Lost and Found Tour – Q&A with Olivia Levez, author of The Island

About The Island

‘There were friends once, but they melted away. Things are different now I am a MONSTER’

Frances is alone. Cast away on a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, she has to find water, food and shelter. But survival is hard. Especially when she is haunted by memories of the things that she did before, the things that made her a monster. Pushed to the limit in extreme conditions, she battles to come to terms with her past, and find a future worth fighting for.

This is a gripping and thought-provoking story about one girl’s journey to become the person she believes she can be.

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The Author is Dead, the Reader’s a Ghost, but the Work is Alive and Well.

“Once an action is recounted, for intransitive ends, and no longer in order to act directly upon reality — that is, finally external to any function but the very exercise of the symbol — this disjunction occurs, the voice loses its origin, the author enters his own death, writing begins.” – Roland Barthes, The Death of the Author (1967).

One thing that’s really been bothering me recently is the phrase that I’ve entitled this blog: “The Author is Dead, the Reader’s a Ghost, but the Work is Alive and Well.”

Now, it bother’s me more so, not because I said this to myself while reading an assortment of Barthes’ essays on narrative, authorship and the materiality of work, but because to an extent I believe it. It bothers me that I believe this statement but the actuality of the matter is that I do and as I’m typing this I’m frowning because my internal consciousness is raging so hard at how much it disagrees with this statement on principle. So I should probably contextualise everything and I’m going to address each part in sequence to do so.

  1. “The Author is Dead”
This stems quite directly from The Death of the Author as the quote about states for writing to begin the author must die – not literally. When Barthes talks about death he means not the ceasing of life (if anything he means the opposite) but that in order for a work to be given the merit is deserves it must stand independent from its writer. To some extent I agree with this statement especially in a world were celebrity culture overrides good literature. People receive book deals based on the knowledge that it will sell either due its popularity of style or the fan base of the author. Literary exceptionality is thrown out of the window or put aside for a very niche audience to only be discovered later in its existence (though some would argue this is the perpetual melancholy of the dead author).
  1. “The Reader’s a Ghost”
The ever-present reader. The pinnacle one which the act of reading is uplifted and without such the industry would collapse. However, when an author writes they must give up their claim to their creation upon commencement as a fully fledged work in its own right. In this same way the reader is simultaneously dead, during the writing process, and alive, during the reading process. Even though it is the readers who will decide the merit of a book it is not necessarily who the book itself is written for. When an author writes, truly writes, it is because they either have something they wish to say or an idea they just need to interweave within words. The reader is a constant at the back of their mind, no doubt, but more a ghostly whisper than an infant crying.
  1. “The Work is Alive and Well”
Barthes’ separates the concepts of both “work” and “text”. In their simplest forms; “work” describes the physical form of a creation, while “text” is the ongoing creative process and can span an entire body of work (this is a very short and narrow description on which Barthes expands much further). So in this respect I should probably say “The Text is Alive and Well” but, when thinking through Barthes’ logic, is a self-evident and constant state of being for the Text. What I mean by saying that the work is alive, is that it is constantly expanded on. Through the mediums of critique, adaptation and fanfiction (yes adaptation and fanfiction are different), the work is in a constantly changing and collaborative state. It is self-evolving; the ricochet effect of each new piece that is added to the world of the work further molds and affects the way in which others are then created.

To conclude, I believe this probably extents further than the creation of writing and act of reading. I don’t for one second consider this a theory or a fully-fledged argument as I am aware there are flaws to some of the logic and areas I haven’t fully given thought on. However, this is what has been whirling around in my brain for a little while and – like any dead author – I thought I better write it down.

So this is very different to what I usually write. I’d like to hope it has a little more intellectual flare to it, but I could be wrong. What I’d really love is for anyone interested or in refute o my arguments to comment below and let me know your thoughts; both on the blog and if you would like me to do more in this style of writing.

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Question and Answer with J Lynn

Author Bio 
# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen.
She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.
1. What inspired you to write a story surrounded by such sensitive issues?  
Wait for You is the first book that I’ve written that deals with such a sensitive topic, and it was a very different book for me to write.  When the idea for Wait for You came to me, I just felt it was the right direction to take for Cam and Avery’s story.  I knew that what happened to Avery would be a difficult issue to address, but it was what needed to be written for Cam and Avery to find their way together.
2. What is your favourite scene in the book? 
Oh, that’s a tough question.  I really like the scene when Cam brings Avery a cookie to class because I think the interaction between the two of them is fun.  But now I can’t say cookie without thinking it’s a code word for something else entirely.
3. Will we see Cam or Avery again? 
Yes, you will see Cam and Avery again in Trust in Me which is Wait for You in Cam’s POV.  You will also see them in Jase and Teresa’s story, Be With Me.
4. When creating the characters of Avery and Cam did you use any of your personality or the personalities of those around you?   
I didn’t intentionally use any of my own personality traits when writing Cam and Avery.  I do tend to be on the snarky and sarcastic side, so you may find my characters to have those qualities at times in my books.
5. What do you enjoy most about writing?  
I’ve always wanted to be an author, so it’s great to be able to do something that I love doing.  I also can’t complain about getting to work from home and make my own hours.  Those are definitely perks.
6. What’s your usual writing routine like?  
I write every day, even on holidays.  I usually write between 8-10 hours, but the number of hours can vary depending on what I’m working on or if I’m traveling for events.
7. I noticed your dog is called Loki, do you have an interest in Norse Mythology or are you a Marvel nerd (like some of us :-P)? 
I’m interested in Norse Mythology, so that’s why I chose the name Loki.  But, there’s nothing wrong with being a Marvel nerd.
8. And finally what are you working on at the moment? 
I’m working on the second book in the Dark Elements series, my upcoming YA series with Harlequin Teen about gargoyles.


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