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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Interview with Elle Strauss, Author of Clockwise and It's a Little Haywire

Today, I have the honor of hosting Elle Strauss on my blog. Elle is the author of the recently-released YA novel, Clockwise, and the just-released MG novel, It's a Little Haywire. She's going to be spending a little time answering with us answering questions about Haywire. But first, you need to know what this book is about!

Owen True is eleven and eleven twelfths and has been “exiled” to the small crazy town of Hayward, WA, aka Haywire, while his mother is on her honeymoon. All he has to whittle away the time is the company of Gramps, his black lab Daisy, and his Haywire friends, Mason and Mikala Sweet. They don’t look so hot this year, in fact the whole town has gone to pot since the mill shut down.

Owen has his first encounter with a real life homeless man who ends up needing Owen’s help in more ways than one. But how does a rich city kid help the small town’s suffering citizens?

And what is Owen to make of the fog train and its scary, otherworldy occupants that appears out of thin air on the old tracks behind Gramps’ house? Do they have the answer Owen is looking for?

Now ... on to the interview!
I love the concept here -- a rich kid getting some real world perspective meets paranormal.  What made you want to tell this story in particular?

I think we all get caught up in our own worlds. It's easy to miss or overlook what's going on around us and in the world, especially when you're a kid. This story collides the main character's reality, a well to do life style, with those who are struggling to get by on far less. It also collides his material world with the spiritual.

What was the coolest part about writing this book for you?

This book is by far the most personal book. The voice of the main character, Owen True, was inspired by letters I found recently that were written to my parents by my eldest son when he was ten. When I listen to Owen True speak, I hear my son Joel. Like Gramps in It's a Little Haywire, my father has a song for every moment. He was the one who helped me to collect the songs for Charlie True's playlist. My daughter Tasia drew the illustrations and I love this opportunity to collaborate on a project with her.

Did you do the illustrations for the book?  If not, who?
Oh, I answered this in the last question. My seventeen year old daughter did them. And no, it wasn't slave labor. She owed me money. We bartered :)

Do you think books "with more" will become the new standard in publishing? And by that I mean, books that have illustrations or a playlist or some other bonus material like you've done here?

I definitely do. I only touched the tip of the iceberg here. Once reading devices like Kindle Fire and the ipad become used widely, readers will grow accustomed to books including media that those types of devices can operate, like music, videos and interactive apps.

Do you have a song in particular that you think best catches the mood or personality of It's a Little Haywire?

There's a whole playlist included at the end of the book with hyperlinks to youtube so that kids who've never heard songs like, There's a Lonely Little Robin, or Sugar in the Morning, can have a listen. I'd say the one that represents It's a Little Haywire the most is Catch a Falling Star.

What can your reads expect next from you? We'd love some juicy insight into what you've got cooking up next.

I actually have quite a lot coming down the pike. The sequel to my time travel YA Clockwise called Clockwiser will be out in Apr/May, a companion book called Like Clockwork is set for June. I want to have my merfolk book called Seaweed out this summer and a historical drama about a boy who grows up in Hitler Youth called Playing with Matches out by the end of summer as well.

 And there you have it -- go forth and get Haywire. It's normally $2.99, but it will be FREE for Feb 22 and 23 only.  After after you've done that, be sure to follow Elle around on the interwebs.  :)
Twitter: @elle_strauss
Facebook : Elle Strauss - Author
Goodreads: Elle Strauss Goodreads Author 
Google+: Elle Strauss 
Wattpad: Elle Strauss


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