THE ART OF LAINEY: Q&A with Paula Stokes, Giveaway, and Countdown Widget Reveal

THE ART OF LAINEY, by Paula Stokes, is a fun contemporary coming in May (2014) from HarperTeen. It’s the story that’s described as “Old school strategy and subterfuge meet modern-day dramarama in the story of a girl who sets out to win at all costs and ends up discovering what’s really worth fighting for.” And while I’m not a big reader of contemporary, I can say it has me excited.

Today, we’re thrilled to have Paula over for three things: an interview, giveaway for THE ART OF LAINEY, and… a reveal for the countdown widget I designed for her release. So read on, enter the giveaway, and grab that widget for your sidebar (leave me a comment if you do).


IceyBooks:  THE ART OF LAINEY isn’t your first book, but did you always want to write a contemporary, or have you been more attuned to writing historical fiction, like your debut?

Paula: I would say I always wanted to write contemporary YA. I basically wrote The Art of Lainey at the same time I wrote Venom, alternating between the two stories almost every day. [Note to self: Writing 3rd-person past-tense story and 1st-person present-tense story simultaneously = brain meltdown.] As soon as I sent Venom off to my editor, I dived into revising the Lainey draft. Then when Venom came back to me with edit notes, I sent Lainey to beta-readers, etc. Venom sold on proposal through the literary development company Paper Lantern Lit, and that’s why it came out much sooner. Historical fiction was a fun challenge, but I am much more comfortable in the contemporary realm. My next book is a contemporary murder mystery, kind of Cruel Intentions meets The Fugitive.

IceyBooks: Many novels are inspired by one sentence or question, was there one that sparked THE ART OF LAINEY?

Paula: What happens to the girl who had it all, after she loses everything?

IceyBooks: Do you have a favorite line that was removed from the original draft of THE ART OF LAINEY?

Paula: I have 67 pages of cut scenes, which is pretty normal for me even though I am a plotter and always start with an outline. I wouldn’t say any of the lost lines are my favorites, but I do miss this little exchange between Lainey and her partner-in-crime Micah. They’re talking about one of the coffee shop regulars (who got cut), a grad student from Wales who has been flirting with Lainey:

“You’re not just trying to get with someone to get back at Jason, are you?”

I lift my bangs up and frown at the Jersey-shaped blotch of freckles. Is that spot ever going to fade? “How would that be different from what I’m doing with you again?” My voice gets a little frosty.

“Well, you know. We’re not really doing anything.” Micah’s voice trails off.

It almost sounds like he’s jealous. Either that or he’s worried about my honor, which is cute in a kind of hilarious way. “I talked to him for, like, ten minutes, Micah. He’s a writer. He gave me a freaking textbook-sized pile of his manuscript to read. No sexual favors were exchanged.”

“He just seems a little sketchy to me, Lainey.”

“Newsflash. You seem a little sketchy to a lot of people.”

“Yeah.” Micah pauses for a moment. “Well I’m not some old guy hitting on high school girls.”

“He’s not old.” I quickly calculate in my head how old someone in grad school probably is. “He’s, like, twenty-five or something.”

Micah clears his throat as if to say that twenty-five is super-duper old, and I’m kidding myself if I don’t know that.

IceyBooks: Say THE ART OF LAINEY is being adapted to a movie – who would portray your main character?

Paula: Such a tough question. I actually kind of want Lindsay Lohan from Mean Girls or Emma Stone from Easy A. Can we go back in time and do that? :) If not, I guess I’d have to pick Saorise Ronin. Or blogger Inky from Book Haven Extraordinaire, since she looks a lot like my MC! :D

IceyBooks: Give us the three…Movies you can’t wait to see:

Paula I love movies in theory, but I work three jobs and don’t have TV, so I couldn’t even tell you the last time I saw a movie trailer. I’m looking forward to Divergent, but that’s about it.

IceyBooks: Random facts about you:
1. I’ve touched a human heart–one still inside of a living person.
2. I’m totally shy when it comes to meeting other authors–I remember staring across a library at Barry Lyga and Siobhan Vivian like OMG! But I never worked up the nerve to talk to them.
3. I’m an obsessive collector of knitted winter hats. I have like 50 of them.

IceyBooks: Books you can’t wait to read:

Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

About the Author

Paula Stokes is half writer, half RN, and totally thrilled to be part of the world of YA literature. She started out writing historical fiction under a pen name and is now branching out into other YA genres.

When she’s not working (rare), she’s kayaking, hiking, reading, or seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She’s petted tigers, snuggled snakes, snorkeled with stingrays, and once enjoyed the suction-cuppy feel of a baby elephant’s trunk as it ate peanuts from her palm. Her future goals include diving with Great White sharks, learning Krav Maga, and writing a whole slew of novels, not necessarily in that order.

Find Paula on her Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Add THE ART OF LAINEY to Goodreads

Thanks to Paula, we’ve got one copy of THE ART OF LAINEY up for grabs for one lucky US/Canada resident. Just fill out the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And now for the widget! Just grab the code from the box below and plop it in your sidebar. Isn’t it pretty?


Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply


    March 3, 2014

    That is sure a lot of knitted hats

    • Reply

      Paula Stokes

      March 3, 2014

      I know, right? It’s an illness. Especially since I wear the same one 90% of the time :)

  2. Reply


    March 3, 2014

    I haven’t had the opportunity to read THE ART OF LAINEY yet, but I definitely want to! Thanks for hosting a great interview and a giveaway. :)

  3. Reply


    March 3, 2014

    I’m super excited to read this one. I’m on the street team and I am lucky enough to be partaking in the Canadian Lainey tour :D

  4. Reply

    Kimi @ Geeky Chiquitas

    March 3, 2014

    Wow you’ve touched a human heart? That is so cool!

    I am too excited for this book!!

  5. Reply

    susan beamon

    March 3, 2014

    Sounds interesting. wouldn’t mind winning it.

  6. Reply

    Kelly L.

    March 3, 2014

    I haven’t read The Art of Lainey yet, but I’ve heard great things about it!

  7. Reply

    Allison Grace

    March 3, 2014

    I haven’t read the Art of Lainey yet, but I am on the street team and I’ve seen some pretty cool stuff. From What I’ve seen so far, Lainey is an awesome character, and Micah will be my favourite person. :)

  8. Reply

    Angela C.

    March 3, 2014

    I haven’t read it yet, but I really want to! It sounds really cute and I just LOVE contemporaries! <3

  9. Reply


    March 3, 2014

    I love the cover and this seems like a cute contemporary ! I can’t wait to read this.

  10. Reply


    March 3, 2014

    I am excited for this one, sounds so cute!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  11. Reply

    Hillary R.

    March 3, 2014

    I have not read “The Art of Lainey” but I know I totally do! ^_^ And the cover is so adorable! :D I’ve seen it a couple times and I’m always wondering what the book is about and now I know! And it sounds epically awesome! Hope I get to read this one soon!

  12. Reply

    Paula Stokes

    March 4, 2014

    Thanks for all your comments everyone :)

  13. Reply


    March 5, 2014

    I have not read it yet but I would love to! It sounds great! ((:

  14. Reply


    March 8, 2014

    No, but would be interesting

  15. Reply


    March 9, 2014

    I haven’t yet, but would love to . Contemporary is one of my favorite genre and this sounds like a great story. Thanks for the chance to win!

  16. Reply

    Lynne Matson

    March 10, 2014

    I was lucky enough to pre-read The ART OF LAINEY AND OMG–I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!!! ALL THE FEELS!!!! I can’t say enough about it. One of my favorite contemporary reads in YEARS. TOTAL LOVE. Amazing characters, a slow build romance that makes your heart race, brilliant pacing and plotting and a HIGH SWOON FACTOR. And the writing? BRILLIANT.

    I’ll stop now BUT I LOVE THIS BOOK.:) And the widget it sweet! Congrats Paula! And Hafash, thanks for highlighting Paula’s awesome book!

  17. Reply

    Bethany Miller

    March 10, 2014

    Looking forward to reading this one!

  18. Reply


    March 11, 2014

    I haven’t read Art of Lainey yet but I’ve been eyeing it for a while. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!

  19. Reply


    March 13, 2014

    I really want to read The Art of Lainey!

  20. Reply


    March 14, 2014

    I haven’t read it yet, but of course I want to! Also, great interview! I can’t believe she’s touched a human heart inside a person!

  21. Reply

    Kirsten W

    March 16, 2014

    I haven’t read it yet, but I am dyinggggg to- the girl uses the Art of War as dating advice. That is the best thing ever. I can’t even.

  22. Reply

    Jennifer Crawford

    March 16, 2014

    I haven’t read this yet but it’s already on my wish list. It looks great!!

  23. Reply

    Shae/Shelver @ Shae Has Left The Room

    March 17, 2014

    Eep! I can’t wait to read about Lainey! It’s the carrot at the end of my deep, dark ARC tunnel. (Spring is killer.)

    Also, about that human heart, please elaborate.

  24. Reply


    March 17, 2014

    I haven’t read AOL yet but I have heard some amazing thing about it from fellow bloggers and this sounds like it might possibly be one of the cutest things ever to be possibly read. AND LAINEY IS A SOCCER STAR. SPORTS IN YOUNG ADULT BOOKS = PERFECTION.