Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cover Reveal, Author Interview, and Giveaway of White Lines!

Today I have wonderful Jennifer Banash on the blog.  She is the author of The Elite series as well as the upcoming young adult novel, White Lines, coming from Putnam in April 2013.

KBB: What made you decide to write such a gritty story like White Lines? It’s a very different story than The Elite series.

JB: That was kind of the point. Seriously though, I’ve always wanted to write grittier books, but had to get my foot in the door first, so to speak. I’ve been writing this book in my head for a long, long time, and finally, I just decided I was going to do it and plunged forward. My agent read the first few chapters and loved the direction, so I kept going.

KBB: What was your favorite part of writing White Lines?

JB: Finishing it! Writing is really hard, and this book in particular was difficult as it’s such an emotionally intense ride.

KBB: I love the cover of White Lines. Did you have any say in it? Is it how you pictured it in your head or totally different?

JB: Thanks! I really love it too. My editor at Putnam, Stacey Barney, let me have a lot of input—she was determined to end up with the perfect cover and one that made me screamingly happy, so when I had questions or concerns about the image, she addressed them immediately. It’s pretty close to how I pictured it in my head, except in my original version, I didn’t want a girl on the cover, but everyone talked me out of that pretty quick! I really wanted a stark cover, and I love that the amazing designers at Putnam honored that request and kept the cover true to the spirit of the book.

KBB: Do you have any must-haves while you are writing?

JB: Chocolate! And my friends for when I’m convinced that everything I’m writing is stupid, and that no one will ever want to read it. This usually happens around page 100 of a draft 

KBB: Do you have a best and worst moment of your career as a writer?

JB: The best moment so far was when WHITE LINES sold to Stacey, my dream editor, and, of course, when I saw the cover for the first time and it all became real. The worst was when I wrote The Elite books and found out they were going to have basically no distribution to speak of. I had worked so hard, and that news broke my heart, as well as my faith in publishing for a while. It was a very, very dark time in my life. The only way I kept going was by writing WHITE LINES.

KBB: Thanks so much for answering my questions, Jennifer.  Readers, now it’s time for what you’ve all been waiting for: the cover reveal!

Click for larger image

A gritty, atmospheric coming-of-age tale set in New York’s Lower East Side.

Seventeen-year-old Cat is living every teenager’s dream—she has her own apartment on New York’s Lower East Side and at night she’s club kid royalty, guarding the velvet rope at some of the hottest clubs in the city. The night with its crazy, frenetic, high-inducing energy—the pulsing beat of the music, the radiant, joyful people and those seductive white lines that can ease all pain—is when Cat truly lives. But her daytime, when her real life occurs, is more nightmare than dream.

The sounds of the city grate against Cat’s nerves, she shrinks away from human touch, and can barely think the words “I love you” even when she feels them. Having spent years suffering her mother’s emotional and physical abuse, and abandoned by her father who’s found happiness in another woman, Cat is terrified and alone—unable to connect to anyone or anything. But then someone comes along who makes her want to stop escaping her life and actually live it, only she’ll need to summon the courage to confront her demons and take control of a life already spinning dangerously out of control. Both poignant and raw, White Lines is a gripping tale and the reader won’t want to look away.

Want to know more?  I also have a brief excerpt from White Lines for you guys to check out!

I’M SITTING ON THE STONE STEPS at school, pretending to en¬joy an apple that I bought from an Asian grocery a few blocks over, when all I’m really thinking about is how long I have left until I can go home and start getting ready for the club, every stroke of makeup on my skin sliding me further from daylight. I tongue the white flesh and sink my teeth in, wishing the ripe fruit was the tanned blond head of one of the salad girls.

Since Manhattan Prep is housed in a brownstone and has a population of only one hundred students or fewer in the entire school, we don’t have a cafeteria. Or a prom. Or dances. Or phys ed. Instead, the Park Avenue girls buy salads at a cafeteria next door and sit in the glass atrium picking at their wilted greens, retouching their lip gloss with sticky pink wands. Even though we are all essentially weird in some way— after all, this is a school for kids who have gotten into some kind of trouble—it’s not enough to banish cliques completely. We still have the same bullshit categories as any other school: the jocks, the popular girls, the nerds. And the untouchables.

Like me. It goes without saying that nobody wants to have lunch with the weirdo who goes to clubs all the way down¬town every night, so I sit on the steps and try to pretend that it doesn’t matter, when really, I’d do just about anything to have a friend here. This silent admission makes my cheeks flush with shame. How can I be so weak? Even at Nightingale, I only ever really had Sara, her blond curls hanging over my shoulder, elaborately folded notes tossed at my feet during study hall. Somehow, it was almost enough. But here, with no one to talk to day after day, the loneliness creeps in like an old friend I no longer want to know. Worse yet, it wants to make small talk. Oh, it’s you again? How’ve you been?

Across the street, Julian, the new kid, sits on the curb in front of Ray’s Pizza, a slice dangling from one hand. As he brings the pizza to his lips, the cheese falls off in one giant greasy slide to his lap. Julian has long dark hair that hangs to his shoulders and looks as if it hasn’t made friends with soap or water in days. His skin is the color of café au lait, and there’s something about the tilt of his eyes that makes me think he’s vaguely Asian. He wears jeans so tight that I’m sure years from now he’ll be sit¬ting in some clinic with his frosty blond wife, stammering that he has no idea WHY they’ve had such a difficult time starting a family. All I know about Julian is that (a) he sits right across the aisle from me in history class, and (b) he transferred from Dalton last week after some kind of scandal involving his ex-girlfriend, and (c) he’s totally into the Ramones. He doesn’t talk to anyone, and never raises his hand in class, just stares down at his binder and scribbles what looks like pictures of Transform¬ers on the cover with a black pen.

Julian finishes scraping melted cheese off his jeans and looks up, an irritated expression clouding his face. When his eyes meet mine, I feel a rough shock of recognition between us and raise my apple core in a kind of demented greeting, the air suddenly as thick as pudding. Julian tosses me a curt nod and promptly goes back to stuffing the rest of the slice into his mouth, gnawing hungrily at the edges of the crust, watching me all the while. Even though I love staring, and I think that generally other people’s lives are way more interest¬ing than TV, I feel uneasy as Julian’s eyes lock on to mine. My face burns as he chews the last bite and brushes his hands against his black jeans before walking toward me. I turn the apple core over and over between my palms, my heart careen¬ing in my chest as he approaches, glad that my hands have something to do even if the core is damp, sticky, and turning browner by the minute. As Julian moves closer, I can’t help but notice how he shakes the hair from his eyes with one ex¬pert, jagged motion, how his hazel eyes change from green to brown in the light His skin is smooth and slightly bronzed, as if he’s just returned from some exotic locale. He tilts his chin in my direction defiantly, his eyes flicking coolly over my body, taking me in.

“See something you like?” He raises one dark eyebrow, and I feel like I’m going to spontaneously combust, which is what always happens when someone potentially interesting talks to me in the real world—especially if that person happens to be a guy. And up close, Julian is definitely interesting—though it makes my stomach churn spasmodically to even think the word to myself. People are dangerous, unpredictable. I know this implicitly, and every time I come into contact with them, I become a caged animal, a panther pacing back and forth behind steel bars, wary and agitated.

“Yeah,” I stammer, turning redder by the second and wish¬ing that a manhole would just open up and swallow me whole. I look down at my black boots and scramble for something to say, my brain a jumble of images, none that entirely make sense. “Your pizza—I was just . . . hungry.”

The minute the words leave my lips, I know they are the truth. My stomach begins to growl loudly as if in agreement, and I look up into Julian’s amused face and laugh, my voice echoing in the street, too loud, even with the noise of a pass¬ing bus belching a thick cloud of black smoke. As the sound vibrates through me, jolting me into the present, I realize that it’s been forever since I’ve laughed at something legitimately funny or awkward without being prompted by the ingestion of some mind-altering substance. Still, I can’t quite turn off that ever-present voice inside my head, the one that holds up an in¬visible hand to stop me from going further, from moving closer.

People are dangerous . . .

“Well,” Julian says, laughing along with me and holding out a hand, “that’s remedied easily enough. C’mon.”

I stare at his hand, the long fingers, and look into his eyes, which I can now see are flecked with gold. I toss my apple core to the concrete and take hold of him, ignoring the voice that begins, even now, to protest more loudly, whispering like a flock of ruffled birds, Don’t touch, don’t trust. I draw a deep breath and follow him blindly across the street, unsure of where I’m being taken.

Interested?  Well lucky for you guys I have a giveaway (open internationally) for an ARC of White Lines!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. Allie

    Such a great cover! It’s definitely different and for once I think the use of a model works – she’s so defiant and mysterious, not like normal picture-perfect models at all that it really catches your eye. It’s also really contemporary, especially with the thin, purple font.

  2. Mia

    I think the cover’s great. It’s not you’re usual “girl’s face” cover, and the purple lettering somehow makes it very alluring.

  3. Alexis

    I think the cover is really pretty with the black, white, and purple. I also like how the girl’s hair is blowing in front of her face; it gives the book’s concept a little more mystery.

  4. Hannah Doermann

    I can’t wait for this book! The cover is awesome, understated but in a really powerful way. And I totally get needing chocolate to write – I need chocolate to get anything done :p

  5. Mimi Valentine

    Doesn’t this book sound so amazing?? I don’t think I ever would’ve originally picked it up based on the cover alone, but now that I really look at it, I think it’s so beautiful. It’s not the standard pretty dresses theme anymore! 😉 Thanks for sharing, Katie! <3 🙂

  6. Christina (BookTasty)

    Okay, so really I’m not a fan of this cover. I don’t hate it or anything I just don’t usually like covers that feature a massive face close up. I can’t really explain why other than they feel too intense for my taste. Oh well!

  7. Shae Carcar

    I think it’s kinda funny that it’s named white lines… but they’re purple. And yes, I’m lame and laugh at stuff like that… sue me! No, but I like how the cover kinda represents the seriousness of the summary with the black and white and the unsmiling girl on the cover.

    Shae @ Understanding Shae’s Story

  8. Gaby

    Oh wow the cover is literally amazing. I love the purple they used. Oh goodness and that summary OMG man I want to read this book so bad 😀

  9. medinahusa

    The cover really catched my eye. The mood is set by the girl, her face and emotions and the hair covering her face and the black and white colors, and the pop of color for the title is really bright but the title isn’t too big so it doesn’t cover her face too much so i liked that too.

  10. Christina Kit.

    It’s wonderful when authors are allowed input in their covers. I think they really should, always, because they might not be able to design them, but they know what design will best represent the book.

    INterview rocked 🙂

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