I have a mixture of things for you today! It’s is Publication day today for Marisa and her novel The Unadjusted! (*Spoiler* I loved it!) I am going to share my review of her book with you but I am also going to be sharing a Q&A she did for me too – aren’t we lucky!!
Happy Publication Day!!
First, let us dive in with the first part of the Q&A!!
I absolutely loved The Unadjusted, but I have to ask when you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
Both! I’ve learned as time goes on with each novel, to interrogate my characters as much as possible before I start writing. This helps me from going in random directions that don’t make sense. For a minimum, I start with what they want, what they need, and how these two things come into opposition. I also list 5-10 life-defining memories for each main character. Reference to them might not make it into the book, but it gives me a better picture of who they are, what scars they carry and how they might react in a given situation. Of course, there are always surprises. Characters do take on a life of their own; they become real people and start making their own, often unexpected, decisions!
I would love to know what didn’t make the book! So does that mean your characters based on real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
90% of them came from my imagination. Many of them, especially the bad guys, are an amalgamation of characters from books and movies that have inspired me over the years. There’s always a little bit of me in my main characters, whether it be a childhood incident or a phobia or their favourite food. I like to have something in common with them.
I could sense some of the amalgamation of characters…well my interpretation anyway! Did you have a chapter you found hard to finish, if so which one and why?
Oooo – interesting question. I think for The Unadjusteds it was probably the last chapter. The book changed dramatically over the editing process and although the ending is largely the same, it needed a different tone. In the original, Silver’s father dies and the cure is already distributed, so I had to work in the hope of a positive outcome without ending on too much of a cliffhanger. Although it is the first of a trilogy, it works well as a stand along, and getting that balance right is tough!
What is this darn book about then??The Unadjusteds by Marisa Noelle
Published by Write Plan on November 1, 2019
Buy on Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble
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Sixteen-year-old Silver Melody lives in a world where 80% of the population has modified their DNA. Known as the altereds, those people now possess enhancements like wings, tails, and increased strength or intelligence. Although Silver’s parents created the nanite pill used to deliver these genetic modifications, Silver is proud of her unadjusted state.
However, when the president declares all unadjusteds must take a nanite, Silver has no choice but to flee the city with her father and some friends to prevent the extinction of the unadjusteds.
With Silver’s mother in prison for treason, Silver’s father is the unadjusteds’ only hope at finding a cure. But time is running out as Silver’s father is captured by the president’s almost immortal army. Vicious hellhounds are on Silver’s trail, and her only chance to recover her father involves teaming up with a new group of unlikely friends before all humanity is lost.
Ok let me hand it back over to Marisa and her writing life!
Do you have a schedule for writing? Do you work 9 to 5, or fit it in where you can around other things like a job or running a household?
I tend to work school hours. I’m lucky enough that I don’t have to do another “proper” job and can write all day. I tend to hit the gym three times a week (swimming) and do a pilates course. On top of various physio appointments for some chronic pain issues, it doesn’t actually give me very many full days to sit and write. And then I’m on Mum duty again at 3:30 each day. So any spare moment I sit at my laptop and squeeze out as much as I can. I tend not to work at the weekends, and only do if I have paid mentoring work to get to. I prefer to save that time for family.
So when you are writing, do you listen to music? If so what is your preferred genre/band/artist?
I do not! I need silence while working, but I do like to listen to music just before to get me in the right mood. Usually upbeat chart music, or if I’m writing a romantic scene than I’ll find a love song. The Greatest Showman soundtrack has so many inspirational songs and while I was writing The Mermaid Chronicles I listened to Train’s Mermaid song constantly.
And do you have a favourite place to write?
I tend to just stick to my study. We’ve recently moved house and I’m not loving the new study so much. We’re undergoing a huge house redevelopment and my new study with a huge picture window is coming. I can’t wait! In the meantime, I move around to the kitchen, or lounge. Wherever the builders aren’t making noise.
Like your Unadjusted/Adjusteds, do you have a writing Kryptonite?
I find editing really hard. Once I’ve done the first draft and then gone through my check list of edits which look at plot structure, character arcs/motivation etc, conflict, filter word and such, then I get stuck. I think it’s done and that’s when I need a pair of objective eyes to tell me what to do. I’m too afraid to make major changes unless someone tells me too! Equally, when someone tells me to make a major plot change, it totally drains me of energy. I think it’s trying to catch all the strands that go with each change and make sure it’s threaded through consistently that drives me nuts.
Ok, ok let me tell you what I now thought of the book before we hand back over for the last part of the Q&A!
✮ My Review ✮
I have so many feels with this book! When Marisa contacted me…a long time ago now about whether I would be interested in reading her book, I took one look at the cover and then read the blurb and knew I had to read it. Appealing to the YA side in me with a kick-ass MC I just knew I had to read it. Silver Melody (what an awesome name) lives in a world where people can take tablets or nanite pills as they are known to become something else… to become an Adjusted. Well, what does this mean? Basically, you take a pill and it can alter your appearance by something as simple as whitening your teeth or giving you that year-long tan. Or, if you have the money or know the right people, you can take a pill to alter your appearance, you can have wings, telekinesis, become a bulk – so Eight foot tall built like a brick house, the list is endless. Silver, however, does not want to be altered, seeing what happens when you take too many pills does not appeal plus she likes her DNA the way it is! The problem is President Bear, and he is a HUGE, dark, sinister problem and he has her mum! Her parents are the doctors who introduced the pills to this world to help cure cancer, help heal people and then Bear twisted it and Silver’s Mum was taken because she refused to help twist something pure and light into this darkness. This is Silver’s story about what happens next when you are caught in the crosshairs of the most powerful man living.
I found this concept refreshing, I loved the idea of popping a pill to be able to change something about you. I mean let us be honest who has not thought about it before! However, the dark side of this tale makes you realise to be happy with what you have! Nothing apart from you should alter you. That in itself is a powerful message.
When reading this I could feel influences from Hunger Games and Divergent and a bit of the Walking Dead, but at the same time, I did feel this was fresh and exciting. Tris and Katniss are both special in their own way in their stories and Silver is too. Why she is special, well I can’t tell you that! But we have a powerful kick-ass main character who at the same time is a young woman trying to forge her own path in life before everything kicks off. Silver is determined and very headstrong but what I did love is for a change she listened. She listened to everyone and did not go off galavanting by herself and have to be rescued. She held her own and her friends, her team worked together and this is not something you see often but works perfectly. It’s not to say they all liked each other but they learned to be a team with a mixture of abilities and adjusted and unadjusted.
I really truly did love this book and I blitzed it pretty much over 2 days around work and mini-me. I actually feel quite bereft that this is over, but I am excited to know that there is the second book in the works, I just want it now!!!! AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH 👿
I even took the quiz on Marisa’s blog and apparently I have been approved for a level 10 Nanite Pill – Woah that is like the best one and it would be a pretty cool ability to have!
And if I was a character I would be Paige – now I would be happy with that one, she is such a lovely and caring girl, her heart is in the right place and most of all she just wants to be noticed and loved by her parents. In fact, all of the friends in Silver’s life are all worth a mention but there are 10 of them but I warmed immediately to Matt, Joe (just do not go there), Paige and Kyle, all showing their strength and understanding. These people become a part of your life while you read these pages and just want to protect them all. Some may be secondary characters originally but the way they are brought to life by Noelle’s writing they sit very much in the forefront of your mind. You do forget sometimes that this is a YA book because of the characters and fight and decisions they faced, but sometimes there was a reminder of how young they were with some more “immature” and inappropriate conversations and their timing, that being said, I look at it from their point of view and sometimes these things just need to be said, no matter when and what is going on.
The Unadjusted if done right, then it would be epic on the big screen! The talent of Noelle in this book is unreal, her imagination with the world she has created is epic and she does not hold back on anything. This book is slick and the words flow on the page, I never felt anything dragged or was unnecessary. It is action-packed from the get-go, we have zero preambles and we are taken on such a breathtaking and sightseeing adventure! We fly, we speed, we hulk out maybe we even drink a little! There is a tension flowing through this book, because of the unknown outcome of the battle that is all the periphery and the outcome in the first book is not what I expected, which made it blinking awesome. I know I am gushing but I need to gush. I was completely hooked from the beginning until the last page and take a moment to appreciate the gorgeous book cover!!
Well that was my thoughts on the book! On to the final bit of the post, the last bit of the Q&A!!!!
After writing all about Heroes and Villains, if you had to write yourself as a character in your book, would you be a heroine or villainous? What would you be like and what would you name yourself?
My instinct would be to play hero. I’d love to have a special talent or power that made me the only one able to save the day. To feel that special would be awesome. But the reality is I’d probably be too terrified to do anything and just wilt in a corner. I do love writing a bad guy. It’s one of my fav parts to write. So I’d be sorely tempted to cast myself that way and inflict evilness from the safety of my lair.
I love this!!! However, what I really want to know is what are you working on now? (Please be the sequel!)
I am working on a few things. Firstly I’m doing edits with my agent on an MG about 3 neurodiverse orphaned siblings who find an aunt in California and decide to escape their NY orphanage to greyhound across the country. Their conditions both help and hinder their journey. It’s a book that shows how anyone with a diagnosis can be a hero of their own story, that these labels can be strengths. I’ve also recently written a book about AI that I like to think of as Westworld meets Pretty Little Liars. And my latest first draft is about 4 girls who win a holiday to a remote tropical island after their A-levels only to be stranded when a hurricane hits. But the hurricane is controlled by the humanoid crab monsters who want to claim one of them as their queen.
Woman you are a machine! Can not wait to read these!! But final question here – What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer it?
Gosh – I’m really struggling with this. One of my favourite questions that I have been asked is what colour crayon would I be – Deep Space Blue. Loved that question. I enjoy talking about my writing journey and perseverance so always like those questions but I can’t think of anything specific that I haven’t been asked that doesn’t include topics of world domination or JK Rowling status. Haha!
Marisa you have been a rockstar thank you so much for bringing your book to my attention and answering all my questions! It has been such a pleasure to get to know you!
Check out The UnAdjusted and let me know what you think or her first book (Which I am going to be getting my hands on) The Shadow KeepersThe Shadow Keepers by Marisa Noelle
Published by Magnolia Press on July 30, 2019
Buy on Amazon UK
Add to Goodreads
Sixteen-year-old Georgia Boone has seen the shadow creatures in mirrors and other reflective surfaces since she was six-years-old. But no one--not even her brother, the person she’s closest to in the entire world--believes her. She is all alone in the hellish world where crow-like creatures hunting her everywhere she goes.
When an afternoon of shopping ends in violence and blood, Georgia is sent to the UK’s most prestigious mental health hospitals: Brookwood Hospital. There, she’s forced to face her fears and answer the question:
Are the shadows real, or is this all in her head?
At Brookwood, the shadow creatures are more present than ever and are getting stronger every day. Only with the help of a mysterious boy who lives inside the mirror world might she be able to prove that she’s not hallucinating and stop the shadows from destroying the human world.
Until next time xxx
Thank you so much to the author Marisa Noelle for an ARC of her book in return for my honest and unbiased review.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: