Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mad World: Epidemic by Samaire Provost - Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Title: Mad World: Epidemic
Author: Samaire Provost
Publisher: CreateSpace

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
ISBN:  978-1478317371
ASIN:  B008PO969O
160 pages

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. 

You can connect with her on twitter, facebook, tumblr, and amazon

Samaire was nice enough to take some type out and answer some interview questions for me, so please welcome her to Books and Needlepoint. 

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?

Neil Gaiman

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?

Abroad: Ireland
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 

Please enjoy this excerpt:
From Chapter Three:

I hadn’t nodded off for five minutes when a scream pierced the air in the Emergency Room. I opened my eyes to chaos. From the corridor where Coach Turner had disappeared came several frantic screams. I jumped up and grabbed Risa’s hand and, without thinking, I sprinted down that corridor. The others ran after me, they had jumped at the sounds too.
Our tennis shoes squeaked in the polished hallway as I led the small group of us down the hall at a run. This was no longer the safe haven I had first taken it for. I wanted to get Coach and get the heck out of there fast. Something was happening, and I had felt it for a while. I hadn’t realized what the feeling was until now, but for the last half-hour I had felt a strange, unsettled lump in the pit of my stomach.
We ran down the curving corridor, and I nearly ran head on into Coach Turner. He was crouched in the middle of the hallway, screaming, with Debby in a hospital gown bent over him. As I came to a sudden stop, trying not to fall over them, I saw that she was biting down on his neck and shoulder. She heard me and looked up. Her dark brown face was beginning to turn a strange opaque black and her mouth was full of dripping blood, a piece of Turner’s neck hung from her teeth. Turner seemed woozy from pain and stumbled to the side. Debby grabbed him again even as she began to chew and swallow the flesh in her mouth.
“Mom!” cried Conner.
“Ahhh!” I screamed, and without thinking, I kicked her away from him and grabbed his arm. He was dazed and bleeding profusely from his head, but he got up and ran with me. We all started back the way we had come.
“Run! Go, now! Come on!” I yelled, barely pausing as I ran back the way we had come. I glanced down the hallway as I ran. Debby and five others people were walking down the corridor toward us. When I say walking, it was more like a stumbled lurching. Blood coated their mouths and the bottom halves of their faces. The skin on all them had a greyish black tinge to it. Their legs didn’t seem to work as well as they should. Their arms swung in a funny way, too. But their eyes: there wasn’t a darned thing funny about their eyes. Although their eyes seemed to be turning somewhat opaque, they were fixed on us. Our pursuers emitted low groaning sounds as they stumbled forward, and their eyes never wavered from their prey. That was what freaked me out: they looked at us with hungry looks. Their eyes never blinked. Their grey faces were blank except for those eyes. So much expression in those eyes.
I made a strangled sound and turned again to run in the direction I had just come from. Risa had seen those people too, and she almost outpaced me. But then the unthinkable happened. As we ran all out, Risa stumbled after me, trying to keep up. I hung on to her hand, but my I was going too fast for her, and she fell. She hit the corridor floor hard and hit her head. I grabbed her and tried to get her up, but her eyes were closed and her head bled at the crown. She was nearly unconscious and there was no time to stop, so I grabbed her and flung her over my shoulder and kept running. Conner and Emily helped Coach Turner run and we began again to make our way down the corridor. Those people were right behind us, but we ran hard and drew away from them.
The lot of us ran down the hall, stopping only to grab our stuff before running out of the doors we had entered not an hour previously.
“Come on, guys!” I screamed, handing Risa to DeAndre and fumbling in Coach’s pockets for the van keys. We heard new screams coming from the waiting room. Those grey lurching people had come into the room and as I looked through the glass doors I saw one grey man with a bloody face grab a woman who had been sitting near us. He held her and bit down on her face. She screamed as blood poured from the bite. He continued gnawing on her and, paralyzed with fear, she seemed incapable of anything but screaming as he destroyed the left side of her face. I turned and helped get Risa and Turner into the van, then scrambled into the driver’s seat.
“Are we all in?” I yelled as I started the van.
“Jacob was in the bathroom! He’s still in there! Oh My God!” screamed Emily. As she said this, Jacob sprinted out the doors at top speed. He was on the track team as well as the theatre club, and he flew like the wind.
It’s a good thing Jacob ran so fast, because Conner’s mom was in hot pursuit. Conner opened the door and waved to Jacob, who sprinted toward us. When he reached the van, he jumped in, slamming the doors with about 10 seconds to spare. Debby was right behind him, and as I threw the van into reverse, she lurched up to the vehicle, slapping the driver’s-side window with a bloody hand.
“MOM!!!” sobbed Conner.
“OH SHIT!” I exclaimed as I squealed the tires and drove in reverse away from the nightmare that had been Conner’s mother only an hour ago. In a move that would make any NASCAR driver proud, I sped backwards and then wrenched the wheel and flipped the van forward, slamming the gearshift into drive and gunning the engine, so that as we peeled out of the parking lot on two wheels. We must have been doing 50 mph. There was a minute there when we almost tipped to the left, but I got the van under control and sped down the road, leaving the nightmare behind us (we hoped).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Karielle Stephanie said...

Epidemic sounds great! I'd love to give it a try.

M.A.D. said...

You had me at *black plague* ;)
No, seriously - Epidemic sounds like a wonderfully intense story, and thank you for the chance to win a copy! <3

Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

Samaire Provost said...

Thank you so much for hosting my book EPIDEMIC!!

Maureen said...

It looks like an interesting story.


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