Guest Blog - Brodi Ashton!

This week's topic is Authors Who Have Influenced Us, but I am traveling for work (See the view from my window in Vermont?) and have asked amazing YA author, Brodi Ashton, to step in for Monday's post. Brodi's book, EVERNEATH, is "a captivating story of love, loss and immortality." Brodi also has her own blog that you should definitely check out! But I have to warn you, her entries are so warm and funny, you'll often find yourself laughing out loud when reading! Thanks, Brodi, for filling in for my while I'm suffering in Vermont :) and welcome to YAMuses.

Below is Brodi's post:

Trying to narrow down the authors who have influenced me in my life is like trying to pick a favorite piece of Good&Plenty. Impossible. And just like Good&Plenty, the authors who've influenced me the most have a dark, gooey center covered in a candy shell. But not literally.

So, in an effort to keep this to a readable length, I'll focus on the authors who influenced EVERNEATH the most.

The first is the playwright Thornton Wilder, who wrote the play OUR TOWN (among other things too). Now, how does play about characters in a small town in the 1930's living everyday life influence a book about a girl who becomes trapped in a century-long hell of her own making? I'll tell you.

In the third act of the play, the main character Emily gets to relive one day of her life. She chooses her 12th birthday. Before the morning of her re-lived day is even over, she discovers it's too painful to go back to her old life.

I took the "Too painful to go back" theme to heart, and basically wrote a book around it. 17-year old Nikki Beckett has just returned from a mysterious absence. She only has six months before she will disappear again, but she's the only one who knows the clock is ticking. Is it possible to hope she could live those final six months in loving normality among family and friends?

Um... the answer's no. (Spoiler alert!)

The other author who was very influential for my book was Gayle Forman.

EVERNEATH has a very unique timeline, in that it tells a past story and a present story simultaneously. I've never attempted something like this (I am a very disorganized person, so keeping timelines straight was not something I would do on purpose) but the story spoke to me that way. I had a mentor advise me to cut out the flashback scenes, and make it all present. I hesitated, wondering what to do.

My good friend and critique partner Kim Reid gave me Gayle Forman's book IF I STAY right when it first came out. She told me this was a book that used flashbacks and it worked out.

I'd say so. I devoured IF I STAY, and even though I knew I could never reach the level of mastery that Forman displays, it was so reassuring to see someone make it work. It gave me the confidence to stick with what felt like the right way to tell my story.

So, that's why I describe my book as a little bit of IF I STAY mixed with OUR TOWN. With a side of paranormal, and a touch of hell. Mix well for thirty seconds. Bake at 350.

Thanks so much for having me on your awesome blog!!


Brodi, I LOVE both Thornton Wilder and Gayle Forman! I remember that scene from Our Town so vividly. I now want to read EVERNEATH even more!

Yay, Katy! And thanks so much for having me on the blog!

I think you definitely baked an awesome story! The flashbacks and the present story went well together. I loved it. It reminded me kind of Memento. Have you seen that movie?

The movie is in the present (color), but has flashbacks (black & white). The first color scene is the end of the story and the first flashback scene is the beginning of the story. By the end of the movie, they meet in the middle and you finally have all the pieces.

Now, while Everneath isn't quite like that, I still feel like it was a little bit and it made it very interesting to read. Great job!

Yes! I loved Memento. I thought it was pretty brilliant, and I have no idea how the movie people pulled it off. :)

I have to say, I vastly preferred your hell to Wilder's "let's all sit here staring into space for all eternity, contemplating... nothing." Give me suffering over boredom anyday!

(Naturally, if there's a third option, even better!)

How fun to hear what inspired you. And you do it beautifully. Two coworkers have finished my ARC copy and loved it, too.

Robin, I'll take other people's suffering. I have plenty in real life. lol

Robin- There is no third option. Life is suffering and boredom, and that's it. (Okay, my cup is half empty today!)

Donna- I'm so happy your coworkers liked it! :)

I love OUR TOWN! One of my favorite quotes is from Emily.

Loved the post--and I also have a new book to get and read--IF I STAY.


I love Our Town and now I can't wait to pick up If I Stay (and of course Everneath, it sounds fiendishly awesome!)

You're a fabulous literary chef, Brodi. You know I loved EVERNEATH! Thanks for coming by today!

Eden- little known fact that I performed Emily's monologue for an acting class in college. It was not pretty.

Unkown- I love the word "fiendishly". :)

Veronica- I wish I were an actual chef! Again, thanks for having me.

Very interesting! Thornton Wilder is a favorite of mine, partially because as a teenager I lived very close to his house in Hamden, Connecticut. I've always felt a sort of connection with him. :)

Faith- me too! Except I didn't live in Connecticut.

This is a nice tidbit about EVERNEATH. Thanks so much, Brodi, for sharing and to YA Muses. Will follow henceforth. :-)

Good decision, Angela. The YA Muses Rock!

I loved If I Stay so I just put EVERNEATH on my amazon wish list. I also like that your tidbit "a touch of hell" :)

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