Welcome to my stop of the 2nd Authors are Rockstars tour! (Check the full schedule HERE!) I'm hosting the fabulous:
Elana K. Arnold!!
ELANA K. ARNOLD completed her M.A. in Creative Writing/Fiction at the University of California, Davis. She grew up in Southern California, where she was lucky enough to have her own horse--a gorgeous mare named Rainbow--and a family who let her read as many books as she wanted. She lives in Long Beach, California, with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. She is represented by Rubin Pfeffer of the East/West Literary Agency. Sacred is her debut novel.
Why is Elana a ROCKSTAR?
I've only read Burning by Elana but that's all it took me for me to realize that she's an amazing writer and that I will be reading everything of hers. She did one of my all time favorite things SO well-- girl-boy alternating POVs and her teen characters have a spot on voice, they could have been students at my high school and I just love love love that. Yay to teen characters who are actual ya know, TEENS. She was also not afraid to do different things in Burning and that only made the book that much better. If you're into contemporary YA, you need to be reading Elana K. Arnold because she tackles sexuality, family, friendship and just the YA contemporary genre in general so well. Also, look at her author picture. It screams BAD ASS! Could anyone be more rockstar-y?
Now, an interview with Elana!
1. We know you're a rockstar but why do YOU think you're a rockstar?Yikes! If I am a rockstar, it’s only because I’ve become friends with the rockstars who came before me… Andrew Smith and Nova Ren Suma (who both blurbed my new book BURNING, which REALLY made me feel cool), among others.
2. Who are some of your favorite rockstar authors?Besides Andrew and Nova, I’ve got to include Phillip Pullman, Paul Auster, Aimee Bender, Pam Houston, and John Irving, who is my hero.
3. Besdies writing, what do you do in your free time?I do lots of animal upkeep—feeding all my beasts and cleaning up after them. I have birds, reptiles, and mammals of several kinds. When my chores are done, I go to the beach with my family. I visit my grandmother. I play with my kids.
4. What can we expect next from you after Splendor?Well… you’ll be the first to learn that I’ve recently sold another Young Adult novel. It’s called INFANDOUS, which means “That which is too terrible to speak of.” I’m thrilled that I’ll be working with Andrew Karre of Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner. I think he’s the perfect editor—and Carlrhoda Lab is the perfect press—for this book. INFANDOUS is a dark, messy contemporary, “equal measures sexual and thoughtful,” says Andrew.
5. What are some books we need to buy and read immediately?Carrie Mesrobian’s SEX & VIOLENCE. Andrew Smith’s WINGER. Erica Lorraine Scheidt’s USES FOR BOYS, Phillip Pullman’s HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy. A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY by John Irving.
6. What was writing Burning like? Did you do a lot of research?Writing BURNING was a magical experience. I had the idea and began writing immediately, doing research—about Romani people, gypsum mining, and the Burning Man festival—as I wrote. I connected with a cultural anthropologist and writer who helped me fact check, an agronomist who sent me pictures of gypsum mines, and a dozen Burners who have attended the festival. Never before—or since—has a book come out of me so fully formed, so easily. The first draft was written in seven weeks, and it didn’t change all that much during revision. This was my Athena book; it sprung fully formed from my head. I am ON FIRE for this book. I hope the whole world reads it.
7. Your second release of the year, Splendor, is coming out soon? Can you tell us about it and Sacred?This has been an amazing, magical twelve months; SACRED (my debut) came out last November, BURNING was released in June, and SPLENDOR will be out this November. SACRED and SPLENDOR tell the story of Scarlett Wenderoth, an equestrienne who lives on Catalina Island, off the coast of California. When SACRED opens, Scarlett is dealing poorly with her brother Ronny’s recent death, and meets a newcomer to the island, the green-eyed and mysterious Will Cohen. SPLENDOR continues their story as Will goes off to college and Scarlett enters her senior year. SPLENDOR raises all the stakes—her family relationships, her internal struggles, her sexual awakening, even her journey with her mare Delilah. And, of all the endings I’ve ever written, SPLENDOR’s is my favorite.
8. All your books are like your babies but which one has been your favorite?I don’t have a favorite book—I love them all—but I DO have favorite things about each book. The whirlwind, summertime journey of writing BURNING was unlike anything I have ever done. It is a hot summer book, and I felt compelled to write it during the summer.
I love SACRED because it was my first, and there is nothing like finishing that final chapter, staring at what you’ve created and realizing that you really are a novelist. As I said above, SPLENDOR’s ending is my favorite… and as for what’s ahead, I think my next book, INFANDOUS, is my favorite in terms of the barriers it breaks, the risks it takes.
9. What are your writing habits? Do you listen to music?I have to write wherever and whenever I can. Right now I am at my sister Sasha’s kitchen table. There are eight children under the age of twelve in the house with me. Technically I am in charge of them. No one is currently screaming, so that is good. The only music I listen to while I write are the theme songs of the television shows my kids watch in the next room. BURNING was written with lots of H2O: Just Add Water and SpongeBob in the background…
I would suggest something, but I'm not one of those people who are capable of matching music to books. Anyways, I'm SO happy I got to host Elana K.Arnold! Burning is one of my most favorite books of the year and just EVER and I want more people to read it and experience Elana K. Arnold, who really is a rockstar in my world. Also, how AMAZING does INFANDOUS sound? Yeah I need that book in my fangirling hands now. So I hoped you enjoyed my tour stop and I strongly urge you to pick up one of Elana's books and if you have, is she awesome or IS SHE AWESOME?