Way back in 2009 when I decided to start this blog, Presenting Lenore was one of the first book blogs that I knew of. Presenting Lenore was one of the only book blogs that I followed, the rest were design blogs. While I’m still just another book blogger on the web, Lenore Appelhans, the blogger behind Presenting Lenore, has added author to her list.
1. Was Felicia’s cosmopolitan upbringing inspired by your own childhood?
In a way, yes. Due to my father’s job in the US Air Force, we moved around a lot, so I could definitely relate to Felicia’s sense of not really belonging anywhere. Felicia’s mother is a Foreign Service Officer and works at the US consulate in Frankfurt, Germany (where I live now). I have a bunch of friends who are FSOs and I even took the test myself a few times back in college. I needed Felicia to have an upbringing where she would have traveled a lot before her 18th birthday and the Foreign Service fit my idea of Felicia’s life perfectly.
2. What was it like to get your dream lit agent, Stephen Barbara, before you finished the manuscript for Level Two?
It was one of the most magical and surreal moments of my life when Stephen responded to the partial I submitted saying he loved it and knew exactly which editors would love it too. He’s had some amazing editorial suggestions too. I am thrilled to be represented by him.
3. You mentioned in earlier interviews that you’ve always imagined yourself to have a job related to writing. What made you say “I want to be a published author?”
To be honest, I never dared to say that. I studied journalism and worked in advertising for years, so I was right about the writing related job. But even up to the very moment where we accepted the offer from S&S, I simply couldn’t imagine putting my name together with the words “published author”.
But despite that, I wrote a book anyway. The German Lottery has a slogan I love: “Wer nicht spielt hat schon verloren.” It translates to “He who doesn’t play has already lost.” I think that philosophy can be applied to all areas of life.
4. What makes Level Two stand out from the YA genre?
I’ve read hundreds of YA novels over the past few years and reviewed them on my blog, so I have a good idea of what’s out there. My goal with Level 2 was not only to write the kind of high concept book that I enjoy but to also breathe some fresh life into the dystopian thriller genre. As it turns
out, Level 2 is actually not all that dystopian, but so many early reviews have praised it for its originality (that or have called it “weird in the best possible way”) that I can say with authority that it’s not like anything you have ever read before.
5. You’re almost done with Level Three. What’s next?
I’m working on another high concept novel as well as on a few picture book ideas with my husband (illustrator Daniel Jennewein). Our first picture book together, Chick-o-Saurus Rex, comes out in July 2013 and it’s so totally different in scope and tone than Level 2. It’s fun to change gears once in a while!
Thank you Lenore for letting me interview you! Level 2 comes out on January 15th.
Review copy provided by the publisher