Published by Sky Pony Press on April 3rd 2018
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 days before 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, Erin’s not so sure.
Before Christchurch, Erin wasn’t always intense and focused. A mission used to sound 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 scratchy 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 and then another, as she rebuilds her life from the other side of the world to find that when life turns your world upside down and you’re farthest from home, every way you move takes you closer to where you came from.
Readers near Seattle! There is a launch party (with excellent cake) at Secret Garden Books on April 3rd? Details are here: http://bit.ly/AntipodesLaunch
I was born in Trumbull County, the only square county in Ohio, where books were my favorite means of escaping an unhappy childhood. Writing was my transparent attempt to create the things I craved: big happy families, international adventures and unconditional friendship. From a young age, I was drawn to people’s stories, and I still want to know how you met your best friend or fell in love with your partner.
In high school, I embraced my inner geek and wrote my first novel. In college, there were short stories and still more novels. I graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in English, with concentrations in critical theory and creative writing.
Full-time work sapped my creative brain for several years, but my professional life was one of reinvention. In state government, business management consulting, and nonprofit fundraising, I adapted easily and absorbed the languages of different professions. My last paying job was as an independent fundraising consultant for nonprofit organizations. That was seven years ago.
Since then, I have been writing and traveling (and, let’s be honest, chasing down small people who don’t like to wear clothes). I’ve traveled to all 50 states and dozens of other countries, always collecting pieces of characters and ideas for stories. I recently spent a year on sabbatical in Christchurch, New Zealand, where I may have left my heart at Ilam School. Now that we’ve settled back in the States, I’m writing for adults and young adults, exploring the Pacific Northwest, and baking like a fiend. (You’d thinking baking would be the same everywhere, but it’s not. Something is different about kiwi butter.)
When an idea strikes, I scrawl sweeping plot outlines, character idiosyncrasies, and ideas for scenes on the nearest blank spot of paper. My current manuscript was born of those torn slips of paper, used envelopes, lollipop wrappers, fuel receipts and–once–that little paper bit that keeps a nursing pad sticky until it’s time to use it. My manuscripts are better than the quality of papers where they began. Promise.
Outside of writing, I am a tabletop game enthusiast, passionate skier, and lover of prime numbers. I also am a mentor at the Moving Words Writing Clinic, and a freelance copyeditor.
I live in Seattle with my husband and three growing children.
- What is on your nightstand?
A huge stack of books, plastic jewelry belonging to my five-year-old daughter, professional lighting equipment (for a forthcoming project that is not pornographic in any way), an empty mug, Sharpies, Labello lip balm, and a paper hat.
- What author would you totally fan?
I don’t really fangirl, so may I rephrase? Which author, who you don’t already know, would you totally like to hang out with and become lifelong friends? Roxane Gay.
- What makes you cringe?
The sound of someone snorting mucus back into their nasal cavities. Tissues, people!
- Do you obsessively plot out each point or just go with the flow?
I used to go with the flow, and my plots suffered because of it. I did not properly plot my first novel, Life Before, before writing it, and it was fine…but the plot could have been tighter. I’ve since learned that plotting improves my manuscripts immeasurably. I plot in excel, synopsize in two pages, and ask a few early readers for their opinions before I draft the manuscript.
- Is there a word you love to use?
There are many words I love using. One of my favorites is toast. I love its shape and sound—from the hard ‘t’ at the start through an oozy, cozy middle and back to a hard ‘t’ at the end. I also love that it suggests breakfast. I love breakfast.
Thank you for hosting me!
Another note from Michelle!
3 winners will receive a finished copy ANTIPODES, US Only.