Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lise Haines Guest Post and Giveaway

Lise Haines
By: Lise Haines
Author of GIRL IN THE ARENA  (Review)

I was talking with a 16-year old girl the other day who lives in a pretty chill suburb. In fact, it’s so chill, so safe, that it’s been named the most boring town in its state. And I asked her to answer this question: If you were going to rate the world on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the most peaceful place imaginable, 10 the most violent, and you had to rate our planet as a whole, what number would you give it? She thought for a moment and said: “Eight. I wouldn’t want to lie to you. It’s definitely an eight.”

Last night, I saw INCEPTION and honestly, I can’t wait to see it again. I’m a movie addict and this one is visual perfection. I love the idea of dreams within dreams. And it’s cool that it conveys a message about confronting our demons. But there’s something else that’s undeniable about this film. Around all the gorgeous visuals and beautiful faces and dream weaving, there’s a whole lot of straight-up violence.
It makes me wonder if we’ve always had this much violence running amok in our subconscious life; if only a full measure of violence leaves us thoroughly entertained; if this is just part of big movie making now; if this is about paying tribute to other films like Blade Runner; if all of the above are true; or if I’m just taking things too seriously again. I do that sometimes.

When I was first working on GIRL IN THE ARENA, I was one of those people who had to turn away from most graphic/violent movie scenes. I’m not like that now. In order to understand the neo-gladiator culture I began to write about, I had to keep my eyes open. I didn’t understand, for a long time, why I was writing about such a violent world. In fact, I kept thinking the whole thing was pretty nuts. Hunger Games didn’t exist then, and I continually asked myself why I was writing this crazed book.

Finally, I just got excited about working in unfamiliar territory, where I was taking a lot of risks. And eventually, I began to understand that I was saying something about the impact of violence on our culture, especially on the way young women relate to, and interact with, a violent world. As I’ve written before, some of this came from the fact that tens of thousands of young American women have gone off to fight in foreign wars in the last decade. And if you add this to the intensity of some of the video games, what we see on the internet, 9/11…

So, after I saw INCEPTION, I began to think about my conversation with the 16-year old. If the world is an 8 to her, it really makes you think in a whole new way about what it’s like for a young woman in Afghanistan or the Gaza Strip or Somalia. I’ve trained myself not to look away like a whole lot of people, and for so many of us, the way to do that is to numb out a little or even a lot. And sometimes, we use that numb feeling when we watch the news, in order to know what’s happening but to not get entirely crushed by it. All of this makes me wonder how you would rate the world on a 1 to 10 violence scale, and exactly where you think we’re headed.

LISE HAINES is the author of three novels, Girl in the Arena, published in the US and the UK (Bloomsbury) and in Turkey (Alfa-Artemis Yayınevi); Small Acts of Sex and Electricity (Unbridled Books), a Book Sense Pick in 2006 and one of ten “Best Book Picks for 2006” by the NPR station in San Diego ; and In My Sister’s Country, (Penguin/Putnam), a finalist for the 2003 Paterson Fiction Prize. Her short stories and essays have appeared in a number of literary journals and she was a finalist for the PEN Nelson Algren Award.

Haines is Writer in Residence at Emerson College. She has been Briggs-Copeland Lecturer at Harvard, and her other teaching credits include UCLA, UCSB, and Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. She grew up in Chicago, lived in Southern California for many years, and now resides in the Boston area. She holds a B.A. from Syracuse University and an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars.

Author Website
Publisher's Website

Win a paperback copy of
By: Lise Haines

Synopsis:  It’s a fight to the death—on live TV—when a gladiator’s daughter steps into the arenaLyn is a neo-gladiator’s daughter, through and through.  Her mother has made a career out of marrying into the high-profile world of televised blood sport, and the rules of the Gladiator Sports Association are second nature to their family.  Always lend ineffable confidence to the gladiator.  Remind him constantly of his victories. And most importantly: Never leave the stadium when your father is dying. The rules help the family survive, but rules—and the GSA—can also turn against you. When a gifted young fighter kills Lyn’s seventh father, he also captures Lyn’s dowry bracelet, which means she must marry him... For fans of The Hunger Games and Fight Club, Lise Haines’ debut novel is a mesmerizing look at a world addicted to violence—a modern world that’s disturbingly easy to imagine.

To Enter:
Must be a US resident 13 or older
Leave a comment on Lise Haine's Guestpost
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Contest ends 7/31, 11:59 PM MST

48 comments:

  1. Wow! This book sounds amazing! =)

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  2. The book sound great! I'd love to win it! Great guest post too!

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  3. It sounds pretty good! I love her shoes....

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  4. I have a feeling I will love this book. Sounds amazing!

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  5. I loved your post. I like knowing the story behind the story. Thank you for sharing how the book came to be.

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  6. I love the sound of this books. Sounds amazing. Tore923@aol.com

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  7. I loved this post! I REALLY need to get this book now! :)

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  8. I can't wait to get my hands on this book! Thanks for the terrific contest.

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  9. Ever since I first heard about this book, I've been intrigued to read it. Thank you for the thought-provoking post, Lisa.

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  10. Great interview!!

    treerose AT yahoo DOT com

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  11. OMG! This sounds amazing! How have I not heard of it yet? If I don't win it's going right on my wishlist (okay, I'm putting it on my wishlist right now anyway!) : D

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  12. So much fun to hear Lisa's thoughts about her book!

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  13. I really loved hearing from Lisa herself! What a lovely post. This book is already on my list of books to read. I'm even more excited for it now!

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  14. I love all the Gladiator type movies. Spartacus was an awesome show. I think a female Gladiator would be a really interesting take. I'd love to read this book!

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  15. Keeping your eyes open and taking risks is brave, and I feel I should do the same with my writing. Thanks for all the great points and the lovely interview!
    Girl in the Arena sounds incredibly fascinating!

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  16. I have to agree--we are more insulated to violence in the US compared to other parts of the world (like Israel, for example). Great post, I've been looking forward to reading this!

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  17. This book sounds pretty cool! And rating our world, I would probably give it a 6 or 7.

    ~Alison

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  18. I'd probably give it an 8 also, but some counties are a definite 10 while others would probably be a much safer 5. Interesting that a 16 would have such a strong opinion of the world as a whole.

    Meredith

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  19. This book sounds really good. I’ve actually had it on my TBR list for months.

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  20. This books sounds really intense. I love the plot! Ahh I want to read it! Thanks for the guest post.

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  21. Sounds Like My Type of book.... I can't wait to read it!

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  22. This one has been on my Want list for ages!

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  23. OOOOOOOOOOOO!! I want to read this one really bad!

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  24. I've been dying to read Girl in the Arena, it sounds so good. ^_^

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  25. I'm anxious to read this book. It sounds really good.
    mom1248atattdotnet

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  26. This post is so interesting. I think that part of why I enjoyed Hunger Games so much is because it did explore the possibility that people could become so hardened to violence that they would have no problem watching live people kill each other on television. The impact of violence on a culture is such an interesting topic, and I'm interested to see what Girl in the Arena has to say about it.

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  27. I enjoyed the write up and am interested in reading this book. It would make a good movie too!

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  28. This book sounds interesting and I'm curious if you will write anything else related ti this type of book again

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  29. It does sound reminiscent of Hunger Games.

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  30. Interesting post. I have been wanting to read this book for awhile now...it sounds great! (I am dying to see Inception)

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  31. That is a very interesting point the author made in her guest post. She's right too, if an American girl rated the world at an 8, I can't imagine what some of the people in other parts of the world could be thinking. There are so many other countries plagued with war and violence that the citizens have to live with every day of their lives. Thanks for the guest post and the giveaway. It sounds like a good book.

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  32. What an insightful way to go about writing. I know for writers a story will usually pop out of something that interests them or sparks an idea in their brain, but to dive into an area you don't really even like (but learn to! that's good) is a brave thing. And it paid off! I haven't read this one yet but would love to. Sounds like Haines knows what she's doing.

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  33. I sooo want to read this book! It's on my wishlist and I can't wait till I can get it! And the cover is awesome!

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  34. Great interview. The book sounds really good.

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  35. Wow thats a great guest post. I'm not one to turn my head either.

    Glad you liked Inception, hoping to go see it tonight! :)

    Thanks for the giveaway, this looks FANTASTIC!

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  36. I so want to see Inception. After reading your guest post, I might have to go tonight.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

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  37. I agree, the violence is too much. Young women are faced with fighting or being prey. Neither is ideal. I hope your book helps make people realize how mean our world can be. (and what we can do to fix it)

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  38. I've been meaning to read this one forever. It sounds a bit like Hunger Games, so it should satisfy that itch.

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  39. I love the part about the movie Inception - I want to see it too! I have wanted to read this book forever!

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  40. This book sounds WAY too incredible! Must get my hands on a copy! Thank you for the giveaway. :-)

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  41. Great comments on desensitization, Lise. I know I generally separate myself from the reality of news casts and war updates. I'm very excited to read your book and I'm so glad you continued writing it even when you thought it was crazy to delve into a violent world!

    Excellent guest post, Emily. Keep 'em coming!

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  42. Lise, I love the fact that you got excited about writing about "unfamiliar territory." We can't grow as writers if we write only "what we know." Bravo!
    Linda

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  43. this book sounds kind of like hunger games but different in a good way. I can't wait to read!

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  44. I loved how you talked about Inception, violence, and your initial difficultly in writing violent scenes. I'm reflecting now on movies and books that I've read recently, as well as our society and I have to agree with a lot of the conclusions that you've drawn or the questions that you've pondered. I'm looking forward to reading your book!
    Tina

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  45. This was such an interesting post. I loved Inception and didn't think much about the violence, which makes me think I'm becoming immune - at least in make-believe stuff because in real life it bothers me immensely!

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