Release Date: February 12 2013
First, the virus took Kaelyn’s friends. Then, her family. Now it’s taken away her home. But she can’t look back—the life she once had is gone forever. A deadly virus has destroyed Kaelyn’s small island community and spread beyond the quarantine. No one is safe. But when Kaelyn finds samples of a vaccine in her father’s abandoned lab, she knows there must be someone, somewhere, who can replicate it. As Kaelyn and her friends head to the mainland, they encounter a world beyond recognition. It’s not only the “friendly flu” that’s a killer—there are people who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the vaccine. How much will Kaelyn risk for an unproven cure, when the search could either destroy those she loves or save the human race?
Last year I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of a new Canadian, post apocalyptic adventure story – that book was The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe and I devoured it within a single sitting (my review). So I was ecstatic to hear that it was actually the beginning of a new series and even more excited when I was asked to be part of the blog tour.
The Lives We Lost is part two of the series and I am happy to welcome Megan Crewe here to answer a few questions about her writing, the characters and some tips that could save your life!
Welcome Megan! Book One, The Way We Fall, is written in the form of the journal, but for this book - The Lives We Lost - you use a more direct narrative. Do you prefer one style over the other?
This might sound like a cop out, but I prefer whatever works best for the book! If I’m being honest, I find regular first person easier to write, both because I have a lot more practice at it and because it’s less restrictive. But I don’t think THE WAY WE FALL would have worked the way I wanted it to if it wasn’t in journal format, so I can’t imagine it any other way. It allowed me to show the day-by-day deterioration of Kaelyn’s world from a very intimate (and hopefully intense) perspective.
I was inclined to try to write the entire trilogy in journal format for consistency, but I found that with the increased action and the journey element in the sequel, that story needed something different. THE LIVES WE LOST and the third book are bigger stories and so they needed a narrative style that allowed a wider perspective.
Beyond the narrative style, what were the challenges/advantages of writing a sequel as opposed to the first book?
There were several of both. Challenges: Figuring out how much to remind readers about the first book without repeating too much or boring people. Finding new aspects of each character to show and new problems for them to face while keeping all the story elements consistent with the first book. Giving the story a definite beginning and end even though it’s technically the middle of a larger story. Seeing conflicting opinions from readers on where they hope the story will go, and worrying about satisfying everyone.
Advantages: Already knowing my characters and world very well. Already having lots of backstory and relationships set up from the first book. Getting to build off of what’s already established into exciting new places. Knowing that most of the readers who come to this book are already fans of the story.
All in all, I think it balances out!
There’s some returning favourites in this book but also a wealth of new characters. Which one was your favourite to write?
That’s tricky, because I’m really fond of all the major characters in this series. Kaelyn came very naturally to me, because her voice is a lot like me-as-a-teenager, and our personalities are similar in many ways. So I’d say she was the easiest to write. But Gav, Leo, and Tessa were always interesting to have on the page too, both for what they bring out in Kaelyn and for their own unique personalities and struggles. And there’s a few new characters in THE LIVES WE LOST who made for some scenes that were a lot of fun to bring to life.
What kind of research did you need to do for this book compared the first book?
Most of my research for THE LIVES WE LOST was in two areas. First, I had to devote a lot of time to studying maps and working out how far the group might travel depending on the resources they had at each point in the story, what routes they might take, and what environments they might find along those routes. I spent hours consulting Google maps, especially in satellite view! Secondly, I did lots of reading on survival strategies. The group is traveling through the Canadian winter in areas that have no power and no heat, and I wanted both the problems they ran into and the ways they worked through those problems to be believable.
And then there were the usual random bits and pieces I always need to look up. A few from this book: different types of army vehicles, temperatures for vaccine transport, distances radios can transmit.
The Lives We Lost is all about survival. Particularly survival in the Canadian winter (which I’m sure many of us can relate to). What’s the one survival tip you would recommend above all others?
Be well equipped. I doubt Kaelyn and her friends would have been as successful in their journey if they hadn’t stockpiled supplies to bring with them and found an ally with additional resources. Having essentials like water, non-perishable food, matches, blankets, and a first aid kit can easily make the difference between life and death. If the apocalypse came, I’d be one of the first out there scavenging for my own stockpile!
Thank you Megan for stopping by!
Watch for my review later this week and be sure to check out this series ASAP. It will have you on the edge of your seat! And if you’re in the Toronto area be sure to stop by the launch party on Wednesday February 20th – full details HERE.
About Megan Crewe
Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and two cats (and does on occasion say “eh”), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and–thankfully–the worst virus she’s caught so far is the garden-variety flu. You can find a more detailed biography on her main website.