Carrie Arcos’ debut novel, Out of Reach, released on October 16th. My students and I love contemporary realistic fiction, especially ones dealing with addiction, so I was really excited when Carrie agreed to be interviewed by my students. They can’t wait to read Carrie’s answers and get their hands on Out of Reach!
Thank you, Carrie!
Summary (From Goodreads): How do you find someone who doesn’t want to be found? A girl searches for her missing addict brother while confronting her own secrets in this darkly lyrical novel.
Rachel has always idolized her older brother Micah. He struggles with addiction, but she tells herself that he’s in control. And she almost believes it. Until the night that Micah doesn’t come home.
Rachel’s terrified—and she can’t help but feel responsible. She should have listened when Micah tried to confide in her. And she only feels more guilt when she receives an anonymous note telling her that Micah is nearby and in danger.
With nothing more to go on than hope and a slim lead, Rachel and Micah’s best friend, Tyler, begin the search. Along the way, Rachel will be forced to confront her own dark secrets, her growing attraction to Tyler…and the possibility that Micah may never come home.
- Do you ever have a hard time coming up with ideas like names, setting, plot, or just an overall story?
When thinking of a story, I usually begin with a character and setting and something that the character wants or is struggling with. It’s not fully formed, but I have a general sense. So you could say I know the direction. What’s difficult sometimes is the middle. How is character going to get to where I think he or she should? What obstacles come her way?
Names can be tricky because I don’t want to use names of people I know or maybe they’ll think I’m writing about them. And names can mean something intentionally or not.
I love setting in a story. For me it’s almost like another character.
- Why did you decide to use the name Micah?
I once had a student named Micah who was just awesome. I’ve loved the name ever since. I’ve wanted to name every kid of mine Micah at some point, but my husband vetoed it. So naming one of my characters Micah was a given. I finally got my way!
- Why did you become an author when you were a teacher?
I’ve always wanted to write, even before I became a teacher, but I think I was too chicken to try and get it out there. I taught HS for a number of years and wrote here and there. When I started having kids, I decided not to teach full time. I ended up taking my writing a little more seriously. I began teaching on the college level because I could do it on a more part time basis. Honestly, I love both. I miss teaching HS, some of my best memories are with former students, but at this point in my life it would be difficult for me to be a good one with three kids and a writing career.
- What does it mean that your novel is lyrical?
Lyrical refers to the style of the prose. I suppose it could also be called poetic or literary. My publisher came up with that phrase. It’s not a novel in verse.
- How long has Micah had his addiction?
About three years.
- Are your characters based on real life people you have met?
Yes and no.
- What inspired you to write this novel and to write about someone with addiction?
The book is inspired by some true events. I have family members who have struggled with addition. I have actually gone looking for someone as well. I thought that might make a good premise for a novel, so I kind of went with it. I also liked looking at addiction from the perspective of a sibling since most books I’ve seen that deal with addiction follow the addict. The story is not so much Micah’s story or a story of addiction, as much as it’s a story about how we deal with the pain that comes when those we love leave or make choices we can’t control. It’s a love story of sorts from a sister to a brother.
Since I’ve gone through the pain of walking along side someone with addiction, I feel the novel contains emotional truth. The novel isn’t a true story, however, I did take something that happened from my freshman year of high school. When you get to the part about the substitute and the game Risk, yes that really did happen.