SWEET Blog Tour: Q&A with Emmy Laybourne + Giveaway

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I am super excited to have Emmy Laybourne on the blog today for the SWEET Blog Tour. I LOVED this book which was fun and surprising and jaw-dropping and…

I think I’ll refrain from saying any more than that, because it’s hard not to talk about SWEET without potentially revealing spoilers.


If you’d like to know a little bit more about SWEET – how the idea for the story developed, what advice the author has for those considering taking Solu, how Tom would describe Laurel and how she would describe herself, and more – be sure to check out the interview with Emmy Laybourne which follows after the book’s details.

If you’d like to join in the conversation on social media, be sure to use the #Sweet hashtag.

And if you’d like the chance to win a copy of the book, enter in the Rafflecopter a bit further down in this post.

This tour is just getting started – it kicked off on Fierce Reads’ tumblr yesterday! – and continues through June 3rd. So be sure to check out all the stops for more fun and exciting posts from the author and for additional chances to win a copy of the book.

SWEET releases on June 2nd and I can’t wait for everyone to get the chance to read it. I know I said it before, but it’s a read that might just surprise you.


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Title: SWEET
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Release date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 288
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Read a Sneak Peek


*People would kill to be thin.*

Solu’s luxurious celebrity-filled “Cruise to Lose” is billed as “the biggest cruise since the Titanic,” and if the new diet sweetener works as promised—dropping five percent of a person’s body weight in just days—it really could be the answer to the world’s obesity problem. But Laurel is starting to regret accepting her friend Viv’s invitation. She’s already completely embarrassed herself in front of celebrity host, Tom Forelli (otherwise known as the hottest guy ever!) and she’s too seasick to even try the sweetener. And that’s before Viv and all the other passengers start acting really strange.

*But will they die for it, too?*

Tom Forelli knows that he should be grateful for this job and the opportunity to shed his childhood “Baby Tom-Tom” image. His publicists have even set up a ‘romance’ with a sexy reality star. But as things on the ship start to get a bit wild, he finds himself drawn to a different girl. And when his celebrity hosting gig turns into an expose on the shocking side effects of Solu, it’s Laurel that he’s determined to save.

Emmy Laybourne, author of the Monument 14 trilogy, takes readers on a dream vacation that goes first comically, then tragically, then horrifyingly, wrong.


The Interview

Q&A with Emmy Laybourne

Q. If you had to describe SWEET in 25 words or less how would you describe it?

Two teens fight for their lives on a luxury cruise when a new diet drug the other passengers are taking turns out to be highly addictive. (Rats! I went one word over. But which one could I take out?!)

Q. If you could offer any advice (or warning) to those thinking about taking Solu, what would it be?

I’d tell them to ask themselves what they’re willing to sacrifice in order to be thin…

Q. What did you enjoy most about writing SWEET? And if you could pick one quote or short passage from the book that embodies what you loved most about it, what would it be?

After writing in the dark, dangerous world of the Monument 14 series, it was really fun to write a book set in such a “bubbly” world. I loved writing the party scenes and the descriptions of luxury on the ship. I also loved my music playlist! I listened to mostly dance music – and a lot of Janelle Monae. As for a favorite passage – that’s hard. I’ll tell you that my favorite scene in the book is when Tom and Laurel kiss for the first time, but I can’t spoil that for you, I just can’t.

It was hard to select a moment from the book that embodies what I love most about it, but here’s a little section that I like. It talks about what people are expecting on the cruise, but also gives a glimpse into the real life of a celebrity. In this scene, Tom Fiorelli, a former child star and now the media host for the cruise (think Ryan Seacrest, only younger and hotter) has just asked his producer Tamara, and the head publicist for the cruise, Rich, if he could wear a sportcoat to dinner, instead of a tux. Rich is speaking first:

“I know you’ve had a long day, Thomas,” he said. “But I want you to think of yourself as an ambassador on this trip. When you show up looking fine, it elevates the whole event. These people are here for romance and transformation – and you’re like an angel, standing at the pearly gates of gorgeousness and fitness and luxury, welcoming them in. Can you see that, baby? Can you visualize it?”

I like Rich, with his crazy moustache, so I worked hard to nod and look like I was really letting his words sink in.

I did not roll my eyes.

Tamara didn’t feel the need to be so “inspirational.”

“I think you’re forgetting how lucky you are,” she scolded me. “Solu selected you, and you alone, to do the media coverage for this cruise. I mean, this is the exclusive of the century. You’re it, Tom. So if Rich or I asks you to show up in a tux, I expect your question to be Zenga or Armani.”

“Okay. Zenga or Armani?” I asked.

“Whatever makes your ass look better,” she snapped.

Nice, very nice.

I wore the Armani.

Q. Laurel describes the Solu “Cruise to Lose” as “the most famous cruise since the Titanic,” giving readers immediate insight into just who she is. While she clearly had no idea how on point she was with that statement, what would she say if asked about it after everything that went down?

I think she would say that Solu is so addictive it’s [SPOILER] and that she never expected that [SPOILER] would [SPOILER] the way he did. And lastly, she’d say she was really, really glad she met Tom Fiorelli!

Q. How would Tom Fiorelli describe Laurel? And how would Laurel describe herself?

Tom would describe Laurel as being different from every girl he’s ever met. She cares nothing for fame, that’s new for Tom, who has grown up in the media limelight since he was eight years old. He’d probably describe her as an artist – a real artist, because he’s very moved by her ability to play the classical guitar. If he was really opening up, he’d talk about how beautiful she is and how attracted he is to her curves, but he probably wouldn’t talk about that stuff. After a disastrous affair with a pop singer, he’s learned to keep his romantic life as private as possible.

Laurel would describe herself as too sensitive. She’s a pale girl living in Fort Lauderdale – she’d probably admit that she’s never felt like she fits in. Laurel wears boots – all the time. And because she’s good at telling the truth, she’d also probably say that the reason she wears them has less to do with fashion than it does security. Somehow, wearing boots makes her feel brave and safe.

Q. In addition to being a standalone, SWEET is quite a bit different from your trilogy. What drew you to write a story that combines humor and horror and romance while at the same time touches upon serious issues such as obesity and addiction?

With this book, a small idea developed first: a new sweetener that was so addictive it drives people insane. Then I had to figure out how to contain the epidemic – it felt like it would be too hard to write a book with a major disaster like that, say, in the middle of Manhattan. I wanted a close, controlled environment and so I decided to set it on a luxury cruise. I put those together – it would be a cruise to launch a new diet sweetener – and things would go terribly wrong.

It was only then, when I had the “machine” of the plot in place, that I realized this book was the perfect way to investigate the different ways that I perceive people to feel about excess weight.  There are a lot of people who feel a lot of different ways about their body fat in SWEET. And while that might not sound like a super fun thing to write about – it turned out to be really compelling and satisfying. I’ve been getting some reviews and letters from readers saying they are recognizing themselves in the characters of Laurel and Viv. That feels pretty terrific to me.

Thanks so much for having me here! What a treat! I hope you enjoyed the sneak peek at SWEET. Keep in touch! I’m on instagram and twitter @EmmyLaybourne!

About the Author

Emmy Headshot 3

Emmy Laybourne is a novelist, screenwriter and former character actress. Emmy’s Monument 14 trilogy has earned critical praise (“Frighteningly real… riveting” – New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice) and has been nominated by readers to the YALSA Teens Top Ten in 2013 and and won the #5 spot in 2014. Emmy’s book SWEET is due out in June 2015. It tells the story of a luxury cruise to launch a new diet sweetener that goes comically, then tragically, then terrifyingly wrong.

Before her life as an author, Emmy performed original comedy on Comedy Central, MTV and VH1; and acted in the movies “Superstar,” “The In-Laws” and “Nancy Drew,” among others. Emmy lives outside New York City with her husband, two kids and a flock of 6 nifty chickens.


The Giveaway

Thanks to the awesome folks at MacTeenBooks I have a copy of SWEET to give away to ONE winner in the US or Canada.

  • Must be 13 or older to enter
  • There will be ONE winner
  • Giveaway is US/Canada
  • Giveaway ends on June 2nd at 12:00 a.m. Pacific
  • Winner will be chosen by Random via Rafflecopter
  • Winner will be announced in the Rafflecopter and contacted by email
  • Winner has 72 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen
  • Prize will be sent directly by the publisher

There are no requirements to like or follow this blog, but it is always appreciated. There are extra entry opportunities for following the author and publisher on social media, adding the book on Goodreads and spreading the word on Twitter.

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Tour Schedule

May 19th – Fierce Reads Tumblr – EXCLUSIVE Short Story

May 20th – Fiktshun – Interview + Giveaway

May 21st – Working for the Mandroid – Guest Post + Giveaway

May 22nd – The Young Folks – Interview + Giveaway

May 23rd – Adventures of a Book Junkie – Interview + Giveaway

May 24th – The Irish Banana – Guest Post + Giveaway
May 24th – Ex Libris – …

May 25th – Love At First Page – …

May 25th – Ray Kay Books – Video Interview + Giveaway

May 27th – Page Turners Blog – Author Q&A + Giveaway

May 28th – Bibliophilia, Please – Character Interview + Giveaway

May 29th – The Reading Nook Reviews – Guest Post + Giveaway

May 30th – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – Guest Post + Giveaway

May 31st – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Interview + Giveaway

June 1st – Dark Faerie Tales – Guest Post + Giveaway

June 2nd – Swoony Boys Podcast – …

June 3rd – All the Write Notes – Musical Q&A

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