Today is release day for Michelle Gagnon’s DON’T LET GO, the final installment in her PERSEFoNE series! I love what Michelle has to say because she’s looking back on three books’ worth of material, and she draws deeply from each of them. Congrats on finishing the series, Michelle, and thank you so much for being here!
YA Series Insiders: Besides your main character/s, do you secretly have a soft spot for another character?
Michelle Gagnon: I always fall for the secondary characters; sometimes they even become my secret favorites! There’s a character in DON’T LET GO who goes by the handle Loki; he might be my all-time favorite character, just because he was so much fun to write.
YASI: If you were going to write a spin-off about one of your characters, who would it be and why?
MG: Honestly, I’d probably write a spin-off centered around Mason, who technically was one of the bad guys in the trilogy, although he became so much more complicated than that. I think he could actually turn out to be a pretty seductive anti-hero.
YASI: Which Character refused to stick to your script?
MG: Mason, definitely. He was really smarmy and scary in book 1; but by book three, I was secretly looking forward to writing his scenes, because the things he’d say and do were so unpredictable and entertaining! He has this great speech about final meals and Waterloo that ranks pretty high for me in terms of favorite dialogue ever.
YASI: Who would you want to play your main character in a movie?
MG: NOA: There’s an AMAZING Australian film called, “Tomorrow, When the War Began,” (if you haven’t seen it yet, put it on your to-be-watched list immediately!) The lead actress in it was incredible; the whole time I was watching the movie, all I could think was that if you chopped her hair short and dyed it black, she’d be a perfect Noa. Her name is Caitlin Stasey, and I’d be shocked if we didn’t end up seeing a lot more of her in the future.
YASI: What’s the most common question fans ask you?
MG: “How could you do that to Cody?” Which I totally get.
YASI: What recently published books do you wish you’d written?
MG: I loved loved loved Code Name Verity. Such an amazing story beautifully written—and one of the few books I’ve ever read that focuses mainly on a friendship between two girls that has nothing to do with a love interest. I have a total writer crush on Elizabeth Wein.
YASI: What’s the best scene you’ve ever written?
MG: Hands down, it’s Noa’s dream sequence in DON’T TURN AROUND. I love that scene; I wrote it in one sitting, and not a single word of it changed during the editing process.
YASI: Who do you think is the hottest couple in YA lit?
MG: Oh, how I love Eleanor and Park. Their relationship was so sweet and so real; I fell in love right along with them.
YASI: What is your favorite quote from the book/series?
MG: When Noa and Peter first meet, they have this exchange:
“What’s a Vallas, anyway?”
“It’s the name of my avatar in WoW.”
She gave him a blank look. “W-Oh-W? Like, wow?”
“No, not wow.” Peter felt slightly silly as he explained, “World of Warcraft.”
“The video game?” Her eyebrows arched.
“It’s an online multiplayer role-playing game,” Peter said defensively. Lots of the chat threads on wikis and imageboards were devoted to WoW discussions; he’d deliberately chosen the name /ALLIANCE/ for the site because he knew people would recognize the reference and rally to it. Pretty much every hacker he knew spent hours every day enmeshed in the ongoing battle between the Alliance and their evil counterparts, the Horde. Every hacker but one, Peter realized with consternation, judging by her reaction. “I’m a Night Elf,” he finished lamely.
That Night Elf bit still slays me every time I read it.
YASI: Did anything happen in your series that surprised you, that you didn’t plan?
MG: The ending turned out to be totally different from what I originally thought it would be. But I won’t get more specific than that—no spoilers!!
YASI: Did you write yourself into any corners?
MG: Always. I ended up having to backtrack about a hundred pages into DON’T LET GO, because I didn’t like the way the story was heading. That’s part of the fun, though; I usually stumble across the really interesting stuff on my second try!
About the Book
After a devastating loss, Noa Torson is out of options. On the run with the three remaining teens of Persephone’s Army, she is up against immeasurable odds. The group is outnumbered, outsmarted, and outrun. But they are not giving up.
When Noa and Peter realize they can’t run anymore, and that Noa’s health is failing, they know they must go back to where this began. But when they come face-to-face with the man who started it all, the question becomes, can they win?
This riveting final book in the Don’t Turn Around trilogy ratchets up the action as Noa and Peter confront the evil that has chased them and won’t let them go.
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About the Author
Michelle Gagnon is a former modern dancer, dog walker, bartender, freelance journalist, personal trainer, model, and Russian supper club performer. To the delight of her parents, she gave up all these occupations for an infinitely more stable and lucrative career as a crime fiction writer.
Michelle’s bestselling novels have been published in North America, France, Spain, Argentina, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Australia. Her debut thriller THE TUNNELS, about a series of ritualized murders in the abandoned tunnel system beneath a university, has been described as “Silence of the Lambs meets The Wicker Man.”
The following book in the series, BONEYARD, depicts a cat and mouse game between dueling serial killers in the Berkshires. Michelle’s third book, THE GATEKEEPER, involves a domestic terror plot by anti-immigration hate groups. KIDNAP & RANSOM is about the kidnapping of a world-renowned hostage negotiator by a Mexican drug cartel.
In 2012, Michelle released DON’T TURN AROUND with Harper Teen, the first Young Adult novel in a trilogy described as “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” for teenagers.
In 2013, her standalone Young Adult novel STRANGELETS was published by the new SoHo Teen imprint.
Michelle is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. Every Thursday she blogs about life, writing, and petty annoyances on The Kill Zone.
In her spare time she runs errands and indulges a weakness for stale cinema popcorn and Hollywood blockbusters. Hopelessly addicted to Scrabulous, she’s seriously considering a twelve-step program. She lives in San Francisco with her family.