Moriah Densley: I’m so excited to introduce a fresh voice in New Adult fiction. I’m currently reading Angela N. Blount’s ONCE UPON A ROAD TRIP, and it’s delightful! Welcome, Angela! Give us the “elevator pitch” for your new book:
Angela N. Blount: Once Upon A Road Trip is a coming-of-age story about a small town 18-year-old girl who decides to embark on a solo road trip across the North American East Coast, meeting a unique cast of characters along the way–most of whom began as her “invisible” internet friends. In trying to find herself over the course of one extraordinary summer, she encounters danger, heartache, and love.
MD: What’s your favorite scene? How about an excerpt?
ANB: “It’s bruising. But not the kind you’re thinking of,” Angie said, stepping onto the frame of the lower bunk to reach her overnight bag. She sat down with it on the edge of the futon and readied a less technical explanation while she rummaged through the bag. “I thought he just cut off my airway when he had me in that head lock, but he must have pinched an artery, too. Those are little blood vessels under the skin that burst from too much pressure.”
Vince crossed the room and sank down beside her while she hunted through her things. “You’re saying…he tried to strangle you?” He spoke in a slow, deliberate voice.
“I’m not saying that’s what he was going for.” She shook her head. “It was just reckless and stupid. I never should have put myself in a position like that.” Angie ended her search and sighed, turning up only an old eyeliner pencil and a small pot of lip gloss. Frustrated, she dropped the bag to the floor at her feet. “No cover stick. I guess I can’t hide it.”
Vince’s weight shifted next to her and his hand settled on her shoulder, commanding her attention. Looking toward him, she turned to show as little of her face as possible. It was unreasonable, she knew, but part of her insisted on being embarrassed.
“He almost killed you, and you’re worried about how it looks?” Vince’s tone held a quiet sobriety. With his other hand he touched along her jaw and turned her face fully toward him. “I should have taken you to the hospital.” His thumb slid over her cheekbone and brushed beneath her eye. “Does it hurt?”
“No hospital. I’m fine,” Angie insisted. “Really. It doesn’t hurt. I mean, the back of my neck is still sore, but my eyes don’t—” Her voice caught in her throat when he brought his face closer.
MD: Fascinating that Once Upon A Road Trip is a true story. Will you tell more about that? Is the story autobiographical at all?
ANB: The story is entirely autobiographical…but you tend not to notice, as most of it is written in third person. (My way of distancing myself from the retelling.) I changed names, descriptions, and didn’t use last names–all in an effort to protect everyone’s privacy. It has so much of a fiction feel to it that my own beta readers kept forgetting the story was a real account.
In a nutshell, I got a little crazy after graduating from high school and decided I needed to go out and see more of the world in order to “find myself.” I didn’t have the money for backpacking across Europe or touring Asia…but that was okay. I was a Minnesotan, and my family’s idea of a vacation was a weekend trip to Wisconsin–so I figured there was plenty I had yet to see on my own continent. I had a car, some gas money, and around a dozen online friends scattered across the East Coast who’d all offered to host me for several days each. Out of that I inadvertently managed to live out own low-budget, teenaged version of ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’
Granted, parts of it may seem a bit unlikely…but I will readily take a polygraph test over any of it. Seriously. I’ve always wanted to be hooked up to one of those things just to see what it’s like… >.> (Which partially explains how I get myself into unlikely situations in the first place. The same curiosity that kills cats tends to get me into all manner of unusual trouble…or the occasional life-altering sense of wonderment.)
MD: I’m fascinated by the love triangle in your story. Care to explain how your heroine landed herself in that mess?
ANB: For the record, I typically hate love triangles. (It’s true! Don’t roll your eyes. >.>) I certainly didn’t see myself ever ending up as a part of one. Really, it might be more of a love rhombus, but I digress…
It’s a complicated part of the story. Let’s just say I blame a perfect storm of naiveté, circumstance, and teenage hormones.
MD: What challenges did you overcome writing this book?
ANB: The greatest challenges in writing this book were to let go of my self-consciousness and be as honest as possible. I had a lot of hope that my story could potentially help someone one day. But there were things I didn’t want to relive, and people I didn’t want to risk hurting…and it took me years to work through those things. In that way, writing this book was almost a form of therapy.
MD: What books are on your desert island list?
ANB: ALL OF THE BOOKS!
You see, there was a terrible Barnes & Noble supplier shipwreck and all of these crates washed up on shore…
(What? That’s what you get for not giving me a numerical limit. ^_^ )
MD: What’s on your to-read list?
ANB: Currently, I have over a hundred books on my to-read list. (I never seem to dig myself out–just deeper!) High on my priority list are:
*Magic Bites, by Ilona Andrews
*Divergent, by Veronica Roth
*A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, by Donald Miller
MD: What’s your next project?
ANB: I’m concurrently at work on my second contemporary Young Adult romance, and the start of a sci-fi series.
And yes, it’s weird jumping back and forth between genres. My head is full of spaceships and unruly high-schoolers. >.< You wouldn’t believe the noise level. Or the smell.
Award-winning author Angela N. Blount is a Minnesota native, transplanted to the deep South-where she currently resides with her understanding husband, their two children, and a set of identity-confused cats. She is a former book reviewer for RT Book Reviews, a Memoirist, freelance editor, sporadic poet, and webcomic artist. In her spare time, Angela enjoys reading, coffee shop loitering, questionable attempts at horticulture, and all things geeky.
Release date to all platforms: November 1st, 2013