I can’t wait for CHARLIE, PRESUMED DEAD’s release next week. I fell in love with the title and cover and description and instantly pre-ordered it for my Kindle and I am so excited the wait is nearly over.
In the meantime, I am totally stoked to be a part of the blog tour for CHARLIE, PRESUMED DEAD and to have been able to interview the incredibly awesome author, Anne Heltzel, whose answers make me even more sure that I will love, love, love this book.
If you would like to know just a little bit more about it, be sure to check out the Q&A. And if you’d like to win some awesome prizes, this tour includes a fantastic giveaway.
And… if you’d like to know what a few other bloggers have to say about CHARLIE, PRESUMED DEAD or read a couple other interviews and guest posts, scroll down to the tour schedule at the bottom of the post for direct links to all the stops.
I’m not typically someone who gets lured in by praise blurbs on the covers of books, but I couldn’t help but be drawn in by the words “twisty and devious” that were used to describe this book. I love twisty, I LOVE devious. So. So. So. Excited.
About CHARLIE, PRESUMED DEAD
Title: CHARLIE, PRESUMED DEAD
Author: Anne Heltzel
Release date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
In Paris, family and friends gather to mourn the tragic passing of Charlie Price—young, handsome, charming, a world-traveler—who is presumed dead after an explosion. Authorities find only a bloodied jacket, ID’d as Charlie’s. At the funeral, two teens who are perfect strangers, Lena Whitney and Aubrey Boroughs, make another shocking discovery: they have both been dating Charlie, both think Charlie loved them and them alone, and there is a lot they didn’t know about their boyfriend. Over the next week, a mind-bending trip unfolds: first in London—then in Mumbai, Kerala, and Bangkok, the girls go in search of Charlie. Is he still alive? What did their love for him even mean? The truth is out there, but soon it becomes clear that the girls are harboring secrets of their own.
No one knows whom to trust in this thrilling tale of suspense and deception.
Q&A with Anne Heltzel
Q. Who was your favorite character to write/write about (and why) – Lena Whitney, Aubrey Buroughs or the presumed dead Charlie Price?
Charlie! Because he was unstable, there weren’t many limits to what I could do with his character. He got to reinvent himself each time he formed a new relationship or traveled somewhere new. In a sense, starting over (even creating a new identity) is a fantasy for everyone. I loved inventing personas for him and eventually touching on his mental fragility.
Q. What does having a backdrop of Europe and Asia bring to the story?
I hope it brought a sense of glamour and exoticism, and presented challenges that may have been unfamiliar to readers and thus more exciting. I just love experiences that push me out of my comfort zone, and I wanted my characters’ adventures to surprise and thrill readers.
Q. If you could choose one line or one scene that was your favorite, what would it be and why?
I really like the scene where Lena meets Charlie for the first time (buying vinyls), mostly because it’s nostalgic. It’s the only scene in the novel that I pulled almost directly from life. A few summers ago, I spent an entire night hanging out with a guy who sold me a bookshelf. We went out for pizza and wandered around Brooklyn together until 5am. I am naturally introverted; but that night I took my chances, and it was too good not to write about. I remember my agent saying it was one of the best scenes in the original draft, and I was embarrassed to ‘fess up that it was essentially a fictionalized diary entry.
Q. What was the most challenging aspect of writing CHARLIE, PRESUMED DEAD?
I’m usually not a plot girl! I get really invested in psychological development and atmosphere, and this was the total opposite of that. My other books were psychological dramas, not true thrillers. This was so plotty! So terrifying! And so rewarding—it took natural turns that I never would have anticipated.
Q. When sitting down to write, was the plot already outlined/developed, or did it begin to take shape as you wrote? And (without revealing spoilers) how much did it change from what was originally intended or from an early draft?
I knew beginning, middle, and end; and I knew vague things like, “BIG REVEAL WITH LENA” and “AUBREY IS HIDING SOMETHING.” So I had a grasp on the story I wanted to tell and the mechanics of getting there—but the details filled themselves in as I wrote. Typically when I stopped writing each day, I would outline the next 1-2 chapters so I’d be ready to go the following day. Often those ensuing chapters evolved in unexpected directions. (Even if you know what happens in one scene, there are natural repercussions stemming from characters’ actions that you may not have considered.)
Q. Do you think being an editor helps with being a writer or does it make things more of a challenge?
No! It is terrible! Just kidding, I love being an editor. I honestly don’t know which of my two careers I enjoy more. Being an editor makes it difficult to write without pondering what’s currently in the market and how well a new concept will hold up. It makes it harder to just lose yourself in your writing for the pure love of it. But of course there are skills I’ve acquired that make it easier to revise. For example, I have zero qualms cutting. Kill those darlings! I’m not usually very attached to certain lines or scenes. And I love receiving editorial feedback. I think being an editor makes me all the more grateful for my own editor. Still…there are times when I’d rather be in the dark about the publishing process. Some of that romance is gone when you’ve been in the trenches on the other side.
About Anne Heltzel
Author Photo by Kristi Hedberg Photography
ANNE HELTZEL is a Brooklyn-based author and editor of children’s books. Anne was born in Ohio, has been a voracious reader since the age of three, and credits her careers in publishing and writing (both lifelong dreams–just ask to see her childhood journal) to a serendipitous coffee shop conversation during her senior year of college. Anne was on a law school track until the aforementioned fateful conversation prompted her to switch gears and move to New York City, where she entered an M.F.A. program. In 2007 she began her first job in publishing. In 2008 she graduated from The New School with a master’s degree in Writing for Children. Anne has since lived in India and Paris, and has taught writing and reading workshops in each of her former homes. More recently, she participated as a mentor in NYC’s Girls Write Now program. When she is not writing, Anne is furiously (and passionately) editing novels for a Manhattan publishing house. She is represented by Stephen Barbara at InkWell Management. Anne also writes under the pseudonym Anna Collomore.
There is a tour-wide giveaway for…
- THREE (3) winners will receive a finished copy of CHARLIE, PRESUMED DEAD + a Gold Rose Necklace – Antique gold pewter rose charm on an 18 inch gold-plated cable chain (photo above) – US ONLY.
Enter in the Rafflecopter below…
The Tour Schedule
May 25th – Falling for YA | Interview
May 26th – The Bibliophile Chronicles | Review
May 27th – Moonlight Gleam Reviews | Guest Post
May 28th – Book Briefs | Review
May 29th – Fiktshun | Interview
June 1st – One Guy’s Guide to Good Reads | Review
June 2nd – Literary Meanderings | Guest Post
June 3rd – Seeing Double in Neverland | Review
June 4th – Bumbles and Fairy-Tales | Interview
June 5th – Please Feed the Bookworm | Review