Sunday, July 22, 2012

Blog Tour - Feasted On: Waiting For Daybreak by Amanda McNeil | Interview & Review

Today I'm turning my blog over to Amanda McNeil, who I interviewed about her latest novel "Waiting For Daybreak !!"

ALSO -- Be sure to check out the "Waiting For Daybreak" Blog Tour Schedule to sign up for this tour's GIVEAWAYs on it's various blogs!! [Blog Tour will run from June 13 - August 31, 2012]

My Q&A with Amanda McNeil :

Jess : Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Amanda : I grew up in Vermont and moved to Boston about 7 years ago. My interest in everything and anything naturally led me into librarianship, and a late-blooming passion for healthcare and science funneled me into medical librarianship. When I’m not working or writing, I’m working out, playing videogames, cooking, or exploring Boston. Ok, ok, and snuggling my kitty.

Jess : What books did you enjoy reading while growing up?

Amanda : My absolute favorite series as a kid was the Little House on the Prairie series. I was basically obsessed with them. I also loved the Betsy-Tacy and In Grandma’s Attic series. Basically I enjoyed anything about young girls living in another time period.

Jess : Which of your characters would you most & least to invite to dinner, from which book and why?

Amanda : I would most want to invite Bartleby, the demon from "Ecstatic Evil," to dinner. He’s not only completely fabulous and intelligent, but also can magic any food or drink out of thin air. Can you imagine the cocktails?

I would least want Mike from "Waiting For Daybreak" over for dinner, because he is, honestly, kind of a douchebag. I can’t imagine having much to talk about with him or really enjoying the dinner at all.

Jess : Please describe your heroine, from "Waiting For Daybreak," in one to two sentences.

Amanda : Frieda is a petite, intelligent, 20-something woman who struggles with social interactions and feels her emotions more strongly than most. Although she is great at caring for others, she struggles with caring for and loving herself.

Jess : What sparked the idea for "Waiting For Daybreak?"

Amanda : I work as a medical librarian, and I had been reading about fMRI scans of people with Borderline Personality Disorder showing that their amygdalas are a different size from those of people without a mental illness. I was thinking about that while I was walking home from the bus stop (I take public transit). It happened to be Thanksgiving weekend, and Boston empties almost completely out as most of the population goes someplace else for the holiday. The empty streets combined with the fMRI studies made me think: what if there was a zombie virus to which the mentally ill were immune? It just flowed from there.

Jess : Which usually comes first for you, the character(s) story or the idea for the novel?

Amanda : I think the central conflict usually comes first. What the setting of the world is like and what universal or at least universally understandable problem exists for the character. In "Waiting For Daybreak" the zombie outbreak combined with the mentally ill being left healthy creating the driving question “what is normal” came before any characters. That’s typical of most of my writing process.

Jess : If "Waiting For Daybreak" were to be made into a film, who do you see playing the main characters and why?

Amanda : This is such a fun question! Ok, looking at currently working actresses, for Frieda I would say Elizabeth Olsen. I saw her in Martha Marcy May Marlene in which she plays a mentally disturbed young woman, and I think she pulled it off beautifully. I could easily see her handling Frieda. Plus, she’s approximately the right age for it. She’s not exactly the right look, but hair, make-up, and wardrobe could take care of that.

Mike would ideally be played by Tom Felton. He’s got the skinny bad boy look down, but I think he can do charming douchebag who is also deep and wounded quite well. The man has acting chops!

Jess : In regards to "Waiting For Daybreak," if you could write it all over again, would you change anything about it?

Amanda : No, I wouldn’t. I think it’s important to learn from every book you write and put that toward the next book, but it’s equally important to not get hung up on coulda woulda shoulda’s. In that moment of my life, this was the story that was in me that I told. That is not to say *at all* that it is anywhere near perfect, but I view writing as a trajectory of improvement. You don’t go back and change things you’ve already finished.

Jess : When writing "Waiting For Daybreak" did you listen to a certain song list/playlist that you could share with us?

Amanda : Yes, I did, and I’m so glad you asked this question! When I’m writing, I sometimes do listen to music on my ipod to drown out surrounding noise, and it has to be something that relaxes me, sets the tone, and has no lyrics to distract. So for this book that was the traditional Irish band, LĂșnasa. I have two of their albums: Merry Sisters of Fate and Otherworld.

Jess : How many books have you written? Which is your favorite and why?

Amanda : I’ve finished this book and a novella. "Waiting For Daybreak" is my favorite, purely because the subject matter is so important to me. "Ecstatic Evil" is fun, but it wasn’t nearly as emotional for me to write.

Jess : Do you have any other projects in the works? If so, can you share a little of your current work with us?

Amanda : Yes indeed! My goal is a book a year, and I’ve already started working on the next book. It will be set in a near future where the dark gods of Lovecraftian fame have taken over Boston. Told in four different perspectives, it will examine sibling relationships. I’m quite excited about it.

I’m also hoping to squeeze in the long promised sequel to "Ecstatic Evil" in time for Thanksgiving this year, but we’ll see if the muses will let me.

More long-term, there will be a sequel to "Waiting For Daybreak" that will be written after the Lovecraftian book.

Jess : Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point?

Amanda : Lol, no, I am the direct opposite. I never saw the point in making a bed, and it was one of the first things I quit doing upon leaving home. ;-)

Jess : If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?

Amanda : Hmm, "The Power of Righteous Anger," perhaps.

Jess : What book are you reading now? How do you like it so far?

Amanda : I usually have two books going, one written down (can’t say print, since I read either on my kindle or in print) and one audiobook. My audiobook is "Soft Apocalypse" by Will McIntosh. It’s a great example of a completely unlikable main character working within the story. My current kindle read is "The Wind Through the Keyhole" by Stephen King. When I started it, it almost felt like my body and mind sighed, settling right back into the Dark Tower world with ease.

About the Author :

Amanda is an energetic, masters degree educated, 20-something happily living in an attic apartment in Boston with her shelter-adopted cat. She writes scifi, horror, urban fantasy, literary fiction, and paranormal romance. She has previously published short stories and a novella.

- This is an ARC book - Available Formats through Paperback - Pages: 172; Kindle Edition - File Size: 304 KB | Expected Release Date: July 2012 | Publisher: Self-Published | Obtained: Waiting For Daybreak Blog Tour

"Waiting For Daybreak" by Amanda McNeil

My Book Summary : Frieda has never been what people would call normal --- but now if everyone else is turning into "zombies" being normal is highly overrated.

Follow Frieda as she tries to survive in this new post-apocalyptic world with her cat, Snuggles. Then when she finally thinks she has everything figured out her world again changes. However, will this new change be for the better or could it make her life worse?

My Book Review : 4 out of 5 stars!! Set in a post-apocalyptic version of Boston where it seems Frieda really is the last "human" survivor. This is one high-intensity novel that will hold you until the end. Frieda has a certain way of explaining things and her life that take you on a rollercoaster ride because of how strongly she feels everything and because of her mental health issues. Plus, the twists that are in this novel are very surprising especially the one at the end.

With that being said, to tell you the truth I'm surprised I even liked this novel. I choose to read it because I liked Amanda's previous novel, "Ecstatic Evil," and I thought sure why not. Yet, why I was surprised that I even liked this novel is because I usually read books that have some type of romance in them and while this one does have a bit of romance I would classify it more as a horror novel. And if there is one thing that I typically never like that is horror movies and books. I usually can't stand them and if my husband makes me watch a horror film I usually do so while watching the back of a pillow or half reading a book so I don't have to focus too much on the plot. Therefore, when I say I'm surprised, I am very surprised!

However, even though there was only one part in "Waiting For Daybreak" that I had to skim through because it was a little too graphic for me, yes I know I'm a wuss, I truly did read it all and enjoyed it!! In addition, because of how I am with horror anything, it was the perfect length for me to read---it gave me enough plot to really like Frieda, as a character but not too much story to have me want to give up reading the novel. Additionally, I liked how throughout this novel Frieda realizes that she isn’t who she use to be, that even though yes she still might have a mental illness what happened to turn the world into a post-apocalyptic nightmare has really made her a better person, at least for herself and her cat if not for anything/anyone else.

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading horror novels or post-apocalyptic type of novels. =0)

My Previous Review(s) for this Author : Ecstatic Evil

Book Teaser(s) :
My head is starting to get that pleasant stuffed feeling that accompanies drunkenness. Like someone’s stuffed cotton in your ears and put film over your eyes. Probably not the best choice for the given situation, but, then again, who knows what the best plan is for a situation like this one? It’s frankly amazing that I have yet to draw a face on my volleyball, name it, and carry on existential conversations with it. My prime directive during any encounter with a human being in the last two months has been to kill it. Given that, it’s kind of hard to decide what the best choice is exactly. ~ within Chapter 1
I drop the body and collapse to my knees.
Even as tears of relief start streaming down my face, I check myself over for injuries. Amazingly, I managed not to stab myself with my own knife in the epic fall of Mr. Armani. The knife is partly stuck into the dirt. I pull it out and wipe it off on the grass, managing to get most of the blood off and resheath it. My arms are shaking. The adrenaline is leaving my body and panic is threatening to take over. I slap myself across the face. “Get a grip on yourself, Frieda,” I lecture myself, “This is about Snuggles.” ~ within Chapter 8
For more information on this book and/or any other books by Amanda, then please check out her website.

Check out the Giveaways!! :

Here are the blogs that are hosting giveaways during this tour and are open now or will be open soon ::
ALSO -- Be sure to follow the tour around the other blog sites!

Find Amanda McNeil :

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