Today, I'm thrilled to bring you Michelle Gagnon, author of the thrilling new novel - Don't Turn Around. It's a fast paced read that'll leave you wondering and wanting more. Thanks for dropping in today Michelle. It’s great to have you here visiting for the day.
Since Don’t Turn Around is your debut YA title, I was wondering if writing for a younger audience was something you always knew you wanted to do? And if so, what was the hardest part for you in switching to writing in a younger voice?
One of the reasons I switched to YA for this series was that a friend pointed out that I’ve had a strong teen character in nearly all of my adult thrillers, and he suggested I try writing an entire thriller from that point of view. And it was really liberating-I ended up writing the rough draft in a little over eight weeks, research and all. I did hit a few stumbling blocks, because in my other series the main characters were an FBI agent and security consultant, adults with resources and training at their disposal, and the authority to back up their actions. Teenagers don’t have those advantages.
The story in Don’t Turn Around is about two teens – Noa & Peter. Could you give us a better idea – for those who haven’t read the book yet – who these two characters are?
Noa is a former foster kid who used her smarts and computer skills to set up a fake foster family, effectively bailing out of the system. And she’s been surviving just fine on her own; until she wakes up on that operating table. Self-sufficient, tough, and distrustful of authority, Noa isn’t someone who tends to play well with others. And then there’s Peter. On the face of it, he might as well be from a completely different planet; he lives in a McMansion, goes to private school, and is popular in spite of his love of all things geek. Yet he also suffered a loss when he was younger that affected him deeply, and he genuinely wants to help make the world a better place. To accomplish that, he’s formed /ALLIANCE/, a sort of teen version of Anonymous. Initially, that’s where he and Noa meet.
Would you mind sharing with us a favorite line or two from the book?
This might be lame, but honestly, I love my opening lines. “When Noa Torson woke up, the first thing she noticed was that her feet were cold. Odd, since she always wore socks to bed.” Those haven’t changed at all since I first sat down in front of a blank page.
The story is written in duel perspectives. Each chapter is written from Noa or Peter’s point of view. (Multi POV’s have become a favorite thing of mine) When you first started writing the book, did you know that this was how it would turn out? Or was this something that happened along the way? I know I’d love to hear more about multi POV’s from you and how it all came about for Don’t Turn Around.
I’ve actually always written that way—most of my books shift between several POV, so using only two was a bit of a challenge for me. I find first person to be very limiting, because you can’t show anything that your main character doesn’t directly see and experience. I find it much more interesting to jump in and out of a bunch of different characters’ heads.
What would you want readers to take away with them after reading Don’t Turn Around?
I’d really love the story to shine a light on the failures of our foster care system. I’m involved with an amazing crowd-funding non-profit called Rising Tides that provides financial assistance to teens aging out of the foster care system. A lot of these kids have suffered the same things that Noa undergoes in the book, and they need help to forge fulfilling lives as adults. http://rising-tides.org/
And lastly, since this is just the beginning in a brand new trilogy, can you give us anything that we can expect in the two books to follow?
By: Michelle Gagnon
Publisher: HarperCollins, 310 Pages (August 28th, 2012)
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Noa has been a victim of the system ever since her parents died. Now living off the grid and trusting no one, she uses her computer-hacking skills to stay safely anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in an empty warehouse with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there, Noa starts to wish she had someone on her side.
Enter Peter Gregory. A rich kid and the leader of a hacker alliance, Peter needs people with Noa’s talents on his team. Especially after a shady corporation threatens his life. But what Noa and Peter don’t realize is that Noa holds the key to a terrible secret, and there are those who’d stop at nothing to silence her for good.
Filled with action, suspense, and romance, this first book in a new trilogy offers readers nonstop thrills.
Find Michelle Online:
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Check out some Don't Turn Around Extras:
THE DIGITAL NOVELLA
Be sure to check out the rest of the Don't Turn Around Tour:
8/22 The Mod Podge Bookshelf— Character of Names
8/23 Book Twirps— Movie Dream Cast
8/24 A Good Addiction— Author Interview
8/27 Reading Lark— Author Interview
8/28 Confessions of a Bookaholic— Guest Post
8/29 Bookalicious— Author Interview
8/30 Once Upon a Twilight— Author Interview
8/31 Making the Grade— Character This or That
9/3 A Life Bound By Books— Author Interview
9/4 The Irish Banana— Author Interview
*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this post.