Friday 2 October 2015

It's a Wonderful Death by Sarah J Schmitt Blog Tour and Giveaway!

It's a Wonderful Death
Release Date: 10/2015
Sky Pony Press
320 pages

Summary from Goodreads:

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. 

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Early Praise for It's A Wonderful Death

"Fun, Funny and Full of Life" - Kirkus Review

"A snarky joyride of a book with a deep moral core; long after you've finished laughing, you'll still be thinking about RJ's journey and perhaps asking yourself: What defines a life well lived?" - Mike Mullin, author of Ashfall

"It's a Wonderful Death is a wonderful gem.  Both snarky and uplifting, it sneaks inside you and makes you smile and cry at the same time."
-Sarah Beth Durst, award-winning author of Vessel and Drink, Slay, Love  

"Mean Girls meets A Christmas Carol! Smart, sassy, and humorously original with clever world-building and a host of interesting characters, It's a Wonderful Death will have you laughing out loud and rooting for RJ from the first page!"
- Amalie Howard, best-selling author of Bloodspell

"Just the kind of story I love -- full of snark, heart, and contemplation about the meaning of life! It's a Wonderful Death will get you thinking about what you want to leave behind and how you want to live until then."
- Kristen Lippert-Martin, author of Tabula Rasa

Guest Post:

Dear Reader, 

Like any debut author, the idea that someone, a perfect stranger, will read this book and love it is amazing. But if you are reading this and plan on picking up a copy of IAWD, I think I might be your biggest fan! No, seriously. Get out your Sharpie and get ready to sign because I want your autograph! I’ll wait.  

Okay, you’re taking too long. I really have to get this letter to my editor so it can show up in your book or else there’s this whole time-space continuum issue that comes into play. As you will see when you read It’s A Wonderful Death, that can get tricky. 

One of the most common questions I’m asked is where I got the inspiration to write IAWD. The short answer is: I was tired of rejection. The long answer: As much as I would love to say this book was an overnight success and I wrote the flawless manuscript in 23 days, that would be a lie. (The 23 days part is true, but the flawless detail, totally false. It took almost a year of revision to get it almost right.)  

As for the overnight success, well that’s a story in itself. 

My first book was written when I was fresh out of graduate school. And it was bad. I actually wrote the last chapter and had all the characters in a bus that went flying off a cliff to their fiery demise. Even in my writer infancy, I knew the characters were two-dimensional at best. That book resides in a manila envelope in the back of a file cabinet, locked in a steel vault beneath the earth. I couldn’t even burn it because I was afraid the smoke would produce a toxic plume that would destroy the world. But I learned something from that book. I learned how not to write characters.  

Book number two was a fun one to write. It was full of insta-love and werewolves and shapeshifters and bad guys who were out to destroy the good guys because they wanted power. I know what you’re thinking: how did that one not get published? Well, it might have had something to do with the fact that, while the characters were pretty good, the main character was a super sweet, doe eyed duckling turned swan and the love interest was a brooding loner in a leather jacket. I pretty much embraced the cliché and then spewed forth another 300 pages. But there was one character who stole every scene she was in. She was strong, confident, fatally flawed and the character that wielded snark like a light saber. From this book I learned  the kind of characters I love to write.  

Book number three is a victim of timing. It was your classic virus destroys the world and oh no, how will society manage to survive setup. While I am a huge fan of these types of books, I was about a year too late. But during the revision process, I played a game with my character. Every time I got to a scene that was fairly predictable, I gave her the choice to play it safe or amp up the tension. The best scenes were the ones where she went rogue. From this book I knew I wanted to write books where my characters took the road less traveled. I also learned to forget what was trendy and write the story I wanted to tell. 

The result of these never-to-be-mentioned-again manuscripts is that they made it possible to write It’s A Wonderful Death. A story that will keep you laughing right up to the second you need to reach for a tissue. A book that will show that no matter how imperfect a character is, there is always the possibility of redemption. And one that will inspire you to find your own dream and go for it. Because there is nothing cooler than seeing your dream happening in front of your eyes.  

You should know... you’re part of mine. Have you found that pen yet? 

Happy reading!

About the Author

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.
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