Book Nerd Interview
Carrie Arcos is a National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature for OUT OF REACH. She lives in Los Angeles with her family. THERE WILL COME A TIME will be available May 6, 2014. You can find more about her at carriearcos.com
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Range:14 - 18 Years
I’m pretty small. 5’2” When I taught HS, everyone thought I could pass for one of the students.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Make sure you know how to finish. Starting is usually fun, thrilling when the idea of a story begins, but the discipline of finishing is what separates the real writers from the wannabes.
What are some of the common challenges that new and experienced authors face and what advice do you have for over-coming them?
I suppose one would be not taking yourself or your work too seriously.
Reviews are also an odd thing. Some people are going to get it and love your books, others will be like, “meh,” and still others will hate it with a passion and see to it that everyone knows. I don’t really understand the latter. You have to be okay with not everyone liking your book. This is a challenge for new and experienced authors. I would like to think that the more you write and publish, the more negative reviews don’t matter, but I don’t think anyone likes reading a review about their work that stars with the line, “Don’t even waste your time…” I try to stay away from reviews in general, but it’s difficult with everything being so accessible online. Every now and then I’ll read an amazing one and that’ll make my day. Then I’ll read a bad one, scrunch up my nose, and pat myself on the back and think, “Yep, I’ve made it. I’m a writer.”
For those who are unfamiliar with your novel: Out of Reach, how would you introduce it?
Out of Reach tells the story of Rachel Stevens, a sixteen year old girl, who’s older brother Micah has left home. Micah has struggled with meth addiction for a couple of years and Rachel has helped foster that by not telling their parents when she should have. After receiving an anonymous email that Micah may be living on the streets in San Diego, Rachel enlists the help of Tyler, one of Micah’s friends, in tracking down Micah.
The action of the novel takes place over a 24-hour period. There are flash back chapters interspersed throughout that reveal Rachel and Micah’s relationship over the years.
It’s a heartbreaking story of the effects that addiction has on the family members of an addict, and one that ultimately shows the reality and the hope of that struggle.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Rachel?
One of the most surprising things was how guilty Rachel felt. I knew she was angry and kid of a bit judgmental because she’s trying to deal and work things out. But she also carries this immense load of guilt. And in talking to families who have someone who is an addict, guilt does play a huge role. It’s kind of a silent guilt that also translates into shame and anger.
Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
I wanted to tell a side of addiction that I haven’t seen told much. There are plenty of books out there from the addict’s perspective, plenty of really great ones. But I haven’t come across them from a sibling’s point of view. As I launched into the writing of it, I felt like I had something fresh and compelling to add to the cannon of books dealing with addiction.
For those who are unfamiliar with Tyler, how would you introduce him?
Tyler is seventeen years old and Mexican American. He’s a soccer player and a bass player in a band with Micah. He’s one of those guys that carries himself with confidence, yet he’s not as confident as you’d think. He’s very intuitive and has a great deal of empathy. His motivation for going with Rachel to look for Micah may be more complicated than what is on the surface.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I think I’d like Rachel to meet Taylor from Jellicoe Road. Taylor’s been through an ordeal not just with the Townies vs. the Cadets, but also with the whole losing your parents thing. She’s got these huge walls and is tougher on the outside than Rachel, but for some reason, I just think they’d get along very well because they’ve both suffered.
What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I think Gary Schmidt once said that authors shouldn’t talk too much about what they’re working on because it changes. It’s not done until it’s done and even then it won’t be done.
But I can say I’m currently working on a LA based story about a teen boy who’s dealing with grief.
Where is the best place in the world you’ve been?
Such a difficult question because I’ve actually been able to travel a great deal. But I’d have to say there’s a certain bamboo forest with these huge trees that literally fold over and cover up the sky above you, and when you stand still and listen, you can hear the stalks clinking together as if they’re applauding you. It’s so beautiful. It’s in Maui.
Who was your fist boyfriend?
His name was Kurt. He was a senior and I was a freshman in HS. We met on the Cross Country team and it was a very long typical HS romance: 1 month! :)
Tell me about your first kiss.
I was in Jr High at a friend’s birthday party and we decided to play Truth or Dare. I ended up getting Dare, and it was for a friend and me to kiss. So we did in the closet. Ha Ha. Not terribly romantic or memorable, except I remember being terrified and happy because I had a secret crush on him.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
My height. I say 5’2” when I’m technically 5’1¾”
What’s the memorable summer job you’ve ever had?
I ran a summer camp for kids. It was a lot of work, but a blast because we got to go to all of these cool places like the beach, amusement parks, Sea World… And the kids were so precious and fun.
What did the last text message on your phone say?
“Wjahahahahjajattytt?????? Awesome? Which one? To who?”
When was the last time you cried?
Reading Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield. Love.
Rachel has always idolized her older brother Micah. He struggles with addiction, but she tells herself that he’s in control. And she almost believes it. Until the night that Micah doesn’t come home.
Rachel’s terrified—and she can’t help but feel responsible. She should have listened when Micah tried to confide in her. And she only feels more guilt when she receives an anonymous note telling her that Micah is nearby and in danger.
With nothing more to go on than hope and a slim lead, Rachel and Micah’s best friend, Tyler, begin the search. Along the way, Rachel will be forced to confront her own dark secrets, her growing attraction to Tyler…and the possibility that Micah may never come home.
The authenticity of the story is what makes this book really appealing. This is an occurrence that happens all the time and it can literally happen to anyone. Although it centers on the dangers of addiction, it explores the toll it puts on people who are affected by it. Even with Micah gone missing, author Carrie has a unique way of providing readers on the kind of person he is from Rachel’s collection of memories of her brother. Readers will grieve with Rachel as new information regarding Micah’s whereabouts seems to always be a dead-end. Carrie’s writing style is beautiful and precise. Envisioning the travels that Rachel and Tyler embark on comes almost effortless. She provides rich details right down to characters’ inner emotions. While Rachel kept her brother’s secrets, he may have left because he felt he had let her down. No matter what the truth is, Out of Reach is an authentic voyage of a person who is trying to reconnect to someone close to them caused by substance abuse.
And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Carrie for making this giveaway possible.
*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*a Rafflecopter giveaway