We are so excited to be celebrating one year of publication for Yvonne Ventresca’s contemporary disaster novel, PANDEMIC with an exciting Book Blitz! To all of the wonderful readers and bloggers that are participating in the Blitz today, we can’t thank you enough! We are thrilled to share not only the details for this wonderful book, but also a Q&A with Yvonne herself! Read on, and be sure to enter the amazing giveaway below!
- Age: Young Adult
- Publisher: Sky Pony Press
- Release Date: 05/06/2014
- Number of Pages: 352
- ISBN-10: 1628736097
- ISBN-13: 978-1-62873-609-0
- ASIN: 9781628739602
- Genres: Contemporary
Even under the most normal circumstances, high school can be a painful and confusing time. Unfortunately, Lilianna’s circumstances are anything but normal. Only a few people know what caused her sudden change from model student to the withdrawn pessimist she has become, but her situation isn’t about to get any better. 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 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 illness and fatal disaster. Now, she’s more alone than she’s been since the “incident” at her school months ago.
With friends and neighbors dying all around her, Lil does everything she can just to survive. But as the disease rages on, so does an unexpected tension as Lil is torn between an old ex and a new romantic interest. Just when it all seems too much, the cause of her original trauma shows up at her door. In this thrilling debut from author Yvonne Ventresca, Lil must find a way to survive not only the outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons.
Q&A with Yvonne Ventresca
1) You’ve published a few previous nonfiction books and written various articles for teens and adults, but PANDEMIC is your fiction debut. What was your inspiration for this story? And what drew you to this subject?
I’ve always been fascinated with disaster situations. Since a pandemic is both a scary and realistic possibility, it seemed like the perfect scenario for a story. I began wondering what it would be like if a deadly contagious disease hit the US. I found it interesting to think about not only the practical implications (food, water, safety), but also about how fear would change how people choose to help each other.
2) PANDEMIC addresses two frightening subjects – teacher-student sexual assault and emerging illnesses. Was it difficult to weave those storylines together?
Some survival stories help the main characters appreciate their pre-disaster lives. But what if someone’s life was at rock-bottom to begin with? I wanted to explore the idea in Pandemic that the main character, Lil, would be struggling with a recent trauma in her life and would have issues trusting other people, even before the disease occurs. How would that affect her ability to survive? Could she heal, in a sense, through the pandemic experience and come out in a better place in the end, despite the harrowing circumstances? The incident with Lil’s teacher became an integral part of her character and helped form how she would react to later events.
3) What kind of research was involved in writing about a pandemic?
For several months, I had a teetering pile of books about various infectious diseases on my nightstand. I read about historical illnesses (like the Spanish Influenza of 1918) and also researched contemporary outbreaks, like the 2009 pandemic (which although highly contagious, wasn’t nearly as deadly). A local health department officer helped educate me about the realities of managing an outbreak and I found documents like NJ’s “Pandemic Influenza Response Plan” online. Based on these government plans and what a concerned person might do to prepare for an emergency, I tried to imagine all the things that could go wrong. It wasn’t hard to do.
4) After all your research on emerging illnesses while writing PANDEMIC, have you begun stocking up on supplies and preparing for the worst yourself?
Yes, definitely! After researching what it would take to survive a real disaster, I decided it might be a good idea to have emergency supplies on hand. When we lost power during an October ice storm a few years ago, it was an interesting test run which exposed holes in my planning. There are a lot of good resources online about creating emergency kits. I’ve included some at yvonneventresca.com/resources.html.
5) What are you working on now?
I have a short story called “Escape to Orange Blossom” coming out as part of a YA dystopian anthology, Prep for Doom, on June 18th. I’m currently working on a YA thriller.
Winner will receive a signed hard cover of PANDEMIC, a $75 VISA gift card, and a limited edition necklace (mentioned in the story!).
***Any entrants using fake or contest only social profiles to enter will be disqualified.***
**Winner of the giveaway prize must have a U.S. shipping address.**