Sunday, August 4, 2013

Burning: Author Interview

Elena K. Arnold

Ben: Having just graduated from high school, Ben is set to leave Gypsum, Nevada. It's good timing since the gypsum mine that is the lifeblood of the area is closing, shutting the whole town down with it. Ben is lucky: he's headed to San Diego, where he's got a track scholarship at the University of California. But his best friends, Pete and Hog Boy, don't have college to look forward to, so to make them happy, Ben goes with them to check out the hot chick parked on the side of Highway 447.

Lala: She and her Gypsy family earn money by telling fortunes. Some customers choose Tarot cards; others have their palms read. The thousands of people attending the nearby Burning Man festival spend lots of cash--especially as Lala gives uncanny readings. But lately Lala's been questioning whether there might be more to life than her upcoming arranged marriage. And the day she reads Ben's cards is the day that everything changes for her. . . and for him.


Author Interview with Elena K. Arnold
1. Hey there! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Sure… I live in Long Beach, CA, and spend about two hours a day tending to my menagerie. The rest of the time I divide between taking care of my kids, laundry, coffee, and writing. It is a pretty great life.

2. Why gypsies?

SACRED, my first novel, delves into Kabbalah—mystical Judaism. I love dipping into real cultures and beliefs that seem magical, and are actually much more complicated than most people know. Gypsies—Romani people—are like that. We think we know their story, because we know the clich├ęs and stereotypes, but the real story is actually more complex and far more interesting.

3. Are any of your characters based on people you know?

In various ways, all of my characters are based on people I know. In BURNING, the intense, immediate connection Ben and Lala feel for each other is an echo of how I felt the first time I saw the man who was going to become my husband, the summer after I graduated high school. That’s a magical time, that window between high school and whatever comes next, and I wanted to capture the feelings I had then… the smell of near-freedom, the guilt about leaving my family behind, the power of stepping into my woman body.

4.Are you generally more of a messy or neat person?

Messy. Unfortunately.

5.If you could jump into the world of any book, which would you choose and why?

Absolutely Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. I would love to meet my daemon.

6.What is one question you wished interviewers would ask and what is the answer to that question?

Yikes! Let me think… Okay. I wish they would ask me about the support system I have that allows me to write. I’d tell them about my husband, who works the “real” job, my kids, who cheer me on, my sisters, who read my books chapter by chapter and ask for more, and my bosom friend Laura Jane who trades child care with me so that we can both create our stories in the world.



  1. Really enjoyed this book! I'd love to live in Long Beach.

    1. This book sounds really good! And who wouldn't want to live in Long Beach?

  2. Such lovely questions and answers! I wish I lived in California, it seems so awesome. It's neat that the author pulls from a lot of the people she knows, and her herself. The time between high school and college really does seem magical, and so it's great that this author based this story off of her own experiences in her life. Also, I'm totally a messy person at times. ;)

    Lovely interview, I can't wait to read this one!


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