Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Blog Tour (Excerpt + Giveaway): Arson by Estevan Vega

ARSON is the first book in a Young Adult Paranormal series. Book two, ASHES, is also available now.


Before now, three things were true: he both loved and despised his grandmother; his life was going nowhere; and he was alone. But when a strange girl--who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin--moves in next door, Arson hopes to find something he's never had: purpose. After years of living in fear, he will be forced to confront his haunting past and embrace the unknown as he walks the fine line between boy and monster. Edgy, realistic, and breathtaking, Arson, the chilling chronicle of an isolated teenager with unimaginable ability, is set to ignite the hearts and minds of a new generation.

Grandma Kay: Seriously. Crazy.
When I was writing Grandma Kay’s character (Arson’s paranoid, fierce mother figure), I retreated in my mind to all the sick female characters created by Stephen King. I think of Carrie’s authority figure and that psycho from Misery. In addition to the SK crazies, I just thought about people who think they’re moral and upright but in reality aren’t, or people who are just a little…um…insane?
Kay’s got issues. Seriously.
But she’s also the only one in Arson’s life who loves him, in her own quasi-sadistic way. One thing you’ll notice about ARSON is the fact that these characters are dysfunctional. She’s not in her right mind, she’s a recluse, and she’s a wicked cornucopia of Alzheimer’s, bipolar, and a whirlwind of buckwild. But all that makes her a very fun character to write. I got to channel my inner disturbed side.
A thing to note is that when I write, I like to alternate POVs, and while this is not a typical method for writing YA, I feel it can sometimes give more depth and insights into the lives, thoughts, and actions of characters who otherwise wouldn’t ever really get their 15 seconds of fame. I also am kind of obsessed with movies, so I naturally thing of my stuff as a film sometimes. Sorry, can’t help it. Here, we meet Kay for the second time in ARSON. We get her in the quiet, in the loneliness. She’s reached a very fragile place in her life, and you find yourself despising her and at the same time empathizing with her.

Kay prepared herself for bed, always treasuring the short, fleeting moments at night with her husband.
She cleaned during the day, doing dishes, mopping floors, washing laundry—necessary qualities of all strong women, tasks lost on today’s generation. For women, there was no room for something as selfish as a career. But child-raising, pride, and tradition, on the other hand, were what made a woman valuable. Respectable men were supposed to work and provide for their wives, lead. Everybody had their place. It was the way it had always been.
Before bed, Kay often stared into the vanity mirror for a while, gazing into the eyes that had grown so cold over the years. “I’m old,” she said, letting her hair down. The gray static strands zigzagged past her shoulders and across her breasts. The naked woman in her mirror groaned.
Kay looked down and caressed the fatty parts of her skin. The saggy, undesirable folds infuriated her. She didn’t want them. Who would? It had been years since she’d felt beautiful.
She longed for the days of her youth. Simpler times. She remembered when she first began to blossom, confident with the blessing of puberty and inviting curves. Kay soon learned that the key to a man’s heart rested not in his desire for good cooking, like her mother used to tell her, but through his eyes. Men wanted beautiful women, and youthful beauty, for her, had been easy to lend. From early on, Kay had watched men’s expressions melt when she walked into a room. She took their kisses and gifts as quickly as they came, but it was never enough. Deep down, she wanted romance. Marriage and children. After years of empty interests, her wish had come true.
The year was 1969, and Kay was not yet twenty-four. The world was full, free, and reveling. The war and rebellions seemed mere trifles when compared to lonely hearts. It was easy to get lost in a city, transported by its bright lights and sounds. Cambridge was a city that lit up at night, the way she lit up the second Henry Parker stumbled into a downtown pub, looking for a drink to calm an unsettled mind.
A radiant red dress hung off her silky shoulders. Kay’s eyes were sparkling jewels. She was exquisite, even in memory. The man she’d come to call darling stood yards away when their eyes met for the first time. Slowly, he walked toward her and spoke. “Pleasure to meet you,” he said. “I’m Henry. Where have you been all my life?”
A pathetic first line, but she could tell he was trying. Kay had known men before, talked and danced with them, but this stranger’s boyish smile showed a calm unlike anything she had ever seen. She had believed herself to be unattainable— incorruptible—until that night. Fluttered heartbeats soon led to long walks and midnight dancing. In time, she fell in love. Kay knew that Henry Parker held the key to the future she’d always wanted.
But in a blink, it was gone. Kay hated the old shell she now wore, the one that wrapped around her like a coffin. Wrinkles and sagging flesh now corrupted her once flawless cheeks and inviting shape. She was unfit for romance. There was no room for beauty. Passion had fled, and the distant sound of youth called out to her from within the mirror. You’re old, Kay, it taunted. You’re old. She began to cry as the young woman continued the ridicule. A real woman is beautiful. A real woman knows how to love. You’re not a real woman, Kay, notanymore.
Leave me alone!” Kay screamed back, reaching for a pair of shears and placing them to her stomach. “Get out, or I’ll cut you out!”
Henry wouldn’t allow it, her reflection answered. Deep down, he still wants me.
Kay’s tired eyes lingered as she watched young Kay lie upon the bed, gently sliding into Henry’s arms. Her Henry. She watched the image press her lips against his mouth as Kay shouted, “Stop! That’s enough!” Young Kay glared back from the bed within the mirror, as if reaching through time. An unrelenting stare passed through the portals of then and now, with no way to go back or forward.
Kay fell to her knees, grabbed her face, and wept. She smacked herself twice until blood began to flow. The vindictive critic inside the mirror evaporated. Quietly, Kay got up, slipped her bathrobe on, and shut off the lights.
With soaked eyes, she crawled into bed. “Goodnight, my darling,” she cried.


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  1. I have so many favorite books! Like Pride and Prejudice, Hunger Games, Vampire Academy. Nice excerpt!

  2. stoked you're on the tour, abby! thanks for spreading the fuego!

    facebook: we are arson
    twitter: @estevanvega

  3. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

  4. I have had so many favorites, but I guess right now, The Hunger Games trilogy.


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