May 28, 2017

Author Guest Post with Katie McElhenney

The Things They've Taken
Author: Katie McElhenney
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: May 1, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen


All Lo Campbell wants is to be a normal teenager—to go to one high school, live in one place, and have one real friend. Instead, she travels the country with her mother, chasing the unknown, the what else that’s out there...

Until one day, the what else chases back.

Determined to rescue her mom from whatever supernatural being took her, Lo will need more help than a badly dressed demon obsessed with country music. She’s going to need a Tracker—and lucky for her, she finds one. Shaw is strong, good-looking, possibly available, and utterly infuriating. Sure, he may have secrets, and his help costs more than a brand-new car, but she’ll have to deal with him if she wants to find her mother—and get her home alive.
 PD(w)A: Public Displays of Writing Affection

I’ve learned if I want to get my least favorite chores knocked off a to-do list, I should just try to write in my living room. A normally task-driven, organized person, I instantly turn into the whiskered leading man in ‘If You Give a Mouse a Cookie’. I can’t possibly be creative when I need to regrout the tub which will remind me that there’s hand wash only clothes to clean, but first I just need to check the internet right quick for a biodegradable, homeopathic, homemade, detergent I need to go to a specialty store 8 towns over to get the ingredients for. Not exactly a helpful recipe for meeting deadlines.

And so, to the coffee shops and public library branches I went. Surrounded by the bustle of strangers, I could focus on my work and be much more productive. This system worked well—until I started writing romance. That’s when my repressed Irish Catholic upbringing reared its head in ways I never expected.

Writing in a public space suddenly felt so…well…public. I kept imagining a text bubble above my head showing everyone my words as I typed them. Every passerby was surely looking over my shoulder, aghast that I would have the audacity to bring smut into their sacred caffeinated spaces. The morality police were teaming up to raid the library and arrest me for daring to write about baser urges in a place that had a CHILDREN’S SECTION in it (won’t someone please think of the children?!). A pale-faced girl, I knew my cheeks were burning as I snuck furtive glances around like a Wikileaks informant dropping off a dossier in a parking garage.

It was paralyzing.

Until one day, I got over it. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that simple, but it wasn’t that complicated either. I took a long look at what it was that was making me so uncomfortable. Did I really feel that what I was writing was wrong or offensive? Would someone be hurt if they read what I wrote? Would people’s opinion of me change when they got to a steamy part in the book? Did I care that they might not be able to separate the fantasy I’ve created from the real life I live? The answers were:

Perhaps, but who needs them?
Maybe, but there are still folks who believe the Earth is flat so there’s no accounting for how people decide to see the world.

We live in a society that wants to pick and choose which part of our animalistic natures to celebrate or condemn. Violence? Bring it on! Sexuality? You shut your filthy mouth, hussy! I realized that I was just feeding into that by being embarrassed as I wrote about a blooming love and physical exploration between two characters. There isn’t anything torrid or wrong about sparks or the fire they may lead to.

So, I slid off the shackles I’d put on myself, ordered myself a dirty chai, and got down to it. It was scary, but liberating. I find the best things in life often are.
Katie McElhenney was born in Philadelphia into a big family of curious kids and patient adults. A voracious reader and unapologetic daydreamer, she knew she wanted to become a writer someday. With the support of an amazing family, great friends, and some truly spectacular teachers she has written short stories, poems, and novels. A solar-powered human, she now lives in Los Angeles and uses the great weather for year-round trips to the beach and long runs (where the best inspiration happens). (Taken from Goodreads) 


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