Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans – Interview & Giveaway

Welcome to Author Lenore Appelhans

Thanks to her father’s job in the US military, Lenore Appelhans became addicted to travel early. To date, she’s visited nearly 60 countries and has stepped on every contintent except Antarctica. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany, with her husband and three fancy Birman cats. Her novel, LEVEL 2, published by Simon & Schuster BFYR is “immensely layered” (VOYA) and “a gripping debut” (NYT Bestselling Author Megan McCafferty). The second book in The Memory Chronicles is due in 2014. Her debut picture book, Chick-O-Saurus Rex, illustrated by husband Daniel Jennewein, will be published by Simon & Schuster BFYR in July 2013. She has been blogging about books at Presenting Lenore since 2008.

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What is your novel about?

LEVEL 2 is about a girl named Felicia who dies the day before her eighteenth birthday and ends up in the stark, white afterlife world of Level 2 where she relives her memories of her fun times on Earth with her friends, family and the boy she loved, Neil.

Then one day, another boy she knew in life, Julian, comes to break her out and tells her there’s a rebellion brewing. In exchange for her help, Julian offers her the one thing she wants most – a reunion with Neil.

What makes your novel standout from the crowd?

Pre-publication, I was a book blogger for five years and I’ve read hundreds of YA books, so I really know what’s out there.  I made an effort to write something I hadn’t seen before. I love high concept genre blends, so LEVEL 2 is part science fiction fantasy (the afterlife world) and part contemporary (the memory flashbacks).  I’ve heard it described as “weird” and I take that as a compliment!

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?

Bloodbuzz, Ohio by The National is the theme song for LEVEL 2. The main character even listens to it in one scene, and it’s foreshadowing what’s to come. I also like that it fit in with the bee motif that is important throughout the novel. Plus, I just love The National.

How long do you generally let a story idea ‘marinate’ in your brain before you start the book?

With LEVEL 2, there were about five months between the idea and the day I sat down to write the first chapter.  I made a lot of notes, brainstormed ideas with my husband and critique partner, and generally let things percolate.

I have a Shiny New Idea right now that’s swimming around in my brain, but I’m trying not to think about it too much because I’m in the midst of revisions for LEVEL 3, the sequel to LEVEL 2.

Who or what inspired your book?

I have another book coming out this year, a picture book called CHICK-O-SAURUS REX that I wrote (under the name Lenore Jennewein) and that my husband illustrated. My best friend’s daughter asked my husband if he knew what animal was the closest living relative to the T-Rex and my husband was stumped.  When she revealed that she had learned in school that it was the chicken, he got a spark of an idea for our book.

What is on your “keeper shelf” of books?

My keeper shelf takes up about six or seven shelves. I’m a book hoarder! I rarely reread entire novels, but I like to keep my favorites around and flip to certain passages for inspiration.

What hidden gem do you have in your bookshelves? 

I have a few hidden gems that aren’t books on my shelves.  Probably the most interesting is a soccer shoe signed by Brazilian superstar Kaka. I got it when I worked on a campaign for adidas back when I was working full time as an advertising copywriter.

I don’t watch much soccer, but I do watch the World Cup every four years. The Germans get really, really caught up in it, so it’s hard to avoid!

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?

I really, really wish I could teleport.  Travelling is one of my favorite hobbies (I’ve been to nearly 60 countries), but plane travel can definitely be a drag. Teleporting would make travel so much easier!
What is your favorite quote?

“You can’t step in the same river twice” – Hericlitus
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?

When I was five, I said I wanted to be a mommy. When I was fifteen, I wanted to be a geneticist. I am neither!

Favorite Candy?

Despite the fact that I live in Germany and the chocolate here is amazing, I still have to go with almond M&Ms. I can’t get them here, though, which is a good thing because I’m an addict!

Favorite restaurant?

There’s this amazing sushi restaurant here in Frankfurt that I end up at at least twice a month. It even makes an appearance in LEVEL 2!
Are you for or against books being made into movies?

I’m for them being made into good movies! LEVEL 2 has been optioned for film by CBS, and I think it could be a really fun movie. Fingers crossed!

Level 2

Three levels. Two loves. One choice. Debut novelist, Lenore Appelhans has written a thrilling otherworldly young adult novel about a place that exists between our world (Level 1) and what comes after life (Level 2).

‘I pause to look around the hive – all the podlike chambers are lit up as the drones shoot up on memories … I’ve wanted to get out of here before, but now the tight quarters start to choke me. There has to be more to death than this.’

Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in a stark white afterlife limbo, she spends endless days replaying memories, of her family, friends, boyfriend … and of the guy who broke her heart. The guy who has just broken into Level 2 to find her.

Felicia learns that a rebellion is brewing, and it seems she is the key. Suspended between heaven and earth, she must make a choice. Between two worlds, two lives and two loves.

Giveaway Details
LEVEL 2 ebook (available in all formats) or the hardcover (signed) or the audio book read by Jenna Lamia.
Open to US & Canada Only
Ends 3/24/13

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