A big welcome to
whose debut novel
Kiss the Morning Star
releases May 15, 2012
from Marshall Cavendish
The summer after high-school graduation, a year after her mother’s tragic death, Anna has no plans – beyond her need to put a lot of miles between herself and the past. With forever friend Kat, a battered copy of Kerouac’s DHARMA BUMS, and a car with a dodgy oil filter, the girls set out on an epic road trip across the USA. Maybe somewhere along the way they’ll prove or disprove the existence of God. Maybe they’ll even get laid . . .
It’s a journey both outward and inward. Through the Badlands and encounters with predatory men and buffalo. A crazy bus ride to Mexico with a bunch of hymn-singing missionaries. Facing death, naked in the forest with an enraged grizzly bear . . . Gradually, Anna realizes that this is a voyage of discovery into her own self, her own silent pain – and into the tangled history that she and Kat share. What is love? What is sexual identity? And how do you find a way forward into a new future – a way to declare openly and without fear all that lies within you? (from Goodreads)
She still suffers from acute wanderlust from time to time, but road trips now involve a mini-van and a chorus of “Are we there yet?” from two small dharma bums-in-training. (from Elissa's website)
Today Elissa is visiting to share some of her best book memories.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder books remind me of childhood because I read them again and again and loved to play Little House with my best friend (I was Laura and she was Mary.) There was so much rich description of that pioneer life, and the adventurous spirit made me happy.
What book makes you think of your happiest memory?
My happiest memories involving books are probably the memories I have of reading my favorite books out loud to my family, especially to my children but also to my husband. For instance, I have such happy memories of reading the Neil Gaiman novel Stardust to my husband so many years ago in our tent at night with a flashlight, or on the shore of this tiny lake in Glacier National Park—I remember our campsite was so thick with bear sign that we would pause in between chapters to bang sticks together and shout to alert the bears that we were there.
What book makes you think of your scariest memory?
I can’t think of too much for this one except that I remember reading The Amityville Horror in my rocking chair on the first night we stayed in our house, right after we bought it, and my husband and son were both sound asleep, and it freaked me out.
What book makes you think of your road to publication?
Hm, for this one I’m going to have to say this book that a friend of mine gave me when I was going through one of those difficult moments when I didn’t think there was really any hope of being published (or, indeed, of even finishing the book). It’s called The Writer’s Book of Hope, by Ralph Keyes, and I was skeptical of it at first because really, I’m the type of person who is wary of things that sound flaky or warm-fuzzy, but it was a really helpful read, and I keep it near my writing desk so that I can flip through it at random when I start feeling the downward tug of the writing and publication process.
What book makes you think of your family?
Right now the book that we’re reading out loud is the first Harry Potter book, and I love how exciting it is to experience Harry Potter with my sons for the first time. Other books we have read together as a family and just loved are Sharon Creech’s Ruby Holler, the Little House books, the Ramona books, Kate diCamillo’s Because of Winn-Dixie and The Magician’s Elephant, Margi Preus’s novel Heart of a Samurai, and so many more.
What book makes you think of high school?
In high school, I read any book I could get my hands on, basically. I think one book that I remember really making the rounds of all my friends, though, was the Anne Rice Interview with a Vampire books—we passed them from hand to hand, and everyone I knew was working their way through the series.
Thank you for sharing Elissa - those are some great memories :)