Today I have an interview with the wonderful Lenore Appelhans to share with you, kindly answering some questions about her new release YA novel, Level 2. Look out for my review coming early next week!
1. I understand that your love of travel and a difference in priorities with your grandmother led you to write Level 2. How did you develop this afterlife with an economy in memories? What research did you have to do to create Level 2?
I wanted to explore the value of memories. Are certain memories more valuable than others, and if so, why? It made sense to me that the most sought after memories in an economy where you could rent them would be memories of activities where the person was living life to the fullest and experiencing new things. And if that’s the case, why don’t we do seek out these sorts of experiences while we’re alive? If there’s any message here, it’s to make the most of Level 1 (where we are now).
As far as research, I spent a lot of time reading up on the afterlife visions of various religions as well as the mythological ones. I googled quite a bit too – everything from how to hack an airline VPN to how to pop a wheelie on a skateboard.
2. How did you go about developing Felicia’s character? Did she pop into your head fully formed or did you have to tease her out?
Interesting question! I still have the notes I wrote about Felicia when she and her story first visited me. She was a three-dimensional person to me even then, but like any person, it took time for me to really get to know her.
3. You have been writing from a young age. Do you remember your first piece of fiction?
The first story I remember writing was fan fiction. A girl in my fifth grade class wrote a book and read it aloud to the class, and I remember being so impressed. I took her character and gave him new adventures.
4. Has your life changed much since you found out you would be published?
Honestly? Probably the biggest change is not being able to really schedule anything anymore. With publishing, you really never know when you are going to get edits so it’s hard to plan ahead. Inevitably, just when you plan a vacation, that’s when you end up having a deadline. Otherwise, I’m pretty much the same person I was before. Still spoil my cats too much. Still try to read as much as possible.
5. What’s next for you?
I’ll be on tour now in the US for Level 2 and I’ll be working on revisions for Level 3. I’m also nearly ready to submit a new picture book (my debut, Chick-O-Saurus Rex is coming out in July 2013) and brainstorming/researching some other new projects.
Rapid Fire Round:
1. Do you have a favourite quote from Level 2? If so, what is it?
“He pulls me into a spontaneous hug, and at first it doesn’t faze me. After all, hugs and handshakes and welcoming smiles are like hyperinflationary currency to church people – produced so freely that they’re not worth much. But as his warmth soaks into me, and he hugs me tighter, I find myself hoping he’ll never let go.”
I like this so much because it really exemplifies Felicia’s voice – the way that living abroad has shaped her, her attention to detail, and her yearning to be forgiven.
2. What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Just One Day by Gayle Forman. I love books about travel.
3. Which Vampire Diaries character do you identify with most?
I’m only up to the second season of the TV series and I haven’t read the books, but I’m going to say Matt. He seems to be the only sane one!
About the author:
Thanks to her father’s job in the US military, Lenore became addicted to travel early. To date, she has visited nearly 60 countries and stepped on every contintent except Antartica. Her travels inspire her writing – in fact, the original spark of the idea for Level 2 grew out of a discussion with her grandmother about whether it was better to spend money on Precious Moments figurines (her view) or plane tickets (Lenore’s view).
Lenore’s debut YA novel, Level 2, is published in Australia by Allen and Unwin. Also, her debut picture book, Chick-O-Saurus Rex (written as Lenore Jennewein), is set for Spring 2013 publication. She has been blogging about books since April 2008.
Thank you very much to Lenore for taking the time out to answer questions for me! It’s been a pleasure