Sunday, June 1, 2014

Book Nerd Tours Blog Tour, Interview: Blind Spot (Laura Ellen)


There’s none so blind as they that won’t see.
Seventeen-year-old Tricia Farni’s body floated to the surface of Alaska’s Birch River six months after the night she disappeared. The night Roz Hart had a fight with her. The night Roz can’t remember. Roz, who struggles with macular degeneration, is used to assembling fragments to make sense of the world around her. But this time it’s her memory that needs piecing together—to clear her name . . . to find a murderer.
This unflinchingly emotional novel is written in the powerful first-person voice of a legally blind teen who just wants to be like everyone else.

Available now at these fine retailers in eBook and Hardcover, and in paperback on June 10th 2014


Bio: Laura Ellen writes YA contemporary mysteries and thrillers from her home in Arizona, while also freelancing as a manuscript consultant for aspiring authors. She has a MA in Children’s Literature and began her career as a teacher in both Language Arts and special education. Diagnosed with juvenile macular degeneration as a teen, she drew upon her own experiences with vision loss to write her debut YA thriller Blind Spot, an emotional and suspenseful page-turner. Laura is represented by Jill Corcoran at Jill Corcoran Literary Agency and is part of the Sleuths, Spies, and Alibis blog crew. Want to know more about Laura Ellen? Go to or catch her on twitter @lauraellenbooks or facebook

1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

Blind Spot was ‘that story’ that I had to write. I wanted to explore my experiences as a teen dealing with a visual impairment and I wanted to create a character that truly reflected the layers a teen goes through while dealing with high school and a disability – but I also wanted to write a story that people could not put down; I wanted it to entertain the readers. To hook them. So, I hatched a thriller plot with issue-oriented undertones. I found as I wrote it, that it was a very cathartic experience too. A lot of emotions and events that I had stuffed down and forgotten about as a teen came bubbling to the surface and I channeled that into my plot.

2. Who is your favorite character in the book?

I love all my characters – even the nasty Mr. Dellian, but I had the most fun writing Tricia. She is a dark, twisted, broken girl yet she has genuine compassion. She is real and raw. I love that about her.

3. Which came first, the title or the novel?

The novel! I had a couple of titles before landing on Blind Spot. There was Vinegar (don’t ask! Let’s just call it the first draft and leave it at that!), Under Winter’s Cloak, and Blurry. But when my agent and I finally came up with Blind Spot I knew it was right – it has that double meaning that I love, referring both to how Roz sees, or more accurately, doesn’t see, both literally and figuratively.

4. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

There are a lot of scenes that I am proud of because I worked so hard on each one trying to evoke a particular emotion from the reader. One of my favorite scenes however, is the last one in the book. Without giving anything away, it is a scene where everything sort of comes full circle and it shows a confidence and solidarity and friendship among the characters that I really love.

5. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

The most important thing I have learned about writing is to let your story evolve. You should have a vision for your story – but don’t get lost in it. Let the story go in a different direction if it needs to, even if that wasn’t what you’d planned and it means cutting some of your favorite characters or scenes. When I first started writing Blind Spot, I had way too much of myself invested in Roz and it was stinting the plot. When I let her be who she needed to be, I was able to let the plot follow her.

6. What do you like most about the cover of the book?

When I first saw the art for the hardcover, I thought it was perfect. I loved the dark make-up, the way the title blocked the eye…it set the tone I wanted for the book. But then when I saw the new cover for the paperback, I fell in love with it too. I love that the eye is behind what looks like ice – much like Tricia’s dead eyes would have been right before winter stopped hiding her.

7. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2014?

There are so many great 2014 books, I can’t pick just one! Here are three that top my list:

LATITUDE ZERO by Diana Renn (Viking/Penguin) about a children's TV show host and avid bicyclist who travels to Ecuador to unravel the mysterious death of a fellow young cyclist.

COIN HEIST by Elisa Ludwig (Adaptive) about four unlikely teens who band together to rob the Philadelphia Mint when their school's future is threatened.

HIGH & DRY by Sarah Skilton (Abrams/Amulet about high school soccer player Charlie Dixon who, after being dumped, framed, and blackmailed, spends a frantic week trying to clear his name, win back the girl of his dreams, and escape a past that may be responsible for all his current problems.

8. What was your favorite book in 2013?

I read many awesome 2013 books, but I have to say one that I think about often, that just pops into mind randomly at weird times, is NOTHING BUT BLUE by Lisa Jahn-Clough (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). The story is one of those that makes you think and really sort of haunts you.

9. What’s up next for you?

I am finishing up a YA thriller, tentatively titled IN BLOOD about a girl who goes to Alaska to meet the father she didn’t know was alive, only to discover he is charged with murder; I am also revising a middle grade ghost story that for now is titled NANA’S GHOST. (I know, riveting title, right? I need something better!) I also just finished plotting a YA psychological thriller, THE GROUP, which I am super excited about sitting down and writing. It is like The Breakfast Club meets Killing Mr. Griffin. Oh, and I recently started a manuscript consulting business too, so that is keeping me busy as well. (Any readers who are interested can contact me on my website

10. Is there anything that you would like to add?

Thanks so much for helping me celebrate the paperback release! I had fun with the interview questions.

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