Today we have a special guest on the blog today. Rita Arens, author of The Obvious Game is here to tell us a little about the idea that led to her very intriguing story.
Welcome to Fictitious Musings, Rita!
I started writing about my experience as a young adult with anorexia on my blog and on BlogHer.com in 2006, and I included an essay about it in my parenting anthology, SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK (Chicago Review Press, 2008). I didn’t really hit a nerve until I wrote How Dr. Phil Got Anorexia Wrong (http://surrenderdorothy.typepad.com/surrender_dorothy/2010/10/how-dr-phil-got-anorexia-wrong.html). Ever since then, I’ve been getting emails from all over the world from people who are struggling with eating disorders or people who love people who are struggling with eating disorders. They all want to hear about my experience, how I recovered, how it felt, why their friends or daughters were acting like that, if I thought they could recover. I had started THE OBVIOUS GAME in mid-2009 with the idea I would find a way to tell my story differently, in a way that fit together more logically and hopefully impart what I learned along the way. It’s easier to read someone else’s pain than your own, even when you’re the author of that pain. So I handed Diana an eating disorder and a sick mother and waited to see how SHE would handle it. I hoped better than I did, even though my mom’s cancer and my anorexia were years apart and Diana’s are all happening at once. Regardless, I wanted to be able to write those emailers back and say, “Here, read this. I hope it helps.” And I wanted to give anyone who has come into contact with someone with an eating disorder a better understanding of what it feels like so they can feel the compassion needed to help that person fight the bio/psycho/social illness that it is.
Someone told me once that everyone’s first novel is semi-autobiographical. Mine sure is! (Although technically this is my second novel — I never got my first one published). I took reality and messed with it until it wasn’t my reality any more, but Diana’s. I was the cheerleader in high school — Diana hates cheerleading. I was a total joiner, whereas Diana is pretty reclusive. I have a sister; Diana’s an only child. I was a screamer and yeller; Diana’s a seether. But we both like high school wrestling and grew up in small towns in Iowa. I made up Diana’s — Snowden is the bombardier who dies on Yossarian in the opening scenes of my favorite novel, CATCH-22. I originally called the town Yossarian, but my husband told me that was ridiculous. I like to hide things in my writing. All the chapter titles are actually album titles from albums I liked in the early ’90s when the book is set.
I see myself in Diana, but also in Amanda, Lin, Jesse, Seth — all of them. They are very real to me.
“Everyone trusted me back then. Good old, dependable Diana. Which is why most people didn’t notice at first.”
“Your shirt is yellow.”
”Your eyes are blue.”
”You have to stop running away from your problems.”
”You’re too skinny.”
Fifteen-year-old Diana Keller accidentally begins teaching The Obvious Game to new kid Jesse on his sixteenth birthday. As their relationship deepens, Diana avoids Jesse’s past with her own secrets — which she’ll protect at any cost.
Praise for The Obvious Game:
“I couldn’t put down The Obvious Game. Arens perfectly captures the hunger, pain and uncertainty of adolescence.” — Ann Napolitano, author of A GOOD HARD LOOK and WITHIN ARM’S REACH
“THE OBVIOUS GAME is a fearless, honest, and intense look into the psychology of anorexia. The characters—especially Diana–are so natural and emotionally authentic that you’ll find yourself yelling at the page even as you’re compelled to turn it.” — Coert Voorhees, author of LUCKY FOOLS and THE BROTHERS TORRES
“Let’s be clear about one thing: there’s nothing obvious about The Obvious Game. Arens has written a moving, sometimes heart-breaking story about one girl’s attempt to control the uncontrollable. You can’t help but relate to Diana and her struggles as you delve into this gem of a novel.” — Risa Green, author of THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL
Publisher: Inkspell Publishing
Release Date: Feb 7th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-9856562-7-0 (ebook), 978-0-9856562-8-7 (Paperback)
Paperback Price: $13.99
To be available at all major online outlets: Amazon, B&N, The Book Depository
Open to US, UK and Canada
Rita Arens is the author of The Obvious Game and the editor of the award-winning parenting anthology Sleep Is for the Weak. She writes the popular blog Surrender, Dorothy (www.surrenderdorothyblog.com) and lives in Kansas City with her husband and daughter. The Obvious Game is her first young adult novel. She is at work on a second.
Rita has been a featured speaker at BlogHer 2012, BEA Bloggers Conference 2012, BlogHer Writers 2011, BlogHer 2011, Blissdom 2011, Alt Summit 2010, BlogHer 2010, BlogHer 2008 and BlogHer 2009, the 2008 Kansas City Literary Festival and 2009 Chicks Who Click and appeared on the Walt Bodine Show in 2008.
She’s been quoted by Bloomberg Businessweek, The Associated Press, Forbes Woman, the Wall Street Journal, Businessweek and Businessweek Online and featured in Breathe magazine, Get Your Biz Savvy, The Kansas City Star (archived material available on request), Today Moms (Today Show blog) and Ink KC.
Website/blog: http://www.surrenderdorothyblog.com or http://www.ritaarens.com