Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Spotlight (4) and Giveaway: The Occasional Diamond Thief by J.A. McLachlan

I am hosting this blitz on behalf of YA Bound Book Tours

Title: The Occasional Diamond Thief
Author: J.A. McLachlan
Genre: Science Fiction
Released May 15th, 2015


On his deathbed, Kia's father discloses a secret to her alone: a magnificent diamond he has been hiding for years. Fearing he stole it, she too keeps it secret. She learns it comes from the distant colonized planet of Malem, where her father caught the illness that eventually killed him. Now she is even more convinced he stole it, as it is illegal for any off-worlder to possess a Malemese diamond. 

When 16-yr-old Kia is training to be a translator, she is co-opted by a series of events into travelling as a translator to Malem. Using her skill in languages and another skill she picked up after her father s death, the skill of picking locks - she unravels the secret of the mysterious gem and learns what she must do to set things right: return the diamond to its original owner. But how will she find out who that is when no one can know that she, an off-worlder, has a Malemese diamond? (Summary from Goodreads)

Author Interview

Hello, I’m J. A. McLachlan, the author of The Occasional Diamond Thief. I’m so pleased to be meeting you, and I’d like to thank Maria for having me here on Books, Tea. And Cats today. This blog tour is part of my online launch of The Occasional Diamond Thief, and I’ll have something different at each stop – book excerpts, author and character reveals, vlogs, reviews and blog posts – for you to enjoy. You can find The Occasional Diamond Thief at:  And you can find me at:
Check here for the other places I’ll be from May 18th until May 29th:

An interview with Author J. A. McLachlan and Kia, the protagonist of The Occasional Diamond Thief.

1. What’s your favorite character in the book and why?
J.A.: I like Kia and Agatha equally, but if I had to choose, I’d probably pick Kia, She’s so spunky and tough, but underneath she’s very loving and loyal, and despite her outward cynicism, she does try to do the right thing in the end.
Kia: I like Jumal. Don’t tell him, though.

2. What kind of person is the opposite of you?
J.A.: My opposite would be timid and quiet and always thinks before she speaks. I think I’d like her. Too bad, I know she’d hate me!
Kia: Agatha.

3. Kia is socially awkward, was this written from experience?
J.A.: Unfortunately, yes. Only I wish I’d been cool and stand-offish like her when I was a teenager, not eager and shy. But I do remember what is was like not to feel like I belonged among my peers.
Kia: I am not awkward. I am just choosy about who I talk to and I say what I think.

4. What are three of your favorite things?
J.A.: Books, tea, and cats. Honestly. Maria must be a lot like me.
Kia: Languages, actionvids, and not leaving my home planet, Seraffa!

5. What is the hardest thing about being a character in a book and getting your author to say what you want her to about you, Kia?
Kia: The hardest thing was the title. I had to take matters into my own hands for that, and add “occasionally” into the title before it went to print. Best I could think of in short notice. And I made the mistake of telling her the real story of what happened to me, so then, when I wanted to change or omit the bits I wasn’t so proud of, like taking that first ring, she wouldn’t.

6. How did Kia find learning languages so easy, and was it easy learning to be a thief? Bet she never thought that you would end up having such cool adventures!
Kia: I don’t know, I guess I’m just good at languages, like my father was. I have “an ear” for them, I’m told. And it’s a lot easier than math and science. Just because I live in your future, doesn’t mean I’m all science/technology geeky. I have no idea how the spaceships run. Do you know how an airplane works? Right.
As for my adventures, they didn’t seem so cool at the time. And I’m not allowed to talk much about them now, for political reasons. So I’m told. The O.U.B. were paying me to go, so I have to accept their terms.

7. Are you also skilled with languages like Kia?
J.A.: I speak English, Intermediate French, enough German to get by, and a smattering of Spanish. And whatever Latin I remember from high school. Haven’t had much chance to practice that last one…
Kia: Only three languages? Pretty lame.

8. Do you consider yourself a normal teenager, Kia? What’s the most ridiculous thing one of your language professors told you?
Kia: I am not normal. I am exceptional. Especially in languages. And maybe picking locks, but I’ve decided not to do that anymore. Keeping the tools, though, just in case…
Half the things my language professors tell me are ridiculous. The other half are insightful and essential to a translator. Trouble is, you never know when the next sentence is going to be one of the insightful ones, and not more drivel. So I have to listen to the whole crapshoot.

9. Is the girl on the cover Kia? (Both in the sense of “is she meant to be Kia?” And “is this how you imagine her?”
J.A.: I love the cover. And yes, she’s Kia, exactly as I pictured her. I was so thrilled when I saw the cover – it was like I was finally meeting Kia after knowing her for years!
Kia: If you hadn’t taken so long to write it, you would have seen what I look like sooner.

10. What was your favorite scene to write in The Occasional Diamond Thief?
J.A.: The scene I love most is with Kia and Tira at night – can’t say more, but you’ll know it when you read it.
Kia: That was awful. I was terrified!

11. Are you planning on writing more about Kia? It would be interesting to see where she goes now that her adventure on Malem is over.
J.A.: Yes, there is going to be another one, and if you stay on this blog tour, you’ll get to read a free short story and know where Kia’s going next! I haven’t started writing the next book yet, though - it’s fighting for second place in the cue. So it may be a while.
Kia: What she means to say is, I have to go there and then come back and tell her what happened, before she can write it.

12. If you only had about 1-2 minutes to sell someone on this book, what would you say to them?
Kia: I’d tell them not to buy it. It tells way too much about me; scary things happen so they won’t be able to go do stuff they want to do but will have to keep reading instead; they’re going to cry in places – and who likes being moved to tears? Someone could walk into the room and see them crying! And in other places they’ll laugh out loud - which, if anyone is listening, will make them feel like an idiot.
It is definitely a book that will make it difficult for them to maintain their cool while reading, and besides — I AM NOT A THIEF!


(This excerpt from the novel describes Kia’s first meeting with handsome 17-year-old Jumal.)
The day is cold and overcast again, raining off and on in short, angry bursts. In the three days we’ve been here there’s been as much precipitation as we get in a year on Seraffa. I go out anyway, hoping to walk off the bad feeling I have, and trudge down the muddy road, flapping my arms to keep warm.
I stop when I realize I must look like a duck in the rain. Too late. I’ve already emerged from Prophet’s Lane onto the cobblestone street, and a guy about my age is staring at me as he walks past, his lips curved in a mocking half-smile. I stare back, partly because he’s being rude, and partly because he’s worth staring at: tall and slim, with high cheekbones and dark eyes framed with long, dark lashes my college roommate would kill for.

“Quack,” he says, laughs, and keeps walking. I stand there, trying to think of a clever reply to shout after him, but all my four-and-a-half languages fail me. I turn and walk in the opposite direction, feeling exactly like I must look: not just normal stupid, but major moronic.


About the Author

J. A. McLachlan was born in Toronto, Canada. She is the author of a short story collection, CONNECTIONS, published by Pandora Press and two College textbooks on Professional Ethics, published by Pearson-Prentice Hall. But science fiction is her first love, a genre she has been reading all her life, and Walls of Wind is her first published Science Fiction novel. Her new science fiction novel is The Occasional Diamond Thief. She is represented by Carrie Pestritto at Prospect Agency. 

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