Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rock This! Thursday Interview with Estevan Vega

This week JYTBB went on tour with author Esevan Vega. Just in his early twenties, Estevan has put out three books! His recent one, Arson, will be available May 4th. Today he's stopping by to discuss music and his new book with us.

Tell us a bit about your new book, Arson. Did you find it harder to write compared to your other two releases?

ARSON is awesome. I am so passionate about this story, far more than anything I've ever written. I won't tell you everything,'s about a teenager with the ability to "go nuclear" or create fire with his mind. He was born with it, and he views it as a curse, because during his birth his mother dies. Regret, both for his birth and for a past childhood accident, holds Arson back from becoming what he needs to be, until a second chance stumbles into his life in the form of Emery, a girl who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin.

Do you have a soundtrack to your novel? If so, care to share a few songs?

You know, it's very interesting you ask about that. I am a huge fan of music, and it is in part because of a cool rock song that I began forming the concept and character behind ARSON. I actually wanted to create a compilation album with all the songs I enjoyed having to do with fire or that could fit with the book, but I wasn't sure about copyrights and all that jazz, so it didn't happen. Maybe in the future. are some sample tracks that could've made it on a "what-if" disc.

Hero by Skillet
Fire it Up by Thousand Foot Krutch
Glass to the Arson by Anberlin
On Fire by Switchfoot
Monster by The Almost
Paralytic by Dead Poetic
Never Say Never by The Fray
What I've Done by Linkin Park
Treasure by Flyleaf
Look Away by Thousand Foot Krutch
About a Burning Fire by Blindside
Won't Back Down by Mat Kearney

I am loving that playlist! You're walking down the street - what song is following you?

Right now, probably the song "Scientification" by Norma Jean. It's really chaotic, loud, and in desperate need of rocking out to. I really enjoy this band's music, even though the album this track comes from (O God...) wasn't originally one I jammed to. The lyrics resonate, and the intensity of the music and vocals just flat out rock. It really captured the mood of the book I'm currently writing. I could definitely picture it stalking me...but in a cool, creepy way.

Let's say you scored a golden concert ticket. This ticket allows you to see any band (still around or not) but the catch is you have to take one of your characters with you. Who are you taking and who are you two going to go see?

There are a few shows I regret not going to in the past, and the reasons I didn't get to go was usually because of cash, primarily the lack of it. A few years back, Evanescence was touring with Chevelle. I wish I went to that show. I have a special place in my heart for Amy Lee and her angelic voice.

And I hadn't created her yet, but I'd probably take Mandy from ARSON. She's, ummm...really hot? OK, I'd probably end up taking Emery. We'd get a few stares, but it'd be a fun show most likely.

What song do you think would make for an interesting read?

There are a few songs in my current library that have a certain "epic" feel to them. Relient K released a song called "Deathbed" on their last album that is about 11 minutes long, I think. It tells the whole story of this guy's life as he's dying, but it's upbeat. (I wish it were darker, but it's still a really interesting story). Another track is "Fin" by Anberlin. It's about the loss of faith and the struggle with hope in a world that feels like lost causes. It still moves me, and it's phenomenal live.

How did the idea of Arson come about?

A few different ways, actually. I was trying to deal with the fact that my parents were officially over. That messed with my head. I wanted to write a story that captured the kinds of emotions I was dealing with...anger, regret, fear, isolation, lonely hope. I also love superheroes. They just rock! I used to sketch them, but anyway. I was visiting colleges as a senior in high school back in 2006, and I got this idea for a kid who starts fires with his mind and has these demons inside him--regret and fear and stuff--so he tries to drown them out in the lake behind his cabin. And I pictured him living with a psychotic grandmother. That was all I had. I was listening to Anberlin's song "Glass to the Arson", and being a huge fan of names not everybody uses, I said, "let's call him Arson." I was so engrossed that I started writing out a scene with a pen and paper. I hate doing it that way. But I had to. I couldn't let myself forget it.

If you could meet one musician - living or dead - who would it be or why?

Jon Foreman. I've already met him, but if I could just chill with him for a weekend I think I could die a happy man. No one has impacted my life lyrically the way he has. I love music and love words even more, so when you have awesome music and lyrics that really tug at your soul, there's a connection that happens. I'd love to hang with him sometime. That would be most dank.

We're always up for new music. Tell us five songs we should definitely check out.

"The Sound" by Switchfoot (Jon Foreman does this really cool "go" at the beginning of the track that I love, then there's the rockness. Oh, and you may have heard its awesomeness regrettably advertising the Blackberry Storm)

"Piggy Bank Lies" by Emery (They write great break-up songs with occasional delicious screams)

"The Permanent Rain" by The Dangerous Summer (Had this band on my Zune for months before I gave them a real listen. Their newest album is really good, and this song made me a fan)

"Ride to California" by Paper Tongues (I went from hating Aswan's voice to lovin it, partially because of this phenomenal track. I now love this band. They officially get approved...dank!)

"The End" by Blue October (This song and this band really captures the heart of my parents' situation. And Justin Furstenfeld sings the lyrics with such a lasting potency that explicitly captures the intensity and rage of a hurt lover. I can identify a lot with it.)

Have you experienced any 'rock star' writing moments?

Ummm...are we talking only about the times when I removed my T-shirt and began rocking out with no one present? Because yeah, that's totally happened. In a car, in the shower, in a dorm room, with a fox, in a box...)

Don't forget to check out Estevan's next stop over at Lost For Words on the 24th!



Tales of Whimsy said...

I'm embarrassed but I don't know who Jon Foreman is :( said...

Never heard of him, but he sounds like a fun guy. He sounds so passionate about Arson, I will have to check it out. Thanks for the interview!

Unknown said...

Hey, Amber, and anyone else out there in the blog realm. Stoked to be on the blog today! Hope you all get a chance to check out ARSON.

Anonymous said...

I am loving these recs so much. Yay for Switchfoot shout outs! They're probably my most favourite band of all time. Jon Forman is such an amazing songwriter and performer. The whole band blows me away each and every time I see them play.

And 'About a Burning Fire' by Blindside? Thanks Estevan for reminding me of how I love that song, and the whole album. Dusting off those tracks right now :)

Unknown said...

No problem, Alita, glad you liked the choices. Good to see you like Blindside.

Splendibird said...

This sounds awesome - have added it to my ever increasing TBR pile. Really creepy cover as well. Love it!

Sab H. said...

Nice playlist! and I LOVE Blue October! Great interview Amber :P

Llehn said...

Sounds like the MC would fit right into the cast of Heroes :D