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Interview with Jennifer Bosworth, author of <em>Struck</em>
[box type="note"]Leigh here! Today, I'll be interviewing the ferocious Jennifer Bosworth about her debut YA novel, Struck. Jenn lives in Los Angeles and is the writer half of a writer/director team with her husband, Ryan Bosworth. She is also one of my touring buddies on the Fierce Reads tour this summer. PREPARE YOURSELF, AMERICA.[/box]
Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her. Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes,is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction.
But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.
Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.
First, let's talk about your amazing trailer. Readers, take this moment to watch:
I usually hate live action trailers, but yours blew me away—especially since you and your husband are the mad geniuses behind it. What was the biggest challenge in making the trailer and what was the biggest surprise?
First of all, let me say how relieved I am that you liked the trailer. Not only are you a tough audience, but you used to write them for a living, so you know your stuff. Now, biggest challenge: creating a cinematic, high-end piece while staying within our micro budget. Which, I might add, we failed to do. But it was worth the additional cost! Biggest surprise...I’m going to give you two. The first was how amazing the actors were. We really lucked out with our cast. The second was how emotional I got during the shoot. I like to think I’m an emotionless robot. Stoicism is in my Scandinavian blood. But watching the book I’d lived with for so long come to life before my eyes reduced me to a teary-eyed, hug everyone within arm’s reach, emo wreck. In a good way.
You? Emo? I would have loved to see that. And I have to agree regarding your cast. They seem like the real deal. As much as I like talking pictures, let's get to the words. Struck is set in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. How did you go about tearing the city apart? Can we expect to see any famous monuments or sites in the book? Do any celebrities fall into fissures in the earth?
You know, I love LA and have undying loyalty to this city, which is why I chose to destroy it. You always hurt the ones you love, right? The bulk of the action in Struck takes place in two locales in the city: Venice Beach, and downtown. In the book, Venice Beach has become a vast tent city, where people who’ve lost their homes migrate, and where my protagonist, Mia, goes to get black market meds for her traumatized mother. If you’ve been to Venice Beach, you know it’s already a pretty crazy place.
Now think post-earthquake. Yeah. That’s what I’m talkin’ about. Downtown Los Angeles was the epicenter of the quake, so the towers that currently make up the city skyline have been leveled. All but one, the tallest building, which is called, simply, the Tower. And the whole of destroyed downtown is referred to as the Waste. Probably the most recognizable monument I refer to is the Santa Monica Ferris Wheel on the pier. Only in Struck the pier has collapsed and the Ferris wheel is protruding from the ocean. Alas, no celebrities were harmed in the writing of this book. But I can think of a few I would like to drop into a fissure. I won’t name names, just in case Struck ever sells as a movie.
I can think of a few I'd like to drop into a crevasse. But good gravy, the image of the ferris wheel sticking out of the ocean just gave me chills. I know you're a big horror lover. Other than fear of being too awesome, what scares you most?
Failure. Haha. No, that’s not a fun answer. I’m actually really afraid of death. That’s the main reason I never go to the doctor if I can avoid it. I’m afraid they’ll tell me I’m dying. If I’m going to die—and that’s a big IF, because I’m trying to find a way around it—then I don’t want to see it coming. Either that, or I want to go out in a blaze of glory, Bon Jovi style. Or die a martyr. That would be all right.
I feel your martyrdom would be well worth attending. Saint Bos of the Teeny Tiny Tarot Wagon. I know your MC Mia is a lightning addict. What's your guilty pleasure?
You’ve seen me at happy hour, so I think you know. Whiskey! Beer! Wine! And I’m quite fond of scones, and those butterscotch suckers from See’s. And I love bad, 70s horror movies, but I don’t feel guilty about that.
Your love for butterscotch baffles and disgusts me. But it also makes me glad because we won't have to fight over candy. What do you think will surprise people most about Struck?
I don’t have to guess. Early reviews have cleared up that mystery. The commentary in Struck about religious fanaticism has taken more than a few bloggers by surprise, some in a good way, some not so good. The thing that surprises ME is that this theme isn’t more prevalent in young adult literature when it is still so prevalent in society, especially in the US. Some potential readers hear that I’ve tackled the big R and they immediately put their hands up and back away like the book is going to bite. All I ask is that people read the book with an open mind. If they put it down angry, well, I prefer anger to indifference any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Personally, I think a little controversy is good for a book, and speculative fiction can be most compelling when it finds new ways to take on current issues. Just another reason I'm excited to be touring with you this summer. What are you most looking forward to on tour and what are you most dreading or most nervous about?
I’m most looking forward to connecting to readers, and to wreaking havoc with Leigh Bardugo! Whoo! Let’s have a contest to see who can throw the most chairs through hotel windows, yes? What I look forward to the least (or what I’m most afraid of) is no one showing up for our events. So please check FierceReads.com for our event schedule and come see us, folks! Otherwise I’ll have to throw extra chairs through hotel windows to make myself feel better.
Oh the gauntlet has been thrown down. Just wait till I hurl myself off of a roof and shout, "I am a golden god!" Now on to the fun stuff. Name your literary pub.
Pavlov’s, where every time a bell rings, I get another drink. Honey bourbon. Malty Belgian beer. Smokey scotch.
LOL. That may be my favorite answer to that question thus far. But let's say a fight breaks out at Pavlov's, what's your weapon of choice??
My fists of fury. And a broken bottle. And the infamous Claws de Bos.
The Claws de Bos are not to be trifled with.
Swag you might win!
Okay, PubCrawlers, STRUCK goes on sale on May 8th, but you can win a signed ARC and an awesome lightning bolt necklace now!
All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter entry form and leave a comment telling us what give you the chills!