Today, I’m thrilled to introduce Ashley Elston, author of THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING (Disney/Hyperion), which releases tomorrow! I had the pleasure of reading this intense YA thriller about a girl living her teen years in the witness protection program. From its irresistible voice to its sink-your-teeth-into-it Southern setting, this is a completely unique story you don’t want to miss. Here’s a little bit about the book:
She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.
Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.
But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.
Ashley, I love how you begin each chapter with a Rule for disappearing. If you were writing the story of your own life, what would be your number one rule?
Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Meg has to be a lot of different people in a very short period of time under the Witness Protection rules. What experiences did you draw on from your own teen years that helped you identify with Meg’s inner journey?
In regards to moving around, I probably had the exact opposite experience of Meg. My dad still lives in the same house that he bought before I was born. I grew up in a small-ish Louisiana town not far from Natchitoches, where this story is set. I knew everyone in town and if my friends and I did something wrong, my mother knew what we did almost before we finished doing it. I went to school with most of the same people from kindergarten through high school. So when I came up with the idea of this story, I thought about how hard it would be to move into a small town where relationships were formed in childhood. And with Meg, this problem was made worse by the fact she had to hide her real identity.
Ethan is smokin’ hot in a very boy-next-door sort of way. Tell us about him! Where can interested readers find a guy just like him? And can we expect to see more of Ethan in the next book?
Come to Louisiana! He is very much like most of the southern boys around here. I think what I like most about Ethan is that he’s strong and smart but not afraid to get his hands dirty. And being from the south, I couldn’t help but highlight some of the more unique parts of our culture like working on a farm, and riding four-wheelers, and all of the other things Ethan enjoys. And yes, you will see more of Ethan in the next book.
Ashley, you saw something you shouldn’t have seen, and you are whisked away into Witness Protection. What name would you chose, what hair color and cut, and what city would you relocate to if it was up to you?
Oh! Good question! I’d have to stay where it’s warm. I really don’t think I could handle a harsh winter…maybe Charleston, South Carolina. I visited Charleston recently and really enjoyed my time there. I have all boys but I would have named a girl Adeline so I guess I would choose that as my new name. I would dye my hair dark but I’d probably keep it long. It’s so curly that if I cut it short, I would look like a Q-tip.
As this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d like to know what two or three books inspired you as a kid?
My love of reading started with Judy Blume, especially FRECKLE JUICE and TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING. After that, I read anything I could get my hands on and that’s when the dream of being an author was born.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashley Elston lives in North Louisiana with her husband and three sons. Her debut, THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING, will be published by Disney Hyperion on May 14, 2013 and the sequel in 2014. The two questions she gets all the time are: Is there really such a thing as “Swamp Pizza” and does it taste good? The answer to both questions is a very resounding YES! If you want to find Ashley and talk about weird food, she’s on Twitter and Facebook.
THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING is sure to disappear from shelves, but you can be sure to find a copy here:
|Elle Cosimano drinks too much coffee and is a professional puppy and little boy wrangler. She majored in Psychology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and set aside a successful real-estate career to pursue writing. She divides her time between her home near Washington, DC and a jungle tree house in the Mayan Riviera.|