June 8, 2014

Pandemic Blog Tour: Review, Guest Post + Giveaway


Welcome to my stop on the official blog tour for PANDEMIC! Today I have a guest post by the author to share with you, along with my review of the book. Don't forget to enter the awesome giveaway either! To follow the rest of the tour, click on the banner above.

Author: Yvonne Ventresca
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Dystopia
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Sky Pony Press


Pandemic is a contemporary, realistic young adult novel about an emotionally traumatized teenager struggling to survive a bird flu pandemic.

In Pandemic, only a few people know what caused Lilianna Snyder’s sudden change from a model student to a withdrawn pessimist who worries about all kinds of disasters. When people begin coming down with a quick-spreading illness that doctors are unable to treat, Lil’s worst fears are realized. With her parents called away on business before the contagious outbreak–her journalist father in Delaware covering the early stages of the disease and her mother in Hong Kong and unable to get a flight back to New Jersey–Lil’s town is hit by what soon becomes a widespread fatal illness.

With friends and neighbors dying around her, Lil does everything she can to survive.  Just when it all seems too much, the cause of her original trauma shows up at her door. Lil must find a way to survive not only the outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons.

Five Tips for Aspiring Authors 
By Yvonne Ventresca 
I think it’s important to look at writing as a long-term process. Don’t be in a rush with early drafts and revisions. I remember finishing an early draft of my first novel and hurrying to send it out to an agent I heard speak at a conference. The story wasn’t ready, she rejected it kindly, and I lost that opportunity due to my impatience. 

Pandemic, my debut novel, was actually the fourth one that I’d written. Finding a publisher (or an agent) can be a long process. If you get results quickly, that’s great, but taking an extended view might help to avoid frustration. 
In a related point, take time between revisions. When writers finish a draft, they often want it to be perfect. Taking a break before rereading a draft allows you to see the strengths and weaknesses of a project more clearly.  
Read! It might feel like slacking off, but reading is critical for writers. According to author Ernest Gaines, the Six Golden Rules of Writing are “Read, read, read, and write, write, write.” 
Treat writing like a job that requires certain skills. Evaluate what you are good at and what you need to improve. If you’re not sure, check with your critique group. Maybe your weakness is unnatural sounding dialogue, or adding too much description (or not enough!), or a sagging story arc. After determining what needs work, try focusing on that area by reading craft books and concentrating on developing that skill. Just because we are good writers doesn’t mean we are good at all parts of writing. 
Research details that can make your story authentic. If your characters (or their parents) work at certain jobs, look into those fields. Try to include meaningful elements about the setting. Not all of your research will be included in the story, but sometimes a detail or two can make a big difference.  

At the same time, don’t get overly caught up in research. (I’m guilty of this!) As E.L. Doctorow said, “Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.”  
Thanks so much for stopping by and giving some tips to all the aspiring authors out there Yvonne!
Pandemic is a chillingly realistic young adult dystopian novel where the world suffers from a bird flu pandemic - which changes the world as they know it. The story was well crafted, if a little predictable, but the author wrote it in a way that made it feel like this could happen to our world in the near future. That fact alone made me sit back and think a bit about what would happen in that situation - what I would do; how I'd survive. After connecting with the plot in such a vivid fashion, it was easy for me to envision the world that the author built in the novel. Lili was a good main character for the book. She's basically just your average teenage girl - and then everything in the world breaks down in the wake of the bird flu pandemic. We see her flaws and strengths very clearly - she's deathly afraid and doesn't know if she'll see her family again; let alone survive the outbreak herself. But she gathers her strength and does what she has to in order to survive. She's smart, brave, and determined - which are all admirable qualities for a main character. I found her easy to relate to from the beginning of the book. The writing was well done with a pretty quick pace and lots of suspense and action. The author wrote from Lili's point of view as well as in a conversational tone, so it was easy to slip into the book alongside Lili. The writing style along with the characters and plot made this a really quick read for me. Although this concept isn't entirely original, the author does a good job getting the reader to relate to both the characters and the world as it falls apart around them. Recommended for fans of YA dystopias and science fiction.

Before becoming a children’s writer, Yvonne Ventresca wrote computer programs and taught others how to use technology. Now she happily spends her days writing stories instead of code and sharing tips with other writers. Yvonne is the author of the young adult novel Pandemic, available in May 2014 from Sky Pony Press.

Yvonne grew up in Levittown, New York, where the suburban homes were famously identical in design and the streets were named in sections (birds, astronomy-related, random occupations). Her quest for publication began in middle school (sort of) when she asked the librarian for information on how to physically create a book. Writing was fun, but how do you actually get those words into bound pages? The small library didn’t have any materials about that, and it would be many years before Yvonne achieved the goal of writing a published book.

Yvonne majored in English and Computer Science – an unusual combination, but when she was stuck on a literature assignment she could debug her programs, and when that got boring she could write an essay. That strategy worked well and she graduated with honors from Hofstra University, followed by her MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business. Her post-college life was divided into two phases: life in the corporate world (where she worked as a computer programmer, technology trainer, recruiter, and compensation analyst) and later, life as a writer.

She definitely prefers phase two. During her writing career, Yvonne has written instructional video scripts about technology, numerous articles for children and adults, a nonfiction book for teens about careers in publishing, and a biography for teens about the singer Avril Lavigne. But her real love is fiction, and after several attempts at writing a novel, she created a story about a contemporary bird flu pandemic.
Yvonne Ventresca currently resides with her husband and two teenage children in New Jersey.
 You can purchase Pandemic at the following Retailers:

 (1) Winner will receive a$75 Visa gift card, a Canvas Pandemic bag filled with a signed hard cover, a Limited Edition Necklace described in the book, Bookmarks, and an anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer.  

Must be 13+ to Enter / International Giveaway
*Book Nerd Tours is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Mail Box*

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