13 Feb 2012

RTW - Day 2 with Elissa Janine Hoole Post and Giveaway

Kiss the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole
Releases: April 1st, 2012

The summer after high-school graduation, a year after her mother’s tragic death, Anna has no plans – beyond her need to put a lot of miles between herself and the past. With forever friend Kat, a battered copy of Kerouac’s DHARMA BUMS, and a car with a dodgy oil filter, the girls set out on an epic road trip across the USA. Maybe somewhere along the way they’ll prove or disprove the existence of God. Maybe they’ll even get laid . . .
It’s a journey both outward and inward. Through the Badlands and encounters with predatory men and buffalo. A crazy bus ride to Mexico with a bunch of hymn-singing missionaries. Facing death, naked in the forest with an enraged grizzly bear . . . Gradually, Anna realizes that this is a voyage of discovery into her own self, her own silent pain – and into the tangled history that she and Kat share. What is love? What is sexual identity? And how do you find a way forward into a
new future – a way to declare openly and without fear all that lies within you?

Author Bio: Elissa Janine Hoole has a longstanding love of road trips and beat writers, but it was a summer-long ramble out West that inspired this debut novel, when she and her husband set off across the country with a backpack full of Kerouac books.  Now settled in her home in northern Minnesota, Elissa teaches middle school English and writes until midnight, sipping cold coffee and ignoring the laundry.
She still suffers from acute wanderlust from time to time, but road trips now involve a mini-van and a chorus of “Are we there yet?” from two small dharma bums-in-training.

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Rules of the Road Trip:
In Kiss the Morning Star, each chapter begins with an excerpt from Anna’s road trip journal.  Like Anna, I have kept journals of many of my road trips—including, as Anna does, descriptions of the things I see, scraps of poetry, lists, and even a “roadkill count,” the gory (and goofy) tradition my husband and I started on our first road trip to visit my dad in Topeka, Kansas, way back in 1996.  I decided to spend some time today searching through a bunch of my own road trip journals to give you my Rules of the Road Trip. 
First, from my very first road trip without my parents, a bus trip at age sixteen to Washington D.C. with my school orchestra—a big deal because I got to travel with my best friend, I learned this important lesson about road tripping:
Choose a good seat.  The back of the bus is where the cool kids sit, but when the smell of the bus bathroom combines with the smell of the sweaty, unshowered kids in front of you and the smell of the French onion Sunchips that are the only thing the two of you eat for three days because you’re trying to save all your food money for buying cool things in the city, the result is a rather nauseating aroma that, coupled with the swaying motion of a bus moving for more than thirty hours in a row, is likely to lead to the discovery that puking in a moving vehicle is disgusting and disastrous.

Next, from another bus trip—this one to Mexico the week after Christmas, with another one of my best friends.  The bus in this trip actually made it into my novel, although the Pastor and the congregation we went with in real life were amazing and beautiful and nothing at all like Pastor Shepherd in Kiss the Morning Star, I’ve got this tip:

Choose a good attitude.  There are a million and one things that can go wrong on a road trip, from a bus that stalls out on a railroad track to the brakes that start to shake and shudder while you’re heading down a steep mountain (and the long grass around the tires while you’re trying to fix them, with the signs all around warning of poisonous snakes lurking in the foliage…)  In my journal from the Mexico trip, I found this quote:  “We’re staying at a compound in Waco, Texas.  ‘The other compound,’ says the man in charge, referencing the infamous Waco Massacre.  I’m trying to keep it all together, but they can’t find my suitcase under the bus, and I had to use somebody’s old tablecloth as a bath towel.  There was a creepy stain on it.  I’m pretending it’s cranberries.”
My last Rule of the Road Trip is the most important one of all. 
Choose a good traveling companion.  My favorite road trip buddy is someone who can handle my perfect silence for miles and miles without once asking me if I’m mad at him.  He’s someone who laughs at all the ridiculous things I say but never laughs when I sing at the top of my lungs to every song on the radio.  He drives the back roads and isn’t afraid of stopping to explore or to take a detour, even if it’s not on the day’s itinerary.  My perfect road trip companion scoffs at the idea of an itinerary.  My traveling pal needs to drive a lot so I can daydream and write poetry with my feet up on the dash—he should be prepared to listen to me read aloud a lot.  He’ll stop the car at the Continental Divide and make a snow angel with me in July.  My perfect road trip companion is someone who understands when the wanderlust hits me, who knows that the answer is to simply drive into the distance, all night, fueled by coffee and starlight and the open road, gleaming in our headlights.    

Happy Road Tripping!

J elissa

Question time:
If you could road trip with any 3 people (alive or dead) who would you choose and why?
My answer to that question would be the sweetest and most boring answer ever--although road tripping with Jack Kerouac would be an adventure I wouldn't pass up in a heartbeat, I adore road tripping with my favorite rambling companions: my husband and two sons, true dharma bums all three.  In my imaginary dream world, I am able to take a sabbatical from real life and travel with them for months and months, soaking up the experiences of the world and stopping at all the roadside attractions.
RW: Sounds like 3 important rules to stick by, I'll keep them in mind! I love the photos, especially, the one taken of Elissa on a road trip bus in highschool! Red hair (captivating) + The Doors t-shirt (before my time, but I've heard of them) + wide grin = great photo! :D
And now onto the giveaway!!!
- Giveaway ends February 20, 2012.

- International

- Winners will be contacted via email. If you do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.
- By entering this giveaway, you are agreeing to the terms listed above.
- I do not take any responsibility for items lost in the mail
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