Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn't possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.
But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what's right in front of her: Everything that's happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben's sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.
From debut author Elizabeth Norris comes this shattering novel of one girl's fight to save herself, her world, and the boy she never saw coming.
Here's the trailer:
Liz was also kind enough to answer some questions I had:
On your website, you said THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING was one of the books that influenced your writing. What other influences did you have, and can you tell us more about your journey toward becoming a writer?
I had an amazing English teacher in tenth grade, and her passion about literature and writing really made me feel connected to books. That year we read THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING, which I loved, and The Great Gatsby which is one of my favorite novels of all time, and it's certainly influenced me. It was one of the first books that I read multiple times (the binding of my paperback started to fall apart!) and every time I read it, I took something new away from it. For a long time I tried writing Gatsby-esque literary fiction, but that had already been done before and it wasn't really me.
I had the same experience my senior year of high school--it's great when teachers can open up new worlds through books. I've also tried literary fiction--and feel the exact same way.
UNRAVELING has a great premise, and I can't wait to read it! What about the story do you think is most compelling and what do you want readers to take away from it?
Thank you! Janelle is an ordinary teenager that finds herself caught up in something a lot bigger than herself, and she has to do a few extraordinary things in order to stay alive. She makes mistakes sometimes, but she's smart, she works hard, and she's determined to make it through. While the mystery and the plot are (hopefully!) compelling, to me the heart of UNRAVELING is a love story about two people who fall in love despite their differences and despite the fact that they might not ever be able to stay together.
It's wonderful that you're able to link your plot to an overall theme--that in and of itself is compelling, especially with the other plot elements you have going.
You mentioned on your website that UNRAVELING will have a sequel. Can you tell us a bit about it, as well as other projects you're working on?
UNRAVELING will have a sequel! It's already written, and I'm excited about how it's taken shape. I'm not sure I can tell you much about it without giving something away, so I'll leave it at that. As for other things I'm working on, I try not to talk about them too much until they're finished, but I have YA mystery project I'm particularly excited about at the moment.
Sounds promising! What advice do you have for writers wanting to break into YA science-fiction or fantasy? Do you think those genres have staying power? Why or why not?
I think it's a great time for anyone who wants to break in to YA science fiction and fantasy. There are a lot of great books out there that have opened doors and made fantasy cool. My advice would be to write the book you're passionate about--the book you'd want to read if it was on the shelves. As genres YA science fiction and fantasy definitely have staying power. The tough part for writers is that because they're popular genres right now, a lot of books are coming out in those genres and maybe not all of those books will have staying power.
Very useful tips. Thanks, Liz, for agreeing to be interviewed!
Be sure to keep on the lookout for UNRAVELING. Here's the countdown to the release: