Guys…I’m a little beside myself about today’s post. Our guest is none other than Francesca Lia Block, contemporary literary giant by any standard and a YA trailblazer for sure. Her August release THE ISLAND OF EXCESS LOVE is a companion novel to a previous book, LOVE IN THE TIME OF GLOBAL WARMING. As Francesca states in no uncertain terms, the environmental theme is writ large in these books. We’re so pleased to feature Francesca Lia Block and her timely, progressive, no-doubt-amazing new release on YA Series Insiders. Thanks so much for stopping by, Francesca!
YA Series Insiders: How would you describe Pen in one sentence?
Francesca Lia Block: Pen is at first a shy, retiring, intelligent 17-year-old girl who loves mythology and art history; she must learn to cultivate her visionary gifts, face her worst fears and actively fight for the ones she loves.
YASI: What song best fits Pen?
FLB: “Troy” by Sinead O’Connor
YASI: Who is your favorite character to write and why?
FLB: Hex because he speaks his mind.
YASI: Who would you want to play your main character in a movie?
FLB: Emma Watson as Pen!
YASI: What’s the most common question fans ask you?
FLB: Where do you get your character’s names from?
YASI: What motivates you to write even when you don’t feel up to it?
FLB: Caring for my children.
YASI: What book have you read that somehow changed your life and how?
FLB: 100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel Garcia Marquez taught me that my “magical-realist” way of seeing the world was something I could try to write about.
YASI: Did anything happen in your series that surprised you, that you didn’t plan?
FLB: Hex’s identity ( I don’t want to give this away).
YASI: What is the core thing in THE ISLAND OF EXCESS LOVE? The one thing you would never in a million years have given up no matter how much money someone paid you?
FLB: The environmental theme. I am very, very concerned about global warming and very disturbed by people who say it isn’t real.
YASI: Any advice for writers currently working on a series?
FLB: It is important to plan ahead, even if you aren’t commissioned to write them all at once. It’s also important to be able to sell the first book on its own with potential to be a series, as publishers are shying away from three book contracts.
About the Book
Pen has lost her parents. She’s lost her eye. But she has fought Kronen; she has won back her fragile friends and her beloved brother. Now Pen, Hex, Ash, Ez, and Venice are living in the pink house by the sea, getting by on hard work, companionship, and dreams. Until the day a foreboding ship appears in the harbor across from their home. As soon as the ship arrives, they all start having strange visions of destruction and violence. Trance-like, they head for the ship and their new battles begin.
This companion to Love in the Time of Global Warming follows Pen as she searches for love among the ruins, this time using Virgil’s epic Aeneid as her guide. A powerful and stunning book filled with Francesca Lia Block’s beautiful language and inspiring characters.
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About the Author
Francesca Lia Block is the author of more than twenty-five books of fiction, non-fiction, short stories and poetry. She received the Spectrum Award, the Phoenix Award, the ALA Rainbow Award and the 2005 Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as other citations from the American Library Association and from the New York Times Book Review, School Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly. Her work has been translated into Italian, French, German Japanese, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish and Portuguese. Francesca has also published stories, poems, essays and interviews in The Los Angeles Times, The L.A. Review of Books, Spin, Nylon, Black Clock and Rattle among others. In addition to writing, she teaches fiction workshops at UCLA Extension, Antioch University, Marilyn’s Writing Pad and privately in Los Angeles where she was born, raised and currently still lives.