Tuesday, October 6, 2015

FFBC: Welcome to the club, It's a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt

It's a Wonderful Death
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: October 6th, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal, Supernatural, Teen
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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.

There are so many. But I’m going to go with a safe one: Harry Potter. And I’m going to just say the whole series because asking me to pick is cruel.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

This is almost as bad as the book question, but I’m going to stick with Harry Potter.

Wow. I am starting to think I might be a fickle girl because I can think of so many. The ones racing around my brain right now are Bad Blood by Taylor Swift, The End by The Doors and What You Wish For by Guster.

 Bourbon Chicken with fried rice

Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hogwarts.

Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. 

All the authors that I have been meeting over the last year. I especially had a hard time keeping it together when I met Rainbow Rowell at BEA when she signed Fangirl for me and I’m signing at a book festival she’s going to be at. I can only pray that I manage to come off with even the smallest amount of cool factor left intact. 

I know it’s easy to get swept up with all the big name authors releasing fantastic titles but I highly recommend keeping your eyes on the debut authors coming up the ranks. Seriously, there is some wicked talent out there. I’ve had the pleasure to meet some of them and whew… I’m just happy to be a part of the talent pool.

Hello Sarah! We are super excited to have you in our FFBC tours.

Aww, thanks! But I think I am “superer” excited. This is going to be a fun tour!

RJ is a lot more complicated then she comes off at first. She starts out as your stereotypical mean girl who got a raw deal. Boo hoo, right? But as you dig in to her past, you see how much of her mean girl persona developed because of fear. She uses her quick sarcastic wit to protect her but sometimes, there are casualties. 

I think I would be terrified of the butterfly effect, but, if I was in RJ’s shoes, I would still do it. If it had been my time to go, then so be it, but if I had a chance to change a few things, from my teen years, I probably would. Now the mom in me is screaming NO WAY! Because if I change one thing, even in the interest of doing a good deed for humanity, then the kidlets (aka my two boys) don’t exist. And you don’t know this yet, but you do not want to be in a world where the kidlets don’t exist. 

There were so many little things that came together in the creation of IAWD. First, I had already written two complete manuscript but they just weren’t right. They were serious end of the world stuff and by the time National Novel Writing Month 2012 came along, I just wanted to write a book that made me laugh. I wanted to write something that was me: sarcastic and funny but still able to sneak in a grain of truth in the plot to think about later. Plus, with all the saving the world I’d been doing in the previous books, I just wanted to save the cheerleader. 

I think everything I experience affects my writing. Whenever I come across something that I love, I try to figure out what is it that I liked and then fold that in to my style. For example, Marcus Sakey, who is a phenom author, writes crime thrillers. I’m not a crime girl and honestly don’t have time to read a lot of adult fiction, but I did read several of his books and learned the art of building suspense, especially at the end of chapters. Movie and TV have influenced my dialogue so much, as well as describing non-verbal communication. I’ve been known to listen to teens talking so I can try to keep up with not just what they’re saying, but how they’re saying it. As a writer, I have an obligation to constantly trying to be as authentic as I can be.

“You can’t expect a seat at the concert if you don’t buy a ticket.” – Madeline Quinn.

The scene at The Gates where RJ first meets St. Peter and Al, the handler of the guard dog overseeing the Gates of Hell. There’s a lull in the new arrivals and so the duo pepper RJ with questions while playing cornhole. It’s got some great lines and you can see not only the competitiveness of these two pillars in the afterlife but also how much they like each other.

I Lived by OneRepublic

I highly recommend reading it in public. Actually, there are still a couple scenes that make me cry, so scratch that. However, if you are drinking Diet Dr. Pepper and eating Twizzlers, I will be with you in spirit. 

The next few months have a lot of travel promoting the book and then there’s the release of IAWD on Audiobook, which I am so excited about! And of course, writing another book. 

Thank you so much for everything, Sarah!

No, thank you! I am so excited to have FFBC coordinating this book tour! I know I’ve said it before, but it’s going to be so much fun!

Follow the It's A Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

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.

One winner will win (US ONLY):

A SIGNED copy of The Heir by Kiera Cass OR a SIGNED copy of HOOK'S REVENGE by Heidi Shultz
A Handmade bracelet in RJ's favorite color: purple
A Funko Pop! Pocket Keychain (Game of Thrones Daenerys Targaryen)


  1. My fav has to be Yelena from Poison Study!

  2. Mine would be Scarlett O'Hara from "Gone With The Wind".I just love her. I love the book and I love the movie, still.

  3. The movie Giant with Elizabeth Taylor she was one tough lady in the movie.

  4. I love Katniss from Hunger Games because it's always about doing what is right or necessary and not about fame or being a leader.