The Dark Days of Summer 2013 tour is here! Catch the authors of five of the hottest new releases online and in person (see full schedule below) for exclusive Q&As and more. We’re thrilled to be hosting Elizabeth Norris and getting the scoop on her Veronica Mars influence, her dream casting picks, and how she made Sci-fi accessible. Get hooked and enter the giveaway to win a copy of Unbreakable, Unraveling #2 (published on April 23, 2013 by Balzer + Bray).
ATUF: In the novella UNDONE, you wrote three stories from Ben’s POV. What were the challenges unique to writing his voice as opposed to Janelle’s?
EN: The biggest challenge for me me was that Ben is a guy and my knowledge of the inner workings of the mind of a teenage guy are pretty limited. I read several YA novels with a male protagonist written by male authors before I started Ben’s stories. I also drove my boyfriend a little crazy–especially when it came to emotional scenes. I would pose questions to him: “if you were separated from your family for seven years and just got back to them to find all if these things had gone wrong because of you, how would you feel?” And in the end, both my boyfriend and a friend of mine read the stories and flagged any places that didn’t feel authentically male.
ATUF: On your website you said that you “wanted UNRAVELING to be accessible to people who don’t know a lot about science or who don’t normally read science fiction.” How did you go about doing that and do you think you were successful in both UNRAVELING and UNBREAKABLE?
EN: When I was in high school I was a closet science fiction fan because it was considered pretty uncool among my friends. I always felt that what they didn’t understand was that the best science fiction (in my opinion) had an emotional character story at its core. So with Unraveling I built the story around The characters and their relationships. At the heart of the series, unraveling and UNBREAKABLE are a love story between Janelle and Ben, but it’s also a family and friendship story about the lengths that you’ll go to protect the people you care about. I believe that I did what I set out to do–I’ve read reviews from readers who declared they didn’t think they’d like science fiction but were surprised how much they liked unraveling.
ATUF: You have a couple Pinterest boards dedicated to TV shows and movies you love including Veronica Mars and Inception. Did any of them inspire you while writing about Janelle and Ben?
EN: For sure. Intentional or not we’re all inspired by things we enjoy. When one of my friends first read Unraveling she said she kept picturing Kristen Bell because Janelle reminded her of Veronica Mars. It wasn’t intentional, but the heroines of my favorite shows inspired me. Like Buffy or Veronica, Janelle is headstrong and loyal and sometimes too stubborn for her own good. Some of my other favorite shows (past and present) also served as inspiration: Fringe, the X-Files, Roswell, and Sliders.
ATUF: Speaking of Pinterest, you have a few boards dedicated to three different works in progress. Can you give us any hints? What other projects can we look forwarding to reading from you soon?
EN: I have a third book coming out from HarperCollins. It’s not going to be an Unraveling novel–it’ll be something new and because I have several projects I’m not sure which one it’s going to be yet. They all have a romance element of course. The project of my heart is a little complicated but the main plot line features a girl who gets into trouble and winds up caught in the middle of a war between federal agents and organized crime. She’s forced into a role as an informant for the feds while falling in love with a guy who is being heavily recruited by the mob.
ATUF: MTV recently bought the rights to UNRAVELING. Who would your dream or, to keep things interesting, nightmare cast include?
EN: My dream cast is pretty unrealistic but:
Hailee Steinfeld as Janelle. I loved her in True Grit.
A younger James Franco (like from his Freaks and Geeks days) as Ben.
A younger Taylor Kitsch as Barclay. (Tim Riggins is one of my favorite bad boys).
In terms of nightmares, I suppose it would be disappointing to see Janelle or Ben played by someone who’s attractive but can’t act. I think the shows that stick around are the ones where the acting really makes the script come alive.
Realistically though I will be happy with anything they do. It was so cool to just watch my book trailer and think “I wrote this!” Seeing my book come to life as a TV show will be incredible–definitely something for the life highlight reel.
ATUF: What are some of your favorite titles/authors in the YA genre?
EN: That’s tough. I love so many books. I loved BORN WICKED by Jessica Spotswood. That was one of the books that I recommended to anyone who would listen. I also love anything Melina Marchetta writes. And I’m a big fan of Richelle Mead and Andrea Cremer.
ATUF: Finish this statement with as much/little detail as you like: You’ll like UNBREAKABLE if you like…
EN: Fast paced novels with a strong heroine and star-crossed romance.
The Blog Tour
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. Her first novel, UNRAVELING (Balzer+Bray, April 2012), is the story of one girl’s fight to save her family, her world, and the one boy she never saw coming. Also the film rights to Unraveling have been optioned by MTV!
One copy of Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris
Available on April 23, 2013 by Balzer + Bray
Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths—and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn’t turn himself over within five days.
And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about—someone from her own world—has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she’s in way over her head—and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?
Read an excerpt
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