2012-06-08

Blog Tour: Monument 14


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
ISBN13:  9780312569037
E-galley received from publisher via Net Galley

Goodreads Synopsis:
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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
I did, however, have a few problems with the characters. I found them largely to be caricatures, and mostly lacked any real depth. I think the reason I felt them to be this way was because we didn't get any real sense of their motivations or reasons for acting the way they do, and especially for keeping the secrets they keep. I can understand that from the younger kids, but it's harder to look the other way in the case of the teens in the group. Some people are suspicious, some choose to isolate themselves, some act out and cause trouble. But we never find out WHY, and I wonder if part of th ereason for this is because there's just too many characters to follow.

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




Purchase Links
United States
Canada
International



Macmillan is offering up one hardcover copy of Monument 14 to one entrant from either the US or Canada. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

26 comments:

Jennifer said...

I am very curious about this book. Sounds good. Interesting premise. Thanks.

Lex said...

It looks really good!I love it when you can't put a book down. :)

Gwenyth Love said...

I have wanted to read this one for some time now. Thanks for the giveaway Brenna.

Ems said...

I had already decided to read this book when I first heard about it, but Emmy's writing style even in her guest post solidified it. Add your praise to that, and I'm bumping it to the top of my must-read list!

Thanks for the chance to win.

Paige said...

I cannot wait to read this book! Great review =)

~Paige @ Comfort Books

Rachel at thejeepdiva said...

I really want to read this book. It looks great and sounds good. I have noticed it has gotten good reviews also. Thanks for the chance.

TayteH said...

Wait, there are elementary kids too?! OMG! This book is good. :D

FireStarBooks said...

I am hoping that the book can be a replacement for the GONE series :3 Great review!

Denise Z said...

Thank you for sharing with us today and for the lovely giveaway opportunity. I have one of those compartmental minds and never realized that was you in Superstar, which I thought was a hoot :) How awesome that you have switched lanes so successfully. I love the premise and bits I have read of Monument 14 and I really look forward to reading it.

Daniela said...

I've heard a lot of good things about this book and I can't wait to read it, it sounds really good! I loved the interview too! :)

Denise said...

I really like the trailer! This one is going to be so awesome!

kathleen said...

Ooh... a superstore. I like the sound of this one. But if it's good and I have to wait for the sequel I'll be jumping up and down in my seat until the next one comes out.

Rosa said...

I like the fact that it's not only high school kids, but also elementary ones. This sounds exciting.

Lexie said...

Wow! O_O That . . . is definitely not the kind of guest post one usually reads. That's so crazy and awesome. I love it!

And regarding the book itself, awesome review. Thrilling books that keep you engrossed in the novel are always fun, but flat characters can pull a story down. I think I'll still have to give this one a shot. :D

Christina K. said...

I think the setting for this book is very cool, and it's refreshing to read about what happens to characters as the disaster strikes, instead of how they cope after.

The main character's voice in the summary pulled me in, it really did.

Emmy Laybourne's post was very interesting, especially about how all her acting experience shaped her.

Thanks so much:)

Jen said...

I have not read any post-apocalyptic books yet, so i can't wait to read this book! :) Thank you for the honest review:)
-JennyC

Shelver506 said...

I just started this book and so far so good. I can't wait to finish!

The Every Free Chance Reader said...

Awesome guest post! This book sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway!

Samantha R. said...

I agree that this genre needs a little shaking up. Sounds like a great premise!

fourheadjen said...

Nice post! And from your review, this book definitely sounds interesting- I'll be picking this up soon!

Danielle B! said...

Thanks for the great review. I love your reasons why we should read this book. I love the plot and the cool cover makes me want to read Monument 14 even more :D

Lily Hunter said...

I've had my eye on this novel and your review made me sooooo much more excited for it! Thank you for the review as well as the giveaway! :)

London Judge said...

Great guest post, it made me really excited to read Monument 14!

londonjudge@verizon.net

tennille said...

great trailer --love the idea for the plot with kids and teens

Diana said...

That's so fun that Emmy was in film etc. but even more cool that she decided to focus on her kids when she became a mom. And because now she's a YA novel writer!

Eesti said...

Monument 14 was such a thrilling novel, and I did not even know it was part of a series until I started writing my review so I am a bit giddy about that, since the ending was a bit unsatisfactory and open ended, but knowing there is a sequel? oh my, I can't contain my excitement waiting!!

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