Monday, July 17, 2017

Because You Love to Hate Me Blog Tour: Soman Chainani and Samantha Lane

Thank you Bloomsbury for the opportunity to participate in the Because You Hate Me Blog Tour! I was fortunate to interview Soman Chainani and Samantha Lane. Don't forget to check out the giveaway at the bottom of the post and check out the 12 other blog tour stops!

Title: Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy
Edited by: Ameriie
Authors: Renee Ahdieh, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, Nicola Yoon, Sasha Alsberg, Benjamin Alderson, Whitney Atkinson, Tina Burke, Catriona Feeney, ZoĆ« Herdt, Samantha Lane, Sophia Lee, Raeleen Lemay, Regan Perusse, Christine Riccio, Steph Sinclair, Jesse George, Kat O'Keeffe
Pub. Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 320
Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryIndieBound
Synopsis (from

Leave it to the heroes to save the world--villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains' points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like "Medusa," Sherlock Holmes, and "Jack and the Beanstalk" provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains' acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage--and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!


What made you decide to write a mashup retelling of the Arthurian legend and the Persephone-Hades myth in more modern times? How did you decide what format to write "Gwen and Art and Lance" in?

Soman: I’ve always been obsessed with the Arthurian legend and the way the love triangle seems so timeless and universal. The story of Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot explores so many themes – loyalty, friendship, betrayal, definitions of masculinity and femininity, maturation, and so many more. It seemed instantly relatable to modern day high school, and so I began brewing an idea for how to make the Arthurian legend feel contemporary again. At the same time, the Persephone-Hades myth explored similar themes so I knew I could fold it in.

In terms of the format, I felt like we needed to shake up the Arthurian legend a bit and these days there’s so much drama in the texting between teenagers that I saw a great opportunity to really experiment with a new form. I’d never written in text messages before, but what I realized is that it’s more about what is not said in a text message than what is said. So much of editing the story was about cutting and letting the unspoken text stand for itself.

Samantha: These decisions really came from Soman. We spent a lot of time going over prompts (I think in the end we had over 12!) and we ended up deciding to mix two of our favorite things. Soman wanted to explore the King Arthur legend. I'm known for my love of Hades and Persephone. A mix of the two was a way to have both of us present in the story. A lot of my other prompts had the modern setting as well, so we took that as another element to mix in. It also allowed Soman to explore themes of popularity, modern day high school, and social media, which were all things he wanted to look at with his story. The format was also his idea as well. Social media and technology is a huge part of modern life, especially for teens. Once I saw that he used that format for his story, I tied my essay in using an Instagram format. It was an interesting format to work in and something I probably wouldn't have done if he hadn't gone that route. But I really like how my essay ended up turning out in that format! The team at Bloomsbury were really great about working with that format and creating a layout that was reminiscent of the Instagram platform.

How was the collaboration process for the both of you? Did you like writing in the villain’s point of view and why?

Soman: It was great! I had an initial idea for retelling the Arthurian myth in high school and Sam had the inspiration to work in Persephone and Hades into the concept, so I took that mash-up and ran with it. I tend to always write in the villain’s point of view – that’s what The School for Good and Evil series is all about – so it felt like I was coming back home.

Samantha: As I said earlier, we spent a lot of time in the collaboration process. One of the villains we both really wanted to do was a Sea Witch, but that villain got snatched up before we could claim her! We both were a little sad about that. So we ended up going through a number of prompts before we brainstormed, and Soman came up with the idea of mixing some stories together. He really wanted to explore some of the characters from Camelot, and I really wanted to see Hades and Persephone (especially Persephone). The result is the story he came up with. In regards to writing from the villain’s point of view, I really enjoyed creating my essay: The Bad Girl's Hall of Fame. I adore female villains, and using the social media format allowed me to create a gallery of some of my favorites, and discuss villainy through them.


Soman Chainani's first novel, THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List, has been translated into 26 languages across six continents, and will soon be a major motion picture from Universal Studios.

The sequels, A WORLD WITHOUT PRINCES and THE LAST EVER AFTER, debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List as well. Together, the books of the series have been on the print and extended NYT lists for a total of 33 weeks.

As a writer and film director, Soman's films have played at over 150 film festivals around the world, winning more than 30 jury and audience prizes, and his writing awards include honors from Big Bear Lake, New Draft, the CAPE Foundation, the Sun Valley Writer’s Fellowship, and the coveted Shasha Grant, awarded by a jury of international film executives.

When he’s not telling stories or teaching in New York City, Soman is a die-hard tennis player who never lost a first-round match for ten years . . . until he started writing THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL. Now he loses all the time.

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A Midwestern girl living on the East Coast, Samantha has been uploading bookish videos on her channel, Thoughts on Tomes, three times a week since 2014. She is currently the moderator for Top Ten Wednesday. When not discussing fictional characters online, Samantha can be found playing video games, marathoning episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or napping with one of her pets. 


Enter to win a copy of Because You Love to Hate Me! The novel will be sent by the publisher. Nicole's Novel Reads is not responsible for books lost or damaged in the mail. Good Luck!


July 11th: The Candid Cover

July 12nd: Once Upon a Twilight

July 13rd: Bumbles and Fairy-Tales

July 14th: Lost in Literature

July 17th: Nicole’s Novel Reads

July 18th: curlyhairbibliophile

July 19th: Page Turners Blog

July 20th: A Page with a View

July 21st: Novel Novice

July 24th: Peace Love Books

July 25th: The Plot Bunny

July 26th: The Eater of Books!

July 27th: Read.Sleep.Repeat


  1. Hi Nicole, I thought your interview was cool. The fact that you asked about their collaboration and how we got to know that some had preferences as to which stories they wanted to write about or were interested in retelling :)

    1. Thank you so much! I am glad you like my questions. I feel like a lot of people don't ask about collaborations and I have always been fascinated how multiple people work on a story.

  2. I love reading author interviews. I've never collaborated on a piece of writing yet. The idea of Arthur and modernizing it to today's high school dramas sounds very interesting to me. I love Arthur's story (I watched Merlin on Netflix and loved this series) and can't wait to read this story as well as the others in this unique anthology.

    1. I hope you get to read the story soon because it's definitely an excellent modern take on the Arthur and Persephone stories.

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