Author: Michele Bacon
Publication Date: April 3rd, 2018
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Synopsis: When Erin Cerise steps off her plane in Christchurch, New Zealand, she is focused intently on her mission: do something unique that will erase the mess she made of her life on her 17th birthday. She’s already lost her swim team captainship, her boyfriend Ben, and her reputation. Her mother is certain studying abroad will regain Erin’s chances of a good future. Once Erin sees her uninspiring host family and city, though, she’s not so sure.
Before Christchurch, Erin wasn’t always intense and focused. Years ago, a mission sounded like a fun adventure, and the only ivy she cared about was the stuff growing around her grandparents’ back porch at their peaceful Upper Peninsula home. When had her priorities gone upside down?
Now Erin balks at NZ’s itchy school uniforms, cold houses, and her hosts’ utter inability to pronounce her name correctly. Christchurch does boast amazing rock climbing, gorgeous scenery, and at least one guy who could make her forget Ben if she lets him. With months ahead of her, Erin slowly begins to draw on the years behind her, one step back into her memories at a time. As she rebuilds her life from the other side of the world, she finds that when life turns your world upside down and you’re far from home, every way you move takes you closer to where you came from.
Where did you get the inspiration for Antipodes?
I lived in New Zealand for over a year, and I knew I wanted to write a book about the landscape and people. Because I’m not a native, my protagonist couldn’t be a native. She needed to be an American teen, and I didn’t want her to be on vacation. I’d been thinking about how many students are pushed into activities to augment their college applications, and I wanted to talk about that.
What kind of books did you like to read growing up?
I liked safe books. I wanted stable, nuclear families and realistic stories. I had no interest in fantasy or science fiction until much later.
What was your favorite part of living in New Zealand?
Kiwis acknowledge a society needs grocers, bus drivers, and rubbish collectors, just as it needs doctors. There certainly are classes within the society, but purposeful divisions are rare. For instance, American universities divide their employees into faculty and staff, but in New Zealand university employees are not segregated. In the States, many people with advanced degrees demand we use their titles. In New Zealand, we called our doctor Robert; he was merely doing his job, like everyone else.
What books are currently on your nightstand?
The Darkest Corners (Thomas), The Fifth Season (Jemison), and Useless Bay (Beaufrand).
What advice do you have to offer aspiring writers?
Work a paying job enough to feed, clothe, and house yourself. Put all the rest of your energy into writing. I once believed I could not be an author, and spent fifteen years doing other work. Now I imagine what stories I might have written if I’d kept my focus on my craft instead. If you want to publish your work, write and read as much as you can.
Michele Bacon writes novel-length fiction for young adults and older adults. When she’s not writing, she’s skiing, playing tabletop games, traveling, or dreaming of travel. She lived in Christchurch, New Zealand for over a year, and is eager to return. Today, Michele lives in Seattle with her partner and three children. She is also the author of Life Before.
Prize: 1 copy of the book (US Only)
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