Monday, November 26, 2012

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.

Arnold's debut YA novel is Sacred.

Recently I asked her what I was reading.  Her reply:
I’m pretty thrilled that I’ve been invited to teach a course called Adolescent Literature next quarter at UC Davis. I’ve been compiling a reading list, having a lot of fun revisiting some of my favorites. Two of the books I’m especially enjoying right now are The Golden Compass and Uses for Boys.

The Golden Compass—actually, Pullman’s entire His Dark Materials trilogy (which Pullman doesn’t consider to be a trilogy, but rather one long book) pretty much rocks my world every time. What I admire about Pullman’s philosophy is that he doesn’t hold up innocence as preferable to experience. His books don’t make a cult out of purity, and they put forth the notion that adulthood is a world full of mystery and magic, not just the depressing antithesis to idyllic childhood. As an adult, and as a parent to kids who will become adults, I find this notion reassuring and life affirming.

Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt actually isn’t even published yet, but I got ahold of an advanced reader’s copy last winter and ate it up in one sitting. It’s short, but not petite in any way—it’s a big story of pain and isolation and glimmers of hope without making any promises.

And (I’m a little embarrassed to admit) I’m rereading my own novel Sacred. It just came out this month, and it’s the first book I’ve ever published. It’s such a sensual pleasure to turn its pages.
Visit Elana K. Arnold's website.

--Marshal Zeringue