Monday, September 21, 2015

#Interview Em & Em by Linda Budzinski #ya #giveaway @chapterxchapter @LindaBudz @swoonromance


Em and Em   by Linda Budzinski
Publication Date:  Sept 15, 2015
Publisher:  Swoon Romance
Genre:  YA, Contemporary

The last thing sixteen-year-old Emily Slovkowski wants is to move away from her home at the Jersey shore, gorgeous surfer boyfriend Zach, and her entire identity. But that’s kind of how Witness Protection works, and Em must prepare herself for an epic do-over as she starts a new life in the Midwest.

Even as she pines for sandy beaches and the night life of the shore, the newly-named Ember O’Malley finds herself making new friends, taking photos for the high school newspaper, and thinking an awful lot about the paper’s editor, an oddly cute cowboy named Charles.

When Em stumbles upon a shady beneath-the-bleachers exchange between one of the school’s football coaches and a student, she refuses to get involved. The last thing she needs is to be witness to another crime or call attention to herself. Besides, she finally has some real friends – well, real except for the fact that they don’t know a single thing about her – and she prefers to keep it that way until the trial.

But as her day in court approaches, Em begins piecing together what she saw that day beneath the bleachers. And, as her own past secrets start to catch up with her, Em needs to figure out who she really is – Em or Em.

Tour Date:
September 14-25, 2015

Link to the Tour Schedule:

Link to Goodreads:

Purchase Links:
BAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | TBD |

My interview 
1. Where/how did you come up with the idea for EM & EM? Did it suddenly pop into your head or were you brainstorming?
I was brainstorming for ideas. My first novel, THE FUNERAL SINGER, is about a girl who becomes famous quite accidentally and how that changes her identity and the way the rest of the world looks at her. The concept of identity—how we view ourselves, how others view us, and how some people can actually reinvent themselves—really interests me. When the concept of Witness Protection came up for this novel, I knew I wanted to go with it. What better way to explore the core elements of what really makes us who we are?

2. Did you start with the main character, the world or the overarching concept? 
I started with the concept of Witness Protection, and that drove the other two. Who would be a likely character to be placed into Witness Protection? Someone kind and courageous, but not entirely innocent. What type of world would give the story the most tension? Transplanting her from one setting (the Jersey Shore) to a very different setting (the Midwest).

3. Pantser or Plotter? Or in between?
I’m somewhere in between. I used to be much more of a pantser but am trying to become more of a plotter. The more I know where I’m going, the easier the writing becomes.

4. Are you a fan of writing contests?
Contests … yay! I’m a huge fan. See my response to question #5!

5. How did you find your agent? How many query letters did you send?
This is a funny story, and one I’ve never told publicly. My agent actually doesn’t even know the first part … she’ll probably be surprised when she reads this!

When I decided to send THE FUNERAL SINGER out, one of the first agents I targeted was Andrea Somberg at Harvey Klinger. I really liked everything I’d read online about her and her approach to agenting, and she represented some authors whose books I loved. I sent her a query and the first five pages … and received a very professional form rejection. I was disappointed, of course, but rejection is part of the business. This was one of maybe 20 I would eventually receive. I moved on.

A few months later, I entered the manuscript in an online contest called PitchWars. It made it to the agent round. One of the agents involved was Andrea. I of course wrote her off. That was one request I knew for certain I wouldn’t get. Except … I did. She requested a full. I figured once she started reading it, she would remember and toss it, but that didn’t happen.

Andrea read the whole thing. And then sent me the world’s nicest rejection. (Yes, if you’re counting, this makes two times that she rejected the manuscript.) She said that while she loved it, she had recently signed another project that was too similar and she felt it would be a conflict of interest to go out to publishers with both manuscripts at the same time. She was extremely encouraging and invited me to send future work and even offered to help me brainstorm for ideas if I wanted.

That type of rejection gives you so much hope, but it’s also heartbreaking because (a) you know you were so close and (b) you know the sweetest, most amazing agent in all of agentdom just turned your manuscript down.

Fast forward again a few months, and I saw a Tweet that Swoon Romance was accepting unagented manuscripts for a certain window of time. I sent mine in, and was thrilled (and slightly terrified) to receive an offer. I knew I wanted an agent to help with the contract, so I gathered up the nerve to contact Andrea again and ask her if she remembered me and if she still had any interest at all in working with me and if she might be willing to represent me on the contract now that there would be no conflict of interest. As they say, the third time was a charm!

6. What's the best marketing tool you've found so far?
My day job is in marketing, and by far the best (and easiest) way to be successful at marketing is to have a product people want to buy! I do try to get the word out about my books on social media, through press releases, etc., but I am learning that working on my craft so I can write stories people want to read is top priority. Also, being nice helps … karma is a thing.

7. What do you like best about your mc?
There’s a lot I like about Emily/Ember, but I think my personal favorite thing is how she relates to her little sister. I just love their dynamic. I have two sisters and a brother, and siblings are the best!

8. What do you like best about your main antagonist?
There are actually three antagonists in this novel: 1) Jimmy D’Angelo. I can’t think of a single thing I like about him (sorry). 2) Marissa Martin. She’s Ember’s rival on the school newspaper photography staff, and she’s really, really good at what she does. She seems shallow, but you know there has to be more to her since she’s able to take such insightful photos. 3) Tommy Walker. I actually love everything about Tommy … he’s a creepy, scheming, weasely guy—the kind we love to hate.

9. Anything else you’d like to share about your journey or your upcoming launch, including links to giveaways or ways people can help spread the word?
I am just so thankful to you for hosting me today and to everyone who has participated in my EM & EM release tour. The reading and writing community is filled with so many kind, caring people who are willing to help others succeed and then cheer for them when they do. It’s amazing to me. I know there are some giveaways coming up. The best way for your readers to find out about those as they happen would be to follow me on Facebook ( and/or on Twitter, where I’m @LindaBudz. Thank you!

Giveaway Information:  Contest ends October 2, 2015

·         One (1) winner will receive a digital copy of Em and Em by Linda Budzkinski and a $10 Amazon GC (INT)


Linda Acorn Budzinski decided in the second grade that she wanted to be a “Paperback Writer,” just like in the Beatles song. She majored in journalism in college and now works in marketing and communications. She spent 18 years at a trade association in the funeral service industry, where she discovered that funeral directors are some of the bravest and most compassionate people on earth. Linda lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, Joe, and their chihuahua, Demitria. She has two step-daughters, Eris and Sarah. THE FUNERAL SINGER is her debut novel. She is represented by Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger Inc.

THE FUNERAL SINGER is Linda Budzinski's first novel.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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  1. This book sounds great! :)
    Linda, I'm the same as you as far as plotter/pantser goes. I'm trying to do more plotting, but usually end up pantsing. ;)

    1. I used to think plotting would be too restrictive, but in some sense, it can be liberating. And yeah, sometimes the pantsing just happens....

  2. Hooray! I am so excited to read Em & Em!