Hello! I am excited to be a part of the Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour today. There seem to be a lot of great teen book events in SoCal lately and I am happy to help push books in any way that I can. If you’re in the southern California are or fancy a trip to our fair state, please come by and join us at this great event. This event is FREE and UNTICKETED. Check out the details below and keep reading for my exclusive guest post with author Elana K Arnold and a giveaway!
When: Saturday May 17th, 9 am to 5 pm
Where: Colony High School 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761
The Ontario Teen Book Fest Website: http://www.ontariotbf.com
The event is sponsored by Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair Company
. They will have books available for purchase at the event. There will also be t-shirts and posters available for purchase as well.
Guest post with 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 Rubin Pfeffer Content.
Visit Elana at http://elanakarnold.com.
Elana K Arnold on Setting
As a younger writer, I didn’t give too much thought to where my stories took place. What mattered, I felt, was what happened. I was—and continue to be—interested in relationships. Romantic entanglements, frustrating parent-child dynamics, fraught friendships. But it wasn’t until I began writing my debut novel Sacred that place became really, really important to me.
Sacred and its sequel Splendor are set on Catalina Island, 22 miles off the coast of Long Beach, California, where I grew up. The island was always out there, seeming to float on the horizon, a camel-backed slice of land too far away to swim to but close enough to imagine. And as I got more deeply into the writing of Scarlett’s story, the island grew more and more important. It became a symbol of Scarlett’s isolation but also her desire for connection, which reflected the way I had felt as a teen looking at that island from the mainland—desperately alone, even when surrounded by people, and wishing for a connection that seemed to elude me.
My next novel Burning required a setting that in some ways mirrored Catalina Island and in some ways was drastically different. Burning is set in and around a dying company town in the scorching hot Nevada desert, just outside of where the yearly Burning Man festival takes place. Like Catalina, the town of Gypsum where Ben Stanley has spent his whole life is isolated; no one lives there except the people who work for the mining company. Unlike Catalina Island’s town of Avalon, where Sacred’s Scarlett lives, there is nothing romantic or beautiful about Gypsum, except sunrise and sunset. It’s all dust and death in this fading company town that’s in the process of becoming a ghost town as the mine shutters its doors and all the town’s residents are forced to move. As I write, I realize that this book, too, is about a character’s sense of isolation thrust up against a desire for connection, and again this remote setting provides a backdrop for that struggle.
Of course there is the Burning Man festival, where 50,000 people gather from all over the world to make and share art, music, drugs, sexual revelry and the transformative burning of the effigy on the final night. What fabulously fertile ground to plow for a writer!
My middle grade debut The Question of Miracles (February 2015, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) looks at a character who’s been forced from her home already, the tranquil and warm town of Seal Beach, California, forced to relocate to the never ending rain of Corvallis, Oregon. Again, place functions as a catalyst for change, a symbol of the character’s transformation, and a potent source of conflict.
It seems that whether I am writing about teens who have graduated high school or kids just entering the middle school fray, vivid setting remains a constant in my writing. And in the YA novel I’ve just finished, Infandous (April 2015, CarolRhoda Lab/Lerner), I return to the shore, this time the infamous Venice Beach, California, where my character Sephora Golding has to decide how important home is to her, and what it means.
If you are a writer and you find yourself stuck, I suggest you invest some time into exploring the where
of the story. Establishing setting can ground your characters and enrich everything you write, much as dark, fertile soil allows the seeds you plant to blossom and grow.
Thanks, for visiting, Elana and we can’t wait to see you at Ontario! Please be sure to visit the other blogs on the tour and enter the giveaway below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway