After interviewing everyone else, now it’s my turn to answer my own questions! My debut LEVEL TWO is set for Fall 2012 from Simon & Schuster, and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you!
Here’s the teaser summary:
In Level Two, the liminal place between our world (Level One) and heaven, Seventeen-year-old Felicia Ward spends her days in her pod reliving her favorite memories - until she gets broken out by Julian, a boy she knew when she was still alive. There’s about to be an uprising in Level Two, and Julian wants to recruit her to the cause. But unsure whether she can trust Julian, and still in love with her boyfriend Neil on Earth, she finds herself torn between two loves—and two worlds.
And the interview:
Why do you think people are drawn to “dark” stories?
I’m so intimidated to answer this question after the amazingly eloquent responses of my guests this month! I most enjoy stories where there is a great deal of character growth during the course of the narrative, and nothing tests character and spurs personal growth like the darker times in life. I find survival stories so inspiring – they make me think about what really matters.
If LEVEL TWO had a theme song, what would it be and why?
I have a whole playlist, but the song I listen to the most when I want to get in the LEVEL TWO mood is Bloodbuzz Ohio by The National. Whenever it comes on, I always tell Daniel “That’s the theme song to LEVEL TWO!” and he scoffs that it has nothing to do with my book. But oh, it does, on so many levels. After you read it, let’s discuss!
What fictional character from another book would Felicia chose as her best friend and why?
Well, here’s the thing ... part of Felicia’s problem is that because of the nomadic nature of her upbringing, she unconsciously sees friendships as ephemeral and fleeting. She’s someone who has a certain trepidation about forming bonds with people and everything that entails. Any best friend of hers needs to be very patient and loyal – someone like Peeta from THE HUNGER GAMES.
What are your top 5 Dystopian lit recs and why?
Now that I have to answer this question myself, I see how cruel it is! If you look at the list of dystopian lit I’ve read, you’ll see it’s over 100 books by now. So how to narrow it down? How about I go for most influential?
1984 by George Orwell because it still shocks me every time I read it.
UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld because it got me hooked on YA and YA dystopias in particular.
THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins because I’ve never been so caught up in a book before that I literally could not (for anything) put it down. Also? #teambookpeeta
THE ASK AND THE ANSWER by Patrick Ness because it’s so complex, layered and philosophical but still so kick-ass. It may be the only time in the history of the universe that I’ve loved the middle book of a trilogy most of all (though I love the other two Chaos Walking books too).
And then for the 5th spot, I’m afraid I have to go with a 6 way tie **evil laugh** of the following books because they’re creative, inspiring and just plain entertaining:
DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver (for the passion)
BUMPED by Megan McCafferty (for the intricate world building & Jondoe)
WITHER by Lauren DeStefano (for the atmosphere)
LEGEND by Marie Lu (for dystopian lit's premiere power couple)
ELLA MINNOW PEA by Mark Dunn (for its sheer inventiveness)
NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro (for ripping apart my soul)
(Do you like how I went for a gender balance there?)
What's on the top of your to-do list before the world ends?
Find whatever it is that will keep the world from ending and be the savior of mankind ;)
And if that fails – read all the books from the authors I featured in this interview series. I definitely want to have them in my memory edition collection in the afterlife.
How does your book stand out from others in the genre?
When I had the idea for LEVEL TWO and started working out the plot and themes, I was so excited because it felt to me like a very fresh spin on my favorite genre. I hope I’ve done justice to the dystopian afterlife thriller subgenre.
One of my favorite things about it is how Felicia is able to relive her memories of her life on Earth in order to help her make sense of the very stark and mysterious place that she's ended up.