive that we on the outside can’t resist some speculation. Wouldn’t you like to know what they’re really up to? No need for secret handshakes or passwords— MEMBERS ONLY is your all-access guide to the secret societies, clandestine cults, and exclusive associations that you’ve always wondered about. Profiling over fifty groups, from the centuries-old Freemasons to the snooty Skull and Bones Society to a club just for magicians, this book reveals the secrets of these mysterious organizations — and even tells you how to join up. Get ready to go underground and explore secret worlds that are sometimes shocking, sometimes frightening, and always fascinating.

What is your favorite cult/sect/secret society mentioned in the book?
There are so many interesting ones, but for my money, the Hellfire Club has it all: rowdy aristocrats, costumes, orgies, even Ben Franklin! For a bunch of 18th century gentlemen, these guys sure knew how to party. The purpose of the Hellfire Club was to ridicule religion and conventional morality, which members achieved by performing mock religious ceremonies and having dinners where they dressed as characters from the Bible and consumed dishes such as “Devil’s Loin” and “Holy Ghost Pie.” For awhile they held their meetings in an actual abbey, and then they moved the festivities to an underground cave, formerly the site of Pagan rituals. You can visit the Hellfire Caves in West Wycombe, UK.

Was there any sort of crazy research you had to do? Break into a highly guarded vault in an evil mountain lair?
Unfortunately, my resources didn’t allow for much globe-hopping in the name of research, and besides, many of the groups profiled in the book are now defunct and therefore not available for infiltration. I did get to interview some interesting folks, though. The Society of Creative Anachronism, for example, sets up medieval-style kingdoms across the world, and I interviewed a few of their monarchs. I also spoke to some young Freemasons, mediums, a cult de-programmer, and a magician, all of whom you can read about in the book!

© Jessica Kourkounis

© Jessica Kourkounis

And now it’s time for me to blatantly steal from Inside the Actors Studio and go all James Lipton on your ass. What turns you on?
People who can hang.

What turns you off?
People who can’t hang.

What sound or noise do you love?
Rolling skateboards, tires over rain in city streets, cats purring.

What sound or noise do you hate?
Alarm clocks, animals in pain.

What is your favorite curse word?
The one that I encourage you to go easy on in your books!

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Being an antiques appraiser seems like such a cool job. I’d love to pick up some obscure object and know its whole history. I also like the idea of being a detective, but since you’ve actually got to be a cop to do that—no thanks. Maybe one day I’ll do the next best thing and write a mystery novel.

What profession would you not like to do?
Grave digger, embalmer, honeydipper, Guantanamo Bay interrogator, politician, daytime television host, TSA agent, food delivery person in extreme weather . . . most things, probably.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

Julie Tibbott is an editor of teen fiction at a major publishing house. She lives on New York City’s Lower East Side, once home to many organized crime syndicates, street gangs, and underground anarchists. She’s not a member of any secret societies . . . or is she?

Buy MEMBERS ONLY now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, or Powell’s

Or…win a copy! Julie is giving away a signed copy – simply fill out the form below to enter. Good luck!

Giveaway closed. Thanks to all who entered!

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HELLHOLE fiestas across the land

Well, across the northeast. Well, two locations across the northeast. SO FAR.

The official launch party took place at the ever-fabulous Jones Library in Amherst, MA (thanks to Garrett Pindar!), and was sponsored by the ever-fabulous Odyssey Bookshop (thanks to Hannah Moushabeck!) and was, as you may have already picked up, ever-fabulous. The library provided a craveworthy spread of processed cheese snacks galore, plus some red hot candies and, obviously, devil lollipops.

ginafinalHannah and me and Garrett – doodles courtesy of Garrett, the lovable scamp
IMG_20150106_190306My seven-year-old self would be so psyched to know that I would one day write a book that is essentially a 349-page ode to Cheetos

Next stop was the Barnes & Noble in Syracuse, NY (thanks to Nick Bennett!), where a whole chunk of my family and friends came out, and I proceeded to remind them why they should be embarrassed of me.

20150110_141046Because of my relentless desire to sell books and also smart media desks

Ooh, and there was this awesome cookie cake (which is a thing in HELLHOLE) that my mom ordered. I would give anything to have listened in on the phone call that resulted in this delight, but sadly it is lost to the ages. Not lost to the ages: that black frosting, which is currently still staining my teeth.

IMG_20150110_124624“That’s right, I said Hellhole. Hell. Hole. No, not hello. That wouldn’t make any sense at all.”

Needless to say, I stuffed it in my face and a good time was had by all…who also stuffed it in their faces. Thanks so everyone who came out to see me, and I’ll hopefully have some news soon about more appearances in the spring!


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The HELLHOLE has opened


It’s here, folks! HELLHOLE release day is here. It is now on sale. Go buy it. Or if you pre-ordered, go outside and pick up the box that the delivery person hath brought. Or turn on your e-reader. Or, if you were one of the lucky winners of the travelling circus edition, just wait for them to show up to your house and start juggling lit torches.

The point is, it’s out there, so go read it.

And, in honor of this most hallowed day, Will and I collaborated on a HELLHOLE-themed game we are calling Flappy Burg. (By which I mean I did the drawings and Will did the computer magic.) Click below to play! Yes, that’s Burg surfing a Dorito.


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HELLHOLE blog tour


We are coming in on the home stretch – HELLHOLE is only one day away! What’s more, it’ll be hopping around the internet for the next two weeks in the form of a blog tour hosted by the always-awesome Rockstar Book Tours. (Shoutout to Rachel and Jaime for making this possible!) Here’s the full schedule – be sure to check out the sites every day for interviews, reviews, and guest posts by moi, including ones in which I confess a couple of minor transgressions that sure would net me a devil. There’s a giveaway in the mix too, and a good one – a signed and annotated copy of HELLHOLE. So off to the tour with you!

Week One
1/5/15 Xpresso Reads
1/5/15 Fiction Fare
1/6/15 Paranormal Book Club
1/6/15 Spiced Latte Reads
1/7/15 A Dream Within A Dream
1/7/15 Book Jems
1/8/15 BookHounds YA
1/8/15 YA Midnight Reads
1/9/15 Novel Novice
1/9/15 Consuming Words and Worlds

Week Two
1/12/15 Once Upon a Twilight
1/12/15 Book Sniffers Anonymous
1/13/15 No BS Book Reviews
1/13/15 The Best Books Ever
1/14/15 Teen Readers’ Diary
1/14/15 The Book Bratz
1/15/15 Sweet Southern Home
1/15/15 Eli to the nth
1/16/15 Bad Bird Reads
1/16/15 Crossroad Reviews

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