"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Monday, February 2, 2015

Blog Tour (Guest Post and Giveaway): PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD by Michelle Falkoff (YA)


by Michelle Falkoff
Release date: January 27th, 2015
Published by: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: Hardcover, eBook


A teenage boy tries to understand his best friend's suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind in this smart, voice-driven debut novel.

Here's what Sam knows: There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, his best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs, and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you'll understand.

As he listens to song after song, Sam tries to face up to what happened the night Hayden killed himself. But it's only by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he will finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.

Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular NowPlaylist for the Dead is an honest and gut-wrenching first novel about loss, rage, what it feels like to outgrow a friendship that's always defined you—and the struggle to redefine yourself. But above all, it's about finding hope when hope seems like the hardest thing to find.


GUEST POST by Michelle Falkoff

Writing about Setting (with some book recs!)

I find writing about real places to be very difficult.  I feel a certain obligation to be faithful to the truth, to what actually exists, and I worry that people who are familiar with a particular location will be upset if I mess with their understanding of that place.  Like my hometown—I’ve been thinking about a project set there, but given that I know people from there will eventually see it, I felt like I had to make it a fictional city rather than the real one, so that when I needed to change details to make aspects of the story work, I wasn’t nervous that my high school friends would call me out for it. 

This isn’t necessarily a problem other people have.  Moriah McStay’s wonderful new novel EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU is set in Nashville and references a real coffeehouse, and when she posted a picture of it, the picture looked exactly how I’d imagined it from reading the book, which I found so impressive.

For some reason, it’s also tough for me to write about a place where I actually live—I’m there all the time, so many of the important details are lost on me, since they’re part of my everyday experience.  T.M. Goeglein’s COLD FURY series has got my current city of Chicago pretty well covered, so I can be patient for now.  Besides, it’s often the case that I don’t realize what really stood out to me about somewhere I lived until I’m gone.  Since I’ve moved around a lot, this gives me a lot to work with.

PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD, my first book, is set in Iowa, a place that’s near and dear to me but where I no longer live, which made writing the book really bittersweet.  My memory of things was fresh, which was helpful, but I also had a little distance, so I could remember little details that didn’t stand out to me at the time, like how the trail around the little pond, where I used to run, always smelled like cinnamon in the spring.  M Molly Backes wrote a terrific book called THE PRINCESSES OF IOWA that’s also set there, though in a different part, and which uses setting wonderfully well.

The book I’m writing now is set in Silicon Valley, where I used to work, but it’s been a while since I’ve lived there, so I’ve had to do a lot more research to get a sense of how the landscape has changed.  Research is one of the most fun parts of writing for me, though, so that’s a bonus.  An even better bonus would be going out there to visit, but I haven’t pulled that off quite yet.  My strongest memories of reading about Silicon Valley in fiction come from Douglas Coupland’s MICROSERFS, a book that I’m sure is terribly dated now but which I’m sure still has some relevance for people just starting out in the tech world. 

I seem to be moving backward through my geographical history as I write, which means I should next be contemplating a book set in New York.  There’s so much fantastic writing about New York already, though, from Manhattan to the boroughs to the cities and towns outside of the city.  Lee Kelly’s debut CITY OF SAVAGES envisions a post-apocalyptic Manhattan in which Central Park is a refugee camp.  Jonathan Lethem’s classic MOTHERLESSBROOKLYN will always be a favorite of mine, as will Nova Ren Suma’s gorgeous IMAGINARYGIRLS, which is set in a fictionalized town upstate.

Of course, if I were smart, I’d write books in glorious foreign settings so I could give myself the opportunity for travel, like my friend Paula Morris, who set her book THE ETERNAL CITY in Rome.  That’s really the way to do it.   


- There is a tour-wide giveaway for 3 copies of PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD.
- US/Canada ONLY.
- Giveaway ends on February 10th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific

(Bumbles and Fairy-Tales will not be held responsible for any lost, damaged, unclaimed, etc. prizes.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Michelle Falkoff

Michelle Falkoff's fiction and reviews have been published in ZYZZYVA, DoubleTake, and the Harvard Review, among other places. 

She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and currently serves as Director of Communication and Legal Reasoning at Northwestern University School of Law. 

This is her first novel.


Playlist for the Dead TOUR SCHEDULE

Week One
1/26/15 Novel Novice – Guest Post
1/27/15 Me, My Shelf and I – Review + Excerpt 
1/28/15 Such a Novel Idea – Review
1/29/15 Fictitious Delicious – Review
1/30/15 Once Upon a Twilight – Interview

Week Two
2/2/15 Bumbles and Fairy Tales – Guest Post 
2/3/15 Fiktshun - Review
2/4/15 Tales of a Ravenous Reader - Interview
2/5/15 Swoony Boys Podcast – Guest Post 

2/6/15 Falling For YA – Review + Excerpt 

1 comment:

  1. I create several playlists for workout, sleeping, pick-me up in the afternoon and for just plain fun.


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