Thursday, March 29, 2012

PAF: Interview with Aimee Agresti + giveaway!

Paranormal April Fools

Today’s guest is Aimee Agresti! Aimee’s debut YA novel, ILLUMINATE, is on shelves now and Aimee has dropped by to discuss her book.

Keep reading to learn all about ILLUMINATE and enter to win a copy of ILLUMINATE of your very own!


Hi, Aimee, and welcome to Tynga’s Reviews! We’re excited to have you visit and talk about your debut novel, ILLUMINATE.

Hi! Thanks so much for having me!

Could you please introduce your main character, Haven, to us?

Of course! Haven Terra is just your typical 16-year-old angel, who’s forced to battle a pack of soul-stealing devils and ends up falling in love with one of them. Oh, and she lives in a hotel! Fun, right?! She’s a bit of an outcast and a major overachiever at school and she scores an internship at a ritzy hotel in Chicago and that’s what sets her on this wild path.

Did you encounter any challenges switching from writing for magazines to writing fiction?

That’s a great question! I wrote for magazines for so many years and I absolutely loved it, but when you’re so used to working with facts it’s incredibly liberating to jump into fiction and create these new worlds. The only challenging thing, I suppose, is just how daunting all that freedom can sometimes be!

How did you decide to set ILLUMINATE in Chicago?

I went to college there, at Northwestern, and I absolutely adored it. I fell in love with Chicago’s fabulous history—prohibition, Capone, those tunnels that ran under the city–I just always knew it would be the perfect backdrop for a mystery.

Do you have a favourite character or (non-spoilery) scene?

Oooh, that’s tough! I love all my characters, I spent so much time living with them all! But I have to admit, Haven is my favorite because I really love her evolution. I worked so hard plotting that metamorphosis and I love how much she has changed by the end of the book. Speaking of the ending: that was definitely my favorite part to write. It’s thrilling when you see all of your puzzle pieces fitting together. I made sure to pack it with action too!

ILLUMINATE is the first in the Gilded Wings series. Can you share anything about the next book or the direction of the series in general?

Sure! Gilded Wings is going to be a trilogy and I’m working on the sequel to ILLUMINATE right now. In Book Two, the gang heads to New Orleans—a town I just love. I don’t want to give anything away…. but you will see some more Lucian!

And now I have a couple quick April Fools’-related questions:

Would you rather prank or be pranked?

It’s always better to be the pranker than the prankee. I’ve never really been one to pull pranks (I would feel bad!) but I do have to guard against being a victim. On April 1, I’m always the one who forgets it’s April Fools’ Day and I start believing everyone’s ridiculous Facebook status updates and things like that!

If you had to prank one of your characters, which one would you choose and why?

Haven would be the easiest to prank—especially at the beginning of the book. She can be kind of serious and I could see someone like Dante, her best friend, pranking her just to get her to lighten up. Lucian doesn’t exactly prank her but he does fool her, and she doesn’t appreciate that at all. But that’s all I’m saying, you’ll have to read!

Thanks very much for visiting us, Aimee!

Thank you so much, I’ve had so much fun!


Intrigued? Here’s the scoop on ILLUMINATE:

Aimee Agresti Illuminate Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything changes when she is awarded a prestigious internship at a posh Chicago hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous strangers: the powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit.

As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository



We have one (1) copy of ILLUMINATE for a lucky reader, courtesy of the lovely folks at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt!

To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

US/Canada only

Ends Sunday, April 15, 2012
(like all of our Paranormal April Fools’ giveaways)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Aimee Agresti

Aimee Agresti was voted “Quietest” of her high school class–probably because she spent too much time with her nose buried in books. Clearly, becoming a writer was the only possible choice. She now happily toggles between the realms of fact and fiction. The author of the young adult novel ILLUMINATE, she’s also a former Us Weekly staff writer and entertainment journalist whose work has appeared in People, Premiere, DC Magazine, Capitol File, The Washington Post, Washingtonian, The Washington City Paper, Boston magazine, Women’s Health and the New York Observer to name a few. Aimee has made countless TV and radio appearances dishing about celebrities on the likes of Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, E!, The Insider, Extra, VH1, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, Headline News, A&E, and ABC News Now. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and lives with her husband and son in Washington, DC, where she can often be found skulking around the Smithsonian museums on slow writing days waiting for inspiration to strike.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


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Born and raised in the Toronto area, Jenn is now in northeast England after a 10 year stop in St. John's, Newfoundland.

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50 People left their mark on “PAF: Interview with Aimee Agresti + giveaway!”

  1. Anne

    I actually started working in hotels when I was a teen as a front desk clerk, PBX operator and Food and Beverage cashier. I later worked as a front desk asst. manager and the manager of a 102 room motel. I would never go back to being a manager of any type. When I left the industry they were expecting you to work 6 days a week and it was rarely an 8 hour day to begin with and the pay was terrible.

    I would go back when I retire to earn a little spare change. I would probably be a PBX operator because I could sit and it’s the least stressful job in a hotel.

    Hotel work = being on your feet for hours and stress (when busy).

  2. Niko

    Well, I’ve worked as a chambermaid (er… housekeeper) and in the laundry, so I know I would definitely *not* want to do either of those again. Maybe front desk during the night shift, when there aren’t too many people around.

  3. Na

    I would want to be the project manager. That way I can help the hotel manage their resources.

  4. SacredmOOn

    I’d have to say the front desk and work your way up the ladder (so to speak). This book looks great!
    Thank you for the chance to win it!
    DeAnna Schultz

  5. Natalie

    I’ve been reading a lot of books lately that have been set in Chicago! Now I want to visit there too! Great interview questions Tynga 🙂

  6. Krista

    I know what job I wouldn’t want. I had a job as at a hotel as a pastry chef intern and boy did it suck! I had to be up by 3am and baking by 4am. But the job I would want is hotel concierge because of the tips! Great job and looks fun.

  7. Carl

    I was the night desk clerk at a small hotel in Athens for a few months back in the 90s. Not the greatest of jobs, I wouldn’t do that again. I’d be a groundskeeper, keep the lawns mowed and the plants watered.

  8. Caitlin

    I would want to be a concierge. I would get to know all the great places to go to and I would be able to show people a great time in the area.

  9. Lisa B.

    I’d want to see what goes on in the kitchen…and maybe the bar. Food would be amazing to work with, but after a few drinks, people spill their best secrets.

  10. Nikki

    I would like to be the run to run like the fun activities during the day. Like the games and stuff for kids and adults too!

  11. Amy S.

    I love the cover of this book, and it sounds really good. I’ve never really thought about working in a hotel. I guess at the front desk, because I really hate cleaning my house, and definitely wouldn’t want to work cleaning the hotel rooms. And I hate to cook too, so working in the hotel restaurant is out too…Thanks for the giveaway!

  12. Denise Z

    I would like to be a bellhop. I think I might get to hear all the gossip and goings on, as no one would pay attention, then there is always the chance of a tip 🙂

  13. ML

    If I worked at a hotel I’d want to work at either the front desk or behind the scenes in the kitchen.

  14. FrayedPages

    I would love to work at the front desk or as someone behind the scenes keeping the hotel in order and managing their inventory. Also, thanks for the giveaway 🙂

  15. Book Flame

    I actually worked at a hotel for about a year and it was as a Front Desk Clerk. It was fun got to meet people a lot of state workers, but at the same time stressful.

  16. Cheryl

    It’d probably have to be at a fancy, expensive hotel like the Waldorf Astoria, but I’d like to intern in the kitchen with the pastry chef.

  17. Carley L.

    If I were going to intern at a hotel I’d most like to work at the front desk. I bet you’d meet all kinds of interesting people!

  18. alicia marie

    i would want to do something cool like haven does, but not for someone evil. i think i’d like doing behind the scenes type things : )

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