Today, Michelle E. Reed is visiting the blog to tell us about her new book. Welcome Michelle!
Tell me a bit about yourself…where you’re from and how you came to be a writer…
Thanks for hosting me on the Life, A.D. blog tour, Lisa! I’m a young adult author from Wisconsin, where I live with my husband, son, and our yellow lab, Sully. Since childhood, I’ve been surrounded by creative people—my dad was a photographer and filmmaker, my brother is a musician, and I even married into it (my husband is an indie filmmaker, too)! It wasn’t until I was in my early 30s, however, that I really tried my hand at writing. I started with a few screenplays, but three scripts in, I just found I wasn’t really made for script writing. In 2008, after my son was born, I really felt driven to try my hand at writing a novel, and began working in fits and starts at what would become Life, A.D.
Tell me what genres you write and why?
I write young adult speculative fiction. It’s a really exciting genre to be a part of (and a big umbrella, so it’s easy to throw yourself into that category without pigeonholing) and it gives my creativity the most latitude to run free. I think I was drawn to it simply because, through trial and error, I found it to be the best fit. It’s the genre in which I’m best able to create worlds. YA drew me in because I’m pretty good at listening to my inner teenager. We’re on good terms. Your teen years are such a turbulent time in your life, full of all sorts of amplified emotions, and it’s a group I love to write for. You just feel more when you’re a teen, and if you can connect with that, it’s a great accomplishment. I love the challenge.
What's your latest book about?
Life, A.D. is the story of seventeen-year-old Dez Donnelly, who dies in a car crash in the early spring before high school graduation. Her unprepared soul is transported to Atman Station, the crossroads of the afterlife. She discovers that she’s stuck in a limbo state of existence, where she’ll stay until she learns to let go of the life she no longer has, and accept her death. Dez is thrown into a harsh new existence of strict rules, relentless staff, and a group of fellow teens thrown together by fate. Atman City is a beautiful, strictly forbidden temptation lying just outside the confines of the station complex, where adventure and danger await.
What themes do you particularly like to use in your writing and why?
I love fish out of water stories. I really enjoy throwing characters into worlds that are foreign to them and watching them struggle to find normalcy in the unfamiliar. In Life, A.D. my protagonist Dez is this sensible Midwestern girl who gets tossed into a whole new existence where nothing is sensible. She fights against a reality she doesn’t believe in, and you get to watch her try and come to terms with what, to her, is impossible. I think the reason I like writing these sorts of stories is that I find it rewarding to watch my characters struggle and grow.
When creating characters for your books, how do you go about it?
For Life, A.D., Dez just came to me, and I knew I needed to help her. She was all alone in a terrible, terrifying situation and needed a comforting figure. So those are the characters who came to her first. I knew she needed a friend in those first pages, so I came up with Sam. But I couldn’t have Dez too comfortable, because that’s boring. She needed to be thrown off her game, so as the need arose, the right characters came to mind. I tried to find balance in my characters between a few good friends, and plenty of antagonistic (or those who, at first, seemed that way) types who would challenge her.
What advice do you have for a beginning writer?
I think the most important thing is to find other writers and share your work. Write every day, and read every day. Critiquing the work of others will make you better in your own writing. If you put everything else aside and write with love, passion, and an informed mind, you’ll produce your best work.
Another piece of advice I have is this: be willing to be wrong. By that I mean, don’t get so wrapped up in how your story ought to be that you ignore good advice. Be open to feedback and willing to learn.
And keep going!
Is there anything else you’d like to mention? (i.e. where you get your inspiration?)
Inspiration can come from anywhere, so you need to always be seeking it out. I’m forever looking at the familiar in new ways, and posing what-if scenarios in my head. I try to always see possibilities in the seemingly mundane, because it can lead your mind down creative roads and just might kick start the next great idea.
The beginnings of my upcoming novel, Life, A.D. came to me while listening to a song I’d heard a hundred times before. In a moment of considering the familiar in a new way, I was open to receive the first glimmer of what would become my debut novel. In that case, what came to me was, what if the spirit of this departed soul is sticking around because they don’t know how to move on?
You never know where creative thinking may lead you.
~Thanks for stopping by, Michelle! Best of luck with your book~
ABOUT LIFE, A.D.:
Title: Life, A.D.
Author: Michelle E. Reed
Genre: Young Adult/Speculative Fiction
Publication Date: December 10, 2013
Formats: eBook and printIn Life, A.D. you have two choices: join the program or face the consequences.
Seventeen-year-old Dez Donnelly crashes headlong into fate on the side of a rural highway, her life ending in a violent collision of steel and screaming brakes. The train that delivers her newly departed soul to the crossroads of the afterlife won’t be carrying her to the sweet hereafter until she accepts her abrupt end and learns to let go of the life she’ll never finish.
Her new reality is conduct manuals, propaganda, and unrelenting staff, all part of a system to ease her transition from life to death, while helping her earn her way out of limbo. Atman City, beautiful and enticing, is an ever-present temptation that is strictly off limits to underage souls. The promise of adventure proves too strong, and beneath the city’s sheen of ethereal majesty, Dez discovers a world teeming with danger.
Welcome to Life, A.D. where being dead doesn’t mean you’re safe, and the only thing harder than getting out of limbo is getting through it.
ABOUT MICHELLE E. REED:
Michelle E. Reed was born in a small Midwestern town, to which she has returned to raise her own family. Her imagination and love of literature were fueled by a childhood of late nights, hidden under the covers and reading by flashlight. She is a passionate adoption advocate who lives in Wisconsin with her husband, son, and their yellow lab, Sully.
December 9 - 22, 2013
Link to the Tour Schedule:
Link to Goodreads:
· - Three (3) ebook copies of Life, A.D. by Michelle E. Reed (International)
· - One (1) signed paperback copy of Life, A.D. by Michelle E. Reed (US only)
a Rafflecopter giveaway