Tigers Curse - Colleen Houck

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Tiger's Curse (Tiger Saga, #1)
reviews: 2,137
ratings: 13,374
(avg rating 4.19)

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 FAQ  with Colleen Houck






If you still have questions, please email Colleen.








  1. When will Tiger’s Dream be released?


  3. How many books will be in the tiger series?


  5. How do I book a signing?


  7. Who are your favorite writers?


  9. Who inspired you to become a published author?


  11. In what environment do you get your best writing?


  13. When you’re not writing, what are you reading?


  15. What did you do before you became a writer?


  17. Who helped you develop your writing talent?


  19. What is your writing schedule?


  21. What are the pros and cons of being a writer?


  23. Where do your ideas come from?


  25. What is your editing process?


  27. Have you been to India or did you just do a lot of research?


  29. How accurate is the Indian mythology?


  31. Do you test out your stories before they're published?


  33. Do you have people in mind when you write your characters?


  35. What is something you most admire about your characters, Kelsey and Ren?


  37. What element of your story (romance, adventure, lore) did you enjoy writing the most and why?


  39. Why can Ren and Kishan speak English so well?


  41. Did Lokesh get the real amulet at the end of Tiger's Quest?


  43. How do you pronounce the names in the Tiger Series?


  45. What is the double chocolate chip cookie recipe?


  47. What can you tell me about the movie?


  49. Where can I find information about the foreign releases?


  51. How different is the self-published Curse and Quest from the new version?


  53. Can I send you a book to sign or get a signed bookplate?


  55. Do you have any copies of the self-published version left to sell me?


  57. Will there be an audio book?


  59. Where are e-books available?


  61. Will the Tiger Series be published in other languages?


  63. What is the Egyptian book about?


  65. What was the most challenging aspect of writing?


  67. Do you follow an outline when you write?


  69. What is your writing process?


  71. What advice can you offer aspiring writers?


  73. How did Tigers Curse go from being an ebook to a printed copy?


  75. How do you react to a bad review?


  77. Who made your book trailer?


  79. Who is the artist who designed your cover?


  81. Who designed TigersCurseBook.com?


  83. What do all the Hindi words mean?


  85. How did you come up with the idea for the Tiger series?


  87. How can I audition for the movie?


  89. When are your characters birthdays?


  91. What books do you use for research?










When will Tiger’s Dream be released?




Tiger's Dream is on the back burner right now while I work on a still untitled Egyptian book for my new publisher, Delacorte.






How many books will there be in the tiger series?






 Five-Tiger's Curse, Tiger's Quest, Tiger's Voyage, Tiger's Destiny, Tiger's Dream






How do I book a signing?






 Contact Contact my agent, Alex Glass, at Trident Media Group. Keep in mind that I usually don't travel out of state unless I have a new book to promote but I am always open to doing events in Oregon, Washington, Utah, and Arizona when I visit family. I love meeting fans and doing book signings and enjoy doing school presentations in particular.






Who are your favorite writers?






J.K Rowling (Harry Potter Series), Chris Paolini (Eragon Series), Stephenie Meyer (Twilight Saga), John Steinbeck, Walter Farley, Jules Verne, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Orson Scott Card, and many more!






I was fascinated with Chris Paolini’s story and when I found out he was such a young author and carried around his manuscript for four years before getting it published on his own, I was even more impressed with his grit and determination. The science fiction of Orson Scott Card and Jules Verne carries me away to places I never imagined. When I was young, I wanted to be Laura Ingalls and ride horses like Alec and have great adventures like they did. For a list of books I recommend, scroll down just a little further.






Who inspired you to become a published author?






 The personal stories of Stephenie Meyer and J.K. Rowling really touched me. Both women just decided one day to give writing a try and the course of their lives changed. One day I woke up and decided I was going to give it a shot, too. I always loved creative writing in middle school and high school, sci-fi and fantasy being my favorite, and have been an avid reader all my life, but I never considered it as a career.  Seeing Rowling and Meyer--two self-trained writers--have the courage to give writing a try inspired me to channel my creative energy into imagining and writing the Tiger’s Curse series.






In what environment do you get your best writing?






  I write at my desk near a window with a great view of Oregon pine and beautiful houses. I always light a candle when I write as a reminder to include the senses of smell, touch, taste, sight, and sound in my writing. It has to be quiet and, until recently, my dog always slept at my feet.  That's my comfort zone when writing. I really love writing in the afternoons because that’s when things get quiet.  In the mornings I like to write personal correspondence to people who write to me about my books and do the research on the exotic locations I write about. I walk everyday and listen to music that inspires me to keep writing, but I can't listen to music and write at the same time because I get too distracted.






When you’re not writing, what are you reading?






 Here is my list of books I recommend. Check back because I'll keep adding more. To see what I'm reading now, follow me on Goodreads.
























Starcrossed (Starcrossed, #1)    Sweet Venom (Medusa Girls, #1)     Everneath (Everneath, #1)




































      Ender's Game    












                  Starters (Starters and Enders, #1)     Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)     Eve (Eve, #1)









YA-Historical Romance












Middle Grade




























What did you do before you became a writer?






 I've worked in a variety of jobs. I know how to make a Big Mac and a Big Bacon Classic.  I know how to decorate cakes, work a salad bar, and put sprinkles on donuts. I've managed a Chinese kitchen and learned how to make fried rice, stir fry, and homemade egg rolls, but for most of my adult life I've worked as an American Sign Language interpreter. I've interpreted from Elementary School through Graduate School and most recently I worked as a video relay interpreter, which uses modern video technology to help facilitate phone calls between Deaf and hearing people.






Who helped you develop your writing talent?






 I would credit three teachers for helping me develop my English skills. Two of my teachers were at Gridley Middle School in Tucson. I took Mr. Snider for two years, I think for sixth and eighth grade English. He encouraged me to write stories. I can't remember the name of the other teacher. She was an older woman, which doesn't mean much, because everyone is old to a seventh grader. I remember she loved Tom Selleck and had a picture of him in a Speedo on the back of her door. The thing about her that I remember the most was that she had large posters of all twelve of the Greek gods surrounding her room. I spent an entire year looking at Zeus, Athena, Ares, Demeter, and Aphrodite. It made a big impact on me. I wanted to learn their stories and became fascinated with mythology because of her. She also made us memorize Juliet's "What's in a rose?" speech. I still remember that today and thought it was wonderfully romantic. The third teacher taught Shakespeare at Sahuaro high school. Shakespeare was like a secret code that got you into an exclusive club, at least that's how she made me feel. She was an awesome teacher. I'm forever grateful to her. If any of you teachers ever read this, please contact me. I'd love to chat.






What is your writing schedule?






 I check email and work on my correspondence in the morning then write in the afternoons. When I finish a chapter, I get my husband who also works from home and we go over it together. He reads the entire thing out loud, we argue about punctuation, and then when we’re done, I send it out with pictures to my early reading group who give me their thoughts and feedback. When I'm in full on deadline mode I try to write 1-2 chapters per week.






What are the pros and cons of being a writer?






 The pros are you can create something that is perfect for you. Sometimes I watch a television program, or a movie, or read a book and I think, I really like it but I’d like it so much better if it had this.  In creating my own story I can focus on the things that I love the most. Another pro is being able to share my story with others. My husband gave me a stuffed white tiger for Christmas a few years ago and my brother-in-law who was visiting said, "That's the strangest Christmas present I've ever heard of." My whole family just stared at him and I said, "Wow! It's like I've given birth to a child and you didn't know." Writing a book is a life-altering experience and one you want to share with everybody. The con of writing is that it’s a lot of work. I once told a friend that I wish someone would come along and finish it for me because I enjoy reading much more than writing. It takes a lot of mental energy and every once in a while a plot twist will stump me. Usually, I sleep on it, and the answer pops into my brain by morning.






Where do your ideas come from?






 Most of my ideas come from books. Two of my favorites are reference books-one is about dream interpretation and the other is about signs and symbols. I have dozens of books about the mythologies of the world and keep detailed notes of any cool ideas I find. The tests of the four houses actually came from a myth found in Mayan culture. I also get a lot of ideas from dreams. My husband says he doesn't dream at all or at least doesn't remember them when he wakes up, but I remember mine. I write them down and hope to turn them all into books someday.






What is your editing process?






 For the Tiger series, I felt it was very important to involve a person from the literary world experienced with Indian culture. Through internet research and emails, I found Sudha Seshadri, a fantastic collaborator and confidante who has given me much needed advice and has become an enthusiastic supporter of the series. I have an early reading group made up of close family and friends who read my book chapter by chapter and offer insights and feedback. When I'm finished, I reread a hard copy of the entire book and do my own revisions.  Then the manuscript moves on to my editor at Sterling. She goes through the whole document and we go back and forth several times until we’re satisfied with the content. After that it goes to a copy editor who makes sure everything is just right.






Have you been to India or did you just do a lot of research?






 I have never been to India though I would really like to visit. I had to research everything from what kinds of cars are popular there to what the Mumbai airport looked like to where the forests are found. I spent a lot of time on Google maps zooming into the cities and forests and trying to figure out the distances between places. I studied the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve for a whole day and didn't even end up putting it in the book. The Oregon places I can write easily but India took a lot of work and many, many days of study. When I was writing the Hampi section, I went back and forth studying and learning about the different buildings in the ruins as I wrote. Sometimes I study one thing and it leads to several others. For example, recently I was studying about the Kraken and of how the Vikings first wrote about it, and then I learned about the Vikings using a sunstone to figure the position of the sun even when surrounded by thick fog. It was so interesting I added that into Voyage as well. A lot of Mr. Kadam's facts come from this.






How accurate is the Indian mythology?






 Indian mythology is very complex because the same god or goddess can have many incarnations with different names, appearances, and personality traits. My Indian mythology is “westernized” meaning I took the basic premise and either romanticized it to fit my theme or put my own spin on it so it made sense in my own mind. Bottom line-don’t try to pass a test on Indian mythology based on my version, however, I hoped to make it seem real enough that if you happened to visit Hampi you’d look for the statue and the entrance to Kishkindha.






Do you test out your stories before they're published?






 Yes. With an early reading group comprised of family and friends. They all love me which means they can be brutally honest and know I won't ostracize them, at least not for longer than a week.






Do you have people in mind when you write your characters?






 Kelsey's grandmother is very similar to one of mine. My grandmother had a flower garden, made me biscuits and gravy, and gave me a special blanket. I’ve also named most of the secondary characters after my nieces and nephews. I'm a big fan of Moonlighting, the television show with characters David and Maddie portrayed by Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepard back in the eighties. I loved how they fought all the time but desperately wanted to be together. It always made me giggle. So I incorporated giggle-inducing lover's spats into my books. Interesting fact: Kelsey's real mother is named Madison Hayes in honor of my niece and Madelyn Hayes, the character in Moonlighting.









What is something you most admire about your characters, Kelsey and Ren?






 Kelsey is brave. I was never a risk taker like her and I admire that about her. She also has the courage to do what she believes is right even if it causes her pain.






Ren is a poet at heart—sensitive, thoughtful, and kind. He sacrifices himself for others and makes everyone around him feel like they belong and are important.






What element of your story (romance, adventure, lore) did you enjoy writing the most and why?






 I’m a sucker for romance and those are my favorite parts to read over and over.  Visually, I love the action scenes. I’m a special effects geek so I can picture them in my head. To see them come to life on the big screen would be over-the-top awesome. The parts that are the most fun to write, however, are the fights. I really loved the show Moonlighting which ran back when Bruce Willis still had hair. He and Maddie Hayes, which is where I got Kelsey’s last name by the way, had the best romantic tension fights. I wanted to put that into my books, not only because I think it keeps the reader on the edge of their seat, but because it’s really, really fun. I enjoy the fast back and forth dialogue.  Smart and witty verbal jousting is exciting to invent.






Why can Ren and Kishan speak English so well?






 For the answer to this question, I went to Sudha Seshadri, my advisor/editor from India, who says, "Royals were well versed and some sent their sons to England and Europe to study. Many had English Governesses and Artists from Europe staying with them. Due to colonists like the English, French, Portuguese and so on Indians, both royal and merchants, picked up many languages."






Did Lokesh get the real amulet at the end of Tiger's Quest?






 No. He got a replica. He discovers it in the prologue of Tiger's Voyage and doesn't take the news well.






How do you pronounce the names in the Tiger Series?






 Dhiren is like Dhi as in dishes or dip and then add ren.



Kishan is Kee-shawn.



Kelsey is Kell-sea.



Kadam is Ka as in cut and dom as in domino.



Nilima is Ni as in knit, lee, ma with the emphasis on the "lee".






What is the double chocolate chip cookie recipe?






 This was from a Martha Stewart show in 2001. Love these things.



Peanut-Butter Surprises©



Smooth peanut butter is sealed inside chocolate-chocolate-chip dough.



Ingredients (Makes about 2 ½ dozen)



•    2 cups all-purpose flour



•    1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder



•    1/2 teaspoon baking powder



•    1/2 teaspoon baking soda



•    1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature



•    1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening



•    1/2 cup granulated sugar



•    1 1/4 cups firmly packed light-brown sugar



•    2 large eggs



•    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract



•    1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips



•    1/2 cup creamy peanut butter









1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with Silpats (French nonstick baking mats). Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda, and set aside.



2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, vegetable shortening, granulated sugar, and 1 cup brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until fully combined between additions. Add vanilla; beat to combine. Gradually add dry ingredients; mix on low speed until fully combined. Add chocolate chips; mix on low just until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; chill until firm, about 1 hour.



3. In a small bowl using a rubber spatula, stir together peanut butter and remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar.



4. Drop 1 tablespoon of dough at a time onto baking sheets, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart. Make a thumbprint in the center of each cookie. Fill thumbprint with 2 teaspoons peanut butter mixture. Top with a second tablespoon of flattened dough. Carefully mold dough to cover the surprise.



5. Bake until firm, about 12 minutes, rotating halfway through. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets, and let cool completely on wire racks.






What can you tell me about the movie?






 Right now the movie is in the screenwriting stage. Julie Plec is adapting the first book for the big screen and I couldn't be more excited because I love her work. I'm a big fan of The Vampire Diaries, Kyle XY, Dawson's Creek and she wrote all of those!  For news and updates from the producer you can follow http://www.ineffablepictures.com/ on either Facebook or twitter. Also for announcements, go to the news and events tab on my website and you can find articles that mention the movie.






Where can I get information about the foreign releases?






 To see which language the book is in and the publication date, hover over it. To be directed to an online store that sells that language, click on the book. Other foreign deals that have not gone to print yet: Bulgaria, Chinese (Simplified), Korea, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, & France.






      The Fate of the Tiger 




























































How different is the self-published Curse and Quest from the new version?






 You can read a sample of the new Tiger’s Curse on my website. If you have read the old version, this will give you a pretty good idea of the kinds of changes you might see. If you’ve read the new version and want to see what the old version looked like, I hope to be able to put all the deleted scenes up on the website at some point.






Can I send you a book to sign or get a signed bookplate?






 I live close to an Indie bookstore, Powell’s and I will make arrangements to keep them stocked with signed books and you can buy one from them online at Powells.com. If you click on the book itself, don’t forget to scroll down to select “signed editions” at the bottom. They will ship the book to you and charge the same price for a signed copy as they do for an unsigned one.  If you'd like a signed bookplate, email me at contactme@colleenhouck.com for instructions on how to get a signed bookplate.






Do you have any copies of the old version left to sell me?






 I don’t have any copies left to sell.






Will there be an audio book version?






 Yes.  Audible has purchased the rights for the audio books for the Tiger Series.  They've done the digital version and Brilliance has produced the hard copy CDs.  They are for sale online. Random House will be doing the audio book for the Egyptian story.






Where are e-books available?






 The Tiger’s Curse Series is currently available in ebook format from the Nook ebookstore on BN.com, the iBook Store, and ebookstore.Sony.com. .






Will the Tiger Series be published in other languages?






 Yes, here is a current list of foreign publishers.






United Kingdom, Hodder



Germany, Heyne



Spain, RBA Libros



Brazil, Editora Sextante



Portugal, Porta Editora



Greece, Platypus



Hungary, Könyvmolyképző Publisher



Czech Republic, Albatros Media






Poland, Otwarte



Turkey, Artemis Yayinlari



Taiwan, Locus Publishing (Complex Chinese characters)



Indonesia, Mizan Publishing House



China, Beijing Yutian Hanfeng Book Co. (Simplified Chinese characters)



Korea, Woongjin Think Big Co.



Thailand, Kaewkarn Publishingv



Vietnam, Dong A 



Slovenia, UCILA International



Indonesia, Mizan Publishing House



USA, Sterling Publishing



Slovakia, Albatros Media



France, Pocket Jeunesse



Canada, Editions AdA Inc



Japan, We’ve Inc.






What is the Egyptian Book about?






 I can't share a lot about it yet but it will definitely have all the same action, romance, adventure, and mythology of the Tiger Series plus the added coolness of mummies. Here is the official blurb my new publisher, Delacorte, put out about it.






What is the most challenging aspect of writing?






 I think the hardest part for me is just opening the document. Once the file is open and my hands are poised over the keys, I do just fine. It’s often easy to get distracted by everything else going on. My husband works at home too and we interrupt each other often. Also, if I get up and see the laundry basket is full, I may end up doing laundry instead of writing. I’m something of a clean freak.  So I’d say setting aside the time to just focus on the book is my biggest obstacle.






Do you follow an outline when you write?






 For me, writing is like a road trip. I travel from point A to point B, say Los Angeles to New York City. There are dozens of ways to get there and I give myself leeway to travel down different paths that peak my interest. I may stop off in Denver for a few days or take a day trip to Memphis but I always turn around after my wandering and fix my gaze on New York. I’m a bit of an organizational freak. I like to catalog ideas into neat little spaces, but every once in a while I come up with the name for a chapter, like, Pirates, for example, and have no idea why I chose that name. Then I brainstorm and come up with the perfect thing to put there.






What is your writing process?






 As far as the writing process goes, I like to establish a routine. Writing at the same time every day, surrounding yourself with things that make you comfortable, having a huge bottle of water or your favorite drink nearby, and keeping reference material near is helpful. I got a mini-fridge which I fill with snacks and drinks in case I’m on a roll and don’t want to head downstairs. For me, I light a candle to remind me to incorporate the sense of smell, taste, touch, sight, and sound in my writing. If your character doesn’t feel it neither does the reader.  Keeping a notebook or a file to store ideas when they come to you is always a good idea. I also use pictures when I write. If I’m trying to come up with a setting or a character, I search images on Google and select a picture or series of pictures and keep it open on my computer as I’m describing it. Often this will break me out of any block that comes along.






What advice can you offer aspiring writers?






 I believe writing can never be a bad thing. If you have a desire to write you should. My grandfather wrote cowboy books. He never got published and he died before I was born so those books are the only way most of his grandchildren ever got to know what he was like. Always seek out traditional publishing first, but if you’ve exhausted your options, then there is nothing wrong with self-publishing. When I was self-published, I was perfectly content and happy just sharing my material with others. Whether I have ten fans or ten thousand, writing makes me happy. If writing is something that makes you happy too, then by all means, write!






How did Tigers Curse go from being an ebook to a printed copy?






 I was honestly shocked at just how many e-readers are out there. I self published my first two books originally and just before they went on sale, I was offered a deal on preparing my manuscript to be an e-book. I figured I wanted the widest audience possible so I said yes. Right away the e-book sales shot above the hard copy sales. In January of 2010, about three months after they went on the market, there was an incredible spike in sales. I went from selling three hundred e-books a month to three hundred in a day. Soon I’d been contacted by publishers in China, Korea, and Thailand and by a movie producer. An agent, and my publisher Sterling, soon followed. The wonderful and extremely fortunate thing about my publisher is that they shared my vision with getting the books out to fans as quickly as possible. They not only agreed to launch my three completed books in the same year but they bumped up the launch of their new imprint, Splinter, almost a year ahead of time. We all worked hard to get Tiger’s Curse on the market as soon as possible.






How do you react to a bad review?






 At this point in my career I don't really read reviews left by readers. There comes a time in every author's journey when they have to let that go and for me that happened pretty much when we launched Tiger's Curse. My hubby still reads reviews but he has learned not to share them with me. I tend to dwell on bad reviews and reading them at this point is counterproductive. There really isn't anything anyone can say now that I haven't heard before. Out of one bad and fifty good I’ll remember the exact phrasing of the bad. I am a very sensitive person that way. I once got an email from a reader who listed thirty things I'd done wrong in my book with actual numbers in front of her thoughts. By the fifth one I was crying. When I got to the end she said, "By the way, you should know I'm thirteen." I was angry with myself for getting all worked up over the critiques of a thirteen year old. That was a powerful lesson for me. At the end of the day you have to just tell yourself that you do the best you can and know that you can't please everybody.






Who made your book trailer? 






 Crush Creative is the team who worked on my book trailer. They are a company based out of the UK. You can see other trailers they've done at Vimeo.com.










Who is the artist who designed your cover?






 His name is Cliff Neilson. He's also designed the covers for Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series as well as many others. To read his bio and see his portfolio go to: www.shannonassociates.com.






Who designed TigersCurseBook.com?






 The team at Design Brooklyn. To check them out, go to: www.designbrooklyn.com.








What do all the Hindi words mean?






 Disclaimer: This list is so that my readers will know what I meant as I wrote. I'm sure there are errors but rest assured this was done to the best of my ability while also engaging the help of an Indian editor.  






Translation List






Kumarga= wrong road



Nahi mahodaya=no sir



Avashyak=necessary, certainly



Vasīyata karanā =Leave or back off



Badamāśa = villian, traitor









Aap ke liye=for you



Mein aagaya =I’ve come



Vallabh=beloved or precious one



Bhumi-ke-niche=underground, beneath the earth









Mohar=seal or badge





















Priyatama=beloved, sweetheart



Mein aapka raksha karunga =I will protect you (watch over)









Mein yaha hoon=I’m here









Dayita=love or lovely









Niyuj Kapi—Choose the Monkey









Kamana=wish or desire









Anurakta=becoming fond of or attached to



Kaamaart=love-sick, love-lorn, love-stricken









Chittaharini=one who captivates the mind



Mera sakha sundara=My boyfriend is handsome









Mujhe tumse pyarhai=I love you









Anmol Moti=priceless pearl



Ankhoni roshni=light of my eyes



Meri aadoo or aru=my peach



Strimani=best of women, jewel of a woman



Hridaya Patni=wife of my heart



Mohini Stri=siren or fascinating woman



Subhaga jadugarni=lovely witch



Ama Sunahara=golden fruit



Dupatta pavitra=Divine Scarf



Sukhada motha=delightful weed



Měnghǔ=fierce tiger (Chinese)



Wǒ jiào =my name is (Chinese)



Zěnme =what?  Or impossible! (Chinese)



Yāo guài yóu yú =devil squid (Chinese)



Deti dama=little girl (Russian)









How did you come up with the idea for the Tiger series? 






I chose a Beauty and the Beast theme and then focused on my beast first. I immediately rejected the idea of a vampire or a werewolf and made a list of real animals. After I crossed off bear, lion, a eagle, I setted on tiger then switched to a white tiger because there is something already magical about them. Next was my setting. I thought white tigers came from Russia so I began researching Russia but later I discovered that the white tiger is Bengal and ended up switching my story to India which worked out perfectly. 






How can I audition for the movie? 






Authors typically play no part in the casting of movies and since I've never been an actress myself, I have no idea how one would go about it. I do know there are both open and closed casting calls. Closed essentially means, "Don't call us, we'll call you." My guess is that most movies are cast that way. If my producers ever open cast for Kelsey or a walk on role for a fan, I will surely let you all know. Otherwise, there is nothing I can do to influence casting. Of course you are welcome to try the normal Hollywood routes and I wish you luck. 






When are your character's birthdays? 






Kadam-June 10, 1635



Ren-Jan 15, 1657



Kishan-Nov 7, 1658



Kelsey-June 24



Nilima-I never gave her one






What books do you use for research?