Recently, Swanky 17er Chelsea Bobulski sat down with Sixteener Melissa Gorzelanczyk to discuss Melissa’s contemporary romantic YA fantasy, which Delacorte Press just published.
About the Book
A modern cupid story set in present-day Wisconsin combining the fantastical elements of Greek mythology with the contemporary drama of MTV’s Teen Mom.
People don’t understand love. If they did, they’d get why dance prodigy Karma Clark just can’t say goodbye to her boyfriend, Danny. No matter what he says or does or how he hurts her, she can’t stay angry with him—and can’t stop loving him. But there’s a reason why Karma is helpless to break things off: she’s been shot with a love arrow.
Aaryn, son of Cupid, was supposed to shoot both Karma and Danny but found out too late that the other arrow in his pack was useless. And with that, Karma’s life changed forever. One pregnancy confirmed. One ballet scholarship lost. And dream after dream tossed to the wind.
A clueless Karma doesn’t know that her toxic relationship is Aaryn’s fault . . . but he’s going to get a chance to make things right. He’s here to convince Danny to man up and be there for Karma. But what if this god from Mount Olympus finds himself falling in love with a beautiful dancer from Wisconsin who can never love him in return?
This fast-paced debut novel explores the internal & external conflicts of a girl who finds herself inexplicably drawn to a boy who seemingly doesn’t reciprocate her feelings, touching on the issues of love, sex and responsibility, with a heroine struggling to control her destiny—perfect for fans of Katie McGarry’s novels and MTV’s 16 and Pregnant.
About the Author
Melissa Gorzelanczyk is a former magazine editor and columnist who believes love is everything. A dreamer for life, Melissa has been writing books since she was nine when she penned her first story about a beloved black horse. Proud member of the SCBWI, The Sweet Sixteens and the Class of 2k16. She lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with her husband and family. Her debut novel ARROWS is being published by Random House/Delacorte Press, January 26, 2016. She is represented by agent Carrie Howland of Donadio & Olson. You can find her at MelissaGorzelanczyk.com or on Twitter: @MelissaGorzela
Chelsea: I absolutely adored ARROWS. As someone who married her high school sweetheart, I really connected with the theme of finding your soul mate at such a young age. Where did the idea for Aaryn and Karma’s story come from?
Melissa: Aw, congratulations on finding your sweetie so young! The idea was really a mish-mash of things that evolved over several drafts. So you take mythology, lame guys, awesome guys, kick-ass dancers, babies and teenagers, and throw them all together.
I knew I wanted to write a book about cupids, but I didn’t want to write about a winged creature wearing a diaper. Arrows explores the idea of “cupids among us” in a realistic, contemporary way.
Chelsea: Another central theme to this story, which you also highlight in the acknowledgements, is how love should feel, and what it feels like to love someone who doesn’t love you back, or doesn’t love you back in a healthy way. Why was this so important for you to highlight in ARROWS?
Melissa: Whenever I talk about this at speaking events, I end up crying. I’m the oldest of six, and two of my sisters have experienced relationship abuse, one for the most part in secret for more than ten years.
In Arrows, Karma stays with Danny because she’s under the arrow’s spell, but in real life, the answer isn’t always that simple. My hope is that someone might recognize some of their own excuses for being treated poorly, and maybe become inspired to take their life back, like my sister did after so many years of abuse.
Chelsea: ARROWS does a great job of reading like a fun romantic comedy while still dealing with larger, more serious issues, such as teen pregnancy, in a very respectful way. What made you decide to take Karma’s dilemma of loving the wrong person one step further into having her share a baby with him?
Melissa: Of course, I thought a lot about how arrows could go wrong. Teen pregnancy seemed like the worst twist, especially for a strong female character who had a clear life plan. That said, I never wanted Nell, Karma’s baby, to seem like a mistake. In the end, I tried to show readers what a healthy relationship looks like, no matter what the obstacles.
Chelsea: Common advice given to budding writers is to read often and across all genres. What other advice would you give to someone who is writing their first novel, or who perhaps has written several novels but just hasn’t quite made it to that next level of finding an agent and/or publisher yet?
Melissa: Study the basics of plot, characters, setting, theme and revision. Buy books on the subjects and read blogs posts. Join the SCBWI and attend their conferences. In practice, write each scene so that it shows something important about your plot, characters and/or theme. And really, you just have to sit down and write.
Favorite mythological hero/heroine?
Aaryn, of course!
Favorite time of day to write?
Mornings are my sacred space.
Go-to writing snack?
Favorite fictional soul mates?
Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe
Five books you’d have with you while stuck on a deserted island?
This question is too hard, so my answer is: The Anne of Green Gables series, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, anything by Carrie Mesrobian or Gillian Flynn, and all of the Sweet Sixteens debuts.
Chelsea Bobulski is the author of THE WOOD, out in the Spring of 2017 from Feiwel and Friends. She was born in Columbus, Ohio and raised on Disney movies, 1950’s musicals, and Buckeye pride. She graduated from The Ohio State University in 2010 and promptly married her high school sweetheart. She has a soft spot for characters with broken pasts, strange talents, and obstacles they must overcome for a brighter future.