To be thrilled today is an understatement. Today I welcome Lenore Appelhans, famed book blogger and fresh debut young adult novelist of Level 2, to the blog to participating in a Q&A for the Australian blog tour of Level 2, which was published on the 2nd of January (2013). Recently I reviewed Level 2 and you can read my review here. From one book blogger to another – THIS IS SO FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC! Gives so much hope to myself, a “hopeful author”.
Born and raised in America, Lenore Appelhans now lives in Germany with her husband, illustrator Daniel Jennewein, and their three fancy Sacred Birman cats. Lenore dabbled in creative writing throughout her schooling writing short stories for assignments, literary magazines and writing contests. Level 2 is her first novel and began only in 2010. She also works as a freelance advertising copywriter and blogs at Presenting Lenore: presentinglenore.blogspot.com.au
1. How have you changed as a writer since you began book blogging at Presenting Lenore to now with the release of Level 2 in a few weeks time? Have you always been a writer?
I started book blogging back in 2008. At the time, the idea of writing a novel was too daunting. Book blogging brought the discipline and structure of writing every day. Getting to meet so many authors via the book gave me the confidence to start a novel.
I have always been a writer. I used to write stories in the back of the car on our family vacations and then read them aloud at the campground. I was also that nerd in high school that loved writing essays, ha!
2. Has living abroad in Germany altered your writing or inspired you in ways you couldn’t have living elsewhere, such as back home in America?
Trying new things (like living abroad) expands your range of experience and that has definitely made me a keener observer and a better writer. When I moved to Germany right after college, I didn’t know anyone. It was a brave/crazy thing to do, but one experience led to another in a chain that brought me where I am today – a published author.
3. How would you best describe Level 2 and The Memory Chronicles considering it’s a hybrid, an amalgamation of many elements? What is at the book’s core?
At the core of Level 2 and the rest of the series is an exploration of how memories shape us. I’ve been calling it a dystopian afterlife thriller, but it’s more than that too. Via the memories, you get almost a contemporary novel. And there’s romance!
4. Were you influenced by anything in particular before writing and during writing The Memory Chronicles?
While I was writing the first draft of Level 2, I was putting together a coffee lexicon for a major coffee company for my day job as an advertising copywriter. Some of the fun facts I gleaned in my research made it into the book.
5. Are any of the characters in Level 2 based off of yourself or others? What is a striking characteristic and/or personality trait of each of the characters that readers might relate to?
All the characters are purely fictional, though I sometimes joke that Felicia’s grandmother is based on an ex-boyfriend of mine.
The Felicia you meet in Level 2 is very loyal to her friends, and because that’s something she lacked during her life on Earth, she’s almost too loyal. She’s overcompensating.
Julian is very focused on achieving his goals (whatever those may be – he’s pretty mysterious).
Neil is a great listener. He’s someone you could go to with your problems and he’d never judge you.
6. What do you hope readers of Level 2 will take away?
I hope the twists will blow their minds like they did mine! But I also hope Felicia’s journey towards self-acceptance will resonate with readers. We all have done stuff we’re not proud of, but we can move on.
7. You’ve “swam with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands, walked with lions in Zimbabwe, fed anteaters in Tikal, Guatemala, braved fire ants in Australia, chased a puffin across a black sand beach in Iceland and narrowly avoided stepping on a snake in Burma” (taken from your author site). What haven’t you done and what do you hope or want to try next? I suggest riding a kangaroo or emu � you’ll get a sore back either way, but, I guess, that’s no different to writing. Maybe wrestle a crocodile?
I’m going to skip crocodile wrestling, thank you very much! That reminds me of a comic strip I saw once where a man missing most of his limbs is preparing to give a speech entitled “Are crocodiles ticklish?”
The only continent I haven’t set foot on is Antarctica. So maybe one day I’ll get to march with the penguins. And if not, I’ll have to rent someone’s memory of it when I get to Level 2
Read an excerpt of the first 50 pages of LEVEL 2 here..
Three levels. Two loves. One choice. Debut novelist, Lenore Appelhans has written a thrilling otherworldly young adult novel about a place that exists between our world (Level 1) and what comes after life (Level 2).
‘I pause to look around the hive – all the podlike chambers are lit up as the drones shoot up on memories … I’ve wanted to get out of here before, but now the tight quarters start to choke me. There has to be more to death than this.’
Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in a stark white afterlife limbo, she spends endless days replaying memories, of her family, friends, boyfriend … and of the guy who broke her heart. The guy who has just broken into Level 2 to find her.
Felicia learns that a rebellion is brewing, and it seems she is the key. Suspended between heaven and earth, she must make a choice. Between two worlds, two lives and two loves.