Today I'm pleased to have Michelle Madow, author of Remembrance, as my guest on I Write, I Read, I Review. Michelle was actually one of the first authors to contact me about reading a book and I am very glad to be a part of the tour now, as well. Curious what I thought of Remembrance? Read on. Then stick around for an interview with Michelle and details on how you can win a Remembrance prize pack.
The Plot: (Summary from GoodReads)
New Hampshire high school junior Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from Regency Era, England ... but she doesn't know it yet.
Then Drew Carmichael transfers into Lizzie's school at the beginning of the year, and she feels a connection to him, almost like she knows him. She can't stop thinking about him, but whenever she tries talking with him about the mysteries behind her feelings, he makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with her. Reaching him is even more difficult because she has a boyfriend, Jeremy, who has started to become full of himself after being elected co-captain of the varsity soccer team, and her flirtatious best friend Chelsea starts dating Drew soon after his arrival. So why can't she seem to get him out of her mind?
Even though Lizzie knows she should let go of her fascination with Drew, the pair of them soon find that fighting fate isn't going to be easy.
The idea behind Remembrance caught my attention right away. I haven't read a lot of reincarnation stories, but the idea of it happening to a couple of teens going to high school and one of them having to sort it all out seemed intriguing, and the execution of the idea did not have any trouble keeping up.
I was frustrated at first over how Drew would behave one way and then another, but as the plot progressed and the "why" of it became clear, this actually succeeded in being a book where the hero's behavior was understandable, if not fully excusable.
I felt that the way that Lizzie dealt with what was going on between her and Drew (or not going on...) made sense due to the premise. If this was contemporary I would say her reaction was too strong, but here it fit. She seemed interested in him, drawn by a strong pull that she recognized as being odd and things happened naturally from there.
One thing that Michelle included that I really liked was the old man at the antique shop who helped Lizzie. I feel that his presence added credibility that reincarnation is real in 'their' world, if not in ours. (Which you are welcome to interpret either way. I'll stay neutral on my opinion for now.)
I immediately liked Lizzie and continued to like her from the beginning of Remembrance to the end. I felt that she was a relatively strong character. I admired her determination to learn the truth of what was happening to her. I also respected the amount of difficulty she had with the situation she was in and the ramifications of it on her current boyfriend and best friend.
Drew was a bit of a mystery, and I am still questioning whether he was meant to be this way or whether, perhaps, it was simply that we do not really get his pov. (I will never get totally use to single pov books, I swear. My background is in adult romance, where hero and heroine usually get to switch.) I didn't totally swoon over Drew, unfortunately, but I did find him reasonably well put together as a character and I didn't want to slap him.
I found Jeremy and Chelsea both very interesting. I thought that Jeremy was a total calculating jerk and I cheered for Lizzie when she ended things with him, because he truly wasn't worth keeping around. As for Chelsea, I felt torn. On one hand I felt for her and her reaction to the events of the book felt real and legitimate. On the other hand, I just kept thinking "Cheer up. If this happened to Lizzie, I am sure there must be someone for you, too. It has to get better."
I liked the fact that the story played out over a reasonable length of time. Drew and Lizzie don't end up together after a week or something. There are some plots -- heroine in jeopardy, for instance -- where that might work, but this would not have been one of them. I liked the fact that although the draw between the characters was instant, they still felt like they had to legitimately earn being together. Michelle Madow managed to keep me questioning whether they would end up together, despite the premise of the book, which is very important when romance is the central plot.
I also like how real that she made the relationship between Lizzie and Jeremy. People do change, especially as teenagers (or some might argue, they grow more into their true selves) and the way that Michelle showed clearly that Lizzie and Jeremy were already having problems allowed me to empathize with her. Had they been magically perfect and then had trouble once Drew came along it would have been a lot harder to get me invested. (I always feel compelled to explain why this does or does not work for me in a book.)
I really enjoyed Remembrance. The pacing was pretty good, although there were times when I felt we were spending a tad too much inside of Lizzie's head without other characters adding dialogue that would have made things move along more quickly. That said, I read the book in two sittings which is pretty good for me.
Remembrance is a heart-warming, fluffy romance that hit a lot of the right notes. If you enjoy love stories with a little magical twist to them, this should be a good fit. Recommended. Between the pretty cover and great story, I know I want a copy for my shelf, not just my Kindle.
Where to find Michelle:
1. There is a silly phrase that goes, "You are what you eat." I don't necessarily believe that, but I think it's far more true that as a writer "You are what you read". So, if you were going to have time to read three books on a fabulous tropical vacation, what would they be and why?
When I go on vacation I like to bring books I haven’t read yet (to me, there are SO many books out there to read, and I prefer spending my time reading new books than re-reading books I’ve enjoyed). So if I were going on a tropical vacation tomorrow and only had time to read three books, I would bring:
The Death Cure by James Dashner—this is the conclusion to the Maze Runner trilogy, which I loved, and I can’t wait to see how the story ends!
Destined by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast—I love the House of Night series, and can’t wait to see what the characters are up to. Right now my favorite characters in the series are Aphrodite and Stevie Rae
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin—I love A Game of Thrones (both the HBO series and the first book of the Song of Ice and Fire series), and plan on reading A Clash of Kings before the next season of the television show.
2. Reading is usually pretty easy, but writing generally isn't. What do you feel is the greatest challenge that you faced while writing Remembrance? Was the research hard? Did a particular character try to take over your plot? Was a scene particularly tricky?
The biggest challenge in writing for me is getting started every day. When I’m drafting I aim to write 1,000 – 1,500 words a day. Sitting in my chair, opening the Word document, and getting focused is without a doubt my biggest challenge! Once I do that, the words usually start to flow.
3. I've heard you say that Remembrance was inspired by the "Love Story" music video by Taylor Swift. Does music influence your stories often? Do you create soundtracks for your work? (I know I do.) If so, would you like to list some songs that inspire you as a writer?
Yes, Remembrance was inspired by Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” music video! . In the video, Taylor sees a guy while walking through campus, and the moment their eyes connect, the scene flashes to the two of them dancing at a beautiful ball dressed in clothes that appear to be from around the year 1815. After watching the video, the characters and story in Remembrance pieced together in my mind. I started to write it down, and ended up with a finished novel!
I’m glad you asked about a soundtrack to the novel—the Remembrance Playlist is posted on my blog, where I talk about the songs I put on the playlist and how they relate to the novel.
4. So many readers also want to be writers. Not everyone makes the jump, but I'm sure there are those reading who would love to do that. Do you have any advice for those who dream of sharing their stories with others?
The first thing you need to do if you want to complete a book is write the first draft. To me this is the hardest part, but once you have the first draft completed, you’ve proven to yourself that you have what it takes to write a full story from start to finish. Always remember to keep practicing and never give up!
5. So, do you have any projects in the works that you can share with us now? Are we likely to see more from the characters of Remembrance?
The Transcend Time Saga will continue with Vengeance, a short story I’m releasing on December 8, 2011. This story is told from Chelsea’s point of view, and will bridge what happens in Remembrance with the final book in the series.
Would you like to ask a question?
Michelle: Do you believe in reincarnation and past lives? If so, what time do you think you were from?
Kathy: I think my choice would be ancient Greece. I've always been really drawn to the Oracle of Delphi and if I was reincarnated from something, I think that a pythia (one of the people who saw visions and gave prophecies) would be a good guess.
Thanks so much for having me as part of the Remembrance tour. I have had a lot of fun taking part and I am looking forward to reading Vengeance.
Michelle: Thank you so much for interviewing me on your blog!
Remembrance is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and The Book Depository.
Remembrance is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and The Book Depository.