Title: Mad World: Epidemic
Author: Samaire Provost
About the Book: The Black Plague is ancient history. It killed 100 million people nearly seven centuries ago, halfway around the world from the technologically advanced research center at Stanford University. Scientists there have recently begun examining samples of bone marrow from plague-infected corpses unearthed in Europe. All the necessary safeguards are in place. What could go wrong?
Alyssa and Jake are away with their class on a highly anticipated year-end trip to Broadway with their senior acting class when all hell breaks loose at home. Traveling back, and trying to find their families, they encounter deadly results. Riots are breaking out. People are being evacuated. And they have no idea what's happening to their families.
Horrific ordeals, heart-pounding tragedy, and chance encounters harden them for what lies ahead. Faced with tormenting decisions, they're forced to follow their instinct for survival at any cost - even when the cost is a heart-wrenching decision of life or death.
A harrowing adventure of frightening discoveries, horrifying confrontations and narrow escapes in Epidemic, the first installment of the Mad World series.
Find out what's got everyone so terrified.
My thoughts: This is Samaire Provost's debut novel, and while predictable, it was entertaining. There were a few things that I had some trouble with, like an iPad that seemed to keep its charge for a week before needing to be plugged in, and the trip from New York to California by van seemed impossibly short but the book - or really a novella (160 pages) was a very fast moving read.
I liked the camaraderie among the students and how, regardless of their situation and who joined them on the 'adventure', they watched either other's backs and tried to never leave a friend behind. I especially liked Risa, a seven year old neighbor girl of one of the students that they picked up along the way. She was resilient, optimistic and brought out the mothering instinct in Alyssa, who stepped forward as one of the leaders of the group.
The author leaves you wanting to know more at the end of the book, and book 2 just came out about a week ago. It is called Mad World: Sanctuary. I will most likely read it as I want to know what happens to the group.
~I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from Bewitching Book Tours in exchange for my unbiased review.~
Publisher/Publication Date: CreateSpace, July 2012
About the author: Samaire Provost lives in California with her husband and son.
Her love of paranormal stories, odd plots, and unique tales as well as the works of Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Susan Cooper, Madeleine L'Engle and Stephen King has deeply influenced her writing.
1. How do you typically write? Do you plot it all out beforehand or do you just let the story pour out?
I think about it and get a rough outlined drafted in my head. Then I write out the outline, and add to it as I flesh the story out, which happens as I write it. So it’s a bit of both. I am very happy when the idea for a big chunk of story just pops into my brain. Sometimes it happens as I sleep, and I wake up in the morning having dreamt about the scene and story all night and I say, “EUREKA!” or something like that.
2. Do you have a favorite place to write or “must haves” while writing?
My husband and I are both writers, and we have a large table where we both have our computers set up. I call it “The Hub.” I have several lights set up, and I have to have my glass there. My glass is always full of ice. I am an ice eater. High five! If you know one.
3. Do you have much say in the title or covers of you books?
My husband is a professional editor, and an amateur photographer and he is my greatest helper. I tell him what I have in mind for my cover and he designs it. It’s all a very indie family affair.
With regard to the titles, I have come up with all of those, although for Mad World book three, he suggested the title and I loved it!
4. Is there anything that has surprised you about writing, publishing or touring with your books?
Nothing really surprised me too much, because I’ve always wanted to do this, and when I first learned of Indie publishing I did thorough research and learned all about every aspect. I really did my homework.
5. Do you have a favorite author/book or one that you always recommend?
Neil Gaiman, I love everything he’s done. Rowling, I’m a huge Potterhead. Susan Cooper, Madeleine L’Engle, Stephen King, Terry Pratchett. They’ve all had a huge impact on me.
6. Was there anything (or anyone) while growing up which helped you decide you wanted to be a writer?
The books. Reading all the books I did growing up, and into adulthood: that’s what had the biggest influence on me. Books are everything!
7. Do you have a job outside of being an author?
I write full time. I treat it as a job, so I am at my desk at least eight hours every day, writing.
8. What would you tell a beginning writer?
Read voraciously, it’s how a writer learns to write. Ignore your fears and write. Write. Write some more. Finish.
9. What were your favorite books growing up?
“The Dark Is Rising” series
“A Wrinkle in Time” series
“The Black Stallion” series
The Star Trek episode books
10. Do you have any books on your nightstand right now?
The nightstand had about 25 books waiting to be read. The shelf beside it has another 100. Then there are the three bookshelves downstairs…
11. If you could meet one person who has died, who would that be?
Ray Bradbury. I have met him once, chatted ever so briefly with him, but I’d love a long afternoon with Ray. Just talking about books, stories he had yet to write, anything, really…
12. If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would it be?
13. Do you have a favorite quote?
“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
― Madeleine L'Engle
14. In one sentence, why should we read your book?
It’s the most exciting YA thriller you’ll have read in a long, long time!
15. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I was a star member of my Varsity Archery team in College.
16. What do you come up with first when creating your character- the back story, the plot, the characteristics?
The personality. The attitude. I have the different needs of the story in mind, first comes attitude, then personality, then the person of the character shapes around that. The main character in EPIDEMIC is Alyssa. She, to me, is like Ripley, from the Alien movies. Their personalities are very similar.
I can absolutely see Alyssa as Ripley and Risa would be Newt!
17. What do you do in your spare time?
I like to garden, and read. I read a lot. Also, I enjoy singing, and making art. I love to cross stitch and do drawn- and pulled-thread work on linen.
When I can I love to travel. I’ve been to Ireland and Israel. Next year we hope to visit Britain, Scotland and Wales.
Yay! Someone else who likes cross stitch and pulled-thread work!
18. What does a day in your life look like?
I wake up quite late, usually around 11am. This is because the night before I’ve stayed up until 4 in the morning.
I spend the first hour trying to wake up. This involves Diet Pepsi and something easy for breakfast. Then I get down to work. First thing is promoting my books, wherever I can. Facebook, Twitter, email, you name it, I’ve done it, usually daily. Then I get down to writing. If I have something to edit, I do that first, to get into the swing of things, but otherwise, I write. I spend between six to eight hours writing every day. In between writing I walk the dog, and spend time with my husband. We usually talk book ideas or plot summaries or if I’ve written myself into a corner, we discuss it until I find a way around it.
Dinner, bed, and then reading in bed for at least 3 hours. Then sleep. Then it starts all over again.
I’m hoping to intersperse all this with book signing tour someday.
19. How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?
They are extremely supportive! And believe me, it make a huge difference. And yes they do read my books. Especially my husband, he is my editor so he gets to read them first.
20. Is there anything else that you would like my readers to know?
That I appreciate each and every one of them. That I am on Twitter (@samairep) and Facebook (facebook.com/samairep) and that I blog (samaireprovost.tumblr.com)
Silly questions –
1. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I’d like to fly.
2. Do you have any hidden talents?
I can wiggle my ears.
I’m also a master class cross stitcher.
3. Night owl or early bird?
Oh, night owl, definitely.
4. Favorite season?
5. If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
6. Favorite sport?
To play: Archery
To watch: Football
7. Favorite music?
A little bit of everything
8. Talk or text?
9. Cat or dog?
10. Favorite tv show?
Don’t watch TV too much.
I’m watching reruns of Farscape right now, and it’s pretty cool.
11. Favorite holiday destination?
In the US: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
12. Do you have a literary crush?
I just adore Stifyn Emrys!
13. If you could live in a literary world - what world would that be and why?
I would live in the world of Harry Potter. For obvious reasons
14. Most embarrassing moment?
I once went bowling and as I drew my arm back, holding the bowling ball, to swing it forward, the ball dropped with a resounding CRASH! behind me. The entire bowling alley stopped and looked.
My most embarrassing moment happened at a bowling alley as well - I was bowling in a league and was taking some warm ups, when my foot 'stuck' on something on the lane and I reflexively stepped forward - only to hit the oiled lane and land flat on my back - with my head in one gutter and my feet in the other! On the up-side - I did bowl my best game ever!
15. If you could travel forward or backward in time, where would you go and why?
I’d go forward in time, to a time when man has reached the stars and lives there in harmony with aliens. I am a huge Star Trek and Sci Fi fan
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