Monday, August 22, 2011

Author Interview: Megan Crewe previews The Way We Fall

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!

Not only is Author Megan Crewe previewing her new release THE WAY WE FALL (Hyperion/January 2012) today, I am also reviewing it in about 12 hours. So let’s call this Megan Monday on Dystopian August.

Here’s the summary:

It starts with an itch you just can't shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you'll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.
          And then you're dead.
When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back.
Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest. 
Because how will she go on if there isn't?

The new (eta Oct 22, 2011) cover:

And the interview!

Why do you think people are drawn to "dark" stories?
I think there are a lot of reasons. "Dark" stories tend to have more conflict, suspense, and strong emotions than "lighter" stories, so people wanting an intense reading experience will gravitate toward them. There's also something cathartic about it--going through those intense feelings of sadness/horror/fear/anger and coming out the other side with a hopeful ending, or at least going back to real life which is probably not so dire. People can obviously enjoy experiencing emotions generally considered unpleasant, or horror films and tragic dramas wouldn't be so popular. But it's a lot easier and safer to do so via the characters in a story rather than by having tragic or horrific things happen in your own life. :)

And finally, I think reading "dark" stories helps people feel more at peace with the "dark" things that do and have happened in their own life. Seeing characters struggling with problems as bad or worse, and overcoming them, reminds them that even really horrible situations can turn around, and you can survive and go on to better things.

If THE WAY WE FALL had a theme song, what would it be and why?
"Crowd Surf Off A Cliff" by Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton. It's an incredibly haunting song about loss and isolation, with a thread of unrequited love, and those who've read the book will know a cliff plays a key role in an important scene. I knew it fit the story perfectly from the first time I heard it. I must have listened to it at least a hundred times while I was writing and revising!

What fictional character from another book would your main character chose as his/her best friend and why?
I think Kaelyn would befriend Ann from Robert C. O'Brien's Z FOR ZACHARIAH. They've both been through traumatic experiences and lost many people they care about, so they'd understand what the other's dealing with. Kaelyn would admire Ann's resilience and want to learn from her. They're both thoughtful and try to do the right thing, so they'd relate on that level as well. And the fact that Ann loves animals wouldn't hurt.

What are your top 5 Dystopian lit recs and why?
Five less-talked-about books I'd recommend (these lean more post-apocalyptic than dystopian, as my tastes do):

The above mentioned Z FOR ZACHARIAH, by Robert C. O'Brien (YA). It's very stark and lonely (for most of the book there are only two human characters), one of the most extreme post-apocalyptic YAs I've read. Great tension and suspense. But it also manages to be uplifting in some ways, particularly in how Ann holds on to hope and fights for her freedom.

TOMORROW WHEN THE WAR BEGAN by John Marsden, and sequels (YA). Great invasion story that has a perfect balance of action, horror, and teen drama. The characters come across as totally real, and fight in believable ways that don't require special powers or training. Marsden doesn't pull any punches when it comes to the awfulness of their situation.

BLINDNESS by Jose Saramago (adult). Beautifully written story that manages to engage you even though none of the characters are named, which echoes what the characters themselves are going through--suddenly stricken blind and unable to identify the things and people around them the way they used to. Haunting depiction of the depths humans can sink to (or rise above) when faced with the worst.

DEVIL ON MY BACK and INVITATION TO THE GAME (reprinted as just THE GAME) by Monica Hughes (YA). Hughes is an awesome SF and fantasy YA writer who's sadly not well-known outside of Canada. Her dystopians present totally believable scenarios that are both depressing and appealing in their own ways. DEVIL ON MY BACK has fascinating technology and a wonderful main character arc, and INVITATION TO THE GAME has a closer-to-present day feel with a great plot twist at the end. I love both!

Honorable mentions that I didn't pick because they're well-known: FEED, THE CITY OF EMBER, LIFE AS WE KNEW IT

What's on the top of your to-do list before the world ends? (you know, in case it ends next year)
See more of the world! I love to travel and I feel that there are so many places I still haven't experienced. Also, spending lots of time with my husband, reading lots of good books, and eating lots of good food. :) And if the world really was going to end next year, I'd be getting book three in the trilogy written ASAP so people can read the whole story before our time is up!

How does your novel stand out from others in the genre?
I think THE WAY WE FALL is unique in that it's not really dystopian or even post-apocalyptic. If anything, it's straight apocalyptic. It shows how the world falls apart rather than what happens in the aftermath. Most dystopian books present a new society that's risen after a disaster or a change in societal thinking, and I'm always left wondering what it was like when all that change was happening. So I wanted to write a story set in the midst of things, when characters who are living in the same world we're living in right now have to deal with seeing all their dreams and expectations, all the things in life they took for granted, crumbling away. How do you cope? How do you change your perspective to fit the new way of things? How do you start to rebuild?

Thank you Megan!

Visit Megan’s website
Follow Megan on Twitter @megancrewe
Add THE WAY WE FALL to your GoodReads wishlist

And remember to check back later today for my review!


Lucy said...

The Way We Fall sounds really exciting - I like that it's set during the apocalypse. I agree with the author's answer about why readers are drawn to "dark" stories. It is a rush to read them but also a cathartic experience. Thanks for the dystopian recs too!

Unknown said...

I love Megan's dystopian recommendations; while well-known, they're not ones I run across much. Blindness is one I really, really want to read. :) Hooray for mentioning Invitation to the Game!

I have high hopes for The Way We Fall; the title and plot description are giving me a very Lord of the Flies vibe, and I absolutely loved that book.

Tammy said...

Wow! Excellent Interview with Megan Crewe. I'll be picking up her book ASAP-and a couple more she mentioned! Thanks for the heads up.

Amanda said...

Great interview! I recently got this from Netgalley and can't wait to start it.

Emy Shin said...

This sounds so fascinating -- an apocalyptic story. I can't wait to read this!

Michelle said...

If I wasn't on board for this book by the synopsis alone I would be all over it for the fact that she named Marsden's Tomorrow series! Fantastic.

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

Love this interview! And I like that it's "straight apocalyptic". :O)

Zibilee said...

She had some pretty awesome reading recommendations, and I love her answer to the "dark stories" question. I have actually heard great things about Blindness, and have a copy on my shelf, which I must dust off soon.

I also like that this book deals head on with the apocalypse situation. It sounds really different. It's going on the list right now.

Thanks for the consistently great interviews, Lenore!

candice (thecrjreviews) said...

I absolutely love Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton. I'll have to go listen to "Crowd Surf Off A Cliff." She also sings for Metric, also some really good music! The Way We Fall sounds really good, the cover is haunting.

Lauren said...

This book looks amazing. *added to wishlist*

Diana Peterfreund said...

Yay for mentioning INVITATION TO THE GAME! I thought I was the only one who'd read that.