Thursday, February 16, 2017

{Blog Tour} CRAZY MESSY BEAUTIFUL by Carrie Arcos—Author Interview + Giveaway

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Crazy Messy Beautiful
by Carrie Arcos

From National Book Award finalist Carrie Arcos–a fresh take on happily ever after, and friendship, that is anything but a love story.

When your namesake is Pablo Neruda—the greatest love poet of all time—finding “the one” should be easy. After all, sixteen-year-old aspiring artist Neruda Diaz has been in love many times before. So it’s only a matter of time before someone loves him back.

Callie could be that someone. She’s creative and edgy, and nothing like the girls Neruda typically falls for, so when a school assignment brings them together, he is pleasantly surprised to learn they have a lot in common. With his true love in reach and his artistic ambitions on track, everything is finally coming together.

But as Neruda begins to fall faster and harder than ever before, he is blindsided by the complicated nature of love—and art—in more ways than one. And when the relationships he’s looked to for guidance threaten to implode, Neruda must confront the reality that love is crazier, messier, and more beautiful than he ever realized—and riskier, too, than simply saying the words.

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Age Group/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
 Publisher: Philomel Books
Purchase: Amazon • B&N • Kobo • IndieBound

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with Carrie Arcos


LM: What inspired you to write Crazy Messy Beautiful?

Carrie: My first year of teaching high school, I was introduced to the writer, Pablo Neruda, by a former student of mine. He used to carry a worn copy of Neruda’s first book Twenty Love Songs and Poem of Despair in his back pocket. As soon as I read the first lines, I became a fan. And was shocked, actually, that I hadn’t studied him before in high school or college. (I was an English major, after all.) I thank Esteban in my acknowledgements.

Not long ago I was doing a high school visit, speaking to a class about my books, when I noticed a boy sitting in the front row. He was a Latino kid with dark curly hair, jeans, black shirt, and drawing in a journal. After the visit, I asked if I could see them. I was struck by his talent and his sweet, shy nature.

I’m not sure exactly what made me connect him to my former student, except maybe temperament. But the visit started the kernel of my first thoughts of a new character. With my books, I always start with character. I knew I wanted to write about a boy who was into Pablo Neruda. When I started writing, I just got this wonderful voice of a character who was actually named after Neruda, the greatest love poet in the world, but who is actually the unluckiest in love.

The story developed from there and became an exploration on the nature of love. How does love happen? Is there such a thing as true love? What do you do when someone doesn’t love you back? Also, what about when people fail love? Since my Neruda is a bit of a romantic idealist, he has to learn that love is not just about poetry and words. It’s about showing up, even when you don’t want to. It’s about choosing.

LM: What was the most challenging thing about writing Crazy Messy Beautiful?

Carrie: The most challenging thing was that I had this great character in Neruda. I had his voice. I really felt like I knew who he was, but I didn’t have much of a story. I struggled to find the plot, what story I wanted to tell through this character. It took multiple drafts, more drafts than any other story I’ve written. It really is true what other writers say—that every book is different so the process of writing each book is also not uniform.

LM: Describe the dynamic between your main characters, Neruda & Callie, in just five words.

Carrie: Awkward. Cute. Friends. Painful. Understanding.

LM: If this book had a theme song, what would it be?

Carrie: All out of Love by Air Supply

LM: Give us a little glimpse into Crazy Messy Beautiful—share with us one of your favorite quotes or scenes from the book!

Carrie: I love this realization from Neruda: 

I open the worn pages of Neruda’s Twenty Love Songs and turn right to “The Song of Despair.” I’ve read it many times. But now I understand the shipwreck of his soul and the debris and the cold, cold death of his love’s kisses. How she became dangerous and how he sank. How she sank him. She abandoned him and he was left drowning in sorrow. In the end, he’s just standing on the shore alone, deserted like an empty harbor.

LM: Tell us what you enjoy doing when you aren't writing!

Carrie: I enjoy spending time with my kids and husband. We like to hike (well, the parents do). I also like going to dinner with friends, exploring LA, cooking, reading, and meeting new people.

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Carrie Arcos is a National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature for OUT OF REACH; her second novel is THERE WILL COME A TIME. CRAZY MESSY BEAUTIFUL will be available soon. She lives in Los Angeles with her family. For more information, check out her website: carriearcos.com

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Huge thanks to Carrie for answering my questions so thoughtfully!

Readers, please continue on for giveaway details! ~


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy Reading!

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