Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blog Tour: FOLLOW ME THROUGH DARKNESS by Danielle Ellison

I'm so excited today to welcome Danielle Ellison to my blog for an interview. I really enjoyed her upcoming YA novel, Follow Me Through Darkness. After reading the interview don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!


The truth won't always set you free.

Less than a year ago, Neely Ambrose’s biggest worry was having the freedom to follow a path that wasn't chosen for her.

Less than a year ago, she believed she could trust the Elders who said they had everyone’s best interest at heart and who said they were keeping them safe from the outside.

Sixty days ago, she discovered what they had planned for everyone she loved—and that all of it centered around her.

Now she’s on the run through a dangerous wasteland full of killing machines, secret organizations, and people who want to sell her back to the Elders for their own safety. The whole world outside the Compound is living proof that everything in Neely’s life was a lie manufactured by the Elders, which may even include the boy she loves.

All Neely wants is the truth, but each new piece of it drives her further from what she thought she knew. With only forty days until everyone she loves falls under the Elders’ mind control, Neely must decipher who to trust, what questions to ask, and how to get one step ahead of the Elders, who will do anything to keep their secrets buried.

Title: Follow Me Through Darkness
Author: Danielle Ellison
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

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Where did the idea for Follow Me Through Darkness come from? Was it hard to develop?

It started with a line and a girl's voice in my head that was impossible to ignore. I had no direction for a long time, just her and all these pieces of a story that she kept telling me. I rewrote this book 8 times from beginning to end before I sold, so it was definitely hard to figure out. Once I had the story it didn't change much, but figuring out how to tell the story was the challenge. It's such a big and complicated world to capture!

I loved how you switched from where Neely is on her quest to the past. Was it like that from the beginning, or was it something that developed over time during the writing process?

Thanks! I love that too! The flashbacks happened in rewrite 6. I couldn't get the story to work. I'd tried it linearly; I'd tried it in parts; It had a different opening chapter in every single revision up until 8. Then my friend said, "Try it in flashbacks," because the simplest things are never your own idea. So I did that, and it was instantly the right decision. Then making it all cohesive, in the right order, transition clearly was a whole different process.

The Cleaners are just plain creepy. Where did they come from? The thought of them gives me the chills!

Yeah. Me too! They just sort of appeared in an early draft, and Neely was running from them. I didn't know what they were, just that she compared it to tornado sucking things up. I liked the concept. If you were trying to destroy everything, have a blank slate for life, I thought they should be terrifying yet something very possible. I made them work like vacuums programmed with one purpose: to remove anything and everything living. Once I had all that the options were limitless and they seamlessly wove into the background of the book and the history of her world.

What made you want to write young adult?

In college I took writing classes and wrote a lot of short "literary" fiction. I loved writing but all my characters were teens. I didn't know YA was a thing(aside from Harry Potter & Twilight I'd never read any.) I also didn't do short well. Then, I started reading YA after college—and I was hooked! I loved everything about it. It made me feel so many things. I wanted to make people feel too. It gave me a place to express myself, to find myself, and I think that's what makes it so amazing. I may not always write only YA, but it will definitely always set the bar for me of excellent storytelling.

I've found that sometimes my favorite characters to write are not the protagonist. Which was your favorite character to write in Follow Me Through Darkness? I really liked Neely and Thorne, but I also found myself really wanting to know more about Xenith by the end.

I'm with you! I obviously love Neely, as she's dominated four years (and counting) of my creative space, head & heart.

Thorne, though, he's surprising. That guy loves so fiercely and it makes him intriguing, but I've learned that there's more to him than people suspect. I know there's more than I had thought.

And Xenith! Xenith is something else. I think I enjoy writing him the most because I never know what he will do or say; he's the most fun to write.

What was the hardest thing about writing Follow Me Through Darkness

Neely, in the beginning, was troublesome. She's an emotionally closed-off character—she has to be with all she's dealing with—so it took a while to break through all of that. I think it's worth it now and she's amazing, but it was difficult at first to get into her space. Once I got the story right and figured out how to tell it, I think the hardest part to get perfect was the countdown. The whole story) operates on a deadline, so counting down in military time while jumping around was super hard! We had an editor who just checked the timeline.

When will the next book in the Boundless trilogy be released? (Inquiring and impatient minds would love to know.)

October 2015—which will fly by, right?

What other projects are you planning on for the future, if you can divulge that information?

Besides the rest of the trilogy, I have a few things up my sleeve but nothing official. :)

Because I'm a huge reader and constantly looking for more books to devour, what are you currently reading?

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga, which is out in 2015.

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About Danielle

Danielle Ellison spent of her childhood reading instead of learning math. It's probably the reason she can't divide without a calculator and has spent her life seeking the next adventure. It's also probably the reason she's had so many different zip codes and jobs.

When she’s not writing, Danielle is usually drinking coffee, fighting her nomadic urges, watching too much TV, or dreaming of the day when she can be British. Danielle is also the author of SALT and STORM, a series about a snarky witch without magic. She has settled in Northern Virginia, for now, but you can always find her on twitter @DanielleEWrites.

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