I’m celebrating the fabulousness of indie and small press books today along with the folks at The Indelibles’ blog.
One indie YA worth checking out is IRENE ROSE’S CHARCOAL AND HOT CHOCOLATE
College life is a breath of fresh air for 20 year old Ellie Baylor, a painfully shy but beautiful art major. She has her canvas and charcoal and that’s more than enough. Her choice to go to school far from home and the watchful eye of her strict parents seems like the perfect thing for smooth sailing into an easy life. But when River Daniels, a charming artist with eyes the color of hot chocolate, asks her to join him in a project for class, Ellie may get more than just an A. She might find out how to live.
So let’s meet Ellie and River. I was lucky enough to have the chance to sit down with them recently, and here is what they had to say about life, love, and art:
(1) It’s always exciting to meet a young couple in love –and it took you guys long enough! What do you think was holding you back?
Ellie – Well, for me, it was my parents. I mean, I was what you might call “sheltered.”
River – “Sheltered?” Understatement of the year.
Ellie- Oh hush. I’m not that sheltered.
River- Okay. (laughs) I just had to convince this beautiful girl that she could let me love her. (kisses Ellie)
Ellie- You’re pretty sweet. And a little cheesy. But yeah, I just had to come into my own. River helped me get there without losing me. I became me, I guess.
(2) Would you say you’re able to express some of your feelings better through your art than your words?
Ellie and River- Art. (both laugh)
River- Go ahead.
Ellie- For me, definitely art. I don’t have to talk then.
River- My canvas is definitely a place I’m not shy or awkward. I can get my point across without having to worry about saying the wrong thing in the wrong way.
Ellie- Damn. That was a good answer. What he said.
(3) How is your art similar to or different from one another’s?
Ellie- Um, I definitely am a hybrid. My drawings usually mean one thing much have real shapes in them. Realistic impressionism I guess you’d call it.
River- You made that up. There’s no such thing.
Ellie – I’m an artist. We create.
(both laugh and River kisses Ellie’s cheek)
River- First, she’s a drawer, I’m a painter as far as favorite medium. But yeah, I like to put the impression of something there. Ellie is much more literal with hidden meaning in her art.
(4) What drew you to each other? (Pun unintended!)
River- (blushes) Ellie is very attractive. (nervous laugh) But she was so quiet and shy but then she had this artwork that screamed at you. I had to unravel the mystery that was Ellie Baylor. Then once I got to know her, everything I found out about her made me fall in love with her. She’s bright, funny, a little weird about the 90′s TV and 80′s movies, but you know- quirks.
Ellie- Okay, Kerouac. I swear. You should see his copy of On The Road. Literally taped together, notes in the margins, highlighted. It’s ridiculous. And he works in a bookstore. They have new copies, you know?
Ellie – I noticed River right away. He’s…well, look at him. (River blushes) But he’s so talented and nice. There was no way I could say no when he asked me to do the project with him. And he was always there for me. He’s genuine and I love that about him. He accepted my friends and my difficult family. And his family is great too.
(5) Do you guys have a song (as in “they’re playing our song”)?
Ellie- The song I think of when I think of River is “Ice Cream” by Sarah McLachlan.
River- See? 90′s.
Ellie- It’s just such a perfect representation of my feelings. I love him more than my favorite things even though where I’m at is chaos.
River – When I think of Ellie I think of “Home” by Phillip Phillips. That’s it in a nutshell.
Ellie- But do we have a song?
River – The theme from Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
Ellie- I was thinking “If You Leave”.
River- From Pretty in Pink? No way. No 80′s movie anthems. (laughs)
Ellie- “Kissing you” from R&J then.
River (kisses Ellie) That works for me.
Awwwwww. These two are almost too cute together. See how they finally got that way by entering to WIN A FREE E-COPY! Leave a comment below about why this book sounds awesome OR an artist you could see yourself crushin’ on (Dali! That mustache!) You have until July 10 to enter.
But if you can’t wait that long — and I don’t blame you — you can buy Charcoal and Hot Chocolate on Goodreads, at Amazon, and on your Nook. Also at Kobo! And you can meet Irene Rose (aka Angi Black) on Twitter.
Grab a copy and check out the fireworks within! Happy Indiependence Day and happy reading!