Thursday, March 28, 2013

Author Interview with Elizabeth Norris!

Yep. That exclamation point was absolutely necessary. Why? Because UNRAVELING was one of my favorite books last year. Seriously. I couldn't put it down. I loved everything about Janelle's voice and, well, Ben Michaels, of course! The pacing had me on the edge of my seat all the way through and I can't WAIT for the sequel. Over the last year, I got a chance to get to know Liz and I just absolutely love this girl. When I realized I had the opportunity to promote her sequel UNBREAKABLE on Life of Writers, I was thrilled!

So here you have it. My interview with the awesome Liz Norris.

With the release of your novella UNDONE, how vital would you say, as the author, is it for readers to read this first before UNBREAKABLE?

It's not. I actually wrote UNBREAKABLE before I knew UNDONE was going to exist. I had talked about it as a concept with my editor but I hadn't actually written any of it yet. The last story in UNDONE overlaps with the beginning of UNBREAKABLE. Because it's from Ben's perspective and because I tried to reveal things about Ben that we didn't already know, I think readers can read either one of them first.
Was it difficult to tie in UNRAVELING and UNBREAKABLE while keeping in mind that some people might skip UNDONE? 

No, it didn't really factor in since I wrote UNBREAKABLE first. As an author I hope people who are fans do go and read UNDONE, otherwise I feel like they aren't getting the whole series, but they certainly don't need to.

Did you enjoy writing from Ben's POV in UNDONE? Was it difficult at all finding his voice? 

I was worried that it was going to be really hard or even that I wouldn't be able to do it. I don't know much about teenage boys. They are and have always been sort of a mystery to me. But when I actually sat down to write Ben's story, it flowed pretty easily. I knew his character so well that finding his voice came naturally. I did have plenty of moments when I was doing my first draft, where I wrote "[Ben's thoughts/feelings?]" and then I asked my boyfriend what he would be feeling in that scenario. Thankfully he was a good sport about that.

Can we expect dual POV in UNBREAKABLE or perhaps in Book 3? Will there be a Book 3? (Please say YES!) 

As of right now, there isn't a Book 3 in the Unraveling series. I did recently plot one out in case there will ever be one some day, and I flirted with the idea of dual POV. But my third book with Harper is going to be a different world and different characters. I didn't want to try to force the story into a trilogy, and I do really like the ending of UNBREAKABLE.

NO SPOILERS, but you seem to be a fan of killing characters off *ahem* *tear*––How do you make that decision to kill off certain characters? 

I really believe that no one is safe. I love reading books where I know the author isn't afraid to kill off a character, because then the stakes are always higher. Several years ago, one of my favorite authors (Kim Harrison) killed off a character in a book and I sobbed so hard I had to put the book down. And for the next several books in the series, I kept secretly hoping the character would somehow not be dead. I think there's a realism in that--if a character is in a life-threatening situation, even if they make it out alive, they're going to lose something or someone they care about. And that's going to shape who they are. As I was writing UNRAVELING, I had planned one character death because I knew that moment was going to change something in Janelle. It was going to be a really pivotal moment in the course of the plot. Another character death just sort of happened when I was writing, but it fit. It felt right. Janelle is a slightly different person in UNBREAKABLE as a result of what she went through in UNRAVELING.

It's no secret that you're a fan of The X-Files. Can we expect to find more X-Files references in UNBREAKABLE? 

There are a few, but less than in UNRAVELING. When I started writing the sequel, I wanted to figure out a way to raise the stakes somehow. UNBREAKABLE takes place over a shorter span of time and Janelle doesn't have much time to slow down and take a breath. 

And just for fun, what is one super secret thing you can tell us about your writing?  

I wrote part of the third story in UNDONE ("After I Left Her") with a mouse in my apartment. The mouse had run into my heating grate, and I trapped it in there (and was hysterical about it). I had to wait in my apartment for the super to come by and remove said mouse, but it was going to take him a few hours to finish up whatever he was doing. I was on a tight deadline for UNDONE and my kitchen table which doubles as my desk was right next to the grate. So I sat there and finished the story and periodically screamed when the mouse peaked out at me. It was an emotional day.

Thank you so much to Liz for being a part of our blog! You made this fangirl very happy. Be sure to pick up your copies of UNRAVELING and UNDONE before the release of UNBREAKABLE on April 23rd! 

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.

1 secret replies:

  1. I love the book covers!
    That's really interesting that any character can be killed off. I admire that approach. I get so attached to everyone. Anyone who dies is always planned from the beginning. I don't think those characters like me very much.

    Oh my gosh, the mouse story is hilarious.