When she’s not writing, M.G. Buehrlen moonlights as a web designer and social media/creative director. She’s the current web ninja lurking behind the hugely popular website YABooksCentral.com, a social network for YA (and kids!) book lovers. The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare is her debut novel. M.G. lives nestled away in Michigan pines, surrounded by good coffee and good books, with her husband and son and three furbabies. Say hello on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. Keep reading for a snippet from The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare.
The Poetics Project: Describe your book in ten words or less.
M.G. Buehrlen: Time travel, reincarnation, betrayal, corruption, first kisses, lies, lies, lies.
TPP: What inspired you to write The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare?
M.G.: I’ve been a huge fan of time travel books, films, and TV shows since I was a kid, but I noticed a major lack in female time travelers. Once I paired the idea of a female time traveler with my love of history, Alex Wayfare sprang into existence.
TPP: While writing the novel, how did you differentiate between Alex’s normal, daily life and the visions she has?
M.G.: Each vision was its own story, with its own plot arc and characters, so it was easy for me to separate them from Alex’s everyday life. I wrote each one as a sort of mini-story within the big picture. To help readers know when Alex was in the past versus the present, I used past tense during her travels and present tense when she’s in present day.
TPP: What do you want your readers to take away from your book?
M.G.: I’d love for readers to remember that everyone has their own unique abilities and worth, and that everyone can contribute to the good of the world, even if you’re deeply flawed like Alex. No matter if you screw things up and fail along the way. Failing is the path to success. Alex isn’t your conventional heroine. She’s distrusting, she’s arrogant, she’s judgemental, and she also has a self-loathing streak that I think a lot of us can relate to. These things don’t make us bad people, they just make us unfinished people. Alex will never stop growing and learning and changing and becoming a better person—becoming the person she’s meant to be—and that goes for all of us.
TPP: What advice would you give aspiring authors?
M.G.: Hang in there. Keep at it. Finish the darn thing, then go back over it a dozen times with a fine tooth comb. Let only a few trusted individuals who know the industry read your work, only those who understand your vision and what you’re trying to say. Then, on the other hand, take their opinions with a grain of salt. Listen to your gut, and be your harshest critic.
TPP: Name 3 songs that would be included in a soundtrack to your novel (can be songs that inspired the book).
M.G.: Satellite by Guster, Paradise Circus by Massive Attack, and Cracks by Freestylers.
To learn more about M.G. Buehrlen, visit her website.
Excerpt from The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare reprinted with the permission of Strange Chemistry, an imprint of Angry Robot Books.
“I don’t know about this…” I rubbed my arms. The night had gotten progressively cooler, and I’d never been too fond of heights.
“Climb on up here,” Blue said, smiling down at me. “I’ll warm you up.”
I tried to give him a disapproving look, but I’m pretty sure I failed. “I don’t think that’s what your mom meant when she said ‘Show her a good time.’”
He laughed, a deep belly laugh that echoed down the alley. “Too bad. She should’ve been more specific.”
I hesitated, still rubbing my arms. Blue climbed up a dozen more rungs toward the roof. The farther he climbed, the more alone I felt in the alley. And the last time I found myself in a Chicago back alley? Things didn’t go so well.
I stepped up to the ladder and closed my fingers around one of the rungs. A layer of rust coated my white gloves. When I tried to dust it off on my coat, it only made the stain worse.
On the one hand, if I climbed all the way up, the gloves Helena gave me would surely be ruined. On the other, my first kiss might be waiting for me on the roof.
My heart thudded at the thought.
I took a deep breath.
I pulled myself up.
“Attagirl,” Blue called down.
I laughed and shook my head as I made my way to the top. When had I become this person? Chasing a kiss to the top of the sky?