Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Author Interview + Giveaway: Laura A. H. Elliot, author of 13 On Halloween

Today I have author Laura A. H. Elliot on the blog to tell you a little bit about herself and her books. Then, after the interview, Laura is giving away copies of her book 13 on Halloween. Exciting! It's kind of like a special Halloween treat for you all. Let's see what she has to say...

Tell us a little about yourself and the book(s) you've written...

Laura's Hippie Vampire Costume
I grew up in Chicago and met my sweetheart at The University of Illinois, in Champaign-Urbana. We married after graduation and moved to Los Angeles where we raised our family first in Echo Park and then in Ventura County. Now, my hubby and I make our home on the central coast of California and we travel with my husband’s construction project management business quite a bit. My debut novel, Winnemucca, is a small-town fairy tale inspired by my life-long love of a little known town, Avenal, CA, and my equal love of enchanted teenage road trips. 13 on Halloween is the first book in the Teen Halloween Series and is a snarky romp about Roxie’s birthday wish coming true in hilariously scary ways. 14 on Halloween will be out next spring. My next novel, Transfer Student, will help to ring in the New Year. My travel and personal essays have been published in The Los Angeles Times and other Southern California newspapers and magazines. I worked as a multimedia designer for The Los Angeles Times and E! Entertainment Television. Among my career highlights are working as an extra in a major-motion picture, “Lions For Lambs,” while at work in the newsroom and the last-minute opportunity to interview Quentin Tarantino while working a movie junket just after I interviewed Christian Bale for a different movie junket on the very same day! I love LA.
What advice would you give your teen readers about life?

Follow your heart! It will never steer you wrong.

Why do you write? What got you going?

It’s kind of a funny story, really. I thought my hubby had died in a bicycling accident. Sadly, a man did die, but my hubby was ok. I ran so hard so fast to see if it was my husband, that I broke my foot and had to wear three different non-walking casts in order to heal. I wrote stories to help pass the time. I write magical realism because of my father’s experiences as a POW in World War II. He was captured as a 17-year-old boy by the Japanese in Indonesia. He created opportunity and industry where most only saw despair. It was his perception of a horrible reality that saved him. Only when he began to share some of his stories about his experiences in the war, did I realize that the magic in the world lies in the ambiguity, and some time murky seas, of perception. This is what I like to explore in my fiction. I also love when my characters’ dreams come true in hilariously scary ways. In 13 on Halloween, Roxie visits a shadow world. In Winnemucca, Ginny, a seventeen-year-old small-town girl, finally listens to her own intuition only because her talkative, always questioning feet won’t shut up. Those questions begin Ginny’s enchanted road trip to her true calling, her true family and her true love.

Is there a dedication at the beginning of your book? Who did you dedicate it to and why?

Here is the dedication for Winnmeucca:

I want to go all over the world
And start living free
I know that there's somebody who
Is waiting for me

-Dear Someone written by Gillian Welch
To Joe

Just as I was finishing the edits of Winnemucca, my husband and I saw Gillian Welch sing at The Henry Miller Library in Big Sur and she sang this song. She’s a great talent. It’s a beautiful song. If you like, you can hear her sing this song on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_SbWzbjueQ

Music is a huge part of Winnemucca and Ginny’s journey. These lyrics spoke to me in ways only a road trip can. My husband Joe and I are on this beautiful journey together and Dear Someone reminds me of all the fun we’ve had, and the promise of Dear Someones out there for each one of us.

Here is the dedication for 13 on Halloween:

To Candice and Margaux
My Halloween Girls

I love Halloween. Everything about it. I still really get into it. But my very special memories of Halloween are with my sweethearts, my daughters Candy and Mx. Magical moments that I dedicate this book to.

What will your next book be about?

My next book is called Transfer Student and is a YA freaky-Friday story about how a geek, alien boy and a Beverly Hills surfer, fashionista survive each others' lives only to fall in love with each other, a galaxy apart. I just love this story and I love the setting of Los Angeles opposite Planet Retha where Rhoe, the boy geek alien, lives. There is a character in Transfer Student that is pure magic. He is one of my favorites.

You can read an excerpt here: http://laurasmagicday.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/ya-indie-carnival-teasers/

Do you have any fun hobbies other than reading and writing? What are they?

Snow skiing!! I love to ski. I don’t do it often enough but it is by far the biggest rush I get on planet earth. Not that I am very good. I’m not a black diamond skier at all. I ski mostly blue runs. But one time we went Spring skiing in Park City, UT and I skied the best run of my life and it was such an epic moment! I love the joy of a day on the mountain and the fresh air and the fact that when you ski you really can’t concentrate on anything else except the here and now.
Would you prefer to be a dragon rider, a dragon slayer, or the dragon itself?

I’d prefer to be the dragon, although I’m sure I would play with my wings all day. I want to be a dragon that can fly! I just can’t imagine anything more amazing than having scales and a sense of direction!

What is the first line of the first book in your bookcase?

“My name is Wilkie Collins, and my guess, since I plan to delay the publication of this document for at least a century and a quarter beyond the date of my demise, is that you do not recognize my name.” – Drood, by Dan Simmons

Thanks so much for having me Erika! I love your questions and had a blast answering themJ

If you will be in the Pacific Northwest, I’m on The Rain Boots Required Young Adult Book Tour http://www.facebook.com/RainBootsRequired  please join us! Or, if you are in Savannah, GA for Halloween Weekend, I’d love to celebrate with you and some other amazing YA authors here http://www.theplumessociety.com/ 

Follow your own magic,


Book Summary:

Twelve-year-old Roxie wants to be like Adrianne, the peacock who gets everything she wants––a trampoline, a flock to prowl around the mall with, and most especially invitations to parties. But everything changes when Roxie invites all the peacocks in the eighth grade to her thirteenth birthday party on Halloween and they all come. And a boy, the boy, actually talks to Roxie. Roxie has the best night of her life until the peacocks decide they want to celebrate her birthday in a way Roxie never expects––in her attic, with a pact to never tell a living soul what happens there. BONUS MATERIAL: A Sneak Peek of TRANSFER STUDENT, a YA freaky-Friday story about how a geek, alien boy and a Beverly Hills surfer, fashionista survive each others' lives only to fall in love, a galaxy apart.

Laura's Book Trailers:

13 On Halloween


Laura is offering 1 paperback copy of 13 on Halloween to USA or Canadian residents. She is also offering 2 ecopies of 13 on Halloween internationally.

I am keeping this giveaway simple. You will get one entry for filling out the form and an extra entry for sharing the giveaway in any place you wish (ex. Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, etc.).

Must be 13 years old or have parents permission to enter. By filling out the form you are confirming your age or parental permission.

Ends October 20th at 11:59 PM EST. Good luck everyone!

To enter the giveaway FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW.