Welcome to our weekly special feature post, Author Of The Week!!
Each week we will be interviewing a different YA author and highlighting their upcoming release!
We will also be hosting a giveaway of the book we are highlighting!!
Introducing Peternelle van Arsdale, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Peternelle van Arsdale is a book editor who never thought she’d write a book, until one day she had a glimmer of an idea that became THE BEAST IS AN ANIMAL. She lives in New York City, where she is at work on her second novel.
Meet The Beast Is An Animal!!
Alys was seven the first time she saw the soul eaters. Twin sisters, they radiated an energy that excited Alys. Through them she felt the wildness of the forest, and The Beast within it. Too late, she learned of their power to destroy.
By the time she is fifteen, Alys knows too much about both the lure and the danger of the soul eaters. She lives in a world of adults who are terrified of their power, who cower behind high walls and grim rules. Fear of the soul eaters—and of The Beast—rules the villagers’ lives. Even more, they fear the ways in which The Beast may lurk among them—and within a girl like Alys.
Alys fears the same thing, and she has good reason. She has a connection to the soul eaters, and to The Beast. And she hides a truth about herself that she can reveal to no one, for fear she will be called a witch. As the threat posed by the soul eaters grows, Alys must undertake a journey through the wild danger of the fforest. But the greatest danger is not outside her. Alys’s secret about who—and what—she is terrifies her most of all. And in order to save her world, she must also risk losing herself.
The Beast Is an Animal is an eerie, compelling, wholly original tale of far-flung villages, dark woods, and creatures that hunt in the night. It’s also a deeply human story about a girl finding her way in a world that is ugly and beautiful, good and bad—and discovering the same within herself.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
My inspiration was more general than specific. I loved Grimm fairy tales as a child, and I was really fascinated by how dark they were, and how much bad behavior there was. Even the “good” characters do bad things. For example, in “Rumpelstiltskin,” we’re supposed to think the little man who bargains to take the queen’s firstborn is the monster, but what about the queen’s father—he lied to the king to curry favor, and told him that his daughter could spin gold from straw, thereby forcing her to make such a terrible deal. Isn’t the father the real monster? In THE BEAST IS AN ANIMAL, I was very much inspired by this idea that good and bad exist in all of us, and that they both exist in people we wouldn’t expect.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
It would have to be Alys, my protagonist. She tries so hard to be good and she’s so terrified that she’s not.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
It would have to be the prologue as a whole, rather than any particular scene. I originally wrote it for a different novel—one I’ve since discarded. The prologue to THE BEAST IS AN ANIMAL is where I finally found my voice and discovered the kind of book I really wanted to write. It was a magical writing experience.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Oh, there’s so much. And I think each book teaches you something new. I suppose what I learned in particular from THE BEAST IS AN ANIMAL is that sometimes a book needs to take its time. A lot of thought and living went into that novel--it’s very personal to me. And while I beat myself up for taking as long as I did to finish it, it wouldn’t have been the novel it is if I’d completed it any faster.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Oh my goodness, where do I begin? I feel tremendously lucky to be published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, and among the many ways in which they’ve supported my book is to give it that stunning cover (designed by Sonia Chaghatzbanian). The funny thing is that they didn’t ask me for any cover ideas, and it arrived as a complete surprise. I was waiting for a concert to start, flipping through emails on my phone, when I saw that my editor had sent me the cover design. I gasped. It’s a good thing they didn’t ask me what I wanted because I never could have suggested anything close to that. I think the designer captured in her own way what I was trying to do in the book—that the world is simultaneously beautiful and frightening.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2017?
Hands down, it’s THE BOOK OF DUST by Philip Pullman. The HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy has been a huge inspiration to me as a writer.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2016?
That’s a hard one, but I’m going with THE WALLS AROUND US by Nova Ren Suma. She did so many wonderfully original things in that novel, both with character and story. It’s creepy and thoughtful and tragic, and it’s definitely stayed with me.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m working on my second novel, which is also a dark fairy tale. Not at all a sequel, but should appeal to the same readers.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
That’s hard for me to answer, because they appeal to different sides of me. I’m an editor, so the puzzle-solving aspect of revision is really satisfying to me. I love that moment when you figure out how to fix a problem. But from the standpoint of pure creative excitement, there’s nothing like surprising yourself with something new that you’ve written.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
I have an uncanny ability to find things to worry about.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Absolutely. Planned Parenthood. They’re fighting the good fight for free and low-cost STD screening and treatment, birth control and prevention, breast exams, and sex education. The latter is perhaps the most important work they do. Women and men as well as adolescents need information in order to lead full, healthy lives and to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. I feel very strongly that this is a human rights issue and not a political one.
The Beast Is An Animal
By: Peternelle van Arsdale
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: February 28th, 2017
One winner will receive a copy of The Beast Is An Animal (Peternelle van Arsdale) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*