Arson by Estevan Vega! Win the book in my contest....

by Estevan Vega


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. Using what he fears the most about himself, Arson must face his consuming past and confront the nightmare that is present as he walks the fine line between boy and monster. 

Dark, moody, and breathtakingly relevant, Arson, the chilling chronicle of an isolated boy with unimaginable ability, is sure to ignite the hearts and minds of a new generation.
“It’s a testament to his talent that Estevan Vega can turn a dark, disturbing story into an intriguing page-turner. Quirky, complex characters and Vega’s storytelling skills make Arson a must-read … and Vega an author to watch.”
—Robert Liparulo, bestselling author of Deadlock and the Dreamhouse Kings
Arson. Great title, fantastic name for a character. It was definitely the spark that fueled the growing intensity with which people are so eagerly anticipating the release of this book. Arson has all the ingredients, and all the potential to be a book that you keep going back to read over, and over again. Vega has an energy and intensity of feeling to his writing, just check out our interview with him (or his previous titles The Sacred Sin and Servant of the Realm), and please enter the contest at the end of this post.
IB Teen Talks with Estevan Vega...

IBT: If you could bring one character to life who would it be?

EV: I really loved the book The Giver. It's about this extremely brutal and apathetic world where people have lost a sense of their humanity, and things have just become colorless. I loved the premise and The Giver's character was just so unique and cool. He holds the memories of the past. And with one touch, he can transfer some of that knowledge. I think as far as characters from novels go, it'd be pretty sweet to see that wise old man come to life and transport some of that knowledge to me. So cool.

IBT: What are your key ingredients to a good story?

EV:For me, writing is about exploring the realistic elements of life and all that includes. There are some movies and novels that prefer to keep it glossy and predictable, and that's definitely cool for some, but I try to go deeper. The real exists underneath the skin, and that's where I like to bring my readers. The sins, hopes, loves, regrets, and dreams of people, however dark, are designed to resurrect certain emotions, certain true feelings. I love all that. And that's where my characters and my stories begin, at the places we normally don't want to go. It's a journey, though, that we take together.

IBT: What is your favorite type of hero?

EV:Hmmm....heroes are great. Having grown up in an era when cartoons were awesome, I enjoyed shows like X-Men, Spider-man, Batman, Superman, Thundercats, Turtles, all of that cheesy stuff. They're great. I think we idolize heroes because they're everything that we can't be, everything we wish we could be. Like, it gives us something to look up to when celebrities or priests or even our parents may let us down. But...at the same time, I think we fear a hero that is without flaws. For whatever reason, there is a part of us that cleaves to this realistic hero archetype, one that feels as we feel, may even sin as we sin. In the end we want him to reach redemption, want him to still get the villain but in a more colorful manner. That's probably where the "anti-hero" concept originated. He's the guy you love to hate or hate to love. The one you find yourself rooting for even if he doesn't follow all the right steps. Arson is that kind of hero. He's not bad, by any means, but he's not perfect either, and that's what I think draws people. He's someone they can relate to. He's real.

IBT: How did your character Arson Gable come to be?

EV: Great question. Well, he sorta came along in a few different ways. I was finishing up my second book The Sacred Sin, which explored a lot of dark things, and which I wrote mainly for adults. But I was ready for a change of pace. I wanted to write something vivid and intense, but I didn't want it to be all about the plot or the pretension that can sometime eclipse good characterization. Simultaneously, I was experiencing the most tumultuous and roller-coaster year of my life. My parents were splitting up. When my mom left, my world pretty much shattered. I was devastated. For months, my brothers and I went through a series of emotions, from pain to hate to wishing things back to how they were. It's like you come to this point and you're like, "whoa, is this real? Am I really going through this?" Things will never be the same. I had a lot of rage and confusion and doubts in my head, and my dad had hit this mental wall where he just couldn't accept my mom's desire for divorce. He wasn't weak, but it just hit him so hard. I knew that my younger brothers needed some stability, but when you're trying to piece together fragments of your own life, and trying to inspire your younger brothers to keep holding on, your mind gets worn and wrecked pretty quickly. I needed an escape. I needed something to define me, not only as a writer, but as a young man. Something that could eclipse my pain and at the same time heal some of my wounds. That's when this story came to me.

Like most stories it was a snippet concept. I usually juggle ideas off my father or take something he's been thinking of and bring it into my world, but with ARSON I was seeking something new. I wanted to write a character who was dealing with the same emotions and mental baggage that I had to deal with, and at the age that I was dealing with it. There are so many teens out there with no voice, who are experiencing this kind of crap, and I know how much it kills. I was visiting a college at the time, and it was when I was alone in one of the dorms that ARSON came. Originally, it was just a basic scenario: there's this kid who can create fire (I loved the metaphor there), and he lives with a twisted yet "loving" grandmother. He's dealing with some regret, past and present, so he tries to drown his rage and his emotions in the lake behind the cabin where he lives. That's all I had. Earlier that year, I had seen one of my favorite bands play, Anberlin. I heard them play a song called Glass to the Arson, and it's a song that deals with bad relationships and how we're the first ones to burn cities down with our emotions and our mistakes. I had never heard of anyone being named Arson, and because I love exploring new names, I was, like, his name's gotta be Arson.

IBT: What books have most inspired your writing?

EV: The work of Stephen King, Ted Dekker, sometimes even the Bible. Poe was really inspirational early on too. I felt like he captured a lot of the elements I sought to explore with my writing. But I draw inspiration from a lot of things. Sometimes it's books, short stories, other times it's a cool song or a great movie, or sometimes it's just a simple phrase that I hear and I am just dying to give that phrase a life. It's pretty sporadic, but when it comes, there's no denying it.

IBT: What has been the strangest source of inspiration for you?

EV: Probably my family situation. I mean, I remember thinking a million times that I would have traded any kind of fame or fortune that I would receive from ARSON if it meant I could have my mother back, have my family back to the way it was. That tragedy has completely impacted my world view and my approach to a lot of things. It's crazy how one thing can just change you like that. But it did. I'm not the boy I was when I wrote Servant of the Realm. I'm not even the man I was when I started writing ARSON. To say it's been cathartic or eye-opening would be an understatement. I still look back and go, whoa! But yeah, we don't get to choose what happens to us in our stories, only how we react and what we become. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that last part.

IBT: How do you keep all of your ideas organized? How do you decide which
ones will make it on the pages of your novel?

EV: Honestly, I am very disorganized, which is strange considering my very neat and tidy childhood. I think once I decided to be a writer, God was like, "now you need to really be a writer," and thus, mucho disorganized. haha. But I actually have no science or mathematics to how to keep a story organized. I tend to just write it and reassemble it later if need be. Very college student of me, I know. Usually, though, if the character or the situation works for the novel, then it stays. If not, someone gives it the ax.

IBT: As an author how do you respond to those who think that censorship is
a necessary evil?

EV: Censorship is one of those things that I don't know if I'll ever have peace with. I mean, people have censored The Outsiders, Huck Finn, and Fahrenheit 451. These are classic works. Now, I realize that just because something is "classic" doesn't make it good. I get it, but I think there's a line. There should be a line, I believe. I definitely agree that there are some things children shouldn't be exposed to. I mean, I wouldn't want my 6 year old (hypothetical child, of course) reading a book filled with rape or incest, tons of cursing, you know? There's an age of maturity, and then there's probably some things that we have just become so desensitized to in our culture that we think everything is all right. It's almost like there's no innocence left, and that makes me sad in some respects. As far as censorship goes, I do understand the need for it in some instances. Do I believe people can be way too quick to shut something out simply because it includes a human experience they're not comfortable with? Yes. Maybe one day we'll figure out a way to resolve this issue, but until then just what what's real. I think there's a time and a place for most everything, as long as it's handled rightly. Woo...now that I've given you my dissertation on the matter....

IBT: Writing YA, do you find that you censor yourself knowing that what
you are writing is intended primarily for a younger audience?

EV: Yes and no. I originally meant for ARSON to be for adults. I was thinking of books like Firestarter, Carrie, and the film Mean Creek, stuff like that, where the protagonists are youth, but the story is very adult in premise and mood. It was a very difficult thing to narrow the story down to its current state. I wrestled with language (not just swearing, but "high school" language, like I didn't want to alienate adults because of my adherence to silly words, but I wanted to identify with that audience, for sure.) Also, I had to deal with telling an authentically real story, but at the same time playing by the rules. I wanted both adult and YA audiences, which I understand can be complicated. It is. But I think the marriage of identities works in ARSON. In this novel you get inside all of the characters' heads, so there is plenty to keep the teens and the adults thumbing through the pages. By the end of the book, you feel like you know them or could be any one of them. I tried to just tell the story that needed to be told, which meant cutting certain things and adding certain things. I'm very happy I didn't approach it all egotistical, because I think the authenticity of this novel, and its heart-on-sleeve honesty really resonates.

IBT: I have to ask, if you could have dinner with any three people
(living, imaginary, or dead), who would they be and why?

EV: Jesus Christ. Jon Foreman. Stephen King. We got the savior of the world, the savior of music (haha, I love him), and the genre-bender mastermind Stephen King. Christ had so much wisdom, and I feel like just to be in his company for a few hours would have been a trip. I mean, here's a man who had nothing to give but hope and truth, nothing but his own life. Makes me feel like a selfish jerk, but what wisdom. It's a whole new level of being human. The reason I picked Jon Foreman is because he is the lead singer for the band Switchfoot. I love their music, his lyrics, his whole persona. I am really inspired by what they're about and how they approach music and people. They seem very humble, and as a writer, I too need to remember my place among other writers and other men. I chose Mr. King because he has written so many different things and has found success at pretty much every level. From what I know, he's still married, which is awesome, he's got kids, he's achieved commercial literary success, film success, and he's still got plenty of life left to him. He's really inspiring. I wish I read more of his stuff, but anyway, he's a great writer to look up to, definitely one of those before and after stories. So cool.

Thanks for the chance to share some of my life and my work with you. Peace.

Thanks Estevan! And don't forget to follow him on twitter at twitter.com/estevanvega!

So what do you have to do to enter?
For 1 entry, comment on this post.
For 1 extra entry, post a link to this contest on your blog or social networking page (sidebar is cool).
For 1 extra entry, follow this blog! If you already Follow you automatically get this extra entry plus your awesome.
This Conest Has Ended
. Thanks to all who participated! 

Open to all US and International readers!


buddyt said...

An interesting interview.

Estevan certainly provides a lot of insight into how he thinks and feels.

I wish him continuing success with his writing.

I have read a number of reviews on the book and would like to read it for myself although I am not a YA.

Please enter me in the giveaway.


Carol T (International entry)

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

jc said...

Sounds very intriquing and a must read! Enter me please, thank you.


GABY said...

Please enter me to this giveaway! I've heard many things about ARSON, and I'd like to read it.

sidebar: http://historias-imaginarias.blogspot.com

I'm a follower

Diana Dang said...

Seems like an interesting book!

Old follower!

faked_sugartone at hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hey I am a follower and I would love to enter...
not sure if we had to make separate posts for the entries...

romii_parasorteos at hotmail dot com

Christa said...

The book sounds interesting.
And thank you to Estevan for sharing his thoughts with us.
ambience.of.rain {at} gmail.com

Jessica Secret said...

Please enter me!

I already followed.

shutupjessicasreading @ gmaildotcom

The Library Lurker said...

This book sounds so good! I'm a follower and I also added it to my sidebar under Contests I've Entered: www.librarylurker.blogspot.com

Great interview, I love what he said about The Giver!


Mandy said...

Please enter me
I follow
bratdownstairs @yahoo.com

Indigo said...

I love that Estevan Vega is a disorganized writer. So am I. I wouldn't dream of outlining a story. College paper style writing or not, I think it has a natural flow to it; allowing the characters to tell the story.

Please enter me. I keep forgetting to bookmark something to remind me I want this book. Maybe this way at least I'll have a half way decent chance of reading it. Thanks! Indigo


Martha Lawson said...

I've been seeing good things about this book on different blogs. Please enter me for a chance to win.

I already follow on gfc.

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

bianca_riot said...

Love the interview, cannot wait until i get to read the book!
Please count me in this contest!
I am a follower of your blog!


Jenny N. said...

I've seen this book around and it looks interesting.

I'm an old follower.

Sidebar: http://jennys-books.blogspot.com


donnas said...

Great interview. I have been reading quite a few good things about this book.

Sidebar - http://donnasbloghome.blogspot.com

I am a follower.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Estevan Vega said...

Whoa! A lot of comments already. Thanks to everyone for stopping by. You guys (and chicas) totally rock! Spread the fire!

Estevan Vega said...

Oh, yeah...and anyone out there who twitters...totally find me!


throuthehaze said...

Great interview! The cover of the book is so creepy :)

I am a follower

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

EVA SB said...

Interesting and honest interview.

I look forward to reading this book.

I posted to my side bar

And yes I am an awesome follower

Stella (Ex Libris) said...

+1 I have to tell you I'm really curious about Arson as I've only come across exteremely brilliant reviews of it, and seeing how people are succombing to praising its greatness I'm intrigued and would love to win it! Please enter me. Also, huge thanks for making this international!!

+1 tweeted about the giveaway here: http://twitter.com/Stella_ExLibris/status/13358827376

+1 I follow you!

stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

etirv said...

Please count me in!

Google follower!


Precious said...

+1 I'm dying to read Arson. Seriously!

+1 I'm already a follower. :)

+1 sidebar link: http://shusky20.blogspot.com/

Thank you!


k_sunshine1977 said...

based on the cover alone, i want to read this book - it creeps me out, and yet i cannot look away....

thank you for the giveaway!


Estevan Vega said...

great to see you guys are all still checking out this post. very stoked you are liking this book! help spread the fire...and follow the ARSON blog tour. It ends this week. Thanks again to Perla for simply rocking!


elaing8 said...

Great interview.I've been seeing htis around alot lately,it sounds like a great book.
+1 commented
+1 already a follower
+1 tweeted http://twitter.com/elaing8/status/13451842947


Anonymous said...

This book sounds really interesting. I enjoyed the interview.

+1 commented
+1 followed blog
+1 tweeted about giveaway


~The Book Pixie said...

I've heard great things about this book and would love to be entered in the giveaway!

+1 Sidebar: http://thebookpixie.blogspot.com/
+1 Follower


ChickLitGirl said...

This sounds really good.
-I'm follower!
-I tweeted about this: http://twitter.com/chicklitgirl
-email: sadia.gilani@nixorcollege.edu.pk

Anonymous said...

Great interview. Please enter me into the contest.

I am a follower.

I will send you my contact info.

Kathleen Brown said...

Hm. This seems really cool. And a neet giveaway. awesome. Please enter me!


Gilliene said...

This certainly sounds interesting! Please enter me in the contest. thank you :)

gillieneong at gmail dot com

Terri said...

My daughter would love this one.
Ziggywag at yahoo dot com
GFC follower
Tweet http://twitter.com/Ziggywag/status/13786860973

Riv Re said...

Looks great! Please enter me to win!

My little world of books said...

count me in!
mandy porto


MannaB said...

Great Interview! Please count me in!


Linda Henderson said...

This sounds like a very interesting book. I would love to read it.

I became a follower.

seriousreader at live dot com

KMichelleC87 said...

Please enter me in this contest. This book looks really good and I can't wait to read it.

I'm a new follower


Anlu* said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anlu* said...

Interesting interview! The book looks great, I'd like to read it.

Please count me in the contest :)

I'm a follower!

A tweet: http://twitter.com/badbubble/status/13900801878


Thanks in advance!

Emily said...

Wow I am really liking Estevan, seems like a really down-to-earth person. And the synopsis and Estevan's inspirations (King, Poe, the bible!) really makes me want to read this book right now. So I'm in!


Alexandra said...

This book looks awesome!!

I already followed.


Christine H said...

I've heard nothing but great things about this book. Sounds intriguing. I hear a lot about his writing be spectacular too. Look forward to reading it!

Posted on twitter: http://twitter.com/Romantic73/status/13992380841


Myspace:I have two hopfully one works.


I am a Follower, Christine H


Kelly said...

+1 This is a great interview. I am so excited about Arson.
+1 sidebar: kghbookhunter.blogspot.com
+1 I'm a new follower via GFC.

Thanks for hosting! :D

grandmalarkin said...

I'd like to win this book for my grand daughter. She loves to read all types of books. I know she'd love this one.



I'm a follower grandmalarkin@yahoo.com

bookaholic said...

+1 Even I am such a disorganized person!! What a lovely interview! I so want to read Arson!
+1 Blog mention-http://bookaholicsoye.blogspot.com/(under 'Contests' in the right sidebar)
+1 I am a follower of the blog

Would love to win this,

Badass Bookie said...

+1 Ohhhhh lovely interview ! I love the Cover for the book, I'm a sucker for good covers and it sounds really good too (the picture of the guy is really hot too ;P)

+1 Follower
+1 Link to blog

Love to read this book !!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I really want to read this!


dsym_06 at yahoo dot com