Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Author (and Publisher!) Interview: Lou Aronica

BlueLate last year, Lou Aronica kindly let me interview him about his new book, Blue. I'm reading it now, and really enjoying Miea's world. Check out a little more about Blue and The Fiction Studio Imprint below.

BLUE is the first publication to come out from The Fiction Studio Imprint. In a nutshell, what's it about?

Blue is about a bedtime-story fantasy world that comes alive for hugely important reasons at a point long after the stories have been told. The three main characters are Becky, a fourteen-year-old girl whose parents divorced when she was ten; Chris, her beleaguered father, and Miea, the queen of Tamarisk, the world Becky and Chris imagined when Becky was much younger.

Each of the characters is at a crisis point as the novel opens. When Becky suddenly finds herself able to travel to Tamarisk, this seems to offer new promise to all involved. Things aren’t nearly as simple as they seem at first, though.

Ultimately, Blue is about the power of imagination, the necessity of hope, and the possibilities that open when one loves absolutely.

On the Fiction Studio page for Blue, you mention that this is the first time you've ventured into fantasy fiction. What fantasy books and authors have inspired you?

No one has inspired me more as a writer than Ray Bradbury. I was a huge fan of Ray’s when I was a teenager. I then had the distinct pleasure of working with him at Bantam Books and Avon Books. Ray’s ability to make the ordinary magical and to celebrate wonder had a profound influence on me. When I was at Avon, I also had the opportunity to work with Neil Gaiman whose enormous sense of humor and incomparable way of looking at the world resonated with me.

Interestingly, as much as these writers inspired me, they also prevented me from writing fantasy for a long time. When you’ve worked closely with two of the true masters of the genre, the idea of even attempting to do what they do can be rather intimidating.

The Fiction Studio Imprint is brand new, and you're heading it up. What is your vision for the imprint? What kinds of books will you be publishing? (Hey, I am one of those readers who checks the colophon!)

The imprint will publish seven books this spring, and they range from a time travel adventure for teens to a literary novel set in small-town Canada. Right now, the imprint is defined exclusively by my personal tastes, which tend to run fairly broadly. I’m a huge fan of fantastic fiction, so there are several of these books on the list. What I love most about fiction, though, is stories with great characters. If there’s one unifying element to the books on the Fiction Studio list it is that all of the books are filled with memorable characters.

Where can readers find out more about Blue?

They can get a longer description of the novel at, and they can read an excerpt from the novel at

And, of course, they can always go to the online booksellers as well.

What question do you wish I'd asked?

How about this one: You spent six years writing Blue. Why so long?

It took me nine months to write my first novel, and three months to write my second. I knew Blue was more ambitious and that it was going to take a bit longer to write, but I was guessing a year or fifteen months. What happened was that the novel developed in layers. I had the basic story right from the start, but everything else kept going deeper. I didn’t even fully realize what I was writing about for three years (and no, I’m not going to say what that is here; I’d like readers to decide for themselves). Then the world kept getting richer and the characters more nuanced. The ending went through multiple changes, I added a critical secondary character four-and-a-half years into the process, and another secondary character changed completely late in the game. When I thought I was finally ready to publish, I did one more pass on the novel and wound up making several more changes. This novel means more to me than anything I’ve written before, and I just wanted to make it as strong as possible.

I don’t think the next novel will take me nearly as long to write. But then again, I missed my estimate on Blue by quite a considerable margin.

Thank you, Lou! Best wishes for your book's debut.

Keep an eye out here next week for my review of Blue.

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