Today we're excited to chat with
Elle Cosimano (The Suffering Tree)
as part of YABC's Teen Read Week!
Read on for more about Elle, her novel, plus a giveaway!
Meet Elle Cosimano!
Elle’s debut, Nearly Gone, was a 2015 Edgar Award finalist and winner of the International Thriller Award. Her more recent young adult thriller, Holding Smoke, was an International Thriller Award nominee and Bram Stoker Award finalist. Her essays have appeared in The Huffington Post and TIME. Elle set aside a successful real-estate career to pursue writing. She lives with her husband and two sons in a grass hut between the jungle and the sea.
Meet The Suffering Tree!
Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family-it's their generations-old land the Burns have "stolen." As the suspicious looks and muttered accusations of her neighbors build, so does the pressure inside her, and Tori returns to the pattern of self-harm that landed her in a hospital back in D.C. It all comes to a head one night when, to Tori's shock, she witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard.
Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it's clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events-including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter's cousin-that seem to point back to Nathaniel.
As Tori digs for the truth-and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel-she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family's oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried at any cost.
~ Interview for Teen Read Week ~
YABC: What books were your go-to choice when you were a teen?
As a young teen, I loved the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. Around the same time, I fell in love with a book called The Witch of Blackbird Pond, which (in hindsight) was probably the earliest inspiration behind my interest in writing a book like The Suffering Tree. As an older teen, I discovered S.E. Hinton, and fell in love with The Outsiders. I read that book until the pages fell out. If I could have climbed into a book and lived inside, it would have been this one.
YABC: What do you love most about the YA genre?
I love that it’s so hard to define. YA is so much more than any other genre, because it’s not just one genre. It’s all genres. For all ages. With very few rigid rules and so many possibilities. And it’s never, ever boring.
YABC: Was there a class in high school that you wished you had paid closer attention to and why?
I hated history in high school. I drifted a lot. Rarely did the work. It felt dry and distant and flat. And now, it’s all so fascinating to me. When I was doing the research for The Suffering Tree, I became completely engrossed with early US history. Maybe because my research took me places where I could touch it and see it and smell it. Maybe because my characters still live in that time period in my mind, and my closeness to them makes it feel closer to me. Or maybe it’s just because I’m a writer and history opens the door to so many imagined worlds for me. Whatever the reason, I wish I had been more engaged in those studies as a teen.
YABC: Which social media site do you wish had been available to you as a teen and why?
My teen years were pretty rough. I was in a really dark place most of the time. We didn’t even have email back then, but if I had to pick one social media space I would have loved as a teen, it’d have to be Instagram. I love Instagram. For me, it’s a daily reminder that there’s beauty in the world. As a teen, I loved photography. It was all unwieldy rolls of film and enlargers and dark rooms back then, but I loved the art of it, capturing mood and playing with light. Instagram speaks to the part of me that used to spend hours in the dark room after school, messing around with chemical washes and tongs, trying to make something beautiful.
YABC: What advice would you give teens who might want to be a writer?
I know it probably sounds like the same advice we all hand out like candy at Halloween, but this is the big Snickers bar, people. Read. Read everything. Read books you love, read books you don’t, read things that make you angry and things that move you to tears. That’s how you’ll figure out what kind of writer you want to be.
The Suffering Tree
By: Elle Cosimano
Release Date: June 13th, 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion Publishing
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*