Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Interview: Shawn Smucker, author of THE EDGE OF OVER THERE

The Day the Angels Fell, Book 2

  Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: July 3, 2018
Number of Pages: 384

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The captivating sequel to the award-winning The Day the Angels Fell

Abra Miller carries a secret and a responsibility she never expected. 

Before the Tree of Life, everything in Abra Miller’s life had been predictable. Safe. Normal. But after the Tree, everything has felt fragile . . . like holding a soap bubble in the palm of her hand. After years of fruitless searching for the next Tree, she begins to wonder if it was nothing more than a vivid dream.

Now sixteen, Abra finds a clue to the whereabouts of the next Tree of Life when an ominous woman—who looks exactly like a ghost from her past—compels her to travel to New Orleans where she’ll find one of seven gateways between this world and Over There. But she’s not the only one interested in finding the gateway. There’s also a young man searching for his father and sister, who escaped through it years before. As Abra enters the Edge of Over There and begins her pursuit of the Tree once more, she doesn’t know whom to fear or whom to trust.

She’s also starting to think that some doorways should never be opened.



In The Day the Angels Fell, you introduced readers to a twelve-year-old boy who lost his mother to a tragic accident and is desperately seeking the Tree of Life in order to bring her back. How is the sequel, The Edge of Over There, a continuation of this story?
In the sequel, Abra Miller takes on the role of the angel tasked with finding and destroying the Tree of Life. She and Sam have grown apart, but the ancient struggle around the Tree continues, and Abra is swept up in it.

Abra is the main character in your new book. How has her life changed since the events relayed in The Day the Angels Fell?
She is four years older, and she is lonelier after experiencing the events in book 1. She is also hungry for more of the same adventure, more of the same otherworldly involvement, but four years is a long time, and she begins to doubt if any of it really happened or if she would see anything like it again.

You refer to seven gateways between this world and Over There. Can you provide a brief explanation of what these are?
I scoured the internet after finishing book 1, trying to find out more legends about the Tree of Life, and while I did that I came across this one legend, an ancient belief that there were seven gates between Earth and the afterlife. One gate on each continent. I started playing around with this concept, and that’s what led to The Edge of Over There.

What made you decide to write these books, and where do you come up with your creative plots?
I decided to write the first book after spending time in Istanbul with a very good man who was dying of cancer at the age of forty-nine. His story plunged me into thinking quite a lot about death. I combined that theme with some questions I had about Bible stories I’d heard when I was a child, stories that don’t have much in the way of closure. Asking questions is what leads me into new stories.

What type of research was required for writing The Edge of Over There?
I did a lot of research on New Orleans and especially the cemetery that is featured in the story, as well as the backstory of Marie Laveau.

What is one of the main points you hope readers learn from your book?
I’d like readers to continue to engage with me in considering the question, could it be possible death is a gift? I think The Edge of Over There also explores themes of selfishness and power and control, and I hope it challenges our current cultural obsession with living forever and doing anything to remain young.

What are you working on next?
I have a nonfiction book coming out in the fall of 2018, as well as a contemporary adult novel releasing in 2019. I’m very excited about both of these. 

Praise for The Edge of Over There:
“Blending Biblical elements and urban myths, Smucker creates an enthralling story of supernatural battles between the forces of good and evil.” -- Publishers Weekly

The Edge of Over There is a mesmerizing, menacing fantasy. Shawn Smucker fuses New Orleans lore, Christian themes, and dystopian landscapes in a thorough exploration of love and its unintended results.” -- Foreword Reviews (Starred Review) 

Shawn Smucker is the author of The Day the Angels Fell and The Edge of Over There. He lives with his wife and six children in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. You can find him on his website, where you can also sign up for his newsletter in order to find out when and where the Tree of Life will turn up next.

GRAND PRIZE: Both Books in the The Day the Angels Fell series + Color Changing Tree Mug + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
2ND PRIZE: Both Books + Tree of Life Journal
3RD PRIZE: Both Books + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
  July 17-26, 2018

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