Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Interview with Arlaina Tibensky (And Then Things Fall Apart Blog Tour)

Today we have Arlaina Tibensky here for an author interview! This iterview is part of The Teen Book Scene's blog tour for And Then Things Fall Apart. You can find out more about the tour here. Make sure to visit all the other stops of the blog tour if you'd like to know more about And Then Things Fall Apart.

Have you always loved writing? Why did you decide to write for teens?

Definitely! I have definitely always loved reading.  I used to read in the outfield during softball games in gym and felt most alive when I was living in the world of a great book.  I think I loved reading so much that writing was what made the most sense for me to do…  I didn’t really make a big conscious decision to write for teens.  I feel that I’m a writer who happens to be enraptured with that time of a person’s life.  All the fiction I wrote before And Then Things Fall Apart that was any good (and got published) had a teen protagonist or was somehow a “coming of age” story. And I’m the world’s oldest teenager, so…

What inspired you to write this novel? How big a role did Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar play for your inspiration?
When I was 15 I was stuck at my grandma’s house with the chickenpox and a typewriter.  The events in the book are not what actually happened to me but I always thought that my chicken pox episode would make an interesting book… One day I made a playlist of my favorite songs, sat down, and started writing as if I were an itchy fifteen year old.  I loved Sylvia Plath when I was in high school and felt that if I made Keek love her too, I’d have a great skeleton to hang the story on.  I also wanted to acknowledge all the spooky smart cool girls the world over who fall in love with Sylvia Plath in high school.  They are my friends.

Can you tell us a bit about the writing process? Do you have any weird writing habits?
The hardest part of writing for me is just sitting down and doing it.  There’s a famous writer whose name I forget who installed a freaking SEATBELT on to his writing chair so he had to literally strap himself in to get some work done.   Me? I drink a lot of coffee from my fancy Nespresso machine. I have to be totally alone.  Before I start I do some kind of meditation to clear my head and focus on creating (which sounds a little insane but it totally works for me!).  And I talk to myself the whole time.

If you could pair the main character, Keek, up with any character from any other book, who would it be and why?
Well, Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye of course.  They would be so in love at first it would be embarrassing and then she would break his heart… There is another new book called Stupid Fast which I love and the main character’s name is Felton.  He, like Keek, is Midwestern, funny, talks to himself a lot and is, perhaps, her soulmate.  Felton <3’s Keek.  I can so see it!

Which character in And Then Things Fall Apart are you most like?
It makes the most sense to say Keek, right?  I mean, we have the most in common and she in many ways is the most like me… But the grandma is a lot like me, Nic is a lot like me, even Matt and Earl the Squirrel are a lot like me. Even Amanda, when I flick on my bitch switch, is a lot like me.  They are all a facet of me, I guess.  I love them all so very much. I really hope that readers out there love them as much as I do!

Thanks for the great interview answers, Arlaina! I loved Felton in Stupid Fast, too, and the idea of strapping yourself to your chair is hilarious.

Make sure to check out all the other stops of the blog tour, and keep your eye out for And Then Things Fall Apart, which has already been released (July 26th).

And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Keek is not having a good summer. She and her boyfriend have just had their Worst Fight Ever (on the subject of her virginity, nonetheless), she’s been betrayed by a best friend, her parents are splitting up, and her mother is on the other side of the country tending to Keek’s newborn cousin, who may or may not make it home from the hospital. Oh, and Keek’s holed up at her grandmother’s technology-barren house with an abysmal case of the chicken pox. In Keek’s words, “Sofa king annoying.”
With her world collapsing around her, Keek’s only solace comes from rereading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and typing on an old electric typewriter. Keek—whose snappy narrative voice is darkly humorous and hysterically blunt—must ultimately decide for herself which relationships to salvage, which to set free, and what it means to fall in love.


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