Lenore Appelhans moved frequently growing up due to her dad’s US Air Force career. To date, she’s lived in six countries and visited nearly sixty. She currently resides in Frankfurt, Germany, with her illustrator husband Daniel Jennewein. Level 2 is her first novel. Visit her at PresentingLenore.blogspot.com, where she has been blogging about YA lit since 2008.
Now on to the FIVE QUESTIONS
1. What was the spark of inspiration for Level 2?
There were two sparks, really. Years apart. The first came from a discussion I had with my grandmother who didn’t approve of the way I spent all my money on travel. It made me imagine an afterlife where memories are like currency and memories of travel were especially sought after. The second grew out of all the reading and reviewing of dystopian novels on my book blog, Presenting Lenore. I was in Pompeii with my critique partner and the spark hit me in the shower: “What would an afterlife dystopia look like?” I combined those two sparks and brainstormed out the major character arcs and plot points that evening over tuna and onion pizza.
2. Which character(s) most resemble you?
There are bits and pieces of me in many of the characters, I’m sure. Like Felicia, I grew up moving around a lot. Like Autumn, I tried to get my friends to write books and plays with me. Like Neil, church youth group was a big part of my life in high school.
3. If you could travel anywhere at any time, where and when would you go?
Are you taking about a teleporter/time machine? That would be the greatest invention the world has ever seen! It would also complicate things so much – it makes my head hurt just thinking about it.
My current travel wishlist includes Bhutan, Petra in Jordan, the sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica, St. Petersburg in Russia and so many more. And it would be so awesome to travel instantly via the teleporter than undertake long plane journeys.
4. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Read as many books as you can, especially in the genre you want to write in. Also, develop patience. Remember that it takes time to learn the craft of writing and foster your voice. Don’t submit work before its ready. And once you do get a contract, you’ll need patience to get through the glacial pace of publishing.
5. Finally, Beatles or Rolling Stones?
How about a funny story? When I was kid, I was a huge fan of the Nickelodeon revival of The Monkees TV show. Encouraged by my love of 60s music, my dad introduced me to The Beatles. And I actually told him: “They’re okay, but they’re a pale imitation of The Monkees.” Sacrilege!
Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.
Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.
Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind.
Read an excerpt of the first 50 pages of LEVEL 2.