2017 Debut Author Bash with Katie A. Nelson + Giveaway!

2017 Debut Authors Bash Button

I’m so thrilled to be participating in the 2017 Debut Authors Bash, especially since I have author Katie A. Nelson on the blog today! Katie’s debut novel The Duke of Bannerman Prep was one of my favorite books I read in 2017! I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is a YA retelling of The Great Gatsby, and it’s just so wonderful! Check out my Q&A with Katie all about writing retellings and be sure to order your copy today if you haven’t already!

About the Book-9

31213230About the Book:

Title: The Duke of Bannerman Prep

Author: Katie A. Nelson

Pub. Date: May 9, 2017

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Pages: 312

Words are weapons. Facts can be manipulated. And nothing is absolute—especially right and wrong.

Tanner McKay is at Bannerman Prep for only one reason: the elite school recruited him after he brought his public school’s debate team to victory last year. Bannerman wants a championship win. Debate is Tanner’s life—his ticket out of his poor-as-dirt life and family drama, straight to a scholarship to Stanford and the start of a new, better future.

But when he’s paired with the Duke, his plans for an easy ride seem as if they’ve hit the rails. The Duke is the quintessential playboy, beloved by everyone for his laissez-faire attitude, crazy parties, and seemingly effortless favors.

And a total no-show when it comes to putting in the work to win.

But as Tanner gets sucked into the Duke’s flashy world, the thrill of the high life and the adrenaline of existing on the edge becomes addictive. A small favor here and there seems like nothing in exchange for getting everything he ever dreamed of.

But the Duke’s castle is built on shady, shaky secrets, and the walls are about to topple down.

A contemporary retelling of The Great Gatsby, Katie Nelson’s taut debut is perfect for fans of John Green’s Looking for Alaska, Kate Brian’s Private series, and anyone who’s encountered the cut-throat world of competitive high school.


Author Q&A

1- I’m a huge fan of both The Duke of Bannerman Prep and The Great Gatsby. When you decided to tackle a Great Gatsby retelling, what elements from the original story were important for you to stay consistent with in your retelling?

Thank You! I’m so glad you liked it! I have been a Gatsby fan since the first time I read the novel, back in high school. I think at the time, I was pining for a boy who didn’t know I existed, so that idea of a character who feels like If I can just achieve _____, then this unattainable person will love me was always really interesting to me. I also wanted to examine the elements of class and how they relate to accessing the American dream. We have this idea in America that if you just work hard enough, you can achieve anything that you want, and the whole college admissions process is kind of a microcosm of how that plays out. It was definitely the first time that I realized that yes, hard work is important, but wealth, privilege and background play a role too. So I wanted to examine that in my novel.  

2- How many times did you read The Great Gatsby and what kind of research did you do to prepare for writing The Duke of Bannerman Prep?

I lost track of how many times I read Gatsby! I read it right before I started my first draft, and then I re-read it when I was stuck at one point, but that was after I’d read it at least a dozen times. I used to teach high school English, so I read it with my students. But then I did get to a point where I had to set it aside and focus on my own story, rather than trying to mirror every plot point in the original. I did a bunch of other research in writing Duke. I’d competed in high school debate, as well as coached it, but I did some research into current practices and rules, etc. I judged several tournaments and talked to high school competitors. I also did a lot of research into boarding schools. There are a ton of boarding school novels out there, but most are Ivy covered, been around for hundreds of years, and located in the Northeast. I wanted my school to reflect the values and attitudes of modern day Silicon valley, so I talked to schools in California and researched what daily life is like in those schools.

3- What do you think is the most challenging part of writing a retelling?

I think the most challenging part is that people know the original, and will come to your story with pre-conceived ideas about what they think it should be. I tried to write the story that I wanted to tell, and let people form their own opinions. One of my reviewers said that my book was more “homage than retelling” and I think that is an accurate description.

4- What do you think are some important elements that any retelling needs to have?

I think that the main characters need to feel similar to the characters in the original. I always fall in love with characters more than plot, so I want the characters in a retelling to feel like the ones that I already love so much. I also think that thematically the books should be similar. I would expect a Julius Ceasar retelling to deal with the theme of ambition. If it all of the sudden was a love story, I’d scratch my head.

5- In your opinion, what is the best Great Gatsby film adaptation?

Wow, this is a hard question to answer! The first film version I saw was the Robert Redford version, so for a while, that was how I pictured so much of the locations and scenes in the novel. But once the Baz Luhrman film came out, it pretty much replaced the Redford one for me. That version captured the excess of the novel so well. I also love the visuals of the Valley of Ashes, and the contrast between Gatsby’s house and the Buchanan’s. Plus I think that Leonardo DiCaprio just nailed that performance!

6- What are some YA retellings that you would recommend to fans of The Duke of Bannerman Prep?

There have been so many great ones that have come out recently! I loved Kate Watson’s Seeking Mansfield, a retelling of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. I might get kicked out of the Jane Austen fan club for saying this, but I liked it better than the original! I also loved The Only Thing Worse than Me is You by Lily Anderson and Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George. They are both retellings of Much Ado about Nothing, but are very different stories. I loved them both so much!

7- What advice would you give to any writers considering tackling a retelling?

The advice I would give is to let your story take on a life of its own. Often I think writers get tied to the original plot points and try to force their story into that construct, and it makes it feel false for those characters. So let your story be your story, driven by the characters you create.

8- One of the most captivating parts of The Great Gatsby are the party scenes. How did you approach taking those scenes and adapting them for a YA audience?

Well, to be honest it took several drafts. I had a critique at a conference by an editor where he pointed out that the party scenes felt too adult. This was after I’d been working on the novel for at least a year and a half and had written several drafts. But he was right! I’d been trying too hard to make the parties feel Gatsby-like that they weren’t fitting of a YA audience. So I went back and tried to see them in a different way. The hamster balls and super soaker fights all came out of that revision.

9- In your opinion is writing a retelling more or less challenging than creating a story entirely from scratch?

I think they’re both hard! How’s that for an answer?

10- Do you think you’ll write another retelling in the future?

The first novels that I wrote were retellings. I wrote a really awful retelling of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. It will probably never see the light of day, but it taught me the discipline to finish a novel. The second novel I wrote was a Jane Eyre retelling. That one got me my first agent, but it didn’t sell and I eventually parted ways with that agent. I might revisit that one in the future, but I think it would need a pretty significant revision to work.

I have lots of ideas for retellings. I think it’s the English teacher in me. For now, I’m not working on one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did in the future!

About the Author


Katie Nelson has always loved words and stories. Formerly a high school English and Debate teacher, she now lives in Northern California with her husband, four children, and hyperactive dog.


Click below to enter to win a copy of the book, along with a bookmark and notebook!

US and Canada Only

Enter by 12/18/2017


About the Book-16

2017 Debut Authors Bash Banner

Thanks so much to YAReads for hosting this amazing tour! Be sure to check out all the tour stops below from these incredible author/blogger pairings!

December 1stGabriella M Reads – Kate Hart

APictureASongALiteraryQuote – Jilly Gagnon

Wishful Endings – CAITLIN SANGSTER

Beauty and the Bookshelf – JENNIFER PARK

December 2ndLisa Loves Literature – Alexandra Ballard

Downright Dystopian – KELLY GARRETT

YA Books Central – MCCALL HOYLE

Bookblogarama – JODI KENDALL

Gabriella M Reads – Stephanie Elliot

December 3rdPlatypire Reviews – SONIA BELASCO

Folded Corners and Smudged Screens –  A.V. Geiger

Vox Libris – Katy Upperman

Pink Polka Dot Books – CORRIE WANG

December 4thTwo Chicks on Books – Michael Miller

Read Love Blog – Amy Giles

Chapter by Chapter – CECILIA VINESSE

December 5thPandora’s Books – Sarah Henning

The Eater of Books! – Jennifer Honeybourn

Teawithmermaids – Amanda Foody

Book Lovers Life – ALEXANDRA OTT

December 6thThe Turning Pages – SARA BIREN

Laura Noakes – Allison K. Hymas

A Dream Within A Dream –  KATIE BAYERL

The Reading Nook Reviews – Supriya Kelkar


Kourtni Reads – Christina June

Smada’s Book Smack – Kate Watson


December 8thPink Polka Dot Books – Amy Brashear

YA Books Central – Heather Kaczynski



December 9thGryffindor Books – Emma Chastain

The Winged Pen – GWEN C. KATZ

My Book Addiction – PATRICIA BAILEY

Bibliophilekid – Cale Dietrich

December 10thCindy’s Love of Books – REBECCA CHRISTIANSEN

Mundie Moms – Linsey Miller

Written Infinities – Scott Reintgen

Book Lovers Life – JONATHAN ROSEN

December 11thMilky Way of Books – Nikki Katz

books are love – FAITH M. BOUGHAN

Platypire Reviews – MEG EDEN


December 12thLiterary Meanderings – Dave Connis

Jrsbookreviews – Ruth Lauren



December 13thThe Royal Polar Bear Reads – Jessika Fleck

Ink Sisters Write – Katherine Locke

My Book Addiction – TARA GOEDJEN

APictureASongALiteraryQuote – CARLIE SOROSIAK  

December 14thThe Royal Polar Bear Reads – Jessika Fleck

BookCatPin – Heather Fawcett

Doodle’s Book Reviews – Caroline Leech

The Hermit Librarian – KARINA YAN GLASER


December 15thKendra Loves Books – Laurie Forest

Too Much of a Booknerd – MAGGIE ANN MARTIN

The Book Beacon – JJ STRONG

The Reading Nook Reviews – Michael Harrison

The Royal Polar Bear Reads – Jessika Fleck

December 16thThe Nocturnal Fey – KIM FOSTER

Media Geeks Unite – Karen McManus

YaReads/The Rest is Still Unwritten – Mark Maciejewski

The Book Beacon – A.M. Rose

December 17thThe Candid Cover – Candace Ganger

The Reading Nook Reviews – Kristin Gray

Too Much of a Booknerd – Ibi Zoboi

Vox Libris – Lisa Rosinsky

December 18thBrittany’s Book Rambles – Elly Blake


YaReads – Julie Shepard

The Book Beacon – Henry Lien

December 19thThe Reading Nook Reviews – Danielle Davis

Folded Corners and Smudged Screens – S. F. HENSON

Roxy’s Book Reviews – Heather Maclean

December 20thSci-Fi & Scary – Andrew DeYoung

The Book Beacon – Beth McMullen

APictureASongALiteraryQuote – DIANA GALLAGHER

Book Lovers Life – Hope Cook

December 21stPooled Ink – Rosalyn Eves

Across the Bookiverse – Rebecca Ross

2 Cooks Crafting Books – ALYSON GERBER

December 22ndTween 2 Teen Book Reviews – ANDREW SHVARTS

Books, Occupation… Magic! – Lana Popović

Lisa Loves Literature – ALISON GERVAIS

Laura Noakes – Kimberly Ventrella

December 23rdYaReads – KELLY DEVOS


The Reader and the Chef – KAYLA OLSON

Laura Noakes – PATRICK MOODY

2 Cooks Crafting Books – SUSAN TAN

December 26ththe bookdragon – Laura Creedle

Rockin’ Book Reviews – Tiffany Pitcock

Latte Nights Reviews – Misa Sugiura

Readingwithwrin – KES TRESTER

YaReads – Meg Kassel

December 27thThe Hermit Librarian – JC Davis

Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Bonnie Pipkin

Here’s to Happy Endings – KIERSI BURKHART

Book Lovers Life – DARCY MILLER

Sci-Fi & Scary – Gareth Wronski

December 28th2 Cooks Crafting Books – Jake Burt

Dani Reviews Things – Shaila Patel

Never Too Many To Read – Nic Stone

Cindy’s Love of Books – WENDY MCLEOD MACKNIGHT

YaReads – Gwen Cole

December 29th21st Century Once Upon A Times – ERIN BEATY

The Phantom Paragrapher – Kristen Orlando – Review

Vicky Who Reads – CHELSEA SEDOTI

The Reading Nook Reviews – JAMIE MAYER

YaReads- Steve Schafer

December 30thRachel’s Book Reviews  – Axie Oh

Bookblogarama – LAURIE DEVORE

Readingwithwrin – amanda searcy

2 Cooks Crafting Books – Mary Lambert

YaReads/The Rest is Still Unwritten – J.C. WELKER

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27 thoughts on “2017 Debut Author Bash with Katie A. Nelson + Giveaway!

  1. Inge | The Belgian Reviewer says:

    Great questions, and answers too of course! Letting the story unfold on its own is great advice I think! I’ve haven’t read a retelling yet myself and I do believe it’s just as hard, if not harder than a new story. Interesting Q&A!

  2. theresajs says:

    Great interview!!! This is another contemporary I need to read!!
    I’m not always a big fan of retellings, but mostly because I either haven’t read the original or remember anything about it! But, that said, I have read several that I really liked. Lunar Chronicles are the first ones that I can think of that I loved!

  3. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    A Gatsby YA retelling?! I think this is the book which has been missing from my whole life. I’m so glad you got this stop on the tour Krysti! Did you have a review some where that I missed? If so, share a link! If not, will you be reviewing it in the future?

    Kate A Nelson: Thank you so much for taking the time answer Krysti’s questions. I am completely with you on the critical elements for a retelling. I find that many retelling stick too closely to the original and they never feel unique, but this is a fine line! Sometimes, I can’t even tell this is a retelling… Did you find that was a hard line to walk? What elements did you find yourself adding and removing to make The Duke of Bannerman Prep feel like the retelling you were looking for?

    I’d also love to hear what other retelling ideas you have in your head! As an English teacher, I’m certian you have some great ideas in there for books which aren’t often retold.

      • Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

        Thank you for sharing your GR review! I don’t know know I didn’t think to look this up on my own! XD Oops.

        This also helps illustrate to me that it’s okay to write short reviews once in a while. I spend so much time writing them sometimes that I just give up and don’t write a review. Oops. I need to be less hard on myself.

      • KrystiYAandWine says:

        Hahaha! Of course! I would never expect you to look it up!

        I’m all about the short reviews honestly, but it’s definitely just a personal preference. Your reviews are always wonderfully thorough!

      • Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

        It’s totally about preference, and a bit about habit. Once I start to talk about a book I just tend to keep going. I just finished but a review for Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation and I had to stop myself… it just got really… mean… I didn’t want to do that! But I have some feelings I need to share. There is certainly a balance here!

      • KrystiYAandWine says:

        I totally understand that! I have such a struggle with writing bad reviews. I cannot stand the idea of hurting someone’s feelings. I tried to post negative reviews for a while, but it just stressed me out. I only post my 4 and 5 stars now. I’m a terrible reviewer. LOL. Your reviews are always wonderful and so articulate! I wish I could write them as well as you do.

      • Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

        Pft, you are certainly NOT a terrible reviewer! To each their own, right? Reviewing books I dislike is part of my blog mission. Your blog mission, as I interpret it, is to promote newer authors, explore YA, and make connections in your local community. I think it’s totally appropriate to only write 4 and 5 star reviews. It makes your blog more joyful, too. I love that. You should always feel good about your blogging. Always.

      • KrystiYAandWine says:

        Well, you just mad me feel about 100 times better about myself, lady! I’d certainly say that you’re accomplishing your blog mission too. Your negative reviews are always thoughtful and well explained. It’s rare to find negative reviews that are so professional. 👌

      • Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

        Thank you! That means a lot to me, too. Sometimes, I feel like I’m just ranting, but I try to make certain that I am talking about the book and not the author. It never should be personal. It should always be professional! 😀

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