Estevan Vega is the author of Arson and it’s sequel, Ashes. He was gracious enough to allow me to interview him and we had the opportunity to discuss the intricacies of writing a book with characters that are as unique as Arson and Emery.
Could you tell our readers a little about yourself?
Do you want the “I like long walks on the beach” routine or something legit? Well, if you really wanna know, I have been writing, like, forever. Well, not literally. I started in the 5th grade; I was about 10 or 11. It started because my teacher made us write short stories for class, and I sucked at writing. My dad sat me down and helped me write my first few stories, and I kind of got addicted. Rest is history.
Could you provide us with a description of your book “Arson”?
Sure. Arson is the name of the 17-year-old main character. He’s this boy who was born with the ability to create fire. He doesn’t know how it came to be or why, but it’s something he hates and can’t really control. Living with his bipolar grandmother on a lake in some hick town doesn’t really make life any better. But then this new girl moves in next door with her family. Her name is Emery, and she’s insecure about the way her face looks because of a childhood accident. So her way of feeling normal and coping is wearing a mask. You can read the rest…it’s kind of awesome.
Arson and Emery are extremely sympathetic characters, while many other characters are examples of horrible people. Where did you get the ideas for these characters? Any influences?
The characters in Arson came largely from people I know. When you’re writing, it’s almost impossible for your real-world experiences not to influence your work. With Arson, it was even more so. I’d never gotten so personal, and a large part of the reason these characters feel so real (horrible or kind or vulnerable) is because in some way, shape, or form, they tap into my real world. I guess you could say I sorta plagiarized real life. Ha And superheroes. They got me through my childhood.
What kind of research did you have to do while writing Arson?
I looked around at stuff I thought was just messed up. Everyone in Arson is dealing with something, whether it’s a psychological problem, an emotional problem, an addiction, or feeling displaced, whatever; they’re all dealing with heavy crap. So my research was just taking a mirror to my life and to the lives of those around me and analyzing it. What’s not right? What’s so screwed up? And then write about it. With a Tom Clancy book, you rely more on data and facts; with fun stuff like this, you rely on real-world issues. I think it’s more fun.
Could you provide us with a description of Arson’s powers and what he thinks of his powers?
He can create fire. And yes, he could totally beat Drew Barrymore, The Human Torch, Pyro, and that chick from Hellboy in a fight. Just sayin. He’s not crazy about his powers, one of the reasons being that his mom died in childbirth because of it. Lots of fire. Lots of blood. Wasn’t pretty. More on that in the sequel, Ashes.
What influences helped you in developing this story?
I have a lot of influences: music, movies, novels, real-life. Whatever’s really heavy on my heart at the time of writing is what makes it out. As far as developing the story of Arson, though, I’d have to say the biggest influence was probably music and real-life drama.
The ending of this book was a cliffhanger. What is in store for Arson and Emery?
Lots of action, confusion, action, nightmares, action. Oh, and action. Seriously, book two (Ashes) makes you think Arson was a kid’s book. I love Arson, and will always love it. But Ashes is just the kind of book that puts you on edge with action, mystery, and nightmare all in one. Where Arson was rooted much in character development and internal struggle, the main focus of Ashes is seeing what happens to these characters under the severest of pressures. Get stoked. It’s intense.
Dysfunctional is the new normal.
I would like to thank Mr. Vega for the opportunity to interview him and discuss his writing career. If you haven’t picked up either of Estevan Vega’s books, you are seriously missing a great read. I couldn’t recommend them more!