I hope everyone is having a great time with this blog tour so far because I sure am! This time I’ll be spotlighting another fantastic YA author, Michelle Levy! Like last time, I’ll go over the details for the Ontario Teen Book Fest first, then we can find out more about Michelle in my interview with her, and at the end you can find out how you can enter the awesome GIVEAWAY we have for you guys!
- What: The Ontario Teen Book Fest is an annual book event that features over a dozen bestselling YA authors. This year there will be 15 of today’s best young adult authors like Marissa Meyer, Virginia Boecker, Jessica Brody, Andrew Smith, Jay Asher, and more! Check out the blog tour schedule after the event details to see which authors will be joining us this year!
- When: Saturday, March 12th , from 9 am to 5 pm!
- Where: Colony High School 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761
This is a COMPLETELY FREE and UN-TICKETED event, and book-lovers of ALL AGES are welcome, but teens are given preferred seating for the keynote presentations, author panels, etc. Lunch will also be provided! Free food is always awesome in my books. 😉
There will be books available for purchase at the event, as well as t-shirts and posters. You are more than welcome to bring books from home, but try to help support Once Upon A Time by purchasing a book or two from them. 😉
Blog Tour Schedule:
- February 22nd – Spotlight on Andrew Smith – What A Nerd Girl Says
- February 23rd – Spotlight on Alexandra Monir – The Consummate Reader
- February 24th – Spotlight on April Tucholke – Adventures of a Book Junkie
- February 25th – Spotlight on Alexis Bass – A Traveling Book
- February 26th – Spotlight on Marissa Meyer – Read Now Sleep Later
- February 27th – Spotlight on Sara Elizabeth Santana – Movies, Shows and Books
- February 28th – Spotlight on Robin Reul – Recently Acquired Obsessions
- February 29th – Spotlight on Katherine Kottaras – iFandoms Collide
- March 1st – Spotlight on Stephanie Diaz – My Fangirl Chronicles
- March 2nd – Spotlight on Virginia Boecker – The Reader’s Antidote
- March 3rd – Spotlight on Mary McCoy – Book You Very Much
- March 4th – Spotlight on Brad Gottfred – Seeking Bazinga
- March 5th – Spotlight on Michelle Levy – My Fangirl Chronicles
- March 6th – Spotlight on Elana K Arnold – Read Now Sleep Later
- March 7th – Spotlight on Kristin Halbrook – What A Nerd Girl Says
- March 8th – Spotlight on Jessica Brody – The Windy Pages
- March 9th – Spotlight on Nicole Maggi – Nite Lite Book Reviews
- March 10th – Spotlight on Jay Asher – A Bookish Escape
Today’s author spotlight is… Michelle Levy!
Michelle Levy was born and raised in Littleton, Colorado, where she memorized books before she was able to read, tricking her parents into thinking she was a genius. At eighteen she moved to Los Angeles, to pursue a career in casting for film and television. In her many years of casting she has been privileged to work on projects such as Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Bruce Almighty, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Vampire Academy, and many more. Michelle always secretly harbored a desire to write. She spent many insomnia-filled nights dreaming up stories that she never thought to write down. When she finally set out to get something on the page, the words flew out of her until she had her first completed manuscript and she never looked back. She still lives in Los Angeles, but desperately misses thunderstorms, and even the occasional snowstorm, so she visits Colorado quite often.
A gritty but hopeful love story about two struggling teens—great for fans of The Spectacular Now, Willow, and Eleanor and Park.
Tyler has a football scholarship to Stanford, a hot girlfriend, and a reliable army of friends to party with. Then his mom kills herself. And Tyler lets it all go. Now he needs to dodge what his dad is offering (verbal tirades and abuse) and earn what his dad isn’t (money). Tyler finds a job that crashes him into Jordyn, his former childhood friend turned angry-loner goth-girl. She brings Tyler an unexpected reprieve from the never-ending pity party his life has become. How could he not fall for her? But with his dad more brutally unpredictable than ever, Tyler knows he can’t risk bringing Jordyn too deeply into the chaos. So when violence rocks his world again, will it be Jordyn who shows him the way to a hopeful future? Or after everything, will Tyler have to find it in himself?
Add “Not After Everything” to your Goodreads!
Buy the book here:
Interview with Michelle Levy:
1. First of all, let me just say that I recently finished reading “Not After Everything” and I really enjoyed it. As much as I love happy endings, I felt that how things ended in your book fit perfectly. So I was wondering, when you first got the idea for “Not After Everything” did you already know right from the beginning how it was going to end? Or did it come to you as you wrote the story?
Michelle: Thank you! I’ve had so many mixed reactions about the ending but I love it. I always knew it had to end the way it did. It was one of the first things I was absolutely sure of when I started thinking about this story and these characters.
2. Was it challenging to write in the point of view of a high school boy? Did you encounter any notable problems while writing in his point of view?
Michelle: It was much easier than I ever imagined. Probably because I have a brother who likes to over share. Let’s just say I feel like I know how my brother’s brain works way more than a sister would ever need or want to. And though Tyler isn’t like my brother, I think the over sharing really helped me to approach Tyler’s situations the way a guy would.
3. How did you come to the decision that you wanted to write in first-person point of view?
Michelle: Not After Everything started with Tyler’s voice. I heard him so clearly that there was never any thought of not having him tell his own story.
4. Have you ever cried or have gotten really emotional while writing “Not After Everything”? If so, can you share with us what scene it was that elicited those strong emotions?
Michelle: Absolutely. There are many seriously emotional scenes that got me while I was drafting, but the one that really got me … let’s just say it involved the dog and leave it at that.
5. How do you come up with character names? Do you choose names that have a special meaning for you, or do you just choose them from baby name websites? I usually do the latter. Haha!
Michelle:I usually use the baby name websites for all but the main characters. Tyler Blackwell just sounded right for the character. The truth is I don’t even know where it came from it’s like it was just always his name. And I’ve loved the name Jordyn with that particular spelling since meeting a friend’s friend years and years ago. That name popped into my head when I was working on her character and it felt so perfect.
6. What do you think your occupation would be right now if you weren’t an author?
Michelle: Well, when I’m not hidden away in my writing cave being an author, I’m a casting director. I’ve been working in casting for over sixteen years now and I’ve been lucky to work on some really great projects such as Six Feet Under, My Name is Earl, Bruce Almighty, Vampire Academy, and the list goes on.
7. If you could co-write a book with any person in the world, alive or dead, who would you choose and why? What kind of book do you think you two would write?
Michelle: Anyone? Wow. That’s hard because all the people I’d want to work with are so brilliant that I wouldn’t feel worthy. How about Libba Bray. We could write issue-driven magical realism with dark humor and ridiculous situations. That sounds like fun!
8. Where do you find inspiration for your book/s?
Michelle: I feel like it varies from book to book. For Not After Everything my inspiration was Tyler himself. I just heard this voice one day—in the shower, of course—and I knew I had to explore this guy’s story. He was so angry that his mom didn’t leave a suicide note and I had to see how he was going to be able to survive something that devastating.
9. Is there a genre that you hope to write for one day that you haven’t yet?
Michelle: My first four manuscripts (Not After Everything was my fifth) were magical realism and I absolutely hope to get a chance to explore more of that in the future. (With Libba Bray, right? hahahaha)
10. Do you have any writing regrets? For example, a phrase you wish you hadn’t kept or a factual mistake?
Michelle: When I was writing and revising NAE, all the studies about suicide notes stated that around twenty percent of all suicides don’t leave a note. But there have been more studies done since then and that statistic has actually changed to show that more people don’t leave a suicide note than do. That’s even more terrifying. The idea that someone would leave you without any idea why is what sparked the book in the first place. I feel like knowing the new statistic might have changed things in the book a little but not too drastically, but I do wish when people read my book they had the most up-to-date information.
11. What is your favorite thing about writing YA?
Michelle:I love reading and writing YA because the pacing moves so quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a good work of literary fiction from time to time, but who has time for a fifteen-page description of the lace glove resting on the table in the dappled sunlight or something else equally insignificant to the plot of the story, you know? 😉
12. Continuing off of the previous question, what made you come to the decision to write YA novels as opposed to… New Adult, or Children for example?
Michelle: I guess I didn’t really decide to write YA so much as that is just happens to be the age of the characters in my head demanding their stories be told. If a middle grade or adult character pops in and pokes me until I write their, story, great. But for now that space in my head seems to be mostly filled with surly teenagers.
13. What is your writing ritual like? Do you have a drink or snacks? Is there a particular location you feel the most inspired to write? A music playlist?
Michelle: I always start with a playlist. Since I write mostly in first person, I like to make a playlist of what that particular character would listen to help me get in the right mindset. As far as location goes, well, the funny thing is that this seems to change from book to book. Sometimes I have to be at my desk, sometimes on the couch or in bed. I wrote most of NAE in my home office, but I couldn’t write one word of my next book from that same space, so that was entirely written at Starbucks. The one after that, who knows? And I do love to pop Jelly Bellies while I write—as long as I’ve been able to remove all the buttered popcorn flavored beans because ew!
14. What advice would you give writers who aspire to have a book published one day?
Michelle: Never give up. Never. Ever. Give. Up. I had over 150 rejections before finally getting an agent. Did it suck at times? Of course! But I just knew that someday my hard work and perseverance would pay off. And it did.
15. Since Ontario Teen Book Fest is focused on teens, if you could give your teenage self a message from your current self, what would it be?
Michelle: Stop taking yourself so seriously. Be a freaking kid while you can! Adulting is so overrated.
Thank you SO much for taking the time to answer my questions, Michelle! I absolutely loved reading your answers. And a huge thank you to Sara (What A Nerd Girl Says) for organizing this blog tour! It’s been a really fun experience. Can’t wait for OTBF!
Now, on to the giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive an OTBF poster signed by all the attending authors!
Runs from February 22, 2016 – March 13th, 2016
Sorry, U.S. residents only.