Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Author Interview: Lenore Appelhans previews Level Two

For my spotlight on upcoming dystopian/post apocalyptic fiction series, I interviewed over 20 authors with novels coming out in the genre in 2012/13. These are exclusive first looks at exciting new works. Enjoy!



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.

Thanks me!

Follow me on twitter @lenoreva (and say hi so I'll be sure to follow you back!)
Become a follower of the group blog Brave New Words (I post twice a month about writing)

37 comments:

Pam said...

Yay! Level Two. Loved your answer for your favorite dystopians. Most of those are favorites for me as well.

Amy @ My Friend Amy said...

Aw I love that you answered your own questions!

I take it you don't like Josh Hutcherson? i'm sort of in love with him.

Beth S. said...

I love that you interviewed yourself! Waiting with bated breath for Level Two to find its way into my hands! :)

Jodi Meadows said...

Dude I am SOOOO excited about this book. SO EXCITED! I can't wait to read it.

girlsinthestacks.com said...

Lenore!!! Great questions and answers, I am so excited to read this. For real. Especially since you made that comment about her Felecia's fictional bff would be Peeta!!!

theprettybooks said...

I love that you essentially interviewed yourself, haha. I'll definitely be preordering Level Two.

Kristen Simmons said...

Gahhhhh. I cannot wait for this book. Please move up the release date to...yesterday. Thank you.

bermudaonion said...

I wanted to get the first exclusive interview with you! This was great! I had to listen to Bloodbuzz Ohio.

Safari Poet said...

I was wondering if you were going to get your turn. Level Two is another dystopian that from the summary alone, sounds different. Fall 2012 can't get here fast enough.

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

Oh the killer six way tie! Ack! Love that 1984 made your list. Thanks for the personal interview. Can't wait for the book!!! :O)

Veronica Rossi said...

Awesome interview, Lenore! I can't *wait* to read LEVEL TWO! Thanks for a fabulous month of dystopian & post-apoc. titles!

Charlotte said...

Thanks, you, indeed! I'm looking forward to Level Two....

C.J. Redwine said...

Level Two sounds fascinating! And I've added some more books to my TBR because of your recs. :)

Anna said...

Oh my GOSH I can't wait to read your book! Hooray!

Heather Anastasiu said...

Squeee, I'm more and more excited to read Level Two!!!! And lol, love your answer to what you'd do before the world ends - why, SAVE IT of course. Lenore as Epic Hero FTW!!!

Allison said...

I have been looking forward to your book ever since you first announced it! I'll be eagerly anticipating it until I can finally get my hands on a copy. Can't wait!

Antony John said...

Brilliant interview, even if you did allow yourself a SIX-WAY TIE. No fair!

Seriously, though, LEVEL TWO sounds utterly awesome, and I (like everyone else) can't wait. I'll be hounding the publicists at S&S for an ARC starting January 1st. You might want to warn them, so they can turn caller ID on!

Linda said...

I enjoyed your interview of yourself :-) Can't wait to read your book, AND can't wait to see you in a couple of weeks!!!!!

The1stdaughter said...

Love your own interview, especially that you talk more about Level Two! I'm beyond excited for you, this is fantastic! I'd definitely agree with you on so many of your choices for top dystopian novel, particularly Never Let Me Go and Chaos Walking which were both brilliant on so many levels.

Wonderful interview with yourself Lenore! ;o) Thank you for sharing so much!

Alyce said...

I was so excited to see your self interview! I agree with your top dystopian reads list - so many good ones there.

Your story does seem like it will have a fresh new direction for a dystopian book and I can't wait to read it!

LeAnn said...

Okay, this is it, I have to read the Uglies series. Since I love all the other books you mentioned but haven't yet read Uglies, I'm on it now!

Jennifer Bosworth said...

Can I join your cause to save the world?! We gotta fight for our survival . . . and our books' survival!

Michelle @ The True Book Addict said...

Congrats on the release of your book! I know you must be so excited.

I recently received Uglies from Bookmooch and bought Pretties at a library sale. I have heard so many great things about the series.

Mari - Escape In A Book said...

I think you did great with your answers, Lenore :) I can't wait to read Level Two! It sounds unlike any dystopian I've read so far.

Now I need to hop on over to YouTube and check out Bloodbuzz Ohio.

Nymeth said...

I completely agreed about The Ask and the Answer. It might be a first time ever for me too, but it's certainly my favourite.

So excited for Level Two :D

Kirsten said...

I'm listening to Bloodbuzz Ohio right now and definitely want to see if I agree with you or D on that one. We should all interview ourselves more often, great questions-great answers. And I love the list of books and how each was specifically influential to you. Now the waiting...harumph.

Beth Kephart said...

I've got to go find The National! Very fun interview, Lenore!

Jeanne said...

Thanks for the list of most influential dystopias; I'm sure I'm not the only one who will be reading them at your suggestion.

I was carried to Ohio by a swarm of bees, too...

Jenny Girl said...

congratulations to you Lenore! You must be so proud, and nervous and just super excited. Take it all in and enjoy.
Excellent interview with yourself as well :)

Erin Bowman said...

I have to return to compliment you gave me about flailing with intense book desire. Because I have it now. For yours. Can't wait to read Level Two!! :)

And thanks for hosting an entire month of dystopian goodness. I loved every minute of it. You rock!

Anna said...

Great interview! The wait for your book is killing me!

Lucy said...

Love your answers to your questions! Level Two sounds awesome and I look forward to reading it. Great dystopian book picks too.

Zibilee said...

Ok Lenore. I am so thrilled about your book that I actually described myself as getting "wiggly" about it. I don't usually get wiggly about any book, so I think that this is wonderful! I also think the plot sounds very different and I am intrigued about this world you've created. Off to go wiggle some more...

Jenny said...

Best interview ever! Your choices are perfect! And I CAN'T WAIT for Level Two!!!!

Joy Weese Moll said...

What a fun interview! Looking forward to Level Two!

Susanne Winnacker said...

Loved your answers! I can't wait to read Level Two!

Michelle said...

*dances around the roam like a goat*

I want to get my hands on this one soon. ;)