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Lenore Appelhans and the International Settings of LEVEL 2

Today, we're proud to take part in the blog tour celebrating the first novel of blogger, reviewer, and all around fantastic person Lenore Appelhans! She's here to talk to us about the international locales in her debut book LEVEL 2, out tomorrow from Simon & Schuster BFYR--and to give away two copies to lucky YA Highway readers! Here's Lenore.

One of the things which makes Felicia “rich” in LEVEL 2 is her memories of traveling, which are highly in demand in the afterlife. Even though she’s only 17, Felicia has been around the world thanks to her mother’s career in the US Foreign Service and her composer father’s research trips.  Here are a few of the international locations in LEVEL 2.

1. Level 2 

Level 2 is obviously foreign because it’s not even on Earth.  But more than that, the design for the hive Felicia is trapped in looks maybe something a little like the Clochán beehive huts I visited once on the Dingle peninsula in Ireland – except obviously bigger, brighter and more futuristic.

2. Germany 

When Felicia goes into her Level 2 memory chamber to pull up memories, most of these flashbacks are set in either Frankfurt, Germany (where I live now) and in Ohio (where I went to high school). The locations I chose in Frankfurt are mostly based on real places: the sushi restaurant near Eschenheimer Tor, Nidda Park, the “Siedlung” housing complex where Felicia and other US Consulate staff and dependents live (which is really and truly overrun by diseased wild bunnies) and the Irish Pub near Hauptbahnhof.

3. Turkey

In one of my favorite memories in the novel, Felicia goes with her father to track down some musically inclined goats on the Northern Turkish coast. It is based not on my own travel memory, but on my husbands’. He described it so vividly, I knew I had to include it.  The roofless shack Felicia spends the night in actually exists, but the prancing goats are purely my imagination.

4. Kenya

One of the last scenes in the novel takes place in Kenya, so I don’t want to go too much into spoiler territory.  But the busy road they drive down is one we often drove with the friends we visited in Kenya and the mall is one we shopped in several times (though I invented the fountain).

5. Myanmar

The climatic “memory” scene takes place partly in Myanmar (also known as Burma). I experienced much more of it than Felicia does in the novel, and the photo is of me posing with a Burmese girl. Burmese women often wear this yellow paste – Thanaka – on their cheeks to protect from sunburn.

A bunch of other foreign places are referenced as well, many of which I’ve been to (Iceland; Angkor Wat, Cambodia; Ecuador; Japan) and some I have not (Montenegro; Papua New Guinea; Dominican Republic). It was so much fun to get to integrate some of my travel knowledge this way!

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Follow Lenore and The Memory Chronicles online!

Twitter: @lenoreva

Read an excerpt of the first 50 pages of LEVEL 2:

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  1. Memories in high demand sounds.awesome. Can't wait to read this!

  2. I've been dying for this book ever since I read the premise! So unique! My current WIP is located in Manhattan (international because I'm from Canada). Something about that city, so full of life and history and importance!

    Thanks for the giveaway!!

  3. I don't write but my time in Rome could definitely inspire some writing out of me.

  4. I'm so excited to read this book! Unfortunately I haven't travelled too much, but much of my writing is inspired by pictures (especially old English castles and awesome waterfall parks in Iceland) on the Internet. Happy almost-Book Birthday, Lenore!

  5. LEVEL 2 is on my list for the Debut Author Challenge. The premise is really unique and I'm looking forward to reading it!

  6. When someone writes an article he/she keeps the thought of a user in his/her mind that how a user can be aware of it.

  7. In my own writing, I've used Newfoundland, Canada, which would probably count as an international location despite the fact that I live there, (:D), and I've drawn on old old memories of Frankfurt, Toronto and San Diego to built SF futures. I want to write a story drawing from South East Asia, as soon as I get enough time on my hands to not burn myself out when I write it. Oh, and I used New York and Newfoundland and London Chicago in the 1890s-1910s for another story. :D

    1. Also, I had no idea this book was so International, my interest in it, which was already high before, has gone up!

  8. OH that was so interesting - I've been to Frankfurt a few times and I totally recognized the spot from the picture! Niddapark has some beautiful areas, and I thiiiink I've been to an Irish pub in Bahnhofsviertel, maybe it was the same one? Can't wait to read Level 2!!

  9. I like to use various European architectural styles as inspiration in my writing; it's very grandiose and old-looking, and incredibly beautiful.

  10. What about the amazing caves in KY? Don't you think that should be included in your next book?
    Your pal- Charles Sheen

  11. So far, no international locales have been featured in my writing. I've never been out of the country (unless you count Canada, which you don't when you live 100 miles from the border). However, I do have a little story fermenting in the back of my mind that has some Japanese influences--and maybe some Russian if I can work that in.

    A lot of my favorite recent books feature international settings, though. Every time I read about Level 2, it sounds better and better.

  12. My writing is inspired by European countries that have a lot of history, along with sufficiently creepy castles and plains.

  13. This book sounds terrific! Interesting settings can do so much to make the narrative come alive.

    1. Oops, I forgot to tell about the international locales that have inspired my writing! I was working on a book about volcano scientists while I was living in Geneva for 9 months, so I flew down to Naples to interview some volcanologists studying Vesuvius. It was wonderful, and of course I got to see the Bad Boy itself, as well as Pompeii. It was a wonderful experience. I wish I could have flown all over the world to interview all of the other volcanologists I profiled!


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