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Your next obsession: Richelle Mead on her new adult series 'Age of X' -- EXCLUSIVE


It’s still months before we hear from Bloodlines‘ Sydney or Adrian again, but Richelle Mead has a new novel to keep you occupied in the meantime. It’s called Gameboard of the Gods and it’s the first in her Age of X series. That’s right: After years of YA, the author has finally returned to her adult roots with an ambitious (and sexy!) sci-fi outing.

In Gameboard of the Gods, the world as we know it was nearly destroyed by religious extremists and faith has been outlawed. Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of the supernatural and the divine. But when a series of ritualistic murders bear a disturbingly paranormal quality, Justin is the only man for the job. Together with Mae Koskinen, a technologically-enhanced super soldier, he’s assigned to solve the cases, but their discoveries put them in untold danger. Something’s preparing to make its move on the world — and the human race is merely its pawn. EW spoke to Mead about the inspiration behind Gameboard, a possible Bloodlines spinoff, and the importance of hair dye in the Vampire Academy movie.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What inspired you to write Gameboard of the Gods?
RICHELLE MEAD: It came from this whole different assortment of things that I kind of put together. My background is in religion and mythology, so this whole idea of a futuristic world that turns its back on religion and then gets plagued by the supernatural had always kind of been kicking around in my head. I actually first thought of it before Succubus Blues, my first published novel, but it took a long time for me to write it. It’s more detailed and complex. READ FULL STORY

Authors Veronica Roth and Leigh Bardugo in conversation about 'Divergent', 'Siege & Storm', and badass YA heroines -- EXCLUSIVE

Leigh Bardugo’s Siege & Storm, the highly anticipated sequel to the best-selling Shadow & Bone, hits shelves today. In honor of the new installment of the Grisha trilogy, Bardugo’s friend and fellow YA rockstar Veronica Roth, author of the enormously popular Divergent series, chatted about “badass heroines,” hot (and sensitive) heartthrobs, exciting film adaptations (for both series!), and generally gushed about each other. We don’t blame them! Read on for their conversation. READ FULL STORY

Lauren Weisberger talks 'Revenge Wears Prada' and the possibility of another 'Devil' movie

Seven years after her debut, The Devil Wears Prada, became a smash film starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, Lauren Weisberger, 36, discusses the return of her impeccably heeled characters in Revenge Wears Prada (out June 4). READ FULL STORY

Hot Memorial Day reading: Christina Lauren talks 'Beautiful Bastard' follow-up, 'Beautiful Stranger' -- EXCLUSIVE


The first holiday of summer is upon us and we’ve got just the steamy romance to spice up your Memorial Day weekend: Beautiful Stranger by Christina Lauren. The follow-up to the best-selling Beautiful Bastard is already available on Kindle, but hits shelves in paperback May 28. We took the time to speak to the two lovely ladies behind the popular erotica novels, Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings (together, they make the pen name Christina Lauren), about their latest release, their thoughts on the fan fic phenom, and their foray into YA.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’re speaking to us from Paris while promoting Beautiful Bastard. What’s the reception been like over there?
CHRISTINA HOBBS: Well, it was really funny because both our husbands went sightseeing today while we were working and they went into this little random drugstore in Paris and saw fifty copies of Beautiful Bastard. It’s crazy! Even at home, every time I walk into a Target or something and see the book, it doesn’t feel real.

Beautiful Bastard originated as Twilight fan fiction much like Fifty Shades of Grey, but your new book Beautiful Stranger is 100% original. How did the experience differ from writing Bastard?
LAUREN BILLINGS: I think for Beautiful Bastard, we really liked the revision process. In fact for BB, that was all I had to really do. I came in, just for the editing part — tore it up, re-wrote the ending, that kind of thing. It was really different because it was just revisions. We didn’t really have expectations for what was going to happen with it. With Stranger, the pressure was on because we sold it in this deal to Gallery Books and we wanted to really deliver and make sure it was something that would show that we had grown as writers. So, while the drafting and revision stage were both a little more stressful, it was also more fun. We felt from the beginning this might actually be a good follow-up.

What’s the idea behind Beautiful Stranger? It’s not a direct sequel to Bastard.
BILLINGS: We had a few different ideas that had been bouncing around, and when we got the deal with Gallery, we weren’t really sure which to go with. So we proposed a few and the one that ended up being Stranger was one that Christina had come up with, which was based off the idea of, what happens if you meet someone at a bar? At first, I was like, where are we going to take that? We started talking about it and it just grew from there. Interestingly, the other one that we had loved the most became Beautiful Player, the third book in the series.

So tell me, have you ever had a kinky dalliance with your boss? Or taken home a tall, handsome stranger from a bar?
BILLINGS: [Laughs] I have. In grad school. [[Pauses] Before I met my husband, I definitely had some flirty hook-up nights. But nothing quite like that.
HOBBS: I haven’t because I am married to my high school sweetheart.

How does Max, the protagonist of Beautiful Stranger, compare to Bastard‘s Bennett?
BILLINGS: We say Max is the sugar. Max is just this big, charming sugar. He doesn’t have any pretenses; he doesn’t need to be defensive about his feelings. In that sense he’s very different from Bennett, who is caught off guard by how he feels for Chloe, so it comes out in defensiveness and anger, that sort of heat that a lot of people really love. Max is the opposite of that — he feels what he feels. He doesn’t have the need to explain it away.

What I love about this series is that it’s not really serious. Despite the comparisons, it’s really nothing like Fifty Shades.
BILLINGS: I’m so glad you say that. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We write these books quickly and we have a really good time. We just sort of let them come, ha ha. Pun intended.
HOBBS: We just really want readers to laugh and blush and swoon. If it gives them a few hours of escape, then we feel like we’ve done exactly what we’ve wanted.

Since Bastard started as fan fic, it’s obviously somewhat polarizing. Can you talk about the reaction you’ve gotten from readers?
BILLINGS: I think it’s a sticky issue. A lot of fan fiction out there, it either has a root in the sort of vampire world of Twilight or it has the same emotional beat as Twilight: the stalker-y male, the demure, shy female. And I think that is sort of where it gets a little sticky. The thing about fic is that there’s a whole world of fic out there that has writers that explored their own ability to write things, but it really had no root in the Twilight world. Those are the ones that are in more of a gray area. It didn’t have that much of a connection to the original work. What happened was when Fifty Shades of Grey published, there was a lot of backlash because that was the first really big one. It wasn’t the first one to publish, but it was the first really big one. And it was the first one to hit it huge, obviously. So people had a lot of feelings about that. With our deal, we had some of that same reaction because people felt that we were exploiting them in some sense. The point is that people who really don’t like the book tend to be the ones that also have strong feelings about the origin and don’t really see it for being separate from the original. People who come into it not really knowing the background, I think they think it’s fun. With Stranger, which is completely original, I think most people, at least as far as I can see, just really love it. It’s a fun, swoon story and they’re having a good time reading it.

Finally, talk to me about your upcoming YA novel.
HOBBS: For both of us, the thing that we love so much about YA is that it’s such a time of self-discovery, when you’re learning who you’re going to be. You have all these amazing things, like first kisses and first loves and first heartbreaks. At our heart, we’re romance writers, so our YA is always going to reflect that. This one, though it’s pretty steamy for YA [laughs.]

The paperback edition of Beautiful Stranger hits shelves May 28. The Kindle edition is currently available.

Read more:
Read an exclusive excerpt from ‘Beautiful Stranger,’ the follow-up to the steamy ‘Twilight’ fanfic ‘Beautiful Bastard’
Check out the cover for the ‘Twilight’ fanfic turned novel ‘Beautiful Bastard’ — EXCLUSIVE
The ‘Fifty Shades’ bump: More ‘Twilight’ fanfiction is being turned into novels

'The Dream Thieves': Read an excerpt from Maggie Stiefvater's sequel to 'The Raven Boys' -- EXCLUSIVE


Maggie Stiefvater shattered no small amount of dreams when she ended The Raven Boys on a somewhat torturous cliffhanger (don’t worry, no spoilers here). Book 2 in the Raven Cycle is still a very long summer away, but today we can offer you the first look at The Dream Thieves, as well as an interview with Stiefvater herself.

The ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken and nothing will ever be the same for Blue, Gansey, Ronan, and Adam. Ronan’s dreams are intensifying, and some shady figures have come to town seeking to solve the same puzzle that Gansey is obsessed with. Check out an exclusive excerpt from the Dream Thieves prologue below, then read on to find out more about Book 2 and why Stiefvater’s got a grudge against Beyoncé.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: It’s been almost a year since The Raven Boys hit shelves. What’s the reaction been like?
MAGGIE STIEFVATER: It’s actually really fascinating. Because I thought I had a really solid fan base with the Shiver trilogy — and I do, I love my Shiver readers — but the readers for Raven Boys have responded in a very different way in that there’s a lot of fan fiction and fan art. They really get this idea of them as this gang that has adventures. It’s really cool to see them take ownership of the characters.

The Raven Boys ended in quite the cliffhanger. I’ve seen many angry gifs on Goodreads. Have you gotten lots of angry fan email?
I haven’t gotten much of a backlash because it was so clearly pitched as a series. The only ones I can think of are the ones that said, “I cannot believe you ended it this way, please write another one.” I’m like, “Good news for you.” [Laughs] Most of the people come in knowing that it’ll be a series and they were totally fine with the ending. It’s funny because I didn’t really think of it as a cliffhanger, I just cackled at that line. I have to warn you, that might happen again. It might possibly be worse [laughs]. I’m actually very neurotic about this book coming out.

How so?
It is my favorite of all of the books that I’ve written. It’s a Maggie sort of book. I started writing this book way back when I was 19. So, it has very, very old roots.

What can you tell us about The Dream Thieves? The synopsis is disturbingly short…
It is very, very evil for a synopsis [laughs]. I don’t even think it’s because the copy writers are trying to be coy. It’s just because, like The Raven Boys, each of my books gets more and more difficult to describe. I will say that as much as there are boys behaving badly in Book 1, they behave much worse in Book 2. There is 100% more kissing in Book 2 [laughs] and it all revolves around that last line in Raven Boys.

Speaking of boys behaving badly, I remember reading a blog post from you a while back where you spoke about a “black-hearted” character. Can you tell us a little about that? It must be tricky to write a character with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
It is interesting because this book took me longer to write than any of my others. And that’s not even counting going back to when I was 19. It took me 14 months to actually draft this because I was very painstaking. I had a very clear idea in my head of what I wanted it to be. So I lived with this black-hearted character for 14 months. I had such a blast writing him, but it was a really different experience than any other character I’ve ever done. I do so enjoy writing the bad boy with the heart of gold or the angry girl with the heart of gold. However, I do still think there are certain redeeming qualities… That’s all I’ll say.

Your characters have some of the strangest names I’ve ever heard. Where do you get them?
First of all, I have to tell you I’m very angry with Beyoncé because she named her baby Blue. And Blue [Sargent] has been named Blue ever since that first draft all that time ago. I was very pleased with that name — it came from a plot line that was lost, but basically Blue’s mother originally said that Blue’s aura was blue and that was how she got the name. So I persisted with this name and I thought it was so quirky and then Beyoncé named her child Blue [laughs]. Gansey was because when I was growing up I was a competition bagpiper and the boys never referred to each other by first name, ever. They always had some reason why they would refer to themselves by their last names, so I knew that had to go in there. Barrington Whelk… I feel very badly about naming my villain Barrington Whelk. He is named after a realtor who showed us a nice house during our house hunt and I just thought, Barrington, that sounds like an evil name. So I apologize to the real Barrington out there.

Read more:
12 New YA Novels: We Grade ‘em
Read the first two chapters of Maggie Stiefvater’s novel ‘The Raven Boys’ — EXCLUSIVE
Find Me a ‘Twilight!’

Khaled Hosseini on his decades-spanning new novel: 'Everything for me starts very small and snowballs'


You’ll be forgiven for thinking that Khaled Hosseini’s third novel, And the Mountains Echoed (out today), is just like his previous two. Like bestsellers The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, his latest is a multi-generational family saga — a novel that starts in rural Afghanistan, yes, but that grows up and out, jumping both forward in time and across the world, to Europe and the United States; and informed, in part, by his own experiences traveling to Afghanistan in recent years. The result has a deceptive emotional scale, often in the same chapter. (Our Stephan Lee gave it an A.) “Everything for me starts very small and snowballs. So I rarely start with the grand idea and find a place for it and narrow down,” Hosseini says. “It’s really just start small and as I’m writing it I begin to see, sometime to my own surprise, what’s unfolding and what’s blooming.”

The author spoke with us about the gap between his second and the third novel; the experiences that informed the very large cast of characters; and how readers have begun responding to “the tree” that is his newest novel.


Rick Yancey talks blockbuster sci-fi thriller 'The 5th Wave'


I should have learned by now that openly declaring my skepticism about a book pretty much ensures that it will become one of my absolute favorites. That’s exactly what happened when I was handed The 5th Wave earlier this year. But boy, was I wrong. (And don’t just take my word for it.) So stop reading this post and go get a copy of The 5th Wave right now. I’ll wait…. Anyway, since Rick Yancey’s sci-fi thriller is out today, we caught up with the author so he could answer some of our burning questions. Check out his answers after the jump. READ FULL STORY

'How I Lost You': Janet Gurtler talks new YA novel


Janet Gurtler’s newest YA novel, How I Lost You (out now), tells the all-too-relatable tale of two inseparable best friends, Grace and Kya, as they struggle when their relationship begins to fall apart. It’s a cute summer read, perfect for any girl who’s faced tough times with her own BFF. Here, Gurtler talks about her inspiration for the book and her blog campaign where other YA authors share the good, bad, and ugly of teenage friendships.  READ FULL STORY

Marie Lu answers burning questions about the final Legend novel 'Champion'. Plus, the cover! -- EXCLUSIVE

Marie Lu’s epic dystopian series, which began with Legend and continued with Prodigy, comes to an end with the third installment Champion (Nov. 5). By the beginning of Champion, June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic, and now they’re on the brink of a new existence — a country at peace, with hope of reunification with the Colonies. Both are back in the good graces of the Republic: June is working within the government’s highest circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high-level military position. But just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies. War threatens the Republic’s border cities once again. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever and, as June soon discovers, the Republic’s only means of defense could cost Day everything he has.

For fans who are itching for more of June and Day’s saga, we have two treats: the first look at the cover of Champion, and a teaser interview with Lu. Check them both out below! READ FULL STORY

The teen E L James: Beth Reekles talks 'The Kissing Booth,' sex in YA, and French homework


Meet Beth Reekles. She’s the author of The Kissing Booth, the YA romance that garnered a record-breaking 40 million hits on the e-book community Wattpad and helped Reekles land a three-book publishing deal with Random House. Oh yeah, and did we mention that she’s only 17? Reekles took time between television appearances (and French homework) to chat with EW about her newfound success, vampire fatigue, and physics.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What’s this whole process been like for you?
BETH REEKLES: Incredibly overwhelming and really exciting. I never expected anything like this to happen. It’s been a bit of whirlwind.

How did all this come about?
Well, I’d been writing for quite a few years, but it started when I put The Kissing Booth on a website called Wattpad in 2010. And then I was contacted by a woman saying that she was interested in publishing it and it’s kind of all gone from there, really.

What was your reaction to getting that email?
I skimmed over it a couple of times and I couldn’t comprehend it. I just ran to my parents with the laptop and made this really weird noise.

Can you talk a little bit about the inspiration behind The Kissing Booth?
I sat one afternoon looking for something to read online and I couldn’t find anything because at that point everything was still vampires and werewolves and angels. I was a little bit sick of that genre. I wanted something that was just regular teen romance. So when I couldn’t find anything I thought, “You know what? I’m just going to write my own book.”

That’s funny because in the book Elle specifically mentions that she enjoys vampire novels.
I kind of just threw that in there because the thing is there are a lot of people who still like vampire books. I still read them. But when I started writing the book, everything was vampires.

Elle is so terrified of Noah’s motorcycle — have you ever ridden one?
No. I haven’t. [Laughs] I would probably react in quite a similar way if I did get on a motorcycle.

Not to spoil anything, but I appreciate that this book features sex — not explicitly, but it is there.
I just wanted to write it honestly. I wasn’t going to skirt around the issue too much. I didn’t feel like it was that big of a deal to their relationship. I wanted to have it happen, but not be a huge thing that became the main focus of the book.

It’s interesting because I’ve seen reviews on Goodreads complaining that teenagers wouldn’t behave like this — drink, go to parties, have sex — but I think that’s exactly how teens behave. Or at least that’s how they behaved when I was one — which wasn’t that long ago.
I see comments like that and I think, “Well, I’m a teenager and I go to parties.” So obviously it’s not that unrealistic.

Is it at all strange to be asked for advice on writing when you’re only 17 years old? You had a whole article on your top tips for teen writers featured in the Guardian.
Well, it was [weird] because it was the Guardian. It’s a big deal. But I get asked for a lot of advice on Wattpad. I get frequent messages from people saying, “I’m trying to write a book, can I get any advice because you’ve done really well on here.” In the end I got so many messages I made a blog page for it and I would just direct people to that.

I know you’re studying physics, but have people been trying to convince you to switch to something like English or literature?
They haven’t been convincing me, but they’ve always been really shocked when I say, “No, I do physics. I don’t study English anymore.” [And they ask,] “But you write books, how does this work?”

How have you been balancing all this with your schoolwork?
I don’t know, but I seem to be managing it somehow.

Got any homework for tonight?
Well… French vocab.

The Kissing Booth will be released in paperback on May 14. The Kindle Edition is available now.

Follow Tara on Twitter

Read more:
Diana Gabaldon answers burning questions about the next Outlander novel. Plus, the cover! — EXCLUSIVE
Watch the trailer for Leigh Bardugo’s ‘Siege and Storm’ — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
See the stars from ‘New Girl’, ‘Revenge’, and more in the trailer for David Iserson’s ‘Firecracker’ — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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