Author Chat with Adrianne Finlay (Cut Off) Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to chat with Adrianne Finlay author of
Read on for more about Adrianne and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Adrianne Finlay!
Adrianne Finlay received her PhD in literature and creative writing from Binghamton University. Originally from Ithaca, New York, she now lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa with her husband, the poet J. D. Schraffenberger, and their two young daughters. She is an associate professor of English and the Program Director of Creative Writing at Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa.
Meet Cut Off!
A neglected girl’s chaotic coming-of-age becomes a trending new hashtag in a novel about growing up and getting away by an award-winning author.
Underprivileged and keenly self-aware, SoCal fourteen-year-old Layla Bailey isn’t used to being noticed. Except by mean girls who tweet about her ragged appearance. All she wants to do is indulge in her love of science, protect her vulnerable younger brother, and steer clear of her unstable mother.
Then a school competition calls for a biome. Layla chooses her own home, a hostile ecosystem of indoor fungi and secret shame. With a borrowed video camera, she captures it all. The mushrooms growing in her brother’s dresser. The black mold blooming up the apartment walls. The unmentionable things living in the dead fridge. All the inevitable exotic toxins that are Layla’s life. Then the video goes viral.
When Child Protective Services comes to call, Layla loses her family and her home. Defiant, she must face her bullies and friends alike, on her own. Unafraid at last of being seen, Layla accepts the mortifying reality of visibility. Now she has to figure out how to stay whole and stand behind the truth she has shown the world.
~ Author Chat ~
- What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
There’s a reality show on the History Channel called Alone. In it, contestants are dropped in the secluded wilderness to survive on their own. To win the show, you have to stay by yourself in the wilderness longer than anyone else, without tapping out by calling the producers for rescue. When the contestants do call the producers, it’s usually at a point when they’re desperate—they’re injured, sick, or emotionally drained. While watching Alone, I thought, “Imagine if, when you finally called to be taken off the show, no one answered, and no one came to rescue you.” The idea was chilling. You’d have no way of knowing what was going on, and there would be nothing you could do about it. That’s how I started building the premise of CUT OFF.
- Who is your favorite character in the book?
The book has two main characters, River and Cam, and two side characters, Trip and Liza. While main characters are usually caught up in their feelings and the drama of what’s happening around them, side characters can provide commentary that can’t always come from main characters, and they can offer levity, and even some occasional snark. Side characters are fun to write for this reason, and whenever Trip or Liza was in a scene, things were always a little more fun.
- Which came first, the title or the novel?
This might be the first time I’ve written a project where the title never changed, and I knew what it was from the beginning. The title has some mystery and is intriguing, while also being descriptive—these characters are truly cut off, isolated from the rest of the world.
- Do you have a favorite writing snack?
I don’t usually eat while writing. It’s too distracting, maybe. I drink hot tea. In the past I’ve gone to a coffee shop to write, but nowadays, with Covid, I can’t really do that, so now I guess I have to make my own tea.
- Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
The most important thing I’ve learned is to keep going. First drafts are for discovery, so just get the story down on the page. Don’t expect it to be perfect or brilliant—that comes later. Just keep writing, and have faith that you’ll make it beautiful in revisions.
- What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love the jacket illustration and design (Joel Tippie and Mary Claire Cruz)! The incongruous technology of these letters floating in the wild, with red wires snaking out of them, is creepy, and the image of the wilderness mirroring itself makes the scene of trees and branches feel strange and unsettling.
- What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?
I’ve been reading a few different things. I’m enjoying Saga, a science fiction comic book series by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. I’m also reading Educated, a memoir by Tara Westover. I’ve been diving back into Stephen King as well. I find horror especially distracting during the pandemic, and I had never read Salem’s Lot before, so I’m giving that a go.
- Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or revising?
Drafting is fun. When it’s going well, it can feel like reading a book you’re really enjoying. But I also like the later rounds of revision, when it feels like the hard work of creating is done and now is the chance to refine language and make scenes as strong as they can be.
- Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Yes! I make soap, lotion, and lip balm with my friend Rachel. We sell it locally, and all the proceeds go to type 1 diabetes research, a cause important to both of us since Rachel’s son Henry was diagnosed at three years old six years ago.
By: Adrianne Finlay
Release Date: August 11th, 2020
Five winners will receive a copy of Cut Off (Adrianne Finlay) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
I love books about things like game shows! You know the stakes and competitors right away. Looks like a super fun read!!
The purple on the cover is so pretty. The synopsis sounds so interesting, I've been waiting for this book to come out!