If you deem yourself to be a part of the writing world (like me) but have not yet read Lionel Shriver’s speech on current day identity politics and the way that they have the potential to impact fiction writing (I just read it), I highly recommend reading it here. It’s very powerful and has many good points.
Click here to be redirected to the original interview!
Six years ago Susan Arnold began writing her first novel Blue Vigilante which she just self-published.
Arnold, a 2015 graduate of Clarkston High School, explained the series began in her eighth grade English class at the junior high school.
Her teacher, Robert Albee, gave the class a short story assignment.
“As we were writing, I struggled keeping the short story short,” Arnold said. “Mr. Albee, after grading the assignment, told me that he could see there was so much more potential to the story. I just kept writing and writing and turned the short story into a four-novel-long series. The writing journey was crazy.”
During the writing journey, Arnold takes readers into the world of Marybeth, also known as “Bat.”
In Blue Vigilante, Marybeth chooses to join the most feared gang in America, Black Bullet, in a rash revenge-fueled decision, Arnold explained.
During her initiation, she proves herself to be an amazing fighter, the best the gang has ever seen. She quickly works her way up the ranks to third in command.
When she witnesses a ruthless murder during a gang fight she is faced with a moral choice, leading to the decision to quit fighting for Black Bullet. But making the decision isn’t as easy as she thinks.
“As third in command, she knows too much to simply stop fighting and she isn’t old enough to drop out of the gang, so the leader, Trigger, decides the only way to solve the problem is to kill her,” Arnold explained.
Arnold finished the first book only a few months ago and mixed in writing with being a full-time student, learning how to drive, working a part-time job and that was before she graduated from Clarkston and went on to Northern Michigan University.
“Not to mention that I matured and that changed my writing voice,” Arnold added. “Though I wish that I could have published Blue Vigilante sooner, I’m glad I didn’t. If I had published the book as a 13- or 14-year-old, the pace and tone of the book would not match the rest of the series.”
She added writing the book wasn’t the hardest part or publishing – it was editing.
“It’s a constant back and forth battle between writing and then polishing, cutting and rewriting. I’ve edited and reread BV so much, that I practically know it by heart,” she said.
Arnold enjoys Blue Vigilante because it’s the first book and series she wrote and a project she continued working on.
“I have a stack of written works I started but never finished,” she explained. “Blue Vigilante captured my imagination enough to make me stick to it.Also, I think entire idea of the plot is something that hasn’t ever really been explored before, which makes it very interesting.”
The target audience for Blue Vigilante is young adults, but Arnold added anybody would enjoy reading it.
“As long as they’re mature enough to read it,” she said. “This book involves a gang, which means violence, drinking and drugs. I wouldn’t recommend the book for kids under 12.”
Arnold is attending Northern Michigan University and pursuing a master’s degree both in English Writing and Photography.
Blue Vigilante is available online.
~Staff Writer Wendi Reardon
To be honest, I am very disappointed with the way Lauren Oliver ended the Delirium series. I fell in love with the first book, once it started to pick up the pace. I even had the rest of the series two day shipped to my house once I finished reading because that’s how good it was and how intense the cliff-hanger was.
When I got to the second book, Pandemonium, I was sort of let down. The way the story was told was very different from the way the first book was told. It was harsher and it wasn’t in chronological order…but it worked for the actual story, it fit the way Lena had matured between the books. But, of course, Oliver had to add in another guy to Lena’s life. I felt that the addition of this new love was completely unnecessary. Given the plot line of the entire first book, and her hatred toward Julian, in the beginning, makes it almost impossible for me to believe that she’s actually fallen for him. (I would have believed that they had just become friends and that he fell for her (given the circumstances) but I just don’t think that the Lena I had come to know would have fallen for Julian.) Don’t get me wrong, though, Julian is a great guy. And then, at the very end of the book, BAM an entirely unnecessary love triangle added just for some drama and because all the popular books at the time had a love triangle. I just don’t find it possible that Alex is alive after the end of the first book. And even if he is, that he found Lena out in the vast Wilds.
After the let down of Pandemonium, I was excited to read Requiem, thinking that it would actually be better written. I was wrong. If it wasn’t for how much I loved the first book of this series, I would have given Requiem a one-star rating. I didn’t mind how Oliver told the story through both Hana’s and Lena’s point of views, I thought that it worked really well and accented the story wonderfully. And the story itself wasn’t too bad, though it wasn’t nearly as captivating as Delirium. But, for most of it, there was unnecessary drama, a vast majority of the background information wasn’t explained (because Lena, as a protagonist, was kept in the dark for most of it, which is fine; readers, though, shouldn’t be kept in the dark. That’s, like, rule number three of being an author. NEVER keep your readers in the dark, they love to know what the protagonist doesn’t.) and the ending didn’t even seem like an ending. The book just stopped, abruptly, leaving me wanting more that I wanted at the end of Delirium. Did the rebellion succeed? Is Hana alive? How will Lena break the news to Julian–who has nobody besides her–that she’s going to be with Alex? Why are you guys breaking down a wall when an entire nation wants to wipe you out? I wanted more. And the way the book just stopped made it seem to me like Oliver hadn’t even thought out an ending, or didn’t want to, and decided to call it good. I was very disappointed and almost didn’t even bother finishing the book.
Like I said earlier, if it wasn’t for the first book, I’d give Requiem a one-star rating. But it gets a three-star rating because of Delirium.
Unfortunately, this has been my last review for Miss Literati, because they have not been returning my emails. When and if they do, I’ll be sure to notify you guys!
Here’s my review below:
New York Times bestselling author, D.J. MacHale’s, novel SYLO instantly draws readers in. It’s a wonderful science-fiction mystery about an island that is quarantined and the confused citizens who live there.
When his parents start acting weird, and a mysterious drug that’s killing people off is being sent around the island, 14-year-old Tucker Pierce and his best friend Quinn, along with the mystifying Tori, set off to find answers. Why is Pemberwick Island, Maine, under quarantine? What is SYLO? Where did the drug, the Ruby, come from? What are the flying shadows? Who can be trusted? What’s the truth? Their actions lead to more questions, drugs and death.
SYLO is book that every teenager can relate to. Not because of the quarantine, island living, and flying shadows, but because throughout the entire book there are elements of everyday life. Feeling like an outcast? That’s in the novel. Tucker also has moments where he falls victim to peer pressure, he is afraid to talk to the girl he likes and he feels like he can’t conform to his parents’ expectations. All of these are typical teenager emotions and situations everyone experiences at least once in their lives. I know I have felt them all.
SYLO, in my own opinion, is an absolutely fantastic novel. By the second sentence on the first page of the book, I was hooked. The style in which the book was written was also a nice change for me—I’ve never really read a first person narrative from a male’s perspective, other than the Percy Jackson series, and I enjoyed the perspective that MacHale used to tell the story. I loved how at the end of every chapter there was a cliffhanger, causing this book to never leave my hands. I couldn’t put it down! I honestly cannot wait until the second book comes out. SYLO is joining my “Favorites” bookshelf!