Today we are very excited to share an interview with author Mary Vensel White!
Read on to learn more about the author, the book, and a giveaway!
Meet the Author: Mary Vensel White
Mary Vensel White is the author of the novels Starling, Bellflower, and The Qualities of Wood, and the young adult novel, Things to See in Arizona. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in numerous publications. Born in Los Angeles, Mary has lived in northern California, Denver, and Chicago, and has been back in southern California for two decades.
About the Book: Things to See in Arizona
Sometimes losing something can change the way you see everything.
Tuesday Mayes has always felt like she was meant for more than the desert she’s lived in her whole life. With the summer after high school graduation upon her, she is eager to start a new chapter despite the diagnosis of a minor health issue. But when her father goes missing, she must confront a reality she’s not ready to face.
Enter Cristian Robles, childhood friend and long-time crush. When he offers to accompany her on a journey across Arizona to find her father—if they visit supernatural locations from his Weird Arizona guidebook along the way—Tuesday sees it as chance to finally have an adventure. As they embark on a road trip filled with discoveries and surprises, she begins to uncover the truth about family secrets and her special abilities. Along the way, she finds herself falling for Cristian and realizing that sometimes losing something can change the way you see everything.
With a mix of adventure, romance, and self-discovery, this is a story about growing up, facing fears, and discovering the strength within. On this journey of a lifetime, will Tuesday discover who she truly is and what she truly wants?
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
My initial inspiration for Things to See in Arizona was the notion that we humans have a range of experiences and abilities. There are unexplainable things all around us, and in the human spectrum, we have things like déjà vu and intuition—are these supernatural, supersensory, or something else? I wanted to explore the possibility that Tuesday’s special abilities could be inherited or developing because of her unique situation.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel came first! The title was something that came to the main character, Tuesday, in her thoughts. And as soon as she thought it, I started thinking of “Things to See in Arizona” as the title.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
Several scenes come to mind, but I like the concert scenes at the beginning and end of the novel, when Tuesday and Rosanna are immersed in the experience of listening to their favorite band, Brave Colony. It was fun to evoke that feeling, when you’re surrounded by people, all engaged with the music and pumped up! I think music has the capacity to invoke some of our best qualities and sincerest feelings.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
It’s very important to develop a thick skin as a writer. Not everyone will like your book. People have different tastes, needs, and they’ll pick up your book at good and bad times in their lives. This is my fourth book, and one of the best experiences is when your book touches someone at the right time, when a reader connects with something you’ve written or a character you’ve created. I’ve had a few readers comment about Tuesday navigating young adulthood with a medical issue, and how they could relate to her concerns and feelings. That was very rewarding. It’s a balance, definitely, writing for yourself but also considering readers. But start with yourself and what you want to say. Worry about readers later!
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love that the cover for the book brings to mind their journey, and that the path is colorful and represents the way Tuesday’s home state of Arizona opened up and revealed itself to her during the road trip she takes with Cristian. Also, I think it has a mystical feel that hints to Tuesday’s special abilities.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2023?
Well, I could be biased, but my independent publisher has a historical fiction book releasing on November 1st. It’s called Sky of Ashes, Land of Dreams, and the story of three people bound together in a love triangle of sorts begins in 1917 Mongolia. It’s a lovely book about another time and place and yet, with a universality that will tug at readers’ hearts.
YABC: What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?
My last five-star read was a slim novel called The Summer Book, by Tove Jansson. I highly recommend this read about a young girl and her grandmother summering on a tiny island of Finland, and coming to grips with some earth-shattering changes. It’s a beautiful book that I continue to think about!
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m working on an adult novel that is an homage to my favorite movie of all time. It’s the story of two damaged people, trying to come together and have a relationship. It seems to me that maybe this is the theme of every book I’ll ever write! If we live long enough, aren’t we all carrying some sort of baggage and looking for connection?
Title: Things to See in Arizona
Author: Mary Vensel White
Release Date: July 28, 2023
Publisher: Type Eighteen Books
Genre: Young Adult
Age Range: 13-18
Three (3) winners will receive a paperback copy of Things to See in Arizona (Mary Vensel White) ~ US Only
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway!*