It's a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: October 6th, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal, Supernatural, Teen
Seventeen-year-old RJ always gets what she wants. So when her soul is accidentally collected by a distracted Grim Reaper, somebody in the afterlife better figure out a way to send her back from the dead or heads will roll. But in her quest for mortality, she becomes a pawn in a power struggle between an overzealous archangel and Death Himself. The tribunal presents her with two options: she can remain in the lobby, where souls wait to be processed, until her original lifeline expires, or she can replay three moments in her life in an effort to make choices that will result in a future deemed worthy of being saved. It sounds like a no-brainer. She’ll take a walk down memory lane. How hard can changing her future be?
But with each changing moment, RJ’s life begins to unravel, until this self-proclaimed queen bee is a social pariah. She begins to wonder if walking among the living is worth it if she has to spend the next sixty years as an outcast. Too quickly, RJ finds herself back in limbo, her time on Earth once again up for debate.
RJ is a snarky, unapologetic, almost unredeemable, very real girl. Her story is funny and moving, and teens will easily connect with her plight. Prepare to meet the Grim Reaper, who’s cuter than you’d expect; Hawaiian shirt–wearing Death Himself; Saint Peter (who likes to play Cornhole); and Al, the handler for the three-headed hound that guards the gates of Hell. This cast of characters accompanies RJ through her time in the afterlife and will do their best to gently shove her in the right direction.
When did you start writing?
When I was in fourth grade, I was completely obsessed with the Choose Your Own Adventures books. Every time the Scholastic book order would come home from school, it was the first book on my wish list. The reason I loved them so much is leading the character on their adventure and often to a horrific death was like nectar to my (slightly) dark and twisted soul. It got to the point where I would try to figure out the fast way to the most horrific death before I would read the hero version of the book. I realized that what I really liked was being able to control the character. It wasn’t long before I was filling up notebooks and creating characters to put in all kinds of interesting situations.
What makes you want to write?
I honestly think it’s something I need to do. My husband can always tell when it’s been a crazy time and I haven’t had time to write. He gets this “don’t disturb the beast” look in his eyes and then calming takes the boys out for a bit so I can find my way over the mounds of laundry and into my writing cove. It’s calming for me. I grab a Diet Dr. Pepper, some Twizzlers and head out on an adventure.
Who is your favourite character in It’s a Wonderful Death?
Oh wow. There are so many characters. Um, I think, RJ aside of course, because I love her, I would have to say Al, the handler for the watchdog at the Gates of Hell. She’s got this bad job and has to deal with the worst of humanity but still loves to have a good time and laugh. And she gets a kick out of giving St. Peter a hard time. Even now, when I re-read those lines, I laugh. In the movie that plays in my mind, it’s such a light and refreshing moment in the book.
How did you get the idea for It’s a Wonderful Death?
There were so many little things that came together in the creation of IAWD. First, I had already written two complete manuscript but they just weren’t right. They were serious end of the world stuff and by the time National Novel Writing Month 2012 came along, I just wanted to write a book that made me laugh. I wanted to write something that was me: sarcastic and funny but still able to sneak in a grain of truth in the plot to think about later. Plus, with all the saving the world I’d been doing in the previous books, I just wanted to save the cheerleader.
What are your hobbies?
I think my hobby is collecting hobbies. In the past ten years I have done cake decorating, learned to crochet (which I still do), invested a lot of $$ in scrapbooking, digital photography, candle making, and sewing/quilting. Turns out, what I really wanted to do as a hobby was read and write. I do a lot more of that now.
What is your favourite film?
That’s like asking my favorite book. There are so many answers. Sometimes it depends on my mood. But, I think the movies I have watched the most in my life would be a three-way tie for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone/Lord of the Rings/Pride and Prejudice (BBC version).
What is your favourite TV show?
This one is easier. I am a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, followed closely by Gilmore Girls. Basically any WB show from the 90s. Right now I’m almost finished with binge watching NCIS so if anyone has any suggestions on what I should watch next, I’m all ears!
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Sarah J. Schmitt is a K-8 school librarian and Youth Service Professional for Teens at a public library who, in addition to planning a variety of events, enjoys opening up the world of books to reluctant readers. She runs a teen writing program that combines Skype visits from well-known authors and screenwriters and critique group style feedback.
Prior to immersing herself in the world of the written word, Sarah earned her Masters of Science in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs from Indiana University where she worked with first year college students as they acclimated to college life. Sarah lives outside of Indianapolis with her husband, two kidlets and a cat who might actually be a secret agent. She is an active member of SCBWI, ALA and the Indiana Library Federation and is a regular participant at the Midwest Writer's Workshop. Her debut novel, IT'S A WONDERFUL DEATH, comes out Fall 2015 from Sky Pony Press.
One winner will win:
A SIGNED copy of The Heir by Kiera Cass OR a SIGNED copy of HOOK'S REVENGE by Heidi Shultz
A Handmade bracelet in RJ's favorite color: purple
A IT'S A WONDERFUL DEATH swag pack
A Funko Pop! Pocket Keychain (Game of Thrones Daenerys Targaryen)