April's Featured Debut Author~Leah Cypess

It was a complete accident that I'm posting this on April Fool's day. It's no joke I promise! You're going to love this book and its author. In fact, Leah is so gracious when I contacted her via e-mail to let her know I was featuring her she volunteered to stop by my blog throughout the day and answer questions! After you check out all the great links on this book be sure to leave her a question and check back for answers. No kidding! Should be a fun day.

April's featured debut author is Leah Cypess. Her young adult fantasy novel Mistwood is releasing April 27th. Mistwood is about a girl, Isabel, who everyone believes is a shifter, an ancient creature who has protected the kings of Samorna for centuries. The problem is, Isabel can't remember. Intrigue and plots of assassination draw her into a tangled web where she struggles to discover where she came from and what she truly wants.

Check out Leah's website to learn more about the novel and watch the fabulous trailer here: http://www.leahcypess.com/

You can join me in pre-ordering Mistwood here (among other places): http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Mistwood/Leah-Cypess/e/9780061956997

I'll start off the questions for Leah. I love the idea of shapeshifters in a fantasy setting. How did the idea for Mistwood come to you?


  1. April, your trailer is riveting! I love the idea of shifters. So many questions, I am going to have to read the book!
    Questions: What is your greatest challenge with writing Fantasy/YA? Do you feel there is more freedom of the fantasy with teens than adults? Do you write your fantasy for everyone, or gear more towards YA?
    Thank you! I'm really looking forward to reading Mistwood!

  2. I can't wait to read Leah's book! Thank you!

    BTW, I left a surprise for you on my blog today, so stop by when you get a chance. :)

  3. So nice of Leah to answer questions! Here's mine: With the popularity of books like the Twilight series has the young adult fantasy genre become a lot more competitive? I wondered if it's harder to get attention for your work because there's so many people writing in this genre.

    Good luck with your book! It sounds intriguing, and the cover is fabulous too.

  4. Heather, thanks for featuring my book! When I started Mistwood, I didn’t know the main character was a shapeshifter – I had an image in my mind of a supernatural creature being hunted in a magical woods. I started writing without any idea of where the story was going. By the end of the second chapter, though, I knew both that she was shapeshifter and that she had lost her power to change her shape.

  5. Portia, thanks for stopping by and for your question! I think the success of books like Twilight has expanded the YA genre, which for those of us who were always writing YA is wonderful – it means that publishers are publishing more YA books, paying more for them, and investing more resources in marketing them. It is true that as a result, many more writers are targeting the YA market; there is even a trend of writers who used to write adult novels and are now trying their hand at YA. Arguably, that does mean more competition. But the competition for writers has always been intense – I don’t think slush piles were ever small! For an aspiring writer, I think the total number of books being published is the most important thing.

  6. Karlene, thanks for stopping by and for your question! Almost everything I write is YA fantasy – it’s my favorite genre to read, so it comes naturally to me. I find myself facing more challenges when I try to write anything else.

    Answering your second question involves a certain amount of guesswork on my part, since I’ve never sold any adult fantasy, but I do feel that there is more freedom with teens. Adult fiction tends to be very clearly marketed as either high fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, etc., while with YA fiction, you can have the same imprint publishing everything from realistic fiction to high fantasy to everything in between. So there’s less pressure to place yourself in a clear category.

    And finally, to answer your third question: When I’m writing, I rarely think of my audience as being a certain age. In fact, when I started Mistwood almost seven years ago, I thought of it as an adult novel, simply because most of the high fantasy I was reading was being published by adult imprints. By the time I finished it, though, the YA market had become so huge and diverse that it was clear it could just as easily be a young adult book.

  7. Wow Leah, I love that story of how Mistwood came to be! Thanks for sharing it with us. I can't wait to read it!

  8. So Leah, since MISTWOOD sounds like its going to be so good and I know I'll be hooked, can we expect to see a sequel someday?

  9. Leah, a lot of my questions have already been answered so I will just say that I'm really looking forward to reading and reviewing your book! I love that you thought of it as an adult book because for me, I like YA that has a good crossover feel into the adult market. It's always interesting to read how long it actually takes the author to write the book and where they got their ideas from too.

  10. Leah and Heather, Thank you both for this question and answer blog! This was great. Wish I could have returned earlier. I'm excited to start writing YA too!!!
    Thank you! Karlene

  11. Heather, there will not be a sequel, exactly - I think my main character's story arc is clearly finished by the end of Mistwood - but I am already contracted for a "companion book," which will take place in the same world (though not in the same kingdom). And I can tell you that there will be one character from Mistwood who plays a major role in the second book! More than that I can't say yet, since I'm currently revising that book...

    Lynsey and Karlene, I'm glad you liked the questions & answers! And Heather, thanks again for having me here. This has been a lot of fun.

  12. Leah,

    Congratulations on the publication of MISTWOOD! I wish you every success...and many more!

    Happy writing!


  13. That's great news Leah! A companion novel is excellent. Now once I devour MISTWOOD I'll have something to look forward to! Thank you so much for joining us and answering our questions. Loved having you here! My copy of MISTWOOD is pre-ordered and I can hardly wait!

  14. This book sounds fantastic! I'm definitely going to have to read this one. Thanks for the recommendation, Heather. :-)

  15. This sounds like such a great book! I rarely read YA but this is one of those I might just have to cave in and buy! (I will be in line on release date for yours though Heather, but wait, aren't I getting an ARC? *g*)

  16. You're welcome Shannon! This one sounds like its probably going to go on my special bookshelf ;)

    You bet you are Lindsey! And once you read it you'll be hooked! We'll bring you over to our side...


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