Book Tour, Interview and Giveaway : Escaping Indigo, Eli Lang
About Escaping Indigo
Micah thought he’d always be in a band. All he ever wanted was to play drums and make great music, but when his best friend and bandmate passes away, Micah is left adrift. The thing that’s always lifted him up is now a reminder of everything he’s lost.
In an attempt to put his life back together, Micah takes a job as roadie for his favorite band, Escaping Indigo. He’s always admired the lead singer, Bellamy. On stage, Bellamy is confident, glittery, and radiant. But as the two grow closer, Micah realizes that in person, Bellamy is quiet, introspective, and a little uncertain. And that’s the person Micah is falling for.
Micah is determined to know all of Bellamy, both the rock star side and the side hidden from the audience, the side that creates music that touches Micah’s heart. Bellamy has secrets of his own, though, things he doesn’t want to share with anyone. And trying to uncover Bellamy’s truths might be the thing that ends up pushing him away.
Now available from Riptide Publishing.
ELI LANG INTERIEW
Kazza: I’ve had the pleasure of reading both Half and Escaping Indigo, and while they are conceptually quite different books they both have a beautiful and lyrical style with strong character-emotion at their heart. Half is a contemporary fantasy love story, Escaping Indigo is a contemporary band/muso romance. Given the different themes of your first two books, where does Eli Lang’s writing style come from? Who have your influences been, both literary and non-literary?
Eli Lang: Thank you so much for the kind words. Gosh, I’m sort of all over the place for influences. I was always a fantasy reader—that’s what I grew up with—so writing fantasy like Half is just really comfortable. I always think of Half as sort of a love letter to authors like Emma Bull, Maggie Stiefvater and Patricia A. McKillip, who write fantasy in this amazing sort of rich, nearly poetic, but often gritty and down to earth, character-driven style. I was also really into anime like Natsume’s Book of Friends and Nabari no Ou and manga like Saiyuki and Kekkaishi when I wrote Half, and I pulled a lot of fantasy influences from that, too.
Music has always been a huge influence for me, whether it’s listening on the radio or going to shows or playing it myself. Anything I write, whether it’s contemporary or fantasy or sci-fi, is very much influenced by what I’m listening to at the time. So for Escaping Indigo, I was thinking of bands that were close to Escaping Indigo (the band’s) err, level of famous, when I first saw them or got into their music—Cage the Elephant, Arctic Monkeys, Silversun Pickups, Placebo, alt-J, Health. Small Black, who the book is dedicated to. These are all bands that have just had such an incredible impact on me. And of course, there are so many wonderful contemporary romance authors whose style and stories influence me—Alexis Hall, Roan Parrish, Chris Scully, Kris Ripper, , Kelly Jensen, David Levithan, Harper Fox, Garrett Leigh… I’m probably leaving out a ton.
Kazza: In Escaping Indigo, your latest book, I was happy to see mental health and grief for twenty-something men written about in a contemporary romance setting. While this is only one part of the overall book, was it something you personally felt strongly about? The book is also based around a band and tour crew who are travelling to gigs in various cities on a bus. It was somewhat different to other band books I’ve read. Was there a story behind the story?
Eli Lang: I definitely felt strongly about it. Writing is very cathartic for me, so writing about Bellamy and his anxiety and depression was a way for me to work through my own experiences with those things. I wanted to write something that talked about depression in a quieter way, because that felt familiar to me and it felt like I got to talk about how mental health issues affect me. So, of course, the way Bellamy experiences and deals with his mental health stuff isn’t going to be the way every reader does, but I tried to write it from an honest place.
Micah’s story about losing his best friend evolved as I wrote—it kind of happened by accident. But once I got into it, I also wanted to talk about grief as honestly as possible. I wanted Micah as a character to be able to explore the ways his world was changing. And I always want to allow my characters space to be emotional or vulnerable, and I wanted to do that with Micah’s grief. But I also wanted to give him lightness and hope.
As for basing it around a tour, I really just thought it would be exciting. I knew I wanted to write about a band that was successful and somewhat stable, but still a bit uncertain—not a band that was successful in the conventional, mega famous way. I wanted to explore the camaraderie and tension that might happen between a few people, living crammed together, who are really close emotionally, but also stressed because they’re trying to keep their heads above water. I knew I didn’t want Escaping Indigo trashing hotel rooms or doing tons of drugs or being followed around by groupies—not that there’s anything at all wrong with books that feature characters like that. I just wanted to work from a smaller perspective. And I wanted Micah to think of Bellamy as a rock star, and start falling for him, because he’s in love with, first, the way Bellamy creates music.
Kazza: I’ve noticed that you mention being a drummer in your bio. Escaping Indigo features Micah, an MC, who is a drummer, although now he’s a roadie, and the next book in the Escaping Indigo series is about the band’s drummer, Ava. How familiar or comfortable has it felt writing about a drummer who isn’t drumming currently in Escaping Indigo? Then about an active female drummer in the next book? I grew up around drums so I have to ask this, who are yours, or they could be Micah’s or Ava’s, top three drummers?
Eli Lang: Haha, it was comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time. Really comfortable because drumming is something I know through and through, so I felt confident talking about it—generally. But uncomfortable because there’s this fear that if you mess up writing about it, it’s going to be so much worse because you’re supposed to know the subject well. I enjoyed writing Micah stepping away from drumming, and his struggle with whether he wants to drum or not anymore, because that was almost the place I was in when I wrote the book—I’d been a drummer for so long, and was stepping back from that to be an author. I wanted to write a character who had to rethink what he thought he knew about himself, and for Micah, that new sense of self included everything he felt about drumming, which had been his life, and just… wasn’t, anymore. Ava was fun to write because I think she loves drumming even more than I do. It’s everything to her. Writing someone who always sees everything through this filter of music was exciting and refreshing.
Top three drummers, wow… Definitely Mikko Sirén of Apocalyptica. I think Ava would definitely count him as one of her top drummers, too. He’s incredibly talented and he creates these complex, interesting drum parts that go beautifully with the metal/hard rock style of the band—it’s gorgeous to listen to. Thom Green of alt-J is easily the most innovative, creative, fascinating drummer I’ve ever listened to. He thinks in a way that other drummers just don’t. His drum pieces are so elegant. I think Micah would appreciate his drumming a lot. And Steve Hewitt, who used to play for Placebo. His drumming is so beautiful and full, and he’s who made me want to be a drummer to begin with.
Kazza: What books can readers look forward to from Eli Lang in the near future?
Eli Lang: The second book in the Escaping Indigo series, Skin Hunger, (which is f/f,) will be out in November. And the third book, which will be Quinn’s and m/m, will be out in early 2018.
About Eli Lang:
Eli Lang is a writer and drummer. She has played in rock bands, worked on horse farms, and has had jobs in libraries, where she spent most of her time reading every book she could get her hands on. She can fold a nearly perfect paper crane and knows how to tune a snare drum. She still buys stuffed animals because she feels bad if they’re left alone in the store, believes cinnamon buns should always be eaten warm, can tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the tardigrade, and has a book collection that’s reaching frightening proportions. She lives in Arizona with far too many pets.
Connect with Eli:
- Website: http://www.leftoversushi.com/
- Blog: www.leftoversushi.com/blog/
- Facebook: facebook.com/EliLangAuthor
- Twitter: @eli__lang
- Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/eli_lang
To celebrate the release of Escaping Indigo, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 22, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!