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Author Interview: Lenore Appelhans & Giveaway

Thursday, December 27, 2012
I'm delighted to be interviewing with Lenore, author of Level 2, the first book in The Memory Chronicles.

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.

Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you became an author. Your fun facts show that you've been writing since an early age. When did you know that you wanted to become a published author?
I’ve been blogging about books since 2008 at my blog Presenting Lenore. I started blogging at the same time I started reading YA fiction, so even though pre-blogging I read mostly adult literary fiction, YA became the focus of my blog.

Blogging led to meeting a lot of authors and to realizing that publishing a novel of my own was an attainable goal. Also reading hundreds of YA novels was a brilliant education in plotting, pacing and developing characters and voice. I started writing the type of novel I wanted to read, and it just all came together.

I saw that the idea for Level 2 came out of an argument with your grandmother. Would you elaborate more on this?
I loved my grandmother dearly, but she and I had different priorities. She didn’t think spending all my money on travel (I’ve been to nearly 60 countries to date) was a great investment. It got me thinking about what is really important in life and I imagined an afterlife that would justify my own choices with a kind of currency for memories of experiences. In such an afterlife, people who had travelled a lot would likely be “richer” than those who didn’t.

What did you enjoy most with the world building for Level 2? Could you tell us a little more about Level 2 itself and its prisoners?
Before I started writing, I researched the afterlife visions of major world religions. To create the world of Level 2, I mixed what I know of the Christian theology of heaven with elements of other religions, the Greek mythology of the underworld and a healthy dose of imagination.

Level 2 is meant to be a waiting room, a place where souls prepare themselves for the next stage of their journey in the afterlife. It’s not exactly purgatory, since all souls go here and not just troubled ones, but I guess it could be seen as similar. Basically, the guardians of Level 2 have trapped souls here for a specific purpose. Prisoners are addicted to viewing their happy memories and the happy memories of others – and they don’t face the memories that they would need to in order to move on to the next level.

What traits do you admire most in Felicia? Julian?
When we meet Felicia in the afterlife, one of her main driving forces is her loyalty to friends. Through her reliving of memories, we learn that she wasn’t always so loyal. So I really admire Felicia’s willingness to learn from her mistakes and work on her faults.

Julian is bit of a mystery, and it’s difficult to figure out what his real agenda is. But I do admire his focus. Whatever it is that he really wants, he’s definitely hell-bent on getting it.

If you could download memories, what would you like to see?
I find the idea of reliving memories so fascinating, because so much of what we remember is what we want to remember and we forget so many details. I reference the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder several times in my novel, and I’m always intrigued by the conversation Emily has after her death with the dead residents of Grover’s Corners. She can relive one of the days of her life, and though she initially insists she’d choose a happy day, the residents urge her: “Choose the least important day of your life. It will be important enough.” Why? Because while reliving something, you also know what happens in the future, and that can be intensely painful. If I relived a memory from my childhood, it would be so amazing to spend time with my mother again, but I’d also know the entire time that she doesn’t have much longer to live (she died when I was a teen).

What are you working on right now?
I’ve finished the draft of Level 2’s sequel (tentatively titled Level 3), and I’m waiting on feedback from my editor. I’m also working on a second picture book with my illustrator husband (our first together, Chick-o-Saurus Rex, under the name Lenore Jennewein, comes out in July 2013), and a super secret new novel that I’m really excited about.

Lenore's Website | Blog | Twitter
Lenore Appelhans is the debut author of a YA novel Level 2. She is addicted to travel and has swum 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.

Up for giveaway is a signed copy of Level 2.

Open to the US/Canada.
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27 comments on "Author Interview: Lenore Appelhans & Giveaway"
  1. 60 countries?! That's so cool. Travel is definitely a worthwhile use of time/money :)

  2. I'm half-Greek so it's gonna be interesting to see how the author portrayed her version of the afterlife. Can't wait :)

  3. Level 2 sounds really interesting. I have to admit I get all my best ideas while arguing with my grandmother (:

  4. I love that the book came out of an argument >.< I have been wanting to read this one for a while it looks epic! Learning all about the religion and greek myth must have been so fascinating! I love greek mythology since I read the Percy series a while back. Great post, ladies!

  5. I can't wait to read this book! I can relate to her by losing a parent. If I could relive any memory, it would definitely have to be one from childhood, when my dad was still alive.

  6. I can't wait to read this book. I love the idea of being able to download memories and re live them. It would be a great thing to have, especially for those who have lost loved ones.

  7. I love when bloggers become authors too! I think it is pretty awesome how Level 2 came about, even if it was from an argument. Thanks for sharing and thank you for the giveaway! :)

  8. I love this interview! I have read Lenore's blog for a long time so it was exciting to hear she was coming out with a book. I'm super excited about the children's book too! And can't wait for details on the super secret novel.

  9. I love that the idea for this book came from an argument with Lenore's grandma. That's so interesting, and not your typical inspiration. Thanks for the interview, and the giveaway!

  10. I've been dying tto read this book! This interview just makes me want it moooore! (: thanks for the giveaway!

  11. Great interview! The idea of downloading memories and being able to relive them is really interesting. I can't wait to read this one!!

  12. I also traveled a lot when I was younger. Personally I think that's a better idea than waiting till you're old. I also don't think that some of us have much choice. When the urge to travel hits me it's pretty irresistible.

  13. This book sounds really interesting - I like the concept of a purgatory-like world where you have to learn from your memories/mistakes to move on!

    Also, I think it's great you've traveled so much - I'm way behind - only 9 countries for me so far... :)


  14. This was such great interview! I haven't read a lot into this book but I'll definitely be picking this up when it's released! It sounds like such a great concept.
    It's so cool that she has gone to 60 countries, I haven't really travelled anywhere but I hope I get to one day.

  15. The play sounds like a great reference. Level 2 Sounds fantastic too.

  16. I love her thoughts on travel. My dad is actually the same way. I travel a LOT, and he always tells me I'm wasting my money on things that are not tangible. He thinks I should buy things rather than experiences. Honestly, though, my pictures mean more to me than a big screen TV or an iPad. What a fun interview, and I am so excited to read Level 2!

    - Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl

  17. I think that Lenore is such a big sweetheart, but I really struggled with this book! :/ It's such a shame. I did sense Felicia's loyalty to her friends, but I had an overall hard time connecting to her.

  18. It's Lili for the unknown comment above, I don't know why it marked me as unknown...

  19. I love Lenore's blog, so I can't WAIT to read this one :D Thanks for the amazing giveaway and great interview! It sounds really good :D

    Rabiah (name on Rafflecopter)

  20. I'm interested to know what the title of the sequel means (if it stays as Level 3)...what is Level 3? I really want to read this book!! Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  21. That is very interesting how the idea of this book came about with an argument. I think the concept of writing about an afterlife is great and can't wait to read it. Thanks for the chance to win!

  22. Wow, I wish I could travel that much. I haven't even made it out of this country...

  23. I'm loving this concept. I think it's awesome how you started out as a blogger - gives me hope for one day...

    Also, 60 countries? WOW. That's amazing.

  24. Ahhhh..I can't believe she's already working on the sequel and I haven't read this one yet!!

  25. I love that this book came out of an argument she had with her Grandmother! 60 countries? That's so awesome! I'd love to travel more and to read this book! :)

  26. Yay! Thank you so much! I can't wait to get it and read it! :)


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