Come discover the mystery that is Louis Drax. Read the excerpt of The Ninth Life of Louis Drax here: www.lizjensen.com/the-ninth-life-of-louis-drax/#top
1. How did the idea come?
I’d just finished a novel set in London during the Blitz. War Crimes for the Home was about memory and false memory, and the human capacity for denial. I thought, now it’s time for something totally different. There were two sources of inspiration: First, my kids. My two sons were twelve and seven. They were funny and eccentric and just wildly cool. I especially loved the way they talked. I wanted to mimic it. In fact I sort of wanted to be them. So I came up with a kid who was like their invisible middle brother, and I inhabited his mind for a while.The second source of inspiration was also a brother who wasn’t there. It’s a very sad story. Like the very worst stories, It’s a true one.
When my mother was ten years old, on holiday with her widowed mother and siblings in the Swiss Alps, her 19-year-old brother went missing. He’d had an argument with his mother, walked out of the hotel where they were staying, and never come back. They searched for four days. Then the weather broke. But my grandmother insisted on going out to look for him anyway, in the storm. She was found dead the next morning at the bottom of a cliff. My uncle’s body—if there was one—was never found. He was never seen or heard from again.
From the moment I heard it, the story haunted me, just as it haunted my mother: in some ways she never recovered from the trauma of losing two family members in the space of four days, with no explanation. You don’t have to be a psychologist to work out that the story of Louis Drax has parallels with what happened to my mother’s family in Switzerland: a cliff-side, an argument, a body, a double mystery. But the strange thing is, I didn’t realize it while I was writing the book. It only dawned on me—with a colossal duh!—after I’d finished the last page.
2. Did you know the ending?
When I start a book, I never know all of it. I might know the opening, or the ending, or an element of the central section. With Louis Drax, the ending came to me pretty much the way it comes to you when you read the book: as a revelation that should have been obvious form the start, but wasn’t. How could I not have realized what was going on?
3. Were there alternate endings you considered for The Ninth Life of Louis Drax?
All readers come up with their own alternative endings. And they are all true. The writer doesn’t really write the last page of a story. That’s the reader’s privilege.
4. From your stories you’ve written so far, if any of your characters could come alive and have a dinner chat with you, who would it be and why?
I’d like dinner with the anthropologist Hesketh Lock, the hero of my latest novel, The Uninvited. He’s incredibly good-looking, socially awkward, and a walking encyclopedia. He makes beautiful origami and he’s a talented linguist and he drives people crazy on many levels.
5. Did you have any section in The Ninth Life of Louis Drax that gave you difficulty?
Dr. Pascal Dannachet had me stumped on a few occasions. He’s a complex character, full of doubts and urges and contradictions, and it all kinds of in denial. I was a walking cocktail of emotions on his behalf while I was writing his character. I’m a feminist and I love men. Feminists with sons know how deep the protective urge goes. How it alters the way you perceive your own sex, how empathetic it makes you towards boys and men. There’s nothing like walking a mile in another’s shoes.
6. A huge congratulation for the movie adaptation of The Ninth Life of Louis Drax, what scene are you most excited for your readers to see?
I have seen the movie twice. All I’ll say is that it made me cry, and everyone will have their own favorite scene, and that’s the way it should be.
7. What was your reaction when you first watched the movie trailer of The Ninth Life of Louise Drax?
There are these two cool and very funny guys on YouTube, reacting to it. I like their take on it, which pretty much mirrored mine, though I don’t use the f word so much. I was more like the girl sitting next to them on the sofa with a bandana over her mouth and the eyes look like they’ll pop.
(you can check out the YouTube clip if you want: www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9-87zir78k)
8. What book are you currently reading in your free time?
Just one? On my bedside table I have: Joe Hill’s The Fireman, Polly Coles’ The Politics of Washing: Real Life in Venice, Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer, T.A. Morton’s Halfway Up A Hill, Rebecca Solnit’s A Paradise Built in Hell, Matthew Quick’s Every Exquisite Thing, Jenny Erpenbeck’s Visitation, Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent, Amanda Craig’s Hearts and Minds, and Emma Cline’s The Girls. I can highly recommend all of them.
9. Do you have any suggestions to help one become a better writer?
10. Last question, if you have the power to bring back an author from the dead, for one day, to meet with, who would that be?
Kurt Vonnegut. I’d like his take on today’s world. Might he agree that it’s a dystopia? And that in every dystopia, there’s a utopia in embryo?
Many thanks to Ms. Liz Jensen for giving up her downtime to answer my questions. As you guys can read it was truly insightful and informative. If you want to read more novels from this author go ahead and visit her website: www.lizjensen.com/
Don't forget to mark your calendar for the movie release of The Ninth Life of Louis Drax. It comes out on Sept. 2 in United States, Canada, UK, and Ireland. As always take care and have a blessed week:)
I would like to start off by encouraging you guys to read the excerpt of Spontaneous:issuu.com/penguinteen/docs/spontaneous_excerpt?e=9680049/34420991
That alone should tell you how original the story is.
1. Could you tell us about your journey of writing Spontaneous?
I'm not sure if it was a journey, so much as it was riding some momentum. There have been plenty of stories and movies that have featured spontaneous combustion, but as soon as I discovered that no one had ever written a young adult novel spontaneously combusting teenagers, I knew I had to be the first. Once I had the voice of the narrator, I wrote the beginning very quickly, and since I knew that characters would be blowing up every few pages, I was never bored writing it.
2. What was the hardest thing about writing Spontaneous?
The middle. The middle of books are always the hardest because you have to keep that momentum from the beginning, but the ending is still a long way off. I tried with this book to keep the narrative constantly changing, so that helped, but I definitely rewrote the middle more than any other parts of the book.
3. What was your favorite scene to write? (make it as spoiler-free as possible)
Hard choice, but it's between the football game, the scene with the twins in the car (you'll know it when you read it), and the medicine show. All are bursting with tension, which I love.
4. Did you have other titles in mind beside Spontaneous? What were they?
Actually no. It seemed the most obvious choice. It immediately tells you what the book is about, is easy to remember, and can mean multiple things.
5. Were the characters in Spontaneous based on or slightly based on people you know in real life?
I based the main character, Mara, on all the girls I knew growing up who were much cooler than I was. But none of the characters have real life counterparts, unless you count Dr. Krook, who's sort of a Margaret Mead character.
6. Congratulation on Spontaneous being optioned by Awesomeness Films. Could you brief us on how you found out the news?
Thank you. It's exciting, but it's also a long process of phone calls and emails and when the news is finally announced, you've already discussed it so much that it's a bit anti-climactic. But I first heard about interest in it from my agents (literary and film) and I was thrilled.
7. What are your expectations for the movie-version of Spontaneous?
I just hope it gets made. It's still a slim chance that it will happen. But I'll take a slim chance over no chance.
8. If someone was to start reading your stories which one would you suggest he or she should start off with and why?
Hard to say. If you like creepy things, start with The Riverman (and its two sequels). If you like more mysterious sci-fi fare, try The Only Ones. And if you like to laugh (and you're older than 14!), go with Spontaneous.
9. Which author would you love to invite over and chat with?
Hmmm...I'm going to pick a dead one because it's more interesting. How about Dorothy Parker or Oscar Wilde? Can't beat either when it comes to wittiness. I'd just sit back and listen.
10. If any fictional character was to come alive and hang out with you, who would that person be?
Fozzy Bear. Seems like he'd be a good friend to have, right?
11. Are you a dog person or cat person?
Dog. Dog. Dog.
12. Last question, which novel have you read that you wished you, yourself, wrote and why?
I don't necessarily wish I wrote anyone else's novel because if I loved something, it's usually because I realize I couldn't have written it. There are a lot of novelists for young people out there right now that I really like but not everyone knows, including, but not limited to Kate Milford, Sara Zarr, Nova Ren Suma, Jonathan Auxier, Stephanie Kuehn, and Laurel Snyder. They've all written multiple books. Go out and get some!
I would like to sincerely thank Mr. Aaron Starmer for taking his time to answer my questions. You guys should definitely get this novel on Aug. 23, 2016. If you want to check out his other novels, here is his website: http://www.aaronstarmer.com/ I'm hoping things would work out regarding to Spontaneous being made into a movie. Take care everyone and have a great day.
The movie Arrival (starring Amy Adams, Forest Whitaker, and Jeremy Renner) is based on a novella "Story of Your Life" which was written by Mr. Ted Chiang. It was featured (among other novellas) in the book titled Stories of your life and others. The other novellas are: Tower of Babylon, Division by Zero, Understand, The Evolution of Human Science, Seventy-Two Letters, Hell Is the Absence of God, and Liking What You See: A Documentary.
Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Arrival arrives in theater on November 11, 2016
I would like to start by thanking Ms. Jeanne Ryan for taking her time to do this interview. It was very gracious of her to answer my questions and I really hope everyone would check out her amazing novels which are available online and bookstores. Also, definitely see the movie NERVE in theaters on July 27, 2016
1. What was the inspiration for Nerve and Charisma?
For Nerve, the spark came while watching my niece on her phone and seeing how seamlessly she navigated between the real world and her virtual one. That, combined with what I was seeing on reality TV and how much people were divulging on social media got me thinking there could be a fun book idea in all of the above. Turned out, there was! For Charisma, I was planning a trip to Indonesia and noticed a travel advisory for rabies, which sent me into a panic. Trying to channel my anxiety toward something more productive than freaking out, I imagined a virus that was both scary, but could offer something irresistible, in this case, a rock star personality.
2. What were the challenges of writing both novels?
For Nerve, the challenge was learning how to incorporate editorial feedback for the first time. For Charisma, the challenge was in having to draft most of the book under a deadline since it was sold on proposal (meaning I’d only written an outline and fifty pages).
3. What was your favorite scene to write for Nerve and Charisma? (Make it as spoiler-free as possible.)
For Nerve, the prologue, since I’d always operated under the assumption one should never include prologues, until my editor asked me to write one. For Charisma, I loved writing the news clips, because they required both research and imagination.
4. First of all, congratulations on Nerve being made into a movie. Were you involved, in anyway, with the movie adaptation?
I wasn’t, but I did see an early script and spent a day on set, where I got a peek at some of the dailies.
5. In one word, how did you feel when you discovered that Nerve was optioned?
6. If (or when) Charisma becomes a movie, would you like to make a cameo?
Haha. Big if. But that would be fun.
7. Have you ever thought of writing a sequel to Nerve?
I didn’t for quite some time since I really liked it as a standalone and thought the slightly open ending was a good metaphor for how once something’s shared on the internet, it never completely goes away. That said, last fall, I was finally struck by what feels like a workable idea for where the story could go. Nothing’s officially in the works, but you never know.
8. Do you have any upcoming novel you’d like to talk about and in what genre?
I’m working on something, but it’s too soon to talk about it.
9. Which author would you love to invite over and chat with?
I’m going to cheat a little and say Charlie Brooker, who’s the creator of a TV series called Black Mirror. I think that show is brilliant.
10. What is your favorite book-to-movie adaptation (besides Nerve)? And why?
Harry Potter, because when I saw the first movie it looked exactly how I imagined it would when reading the books.
11. Last question, if all books in the world were to disappear forever, and you’ve the ability to save two books. Which books would they be (besides yours)?
Probably two books on surviving in the wilderness, since something catastrophic would probably have occurred to destroy all the other books.
It was truly a pleasure having Ms. Jeanne Ryan here and I hope to have more book interviews in the future. I really hope you guys get to check out both Nerve and Charisma. Again, the movie Nerve comes out in theaters on July 27th, 2016. It's definitely a must-see (those who've already read the book knows what I mean). Finger-cross Charisma gets to be a movie as well. Take care and happy reading!
Come discover what occurred in a luxury cruise and the lone woman who would stop at nothing to solve the intriguing mystery. This nail-biting suspense novel has captured my attention and I hope you guys would check it out as well: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. Definitely put it in your to-read pile this summer.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is based on author Lee Child's eighteenth book in his Jack Reacher series. Here is the Wikipedia plot of the film:
Set four years since the first film events, Jack Reacher (played by Tom Cruise) is returning to the headquarters of his old military unit, but reveals that he is now accused of a 16 years old homicide, and finds out that it is only a part of something bigger than he thought before.
The movie would be release on October 21, 2015
The girl with all the gifts is a post-apocalyptic dystopian novel that won the Edgar Award (when it was a short story). It shows a breakdown of society after a fungal infection wiped out most of humanity. It mainly focuses on a teacher named Helen (played by Gemma Arterton), a scientist named Caroline(played by Glenn Close) and two soldiers that embarked on a journey with a little girl named Melanie( played by Sennia Nanua) who is gifted.
You can currently check out the book which has been available since 2014. And the movie looks worth your while as you can tell by the trailer. Take care and i hope everyone is having a great summer. Stay safe wherever you're at.
Update: Here's the movie's poster.
1. Could you give a brief summary about The Downfall?
The world is falling apart. The end is nigh. The Downfall is coming... but not if Scarlett Steele can help it.
A sixth form student in a North London college, Scarlett’s days are filled with school, homework, and writing her blog – ‘Truth Not Terror’ – in which she reports on the world’s atrocities and tries to spread the message that ‘peace will prevail’. She’s a believer that somehow, somewhere, among all the shootings, the stabbings, and the bombings, there is still some humanity left in mankind. Still some hope.
But what if she’s wrong?
On the day of The Broadcast, everything changes, and when Scarlett and her friend Seth meet the mysterious Adriana, it’s only a matter of time before their world is turned completely upside down. And that’s just the start.
Will Scarlett and her friends discover the truth? Will they choose to stand up and fight before it’s too late? And more importantly, will they be able to stop The Downfall?
“When I look back, that day began so normally, so typically, so ordinarily…
But that was the start of everything, at least for me.
That was the day of The Broadcast.
That’s what they called it, both in London and all over the UK – The Broadcast. Sounds harmless enough, doesn’t it? At the time, that’s what I thought too.
Now I know different.
That was the day Adriana took over the airwaves.
That was the day she made me sit up and take notice.
That was the day everything changed.”
2. If you could compare the Downfall Trilogy to another series/trilogy out there, which one would it be?
Although the settings are – on the surface – very different, I’d liken The Downfall Trilogy to The Hunger Games and the Divergent series. They all explore similar themes – humanity, survival, inequality/equality, control, identity, power – and that lingering dystopian feel is definitely there throughout. The main difference is that The Downfall is set in modern day London, though that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the London we all know and love. The book is definitely aimed at people who love novels like The Hunger Games and Divergent (as well as other young adult books), but the themes and issues it explores are relevant to people of all ages and nationalities – now more than ever.
3. Could you give a brief description of your favorite scene in the first book? (make it as spoiler-free as possible)
I think one of my favourite scenes is the first one I wrote, which happens pretty early on in the book. Scarlett and the rest of her school are having an assembly when they are interrupted by a mysterious video message – something that gains so much notoriety in the UK that it becomes known as ‘The Broadcast’, and which is the catalyst for everything else that happens in the book. I had a large, cinematic scene in mind when I started writing it, and hopefully I did my imagination justice! The scene starts when an image of a young woman appears on the large projector screen at the front of the school hall, her first words being: “Citizens of the UK, I need your help.” Not only is her broadcast coming from the screen, however, but from all the phones, tablets, and monitors in the room – she’s taken over everything. And it’s not just in the school hall either. As Scarlett and her friend Seth leave to investigate, they see the image of the woman on every TV screen, computer monitor, and handheld device in every classroom they pass. Heading out of school, they soon realise this is much bigger than they first thought, with every house, office, and other workplace in London – and beyond – experiencing the same sinister Broadcast. The message is cryptic to say the least, but Scarlett thinks she might know what it means, and that’s where the story really starts.
I really enjoyed writing this scene, and I tried to approach it like a scene in a film – hopefully this comes across in the book!
4. Could you tell me a little bit about your lead character?
The main character in The Downfall is Scarlett Steele, an eighteen-year-old sixth form student living in London. She’s in her last year of high school, and along with her classmates, she’s having to think about her future and what she’s going to do – which isn’t necessarily what others want (or expect) her to do. She runs a blog entitled ‘Truth Not Terror’ in which she investigates and writes about all the bad things happening into the world, and she sells Truth Not Terror/Peace Will Prevail wristbands to raise money for charities (something I do in real life). Her best friend is her next-door neighbour Seth – who she’s pretty much been brought up with – but apart from that, she’s a bit of a loner. Then, one day at school, The Broadcast happens and Scarlett’s world crashes down around her. Can she take the passion she puts into her blog and apply it to the dangerous situation she now finds herself in? Can she stand up against evil? Can she change the fate of the world? Watch this space…
5. Could you also tell me about the villain in your story?
A mysterious figure whose real identity is unknown, the ‘villain’ of The Downfall refers to himself as “the Teacher”, and in his mind, he believes he is giving mankind a lesson. He’s essentially a cult leader, planting seeds in the minds of his followers and forcing them to bloom in the most hideous ways. His ability to get under people’s skin and change their way of thinking is something that echoes the skills of many powerful people in today’s world, the effects of their actions being just as dangerous as the Teacher’s. It’s all about power and control, and how it is often the people with the worst intentions who exert the most power, and control the most people.
6. If “The Downfall” ever gets optioned, who would you like to play your characters?
This is really hard, as I try not to picture my characters as actual actors or actresses so I don’t get side-tracked when writing, but at the same time, it is a really fun and useful activity to do. In terms of the main character, Scarlett, I can see someone like Lily Collins playing her. Physically, she matches, but I also think she has a quality about her that would be perfect for Scarlett. Adriana is a little more difficult, as she’s meant to have an ethereal, otherworldly quality to her – an actress who immediately springs to mind is Nicola Peltz. Scarlett’s best friend, Seth, I can see being played by Logan Lerman, whereas I can see Tyler Posey playing Adriana’s brother, Blake. I think they’d make a pretty good ensemble cast!
7. Which fictional character (besides yours, of course) would you like to sit down and chat with?
This is a great question! I’ve always loved books, TV shows, films, and comics that feature females kicking ass (physically or not), and as I grew up watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I’d have to go with Buffy Summers. I’d ask her to show me some fighting moves, but mostly I think I’d just like to have a few drinks with her! Scarlett Steele in The Downfall (and Beth Powers in my other series, the Little Forest books) probably wouldn’t have been thought into existence at all if it weren’t for all those years I spent watching Buffy. These young, female characters all have to deal with the weight of the world on their shoulders, and their stories are all about how they deal with that pressure, and how they get to the point where they stand and fight – not because they have to or because it’s their ‘job’, but because they want to help, they want to defeat the evil in the world. I think Buffy’s one of the greatest teen models out there, and this kind of character fits perfectly into Young Adult books.
8. Which author would you love to invite over and chat with? And why?
Even though it’s such an obvious answer, for me it would have to be Stephen King. Even though I’m not necessarily writing in the same genre as most of his books, he has influenced me so much, and he’s pretty much invaded popular culture to the point where people who haven’t even read his books or seen the film/TV adaptations can tell you things about his stories. The Shining, The Green Mile, The Dark Tower series, Christine, Misery, Cujo, It, not to mention his books on writing… the man is a legend, and so prolific. I’d invite him for a chat about writing as I think I could definitely learn a lot from him, but also it would just be so amazing to sit down and have a cup of tea (or maybe something a bit stronger) with the master of horror himself.
9. Where could those interested in reading The Downfall (or any other book of yours) get them at?
The Downfall is available from Amazon in both paperback format and for the kindle, and you can also get it from Barnes & Noble, iTunes, the Kobo store and Smashwords. All of these links can be found on my site, www.jessicagracecoleman.com, and my other books are listed on there as well.
10. Last question, if all books in the world were gone forever yet you have the ability to save one book. Which book would you save?
This is incredibly tough, as I can never pick one ‘favourite’ book, but I think that the one I’ve read the most – and one that I could quite happily read over and over again – is The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder. I first read it in primary school and have read that same copy many times over the years. It just seems magical to me, and I never get bored of the story. It always makes me view things from another perspective, and even just the act of picking up that book and opening its cover takes me right back to my childhood. Even if you’re not into philosophy or fantasy, I’d definitely recommend it to people of any age!
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