Friday, October 12, 2012

Erin Jade Lange Guest Post for BUTTER Blog Tour

Erin Jade Lange's debut novel, BUTTER, was released last month from Bloomsbury. Here's what it's about:
A lonely obese boy everyone calls "Butter" is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death--live on the Internet--and everyone is invited to watch.

When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn't go through with his plans?

With a deft hand, E.J. Lange allows readers to identify with both the bullies and the bullied in this all-consuming look at one teen's battle with himself.
And here's Erin with a guest post as part of the BUTTER blog tour!

BUTTER's Scottsdale setting is vibrantly alive with "Arizonian" elements of high school girls with fake tans and fake blond hair, bright 7am sunshine waking Butter up, and mountains on which Butter can get lost playing his saxophone to the coyotes. It's hard to imagine BUTTER set anywhere else. What is your own relationship with Arizona's culture? What do you like and/or dislike about it?

I first fell in love with the desert as a kid, on a road trip out west. My introduction to this half of the country was Monument Valley. It was so bare and vast and nothing like the crowded landscape of trees and hills that I’d grown up with. I was fascinated by it, and to this day, I think it’s one of those most striking places I’ve ever been.

But I knew I couldn’t live in that kind of landscape all day every day. I needed a little more variety… which is why Arizona is so great. I am a desert dweller, but I can be snowboarding in the mountains in 2 hours, swimming at the beach in 6 hours, floating down a river in 30 minutes and shopping in an entirely different country in less than 4 hours. Also, other than a few brutal months in the summer, I can’t complain about the weather!

Aside from the scenery, I often have a love-hate relationship with Arizona.
It’s good to live in an area where so many people are active and healthy, but I feel there is less empathy here when it comes to weight. I grew up in the Midwest, where we hibernate in the winter, hunkering down with rich warm comfort foods and generally spending a little less time in bathing suits and a lot less time looking in the mirror. It’s one thing to take care of yourself, but I sometimes feel parts of the southwest, Arizona included, put a little too much emphasis on physical image. That’s part of why I set BUTTER in Scottsdale, AZ – to position this character who is struggling with obesity against that backdrop.

Unrelated to the book, one problem I have with living in Arizona is the negative national attention we sometimes get. It’s disappointing to see our state so often the butt of a late-night comedian’s joke or in the news for all the wrong reasons. But as a journalist, it certainly makes Arizona an interesting place to work!

Like anywhere else, Arizona has its pros and cons, but one absolutely WONDERFUL thing about living here is being able to sit OUTSIDE and write almost year-round.

Thanks, Erin! Check out BUTTER, now available in stores and online. And visit Erin's author website and Twitter for more information.

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