By: Lenore Appelhans
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Released on: January 15th, 2013 TODAY!
Purchase from: Simon & Schuster | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound
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- quoted from GoodReads
While I can’t listen to music while I write, I do create a playlist for every book I write and play it before writing to get me into the mood. Here are the songs that were essential to LEVEL 2 and why I chose them.
Bloodbuzz Ohio by The National
“I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees” goes the chorus, and I chose this as my theme song to LEVEL 2 because it foreshadows Felicia’s own journey. Bees are an important motif in the novel, and this song just ties in so perfectly in both theme and tone.
The Beekeeper by Tori Amos
Speaking of bees, it was an interview with Tori about The Beekeeper that first got me thinking about bees and eternity. So you might say this song even inspired some of the basic worldbuilding in the afterlife realm of LEVEL 2.
Shake it Out by Florence + the Machine
This opens with the words: “Regrets collect like old friends, here to relive your darkest moments”. The whole song mirrors Felicia’s state of mind and the memories she has to face.
In the Blood by Better than Ezra
Piggybacking on the theme of the last song, the bridge of this song is gold, promising that things will get better “If we just face the pain, and the fear”. It’s very hopeful.
Everything by Alanis Morrisette
“You see everything. You see every part. You see all my light, and you love my dark.” I listened to this song so many times before the Felicia/Neil scenes because this is the kind of love I wanted for Felicia. I wanted her to see that despite her mistakes, she deserves to be loved.
It’s No Good by Depeche Mode
In contrast, Julian’s attraction to Felicia feels more obsessive which is why I think of him when I hear this song and especially these lyrics: “I'm going to take my time, I have all the time in the world to make you mine, it is written in the stars above”
Awake My Soul by Mumford & Sons
All the lyrics for this song are so perfect for LEVEL 2. There’s the idea that the souls that are trapped need be awoken from their drowsy numbness and I also love the line “I struggle to find any truth in your lies” because that’s totally the situation Felicia is in with Julian.
Julien by Placebo
The crazy thing about this song is that I only heard it for the first time after I had already finished the first draft, and yet it illuminates a lot about Julian’s character. I especially like the line: “You can run but you can’t hide, cause no one here gets out alive”. See also Infrared by Placebo (but only AFTER you read, because the lyrics are so spot on as to be a bit plot spoilery!)
Apparitions by The Raveonettes
The spooky atmosphere of this song prepared me for the darker scenes within the afterlife world of LEVEL 2.
This is Why We Fight by The Decemberists
“When we die, we will die with our arms unbound” is a great motivation for fighting back against your oppressors. This song never fails to fire me up!
Through Glass by Stone Sour
I came to this song relatively late in the revision process, but I think it fits the feeling of being trapped in the Level 2 hives: “Don't know how much time has passed,
all I know is that it feels like forever, sitting all alone inside your head.”
Bittersweet Melodies by Feist
This lyric - “With those bittersweet melodies, like a sweet memory, can't go back, I can't go on” – captures the mood of early memory flashbacks in the book. In OUR TOWN by Thornton Wilder, Emily discovers the bittersweet nature of reliving even the most innocuous memories of her life after her death. And the same can definitely be said for Felicia.
Joga by Bjork
This is another song that speaks strongly to the redemptive power of love: “All that no one sees, you see what's inside of me, every nerve that hurts you heal.” And the fact that the cover model looks a bit like Bjork and the song is about being in a “state of emergency”, I think it’s an apt choice for the playlist.
And now as a sneak peek, I’m going to reveal two songs that I’m playing obsessively as I work on the sequel, LEVEL 3.
What Else Is There? by Royksopp
The atmosphere and lyrics of this one capture my vision of LEVEL 3 so well, I’ve chosen it as my theme song. Here are some of the lyrics to tease you: “I am the storm and I am the wonder. And the flashlights, nightmares, and sudden explosions. I don't know what more to ask for. I was given just one wish.” Also, the part where she sings “You’ve got secrets too” gives me chills every time.
Here in Me by Saint Saviour
This song is also pretty perfect for reasons I can’t yet divulge. Who might the following lyrics refer to? “I say I’m different now, I’m a liar.
Want more info about Lenore's new release? Be sure to check her out on her Blog, Follow her on Twitter and read the 1st 50 pages of Level 2 HERE!