So YAReads has organized this amazing 2013 Debut Authors Bash. I am super excited that I was paired with Lenore Appelhans. I listened to the audiobook of The Memory of After (when it was named Level 2) and really liked it. It was one of those audiobooks that I sat out in my car for longer than necessary to keep listening.
Then, Lenore was awesome and in town and joined the YADC group (a lovely group of people in the DC Metro area that enjoy books, specifically young adult) at a dinner in DC. I was able to meet her and even had a picture taken! I am slowly coming to the realization that authors are just people too, but I don’t think I will ever get over the excitement of meeting an author, especially one of a book I enjoyed. It really does take a lot to write and finish a book.
Haven’t heard of The Memory of After? Here’s some information on it before we get to the interview.
The Memory of After by Lenore Appelhans
Published: September 3rd 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published January 15th 2013 as Level 2)
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Dystopia
Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost-family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.
Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian-a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life-comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.
And, keep your eye open next year for the sequel, Chasing Before!
So, without anymore preamble, here is my interview with Lenore!
I have described the setting of Level 2 as ‘a kind of dystopian purgatory’. How would you describe your book’s setting in five or less words?
Your setting description is pretty accurate. I’d probably say “Memory chambers in the afterlife” since the memory chambers are the hook of the setting.
Which memory would you revisit the most if you were a resident of Level 2?
I would compile top 10 lists like Felicia did. So my top 10 travel memories, top 10 concerts, top ten family vacations, that sort of thing. I like the idea of being able to organize memories into playlists.
I’ve read that you like playlists for books. What is your Level 2 music playlist?
Yes! See? Obsession with playlists! You can see my entire Level 2 playlist here (link: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYf-ELpNqYRBOBsa03NXsepn2xbuoVULI )
I don’t listen to music while I write, but I do have certain songs I’ll listen to before writing scenes that help me get into the right mood. Music has such power to convey emotion, and I really try to bring some of that atmosphere into my writing.
I just turned in revisions for the sequel, Chasing Before, and two days before the deadline, I downloaded Bastille’s debut album Bad Blood. It is insane how many of the themes their songs share with Chasing Before. I am convinced we are sharing a muse.
Felicia’s mother is a Foreign Service officer, which means that her family moves to different countries every few years. What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to or would want to travel to?
I’m very sloth fixated at the moment, so I really want to go to the sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica.
Ruins of ancient cultures fascinate me and some of my favorite places to visit have been Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Tikal in Guatemala (well, all except for the killer mosquitos). I also love visiting natural wonders and was blown away by Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), the fjords of Norway, black sand beaches of Iceland, the natural rock labyrinth of Gory Stolowe (Poland), and gosh I could go on and on.
As far as urban areas, I love NYC!
The structure of Level 2 definitely seems to be closely modeled after internet and social media trends. Is there someone you think would have the most popular memories?
I recently wrote a guest post for Authors are Rockstars about why there are no celebrities in Level 2. (link: http://scottreadsit.blogspot.de/2013/08/lenore-appelhans-is-rockstar-giveaway.html ) So aside from celebrities, I think the most popular memories would be from people who take joy in life. Even the most spectacular sites or unique experiences would not be much fun to relive from a jaded, bored and/or grumpy perspective.
The story alternates between Felicia in Level 2 and the memories that she experiences. Did this require you to outline the story or did the story just come together as you were writing it?
I had an outline of the memories because they were the most complicated part of the story (two separate timelines and not always in chronological order). Adding tags and memory numbers to each memory was a way to give them more structure.
I free wrote the Level 2 sections in the first draft and let the characters guide me. Of course there had to be a reason for Felicia to view a particular memory at a particular point in the story, and it was a great exercise to have to figure out those reasons.
Lenore is also offering one paperback copy of The Memory of After! And thanks to the awesome timing of our dinner, I have signed The Memory of After bookmarks to give out to even more potential winners! This giveaway is for US only. To enter, please go to this rafflecopter! Good luck!