I'm THRILLED today to be a part of the blog tour for Monument 14 - and Emmy Laybourne has written up one of the most unique and interesting guest posts I've read about! I'll also share my thoughts on Monument 14 (I'll try to do it quickly- but apparently Emmy and I both like to ramble on!) and there's a giveaway for you to enter too! :)
Stop by the rest of the tour stops too so you can see the other guest posts and giveaways :) You can find the schedule here
Monument 14 is also one of the MacKids Fierce Reads! Authors Emmy Laybourne, Anna Banks, Jenn Bosworth, Leigh Barudog are going on tour some US states - so make sure to check the schedule here to see if they're coming near you!
Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1) by Emmy Laybourne
Release Date ~ June 5, 2012
Feiwel & Friends ~ Macmillan
E-galley received from publisher via Net Galley
Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.
Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.
But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.
Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.
In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.
Guest Post from Emmy Laybourne
It's such a pleasure to be here on Esther's Ever After today as a part of my blog tour to promote MONUMENT 14.
I love meeting readers and answering questions. I get asked a lot of great author-y questions when I talk to people about Monument 14 - questions about the genesis of the idea or the approach I use to write characters. But there's one question I get asked every once in a while that I am 100% positive NO OTHER YA AUTHORS is EVER asked!
That question is: What was it like to be in the movie Superstar?
I thought it would be fun to spend this blog-post talking about my former life as a character actor and my experience making Superstar, back when I was 25 years old!
When I booked the film, I had been working as an improviser and sketch comedian in NYC for about 4 years. I started working with a little company called Freestyle Repertory Theater. With them I got a really thorough training in story structure and character development. I was a part of their school-show troupe, so for about two years my job was to travel around the NY area with 4 other improvisers and perform at public schools. It was a BLAST! I learned so much about story structure in those two years. If we failed to tell a good story - or if the story went off the rails, the kids would literally start yelling and throwing things. We developed razor sharp story skills - we had to! Otherwise we'd get hit by chocolate milk cartons.
After training so hard with FRT, I discovered the outrageous and fantastic comedy scene down on the Lower East side. This was a truly special and unique time in the history of comedy, I believe. The Lower East side was a petri dish of wild, bizarre comedy. Marc Maron was the king - he presided over Luna Lounge every Monday down on Ludlow street. I went to Luna, first as a fan, where I watched people like Janeane Garofalo, Slovin and Allen, and Louie CK work with stars in my eyes. After a few months of observing, I summoned up the courage to perform. It went great and now that I think about it, the character I performed the first night at Luna was the character I later booked Superstar with! I started getting booked down at Luna every other week or so and during that time I got to know and perform with Zach Galifianakis, David Cross, Jason Nash, David Wain, Michael Showalter and more and more and more. I could go on for pages listing all the talented people I got to know in those smutty back rooms. The work was very risky and very unrehearsed! I would write a bit in the afternoon and perform it in the evening.
I was lucky to fall in with Randy and Jason Sklar, who did a live sit-com at Surf Reality every week for a good long while. I played Olya Borisdaya, a supremely bossy Russian cleaning lady. The Sklars went on to get a sit-com deal with MTV and they asked me to reprise Olya (though I think we changed her name to Tasha!) The show was filled with all the Sklar's friends (a more loyal set of identical twins you will never find!) Matt Price, Michael Bleiden, and Zach G all worked on the show, as well as Stephen COlbert, who, if I remember correctly, wore a turtle suit.
During that time I was also working on writing my own material. I did two plays, The Miss Alphabet City Beauty Pageant and Spelling Bee and a one woman show called "Smorgas-bourne," collaborating closely with directors Julina Tatlock and then Sheila Head. Lorne Michaels himself walked up five flight of stairs to catch Smorgas-bourne at the Solo Arts Group and a few weeks later I was called in for a table read for Superstar. I didn't read the part of Helen Lewengrub at the table read, actually, but I got the chance to audition for it. When I first read the script I thought - Wow, they wrote a role for my character Vicki! How did they do that?! The role just was perfect for me.
I got the news that I had booked Superstar when I was on vacation with my boyfriend at the time (Los Angeles improv guru - Sean Conroy). We were at the shore with his family for a family reunion and I literally had nothing with me but a couple pairs of shorts and flip-flops. They sent a limo to pick me up and drive me to the airport and I had to beg the driver to stop at the Gap to buy a sweater set and a pair of jeans before the flight!
I went from carrying my own props up the afore-mentioned five flights of stairs, to being shuttled around Toronto by my own driver who insisted on buying me a latte every morning, even though I didn't drink coffee! It was amazing and mind-blowing.
The only thing was - I had never made a movie. TV, yes, but film, no. So the first day of shooting, I arrived on set, knowing that I was a pretty quick study and thinking that if I could just watch them film a few scenes, I'd be all right. Wouldn't you know, the first shot of the entire movie was a close-up on me! I was supposed to be dribbling a basketball and sneering. And I didn't even have a line, but I was so nervous that every time they yelled, "Action!" I would bounce the ball so hard it would shoot away across the gym, bumping into cameras and lights!
The director, the lovely Bruce McCullough, came over to me, and said to me in a very private whisper, "You've never done this before, have you?"
It was the perfect thing to do. I told him this was my first film and he assured me that he was going to take very good care of me and that I was perfect for the role and that I was going to come out looking like a million bucks (all true). Then he asked if I had any questions and I said, "What's an eye-line?!"
Working on that film with Molly Shannon, Will Ferrel and Harlan Williams was one of the most wonderful times in my life. There was a great sense of playfulness and camaraderie on the set - and that came directly from Molly and Will. When anyone asks me about Will Ferrel, I tell them that he deserves every bit of success he's had. Sure, he's talented, but lots of people are talented. He's generous and deeply good and the next time I see him I'm going to kiss him right on the lips. I just hope he remembers who I am in time and doesn't sic his bodyguards on me.
Goodness, I've gone on for quite a while here! To sum this blog post up, filming Superstar was truly a special and wonderful time for me. It turned out that I wouldn't go on to have a long career as an actor - after having kids I decided to find a different way to express myself - writing books! But I love being recognized as Helen Lewengrub. It happens maybe four times a year - but every time it happens, it makes me happy to remember those wild and carefree years!
Please join me on the rest of my blog tour and if you live in the Menlo Park area of California, please join me and the other Fierce Reads Authors at Kepler's Bookstore tonight - 1010 El Camino Real at 7 pm!
Thanks again to Brenna and the folks at Esther's Ever After for hosting me!
You can also connect with Emmy on her website.
It sounds like working in the film industry really gives Emmy a different perspective to write from - and I think that comes through in her writing in Monument 14! If you're looking for that next action-packed, exciting summer read then this is one you'll want to check out!
- A story that draws you in from the first page:
The first thing I noticed while reading Monument 14 is that the story picks up during the first chapters; I had barely even started reading and I couldn't put it down! I thought the pacing was very well done for the length of the book, and it really doesn't slow down whatsoever- even while trapped in a superstore.
- Excellent, evocative writing:
Similarly, Emmy's not only able to write exciting scenes but I thought she did a great job penning the story as a whole. The writing wasn't awkward and it was just descriptive enough to help you imagine the events as they were taking place. It seems like her background in film gave her a good idea of exciting writing, and how to keep a story moving along nicely.
- A new sort of post-apocalyptic book:
There are a large number of post-apocalyptic books out now, and even more coming out in the next few months or so, but it was a pretty interesting idea to set a group of high school & elementary kids in a superstore; cut off from the rest of the world. It's a convenient setting for them, but one that works well for the book and really draws you in. With the way the book ended, I'm really curious to see how the sequel will follow the events which took place in Monument 14!
But aside from that, I found Monument 14 to be a rather gripping read- definitely one that will be a quick read for a lot of readers this summer!
If you're curious about the book, you can give the story a try by reading the prequel Dress Your Marines in White which Emmy wrote, for free on Tor.com right here
a Rafflecopter giveaway