Thursday, September 30, 2021

Emilia Ares Interview - Love and Other Sins

Photo Content from Emilia Ares

Emilia Ares is an American film and television actress. Love and Other Sins is her debut novel. She graduated UCLA with a BA in Economics, and a minor in Russian. Literature and storytelling have always been her true passion.


Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Everyone has their own reasons. Some people don’t care for it at all. I need it like I need air and water and food. I need to hear stories and I need to tell them. The point, for me, is to shed light where there is darkness—to give a good cause a face and a name, doing so gets people to care. Storytelling creates empathy and puts people into circumstances they may never have experienced otherwise.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Feeling the excitement from my family, friends and my family of new readers has been such a good feeling. Also, holding the physical book in my hand gives me a giddy rush every single time.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m working on the next installment of Love and Other Sins. We leave Mina and Oliver in quite an interesting predicament where some things have been settled but there is far more unknown and I can’t wait to explore where their story goes from here.

Can you tell us when you started LOVE AND OTHER SINS, how that came about?
I’m an actress and I was traveling to set one day working on one of my first films, this was right after I graduated high school, and the story just came to me on the road over there. Then it kept nagging and nagging at me, so I had to get it down on paper, so-to-speak. I wrote a chapter of their story into my notes on my iPhone and I also jotted down what else would probably happen later on in the story.

When I got back to town, I showed it to my younger sister, Sofia, who was reading a lot of YA at the time. She’s the one who encouraged me to keep writing and to make it a book. She said she loved it and couldn’t wait for more. I don’t think Love and Other Sins would have existed without her encouragement.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I want my reader family to just have fun on this adventure. I hope they laugh, worry, swoon, roll their eyes, smirk and squeal. I hope they get butterflies in their stomachs at all the right parts and an ache in their hearts for Oliver. There is a lot of heaviness throughout the novel, especially when it comes to Oliver’s character. There is talk of abuse in the foster care system and the residue of child abuse. My hope is that it awakens a desire in my readers to fight injustice, become active listeners, to help those in need who can’t stand for themselves.

If none of those things, then let it just be a reminder of how fragile the fabric of life can be. Tell the people you love that you love them. Be present.

What part of Mina did you enjoy writing the most?
I live for Mina’s snark and sharp quips. She speaks up for others and for herself even if it gets her in trouble. Those parts were the most fun to write. But she’s definitely a flawed MC.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
It would be interesting to see Oliver meet Meursault from The Stranger before Meursault is executed, and Oliver would most likely try to convince him that Meursault’s desperation to achieve individuality is utterly selfish and absurd.

But Oliver would probably have more fun meeting and learning strategy or sparring from Jude from Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince.

Tell me about a favorite event of your childhood.
One summer I toured with my dance company and we performed at Times Square in NYC. The air had this sharp chill, the buildings towered over us, and the crowd was lit. Their energy flowed through us as we performed. It felt like free-falling and then suddenly sprouting wings and soaring. I was thirteen and it was an experience I’ll never forget, especially considering everything that’s happened in the world.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Swim in the Mediterranean, naked.

Best date you've ever had?
Burgers, banter then silence and a great view of the sunset.

What was the first job you had?
My first job was a sales rep at Hollister, I was sixteen. The perfume and Paramore songs still haunt me.

What did you do for your last birthday?
I gathered with family and friends. There was a lot of tequila and dancing, two of my favorite things.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Greece! I’ve always wanted to see it and travel’s been risky lately…not sure if anyone else has noticed. I want to climb those stones steps through the narrow pathways, shop, eat good food, watch sunsets, drink and dance.

First Heartbreak?
Elementary school, unrequited love.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
True love, all day, everyday. Like Skylar Grey says, “I like the way it hurts.”

  • “Unfortunately, I was realizing more and more that to understand my own privilege was to know the misfortune of others.” -Mina
  • “Sometimes, there would be a finely wrapped package covered in exquisite lace and rococo paper, but inside was a steaming heap of shit. You’d be looking around wondering, what’s that smell? And sometimes it turned out to be nothing but a big old box of Tyler, tied in a shiny bow.” -Mina
  • “I felt a powerful compulsion to reach out and touch her, as though her body was a familiar place—as though she’s someone I’d known all my life, someone I was relieved to see again.” Oliver
  • “Half the chocolate bar was stuffed in my mouth when it dawned on me: I was totally going to break out from crushing that hard.” -Mina
  • “It was a dangerous thing for me to know what I wanted.” -Oliver
  • “I have an idea. Next time, when you’re randomly freaking out about, you know, the world rotating and stuff, what we do is we come here, and we climb on this pendulum thing. And problem solved . . . we’ll be the only two people on the planet who are standing still while everyone else is turning.” -Oliver
  • “It was a strange sensation, the thawing of a frozen heart.” -Oliver
  • “What do I feel? Like a large winged creature dropped you into my life but forgot to leave the operating manual.” -Mina
  • “It was intimate . . . a strange and beautiful feeling. We were breathing life into each other.” Mina
  • “But you have to push back against the fear and the only way to do that is by arming yourself with knowledge and practice. Why? Because when it’s all over, even if you die and are rotting in the ground, at least you’ll know you didn’t leave quietly.” -Oliver
Writing Behind the Scenes
I wrote the first draft on my laptop in bed between 10pm and 5 am. That’s when my imagination really churns–in the wee hours of the night. Once that was complete, the subsequent 20-some-odd rounds of editing took place at my writing desk during the day. It would have been dreadfully unpleasant without the company of my good friends: Stained Coffee Mug and Spinal Support Pillow (I have terrible posture). I wrote and edited on ol’ handy-dandy Microsoft Word and if I was ever inspired on the go, I just jotted things down into the notes section of my phone. Since I was usually driving around a lot to auditions, work, my son’s school, etc., it helped to edit on the go. I would program the Microsoft document accessibility tool to read excerpts aloud to me, that way I utilized almost every minute of my day efficiently and it was easier to notice typos hearing them aloud.

Mina’s life is going according to plan; she’s acing AP Calc and is perfectly content with her nonexistent social life. Though only a high school junior, Mina knows time is an investment, and she’s putting all her capital into academics. Oliver, a child abuse survivor who grew up in the foster care system, is ready to burn down his old life and start from scratch—complete with a new name and emancipation papers—in L.A. When the two are thrown together through circumstance and develop an unexpected connection, they discover how hard it is to keep the past in the past.

Content warning: sexual assault, recollections of child abuse, discussions of suicidal thoughts, and mention of miscarriage.
You can purchase Love and Other Sins at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you EMILIA ARES for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Love and Other Sins by Emilia Ares.