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Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Synopsis from HarperTeen.com: Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn't possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.I am so so so so excited to have Elizabeth Norris BACK on the blog for her second stop in the Dark Days tour!! As you know, Liz was already here a few months ago for an interview, so now you'll get to learn 10 new things about her! If you haven't already picked up a copy of Unraveling I'm sure this interview will make you want to!!!
But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what's right in front of her: Everything that's happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben's sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.
From debut author Elizabeth Norris comes this shattering novel of one girl's fight to save herself, her world, and the boy she never saw coming.
Interview with Elizabeth Norris
1. How did you come up with the title for UNRAVELING?
The original title was Unraveling Ben Michaels. That title came to me as soon as I started plotting the book, because this boy had saved Janelle's life and he had a lot of secrets, and she was going to have to unravel them one by one in order to figure out who he was. As soon as the book sold, my editor asked me if it would be okay to drop the "Ben Michaels" from the title since the book was actually about several different mysteries and Janelle was unraveling them all, and as a result her life was unraveling a little. I thought that was a great idea.
2. If you had to do anything differently with UNRAVELING, what would it be?
That's tough. It's really easy now that the book is out to see a few things that have been mentioned about the book and wonder if I should have done something differently. My grandmother recently read UNRAVELING and told my mom that she loved it but wished there wasn't so much foul language, and she's not the only person who's mentioned that. It was something I just didn't even think about when I was writing. And the first draft was worse! My editor edited out a good chunk of the swearing, especially those F bombs. That said, I'm not sure I would go back and change the way I wrote the book. I've spent a lot of time around teenagers, some of whom swore a lot, and that inspired my characters. I wanted to write a book true to the characters I'd come up with. And I definitely did that.
3. What are you currently working on?
I'm finishing my edits on the sequel, which is called UNBREAKABLE. I was a little nervous when I first started writing it. It was the first time I'd ever written on a deadline instead of whenever I felt inspired so I was worried it wouldn't be as good. And I was worried I wouldn't be able to top UNRAVELING, which is a book about saving the world. What's bigger than that? But I'm really (really) happy with UNBREAKABLE. It is a bigger story. I think it's more intense and faster paced and with stakes that are even more personal. And there are some truly wonderful moments that I can reread now and be really proud of.
I'm also working on what's next. I have several YA project ideas floating around in my head about what I want to do after UNRAVELING is finished, and I've been plotting each of them out in order to decide which one I want to devote my time too. And I've been thinking about an adult urban fantasy project as well.
4. Who's been your biggest support during this experience?
Everyone from all the people I interact with in the publishing industry to my family and friends to other writers in the writing community to book bloggers and reviewers have been very supportive and excited about the book. I do have to say my boyfriend has been incredibly supportive and patient with me during the experience. He's read both UNRAVELING and UNBREAKABLE and during edits he would go to a coffee shop with me and let me bounce ideas off him, and if I was frustrated he listened to me rant and then offered solutions.
5. What titles are on your bedside table RIGHT NOW?
THE DISENCHANTMENTS by Nina LaCour and FROI OF THE EXILES by Melina Marchetta are at the top of the pile. They're two books I'm so excited about that I've been saving them for a day (or two) where I can sit down and just read with no interruptions. I've also been reading LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE BRONX IS BURNING which is an account of New York in 1977 by Jonathan Mahler. I try to read a chapter a night before I go to bed. It's fascinating.
6. When you're not busy writing, what kinds of things to do you like to do for fun?
Between writing and my day job, I don't have much free time. I'm a little bit of what you'd call a workaholic, which for me means that I go to work during the day and come home and do more work and then I spend my weekends working a little too. And when I finish my work to do list, then I write. When I can't look at a computer screen anymore, I read or watch TV. That sounds a little boring, but I also try to take long walks in the city, discover new restaurants, and work out with Tony Horton (on DVD).
7. Can you play any musical instruments?
I can play the piano and the violin, though it's been a long time since I practiced so I probably couldn't play either of them very well.
8. Were you a good student in school? Alex is an AP student with like a 4.6 GPA (or some crazy number like that.) Were your parents always on top of you about school work?
I was a good student. Both my parents were always on top of me about that, and if I didn't have good grades I was in big trouble. I was the kind of student that always did the extra credit and may have told people my parents would kill me if I got a B, which was of course an exaggeration, but it felt true at the time.
I never had above a 4.0 though. That's not how my high school worked. By the time I was teaching though, California public schools used the same formula the state universities used to calculate GPA so an A in an AP or Honors class was weighted as a 5 instead of a 4. I taught several sections of AP English Language as a teacher and I had a number of students who had a GPA above 4.0, some who had even
above a 4.5. I was lucky to teach some of the smartest and hardest working human beings I've ever met.
9. Do you have any tips for young writers?
This might sound cliche, but the biggest advice I can offer is to keep reading and keep writing. Every book I've read and every book I've written has made me a better writer. In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell mentioned it takes about 10,000 hours of practice for someone to reach mastery. I'm not sure how many hours I've amassed at this point, but I remember writing in my notebooks when I was supposed to be taking notes in middle school and high school and staying up late when my parents though I'd gone to bed, to sit at my computer and type up a story. I don't exactly recommend doing that since it got me into trouble more than once, but I know all that time I spent writing instead of watching TV has gotten me where I am today.
10. What can we expect from the sequel to UNRAVELING?
UNBREAKABLE opens four months after the end of UNRAVELING. Janelle has gone through a lot during that time and her whole life has really changed as a result of the events that happened during the course of UNRAVELING. So on an emotional level she's dealing with everything she's lost and trying to get a grip on her place in the world. But people are going missing, like thousands of people are disappearing without a trace, and Janelle gets involved in the investigation to figure out what's happening to these people, and it ends up being a lot more complicated--and more dangerous--than she'd imagined.
About the Author
Taken from Elizabeth's Website:
Elizabeth Norris briefly taught high school English and history before trading the southern California beaches and sunshine for Manhattan's recent snowpocalyptic winter.
She harbors dangerous addictions to guacamole, red velvet cupcakes, sushi, and Argo Tea, fortunately not all together.
Make sure you check out the rest of the tour stops!
5/21 Aprilynne Pike at AwesomeSauce Books
5/23 Bethany Griffin at Fiktshun
5/25 Elizabeth Norris at Literary Exploration
5/29 Veronica Roth at My Overstuffed Bookshelf
5/30 Aprilynne Pike at AwesomeSauce Books
6/1 Bethany Griffin at Fiktshun
6/4 Elizabeth Norris at Literary Exploration
6/6 Veronica Roth at My Overstuffed Bookshelf
6/12 Aprilynne Pike at Books with Bite
6/14 Dan Wells at Hobbitsies
6/19 Veronica Roth at The Mod Pod Bookshelf
6/21 SJ Kincaid at SciFi Chick
6/26 Aprilynne Pike at Books with Bite
6/28 Dan Wells at Hobbitsies
7/3 Veronica Roth at The Mod Pod Bookshelf
7/5 SJ Kincaid at SciFi Chick