Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Girl in the Arena~ Tour

Thanks to Bloomsbury USA for generously providing me with an ARC of 'Girl in the Arena' by Lise Haines.

I have mixed feelings about this book. Its kinda gory in some parts, and I'm not good with gore. Not a fan at all... It seemed very dramatic at other parts, as if some things didn't really need to happen the way they did... like some things took a turn for the worst and everything went downhill from there. Its a sobering book; sad, bad, and tragic things happen and the characters have to deal with their situation as best they can. Things happen that shouldn't happen, just like in life, and although it may not have the ending I'd hoped for, its a good one.

But its growing on me.

I'm still not a huge fan, but its growing on me. I keep thinking about it, and pondering it, and reliving different scenes like when Uber visits Lyn for the first time, and when Thad goes to the museum with Lyn, and when Lyn spars against Mark... I've already begun my re-read. Tomorrow I'll post some of the comments I've written on the first fifty pages or so.
Late tomorrow....

would do it today, as well as include the synopsis provided, but I don't have my copy of the book... I'm on fall break, and I'd forgotten when the tour was, and I left my copy on my desk in my dorm. I don't know when for sure I'll be able to post with the book in hand, but it WILL happen tomorrow... it just might be kinda close to Wednesday ;)

Anyway, there is still more in store for you today, the author was kind enough to do an e-mail interview with me:

Interview between Lise and Marie:

Lise: Hi Marie. Thanks for including me on your cool site!

Marie: How long did it take you to write 'Girl in the Arena' from the first glimmer of an idea to the last draft?

Lise: Maybe I had the first inkling three or four years ago. But most of it was written over a couple of years while I taught full-time and was busy raising my teenage daughter. It felt like a particularly intense process since I sold my novel when it was less than half finished.

Marie: Are any of the characters in your book based off people you know?

Lise: Maybe bits and pieces but not whole characters. Though I certainly feel I know them the way one knows close friends or family. Like a lot of writers, part of the process for me is about tapping into vivid daydreaming—which is a lot like hanging out with people I’m tight with.

Marie: Do you listen to music as you write? Why or why not?

Lise: I certainly have in the past but not so much with this book. I haven’t had a lot of time to do the download thing. And then the idea of starting with a blank IPod or an empty CD cabinet becomes pretty daunting.

Marie: Where did you get your inspiration for ‘Girl in the Arena'?

Lise: I think I have at least three different answers to this question, and they’re all right in a way. Some of it was about working with my college students—thinking about the way they handle violent info and things they’re fascinated by. Some of it was about my daughter introducing me to virtual reality, manga, anime, etc. And some of it was about reflecting on the events of the last few years like 9/11 and Iraq. I’ve written a blog about the number of young women going off to war on my website. You can also find some of my daughter’s avatars there as well: www.lisehaines.com.

Marie: How did you come up with the names for the characters?

Lise: One of my best friends is named Lyn. I think of my friend as a rather heroic person. Very genuine and real—someone I can tell anything to--but she sets the mark high. You probably already know that Uber comes from a German word meaning excess or superiority. It’s become so overused it’s almost lost its meaning, and seemed kind of funny to me: uber this and uber that. I think of my character Uber as someone who’s trying to find meaning in his life. Thad just sounded right on the tongue. There’s something very sweet about Thad and quite unique so he had to have a particular name.

Marie: What is the first thing you do when you get a new story idea?

Lise: I rarely start with an idea. I get an image, a voice, a line. Then I just start writing and see where it takes me.

Marie: Time and money aside, what would you rather be doing?

Lise: I hope I always get to write. It really is an essential part of me. I’ve been writing forever. And I love teaching though like most dedicated teachers, I wouldn’t mind a sabbatical now and then. I love hanging out with my daughter—always--as in: let’s go shopping, though we also go for walks, check out museums, hit movies. I’ve worked incredibly hard the last few years to support us and I think more than anything I’d like to take a whole month off. Loll around at the beach, go to the gym, hit the movies, put my feet up, and read great books. And sleep. I’d really love to get some sleep.

Marie: What obstacles would you warn beginning authors of?

Lise: One of the primary things an author has to come to grips with is: who holds the emotion in a work of fiction—the author or your reader. If you dump your emotions onto the page, the author holds the emotional content—and the reader observes things from a distance. If you show some restraint and simply convey very specific, concrete details and show us what happened, the reader feels the emotion in an almost effortless, and deeply satisfying way.

Marie: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you bring with you, and why?

Lise: I assume you don’t mean people, so I’ll focus on objects. I know my survivalist nature would kick into gear big time. First, I’d want a good knife. With that I could do a thousand things including writing on bark. A magnifying glass to start a fire. And maybe a copy of Alice in Wonderland or…a needle. I could make clothes with a needle, I could fall down a tree with Alice. Hmm. Alice, needle, Alice, needle… (It’s one of my favorite books.)

Marie: What question have I not asked that I should, and what is the answer?

Lise: Ha. Okay. Maybe you’ve heard that I have a strong intuitive nature. Let’s see, you were thinking of asking something about what we could all use more of, so cautionary tales like Girl in the Arena never become a reality. And I would probably answer: compassion. It’s something all young writers need in abundance, to really get inside another life and report back to the rest of us.

I’m so grateful that you included me and Girl in the Arena on your site. I wish you lots of good energy in the coming year. I’ll enjoy following Fireside Musings.

Marie: Thank you, Lise, for the interview, and the wonderful answers!

Follow the links below, they are also hosting this tour and have all kinds of information for you!

The 160 Acre Woods, A Patchwork of Books, All About Children’s Books, Becky’s Book Reviews, Fireside Musings, Homeschool Book Buzz, KidzBookBuzz.com, Maw Books Blog, My Own Little Corner of the World, Reading is My Superpower, Through a Child’s Eyes

1 comment:

sally said...

Marie and Lise, thanks for the wonderful interview. Loved it!

And I look forward to hearing more of your thought, Marie. I'm with you on this thinking that the book grows on you. Good books that are thought provoking, usually do grow, don't they? Fast books are like Chinese food--you're hungry a few hours later. But the books that make you think make you think are not only filling, they also taste better the more you chew them over.