Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blog Tour: Interview with Lou Aronica, Author of 'Blue'

A few months back, Tracee from "Pump Up Your Book" asked if I was interested in hosting author Lou Aronica.  Usually, I would have declined because the novel isn't actually aimed at kids or teens. 'Blue', however, has a premise that could interest a vast group of readers, so I decided, why not?

About the Author:
Lou Aronica is the author of several novels and works of nonfiction, including the New York Times bestseller, The Element (written with Ken Robinson) and the national bestseller, The Culture Code (written with Clotaire Rapaille). He lives in Southern Connecticut with his wife and four children.

Q&A with Lou Aronica:

Can you give us a sentence or two about who you are and where you're from?

Lou: I’ve been involved in the book world for the past three decades, first on the publishing side (I was Deputy Publisher of Bantam Books, then Publisher of Berkley, and then Publisher of Avon), and more recently as a writer. I’ve written sixteen books, including the New York Times bestseller The Element (with Ken Robinson) and the national bestseller The Culture Code (with Clotaire Rapaille). I live in Southern Connecticut with my wife and four children.

-When did you begin to write seriously and why?

Lou: I’ve been dabbling in writing since I was a teenager, and even when I got into the publishing business, I believed I was doing so to facilitate a career in writing. I didn’t write my first book until nine years ago, though. This actually happened somewhat accidentally. I’d set up my company, The Fiction Studio, with the intention of developing ideas for other writers to execute. When I sold the first of these to a publisher, though, I realized that I was too close to the project to turn it over to someone else. I decided to write the book myself, and it became my first novel, The Forever Year.

-Do you have any writing rituals (ie: listening to music, writing at night, etc)?

Lou: My only ritual seems to be getting up to walk around every couple of sentences. I’m fairly capable of staying in one place most of the time, but not when I’m writing. If I could figure out a way to type while walking, I’d probably be far more efficient.

-What inspired you to write 'Blue'? Who's your intended audience?

Lou: The original inspiration for the novel was my trepidation over my oldest child getting ready to go off to college. I was worried that I was going to lose her and that we’d never have the life we had when she was home. I realized, of course, that no one would want to read a novel about a guy wringing his hands over his daughter leaving home, so everything became a metaphor. As it turns out, Blue took me six years to write – long enough that my daughter has graduated college. In the end, I didn’t lose her at all, but at least I got a novel out of my neurosis.

I’d like to believe that Blue is equally readable by those who love fantasy and character-driven novels, as well as adults and teens. The three main characters are a man in his early forties, his teenaged daughter, and the twentysomething queen of the fantasy world they created when the daughter was little, so different people are going to identify with different protagonists.

-Pitch your book in 7 words or less!

Lou: Fantasy world turns real for life-changing reasons. Yes, I realize I cheated with the hyphenated word.

-In a movie of your life, who would play you? In the same respect, who would play title characters Chris, Becky,and Miea in a movie adaptation of 'Blue'? Why?

Lou: I think someone like Tom Hanks might play me well, though he plays everyone well. For Chris, maybe Greg Kinnear, and for Becky, let’s go with Hailee Steinfeld. I was thinking about Natalie Portman whenever I wrote from Miea’s POV, though that was before “Black Swan.” I’m glad I didn’t have that image in my head.

-What are you working on now?

Lou: I have two nonfiction books due to publishers during the first half of this year, including the follow-up to The Element. The next fiction work will be an anthology of stories set in Blue’s fantasy world of Tamarisk. I’m writing the first story and the last, and readers are going to contribute the rest. My next novel is in the very early planning stages. Hopefully, it won’t take me six years to write it.

-If you could live in a specific book genre, what would it be?

Lou: It’s not really a genre, but I would like to live in the world of character-driven stories. I think I’d be very happy in a world where people were relating to one another at a heightened level.

-If you could travel back in time, where would you go?

Lou: Not terribly far back. There’s too much about the present I would miss. However, I would have loved to have been an adult at the start of the sixties. So many things were emerging then: enormous breakthroughs in the arts and technology, profound social changes, new frontiers opening all the time.

-One of my other blogs is centered around toys, what was your favorite toy growing up?

Lou: Strat-o-Matic Baseball. I was (and still am) a huge baseball fan, and it was the first real sports simulation game. You used cards that estimated probabilities for all Major League players, so the players performed as they did in real life. There are plenty of computer simulations that do things like this now, but back then it was mind-blowing.

-If I were to look at your DVR, what television shows would I find on it?

Lou: Right now, you’d find “Modern Family,” “Top Chef,” “Nova Science Now,” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” That, and a half-dozen episodes of “Babar,” because my five-year-old likes to watch them.

-One of the great things about blogging is that I get to spread the word about books I love. What's your favorite book and can you pitch it to our readers?

Lou: Many of my favorite books are classics like “The Catcher in the Rye,” “The Sound and the Fury,” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” My favorite book that readers are less likely to know is John Crowley’s “Little, Big.” It’s an elaborate contemporary fantasy reminiscent of “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” I think John Crowley is one of the great fiction stylists, and anyone who loves language and imagination should get a copy right now.

-Where can readers find your book?

Lou: It’s available at all online retailers. The e-book is cheaper; buy that one.

I'd like to thank Tracee and Lou for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour! Check back tomorrow for more info on 'Blue'!

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