Blog Tour: Don't Turn Around Author Michelle Gagnon Interview + Giveaway

Welcome to the next stop in Michelle Gagnon's blog tour for her YA debut novel called Don't Turn Around. The tour is hosted by Harper Teen. Today Michelle answered some questions we gave her. 

Michelle Gagnon Links: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter • Facebook

Author Bio: Michelle Gagnon is a former modern dancer, bartender, dog walker, model, personal trainer, and Russian supper club performer. Her bestselling adult thrillers THE TUNNELS, BONEYARD, THE GATEKEEPER, and KIDNAP & RANSOM have been published in North America, France, Denmark, Spain, Argentina, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Australia. BONEYARD was a finalist for a 2009 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.
In September 2012, her young adult debut novel DON'T TURN AROUND will be published by HarperCollins Teen. In May of 2013, her YA standalone STRANGELETS will be released by SoHo Teen.

Michelle lives in San Francisco.

OUaT: Welcome Michelle to OUaT. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

Before I was a writer, I had a series of strange careers, including work as a dog walker, bartender, freelance journalist, personal trainer, model, and Russian supper club performer. I like to think that each of these weird professions ended up contributing in some way to my writing.

OUaT: If you can go back and do it all over again, is there anything you would change in your novel or getting published?

Not with this one, no. DON’T TURN AROUND is my YA debut, but I’m fortunate in that I’ve published four other thrillers for adults, so I’ve benefited from that learning curve. There are definitely things I would change if I could go back and take another swing at my first novel, THE TUNNELS.

OUaT: Do you have a favorite chapter in your book and why?

Honestly, it’s a bit of a cop out, but Chapter One. I love beginnings, and for me this one was so clear from the outset. I had a foster care girl waking up on an operating table in a warehouse, with no memory of how she got there. The suspense was there for me from the opening sentence.

OUaT: What are your comfort books, books you can read again and again, that foster and rekindle your desire to write?

Marcus Zusak’s THE BOOK THIEF blew me away. It’s gorgeous, poetic, the character development is phenomenal, and the imagery is mind-blowing. I almost never re-read books, but I could go back to that one indefinitely.

OUaT: If you weren't writing what else would you love to be doing full-time?

Dancing! I was a modern dancer in my twenties in Manhattan, before my knees gave out. And I still take class a few times a week. But I’m a total “So You Think You Can Dance” junkie, so I live vicariously through those dancers now!

OUaT: In Don't Turn Around the plot centers around hacking and computers, did you have a lot of experience with both before or did you have to do extensive research?

Ironically, almost none. And my computer hard drive suffered a total melt down during the editing process, which my hacker friends/advisors found utterly hilarious. I’m embarrassingly inept with computers. I keep a running list next to my laptop of all the little things I need the Genius Bar to help me with on my monthly visits; I’m pretty sure they draw straws to see who will get stuck with me the minute I walk through the Apple Store door. But luckily, I managed to enlist a slew of experts who provided ideas and checked the manuscript for errors.

OUaT: Can you tell us a little bit about your main character Noa?

She’s a former foster kid who used her smarts and computer skills to set up a fake foster family, effectively bailing out of the system. And she’s been surviving just fine on her own; until she wakes up on that operating table. Self-sufficient, tough, and distrustful of authority, Noa isn’t someone who tends to play well with others. But she’s got a soft side, too, that’s revealed through the course of the book.

OUaT: Can you describe the setting of Don't Turn Around?

The setting is modern day Boston, with a twist; the only thing I added was an imaginary disease called PEMA that only afflicts teens; it’s a wasting disease that’s always fatal, there’s no cure, and it’s rapidly reaching epidemic proportions.

OUaT: What can we expect in the future for the trilogy? 

I wish I could tell you, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy! I will say that the stakes are much higher for both Noa and Peter in the next installment.

Don't Turn Around
Persefone Trilogy #1
Author: Michelle Gagnon
Reading Level: YA
Released: August 28th 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Available: Amazon • Barnes & NobleIndieBound

Summary: (from goodreads) Sixteen-year-old Noa has been a victim of the system ever since her parents died. Now living off the grid and trusting no one, she uses her computer-hacking skills to stay safely anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in an empty warehouse with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there, Noa starts to wish she had someone on her side.

Enter Peter Gregory. A rich kid and the leader of a hacker alliance, Peter needs people with Noa’s talents on his team. Especially after a shady corporation threatens his life. But what Noa and Peter don’t realize is that Noa holds the key to a terrible secret, and there are those who’d stop at nothing to silence her for good.

Filled with action, suspense, and romance, this first book in a new trilogy offers readers nonstop thrills.

Tour Schedule:

8/22 The Mod Podge Bookshelf— Character of Names
8/23 Book Twirps— Movie Dream Cast
8/24 A Good Addiction— Author Interview
8/27 Reading Lark— Author Interview
8/28 Confessions of a Bookaholic— Guest Post
8/29 Bookalicious— Author Interview
8/30 Once Upon a Twilight— Author Interview (that's us)
8/31 Making the Grade— Character This or That
9/3 A Life Bound By Books— Author Interview
9/4 The Irish Banana— Author Interview

We are excited to offer to one lucky reader a chance at winning a ARC copy of Don't Turn Around. Only for US and CA. read the terms at the bottom of rafflecopter. Good Luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This is my first stop but I can't wait to go back and check out some more

  2. I actually haven't seen any of the other stops, so YOURS! Thanks for the giveaway doll! :D

  3. This is my first post, so I'm gonna say I like THIS one BEST lol ;D
    Don't Turn Around sounds edgy, and I'm really curious about the PEMA virus!?!
    Thank you for the groovy giveaway <3
    Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

  4. This is my first stop so yours! Sounds like a interesting story, thanks for the giveaway!

  5. Thanks for a great post and congrats on the new release! This is my first stop too, so this one :)

  6. This is my first stop, so yours! hah
    This seems like a great story, thanks!

  7. This is my first stop on the tour too! I'm excited to catch up though. Thanks for the giveaway! I can't wait to read this one!!

  8. Also my first stop so absolutely yours. :) Thank you for the giveaway.

  9. This is my first stop and I enjoyed this post very much.

  10. I like the "This or That" post. The answers are short but really informative.

  11. This was the first stop for me... so yours!! Sounds amazing I can't wait!

  12. This is the only post I have seen on this book so far, so I would have to say this one.

  13. Yours is the first stop I have seen but I LOVED the interview. Smirked when I read about the computer melt down because honestly that is something that would happen to me. I am VERY excited about this one and can't wait to get my hands on it!! Good luck everyone <3


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