YOUNG READER blog is now 2 years old!
calls for a celebration!
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Today I have Michelle Pickett, author of PODs on the blog .
First, thank you so much for including me in your blogoversary! And congratulations! I so thrilled to be here.
Could you start things off by telling us a little about the book?
PODs is a post-apocalyptic, science-fiction, romance with a touch of dystopian thrown in there, too. So it has a little bit of everything.
A virus breaks out and begins killing the population of Earth. There’s no cure, no vaccine, no way to stop it. It’s lethal and moving quickly through the population. It’s what scientist call an “ELE” or Extinction Level Event. In order to save as many people as possible the government opens a secret underground habitat that had been built in case of nuclear attack, meteor or asteroid threat and so forth. People “win” places in the habitat through a raffle based on their social security number.
The story follows one girl’s journey from the time she learns of the virus, through her devastating separation from her family and everything she knows to enter the PODs, her yearlong stay in the PODs with strangers, facing the world after emerging from the PODs, and, of course, dealing with the surprises the survivors encounter after leaving the PODs.
What kind of a world do your characters live in?
They live in a very uncertain and scary world. They don’t know if they are going to live or if the human race will be eradicated by the virus. The “Chosen” as the people who are selected for spots in the PODs are called, must leave everything and everyone they’ve ever known and loved behind, knowing they’re going to die, so it’s also an emotionally devastating world. Finally, it’s a labor intensive world. They have to work to rebuild the country when the PODs open. There’s a lot of hard work involved in that process and they encounter many obstacles—some they were definitely not expecting!
What influences and inspirations (both literary and non-literary) did you draw from while writing this book?
I can’t pinpoint one specific moment that inspired me to write the book. I didn’t have a dream or read an article or book that sparked an idea. The only thing that comes to mind that may have planted the seed is talk of the “Super bugs” or the “Super Viruses” that have been in the news. Both my parents have had MRSA. A strain of an aggressive staph infection that is very resistant to antibiotics. It’s just one example of a virus that has adapted and mutated and is now extremely hard to treat with common antibiotics.
Talk of the overuse of antibiotics and anti-bacteria soaps and cleansers have also been debated recently. Some healthcare professionals believe that the overuse of these products do more harm than good. They make bacteria stronger as they adapt to survive and the more we use antibiotics, the more our bodies become immune to their effects. That’s one theory, anyway.
Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?
It’s hard to pick between Eva and David. They are both great people. But, if I have to choose just one, I’d say Eva. The story is told from her perspective. We get to see glimpses of the whole spectrum of her emotions, from the devastation of leaving her family behind when she leaves for the PODs, the uncertainty of POD life, her conflicted emotions of a relationship with David, and many others. She’s a strong person, but we see her softer side, too. She’s very intelligent. She will fight for, and with, those she loves. And she’s caring, not just toward those she knows and loves, but to all people.
I know you asked for just one character, but I have to give an honorable mention to one of my favorite secondary characters, Roy. He’s hilarious and I love him to pieces. He doesn’t have a huge role in PODs. I tried to write him in as often as I could, but characters drive the story when I write and he just didn’t push his way in too often. However, in the sequel to PODs, titled The Infected, which releases November 2014, we’ll get to see more of Roy and he’s a lot of fun.
What books/genres do you read when you have the chance? Any must read authors or series?
I read mostly young adult. I enjoy all genres, from horror to contemporary romance. I think anything from Spencer Hill is a must read. There are so many excellent books releasing this year and next. You don’t want to miss them. A must read series, hmm, well the potential Milayna series would be a nice one for everyone to read. :) I’d appreciate readers picking that up (that was a shameless plug).
I just read one of my Spencer Hill Press author friend’s books and was blown away. I’d never read any of her work before and I’m kicking myself for not doing it sooner. Trisha Wolfe’s newest novels “Of Silver and Beasts” and “Astarte’s Wrath” were amazing. And of course she has Fireblood and its sequel releasing from Spencer Hill Press, too.
Ah, I shouldn’t have started naming people from Spencer Hill because there are so many good authors I know I’ll forget someone, so just go buy anything with the Spencer Hill logo on it. You’ll know you have a great book!
The “Breathing Series” by Rebecca Donovan is one of my favorites. The third and final book releases in July. I’m counting the days!
Can you tell us a little about the main characters in your book?
The story is told from Eva’s point of view. She’s seventeen. She is a very strong person and very intelligent. She is one of the “Chosen.”
David is also a “Chosen.” He’s eighteen. He is assigned to the same sub-POD as Eva and they form a bond. I don’t like to call it a romance, although that’s definitely part of it. But it’s deeper than that. They create a deep emotional bond with each other. I think the things they are forced to deal with and face give them a deeper understanding of each other.
Hmm, there are eight other POD occupants that live with David and Eva in the sub-POD. Each sub-POD holds five male and five female residents. They are: Tiffany, she and Eva become very close friends, George, he and Eva also become close friends, Aidan, Seth, Josh, Katie, Faith and Jai Li. They are all very intelligent.
That’s really all I can say without giveaway any spoilers.
Favourite movie or TV series you are obsessed with ?
I have two favorite movies: Sommersby and Revenge (with Kevin Costner and Madeline Stowe. It isn’t one of his better known films).
I don’t watch much TV, but I’m obsessed with cooking shows. I love Chopped, Iron Chef, Worst Cooks in America and Hell’s Kitchen. The funny thing is, I hate to cook.
Tell us five interesting things about yourself.
I don’t know if I can come up with five! Let’s see. I was homeschooled, but went on to college and earned a degree in accounting graduating Summa Cum Laude.
I’m completely addicted to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Rolos, although I’m currently trying to beat my addiction. So far it’s not going well.
I’m a tomboy through and through. I’d rather go hunt for night crawlers (worms) and go fishing than spend time at the mall. And, yes, I put my own worms on my hook and take my own fish off. I love to hunt for toads and turtles with my kids—I’m probably the biggest kid if the truth were known.
I met my husband when I was 15. We got engaged when I was 16. We got married when I was 17. This year we’ll celebrate our 25th anniversary. We have four kids, a 20 year-old daughter, 11 year-old son and 7 year-old twin girls.
I love playing Black Ops on the X-Box with my son, but I suck big time. I still have fun, though. Even if my son points out that he’s killed me 57 times and I’ve only killed him twice. He’s not a gracious winner. I think I need to start practicing while he’s at school.
Okay, that’s five. I didn’t mention anything about writing because I figured you all knew that would be something about me that you may find interesting (or not). But writing is something I have to do. It’s my relaxation. My escape from the stress of the world. Getting the opportunity to share it, to be published…that’s a dream come true!
The Infected, the sequel to PODs releases next fall through Spencer Hill Press.
Milayna, the first book in a planned trilogy, releases March 11, 2014 through Spencer Hill. If it does well, the next books will release in the fall of 2014 and spring of 2015. So check it out. I think you’ll like it. Milayna is a sweet character, but she’s also a kick-butt type. The book is full of action and has a different spin on the angel themed books on the market today.
I’m currently working on a YA urban fantasy that will be ready for submission shortly and hopefully you’ll be hearing about that one soon.
After that, I’m not sure. I have some ideas for another post-apocalyptic, dystopian in the same vein as PODs and I have a few ideas for some YA contemporary romances. I’m not sure where my mind will lead me. But whatever comes next, I know I’ll still be writing. I just hope you’ll still be seeing me and my books around!
Rapid Fire (what it the first thing that comes to your mind when I say....)
Twilight – Edward
Black – White
Harry Potter – Voldemort
Hot – Dogs
Wings – Angel
Coffee – Yuck
POD – Book
Triangle – Kimmy
ABOUT THE BOOK
Seventeen-year-old Eva is a chosen one. Chosen to live, while others meet a swift and painful death from an incurable virus so lethal, a person is dead within days of symptoms emerging. In the POD system, a series of underground habitats built by the government, she waits with the other chosen for the deadly virus to claim those above. Separated from family and friends, it's in the PODs she meets David. And while true love might not conquer all, it's a balm for the broken soul.
After a year, scientists believe the population has died, and without living hosts, so has the virus. That's the theory, anyway. But when the PODs are opened, survivors find the surface holds a vicious secret. The virus mutated, infecting those left top-side and creating... monsters.
Eva and David hide from the infected in the abandoned PODs. Together they try to build a life--a new beginning. But the infected follow and are relentless in their attacks. Leaving Eva and David to fight for survival, and pray for a cure.
Expected publication: June 4th 2013 by Spencer Hill Press
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I'm a wife, mother, author, reader, although not always in that order. I've been an avid reader since a young child. I began writing for personal enjoyment in college, where I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in accounting. Why I chose a degree that didn't encourage creativity is a mystery to me.
Keep up-to-date with my current, future projects, appearances, and fun giveaways at www.michelle-pickett.com.
I always love to hear from readers, bloggers and other authors!
Spencer Hill Press has been amazing enough to offer one ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of PODs to ONE lucky person... INTERNATIONALLY!
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