Experienced (and indie) author Elle Casey reveals her take on high school society, the imagination of adults, and Reese’s Pieces.

ANA: What inspired you to write Wrecked?

ELLE: I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be on a deserted island, trying to survive and if it would be even possible.  After years of living in Florida and actually visiting these kinds of islands, seeing they do actually have bananas and coconuts and bamboo and all the things I included in the book, I realized it was possible.  All I had to do then was find a way to get the castaways on the island and come up with some characters who I thought normally wouldn’t mix, and see what would happen when they didn’t have the pressures of school, parents, and regular life on them.

ANA: Huh. And here I thought the bananas and coconuts were forced into Wrecked’s world solely for the development of the plot. I guess deserted island clichés exist for a reason. Moving on, what’s your dream cast for Wrecked? If I had my way, Sarah would definitely be played by Rachele Brooke Smith (who just happens to be the mean girl in Bring it On: Fight to the Finish).

ELLE: Honestly, I’ve never thought much about it.  Probably because the chances of any of my work being turned into a movie would be like winning the lottery!  I love when fans do that though, send me pictures of who they’d like in different roles.  I get a special thrill when they pick someone just as I’ve described or seen in my mind.

ANA: You’ve written more than one YA novel, including My Vampire Summer and the War of the Fae series. How is Wrecked different from your other books?

ELLE: Wrecked is my only Action/Adventure novel.  But all of my books feature teen characters and a prominent theme is life without adult influence or very little adult influence.

ANA: This is a very intriguing theme. But why do you think it’s so important for teens to be removed from their environment in order to develop in such fantastic ways?

ELLE: I think it’s important for teens to be removed from their environment in order to change in such fundamental ways because it’s almost impossible for a person to see the influences on her/his life until they are removed and replaced with something different.  There is no motivation to change when nothing around you changes.  In fact, change seems impossible, as if you are just going with the flow of the world, of society, unable to do anything but move along with it.  Most people don’t see that their perspectives and opinions and thoughts, even, are influenced very strongly by the people they spend time with and the rules they function under (like at home or school or even social rules out with friends).  Sometimes it takes a fundamental shift in reality to get the brain to start thinking in different ways.  Sometimes, like in the movie The Breakfast Club all it takes is putting people together who would normally never be together, forcing them to spend so much time in isolation that you cause them to start having conversations they never would have considered before.  I knew for my characters, it would need to be something much more pronounced than an afternoon of detention.  :)

ANA: Wrecked was a great story, but do you believe that four teenagers could survive on a deserted island in real life? And what about four adults?

ELLE: Yes, I really believe four teenagers could survive on an island together.   People have a tremendously powerful instinct to survive that drives them to do any manner of things (even resorting to cannibalism so they won’t starve!)  I did a lot of research for Wrecked, much of it taken from my real-life experiences living in Florida in a tropical environment, and visiting tropical islands.  None of the items (food, flora, fauna) I mentioned in the book were “fantastic” or not possible. Yes, the book is fiction, but it’s as realistic as it could be, which was important to me.  I wanted readers to be able to fall into the story and feel as if there were there, not having to question everything that was happening, doubting it and losing track of the story.  Hence, the lack of elephants or other animals that don’t naturally occur in places like that.  :)  I think adults also would survive also, but maybe not in such creative ways as kids.  Adults tend to lose their imaginations as they get older, their grown-up brains always saying “that couldn’t happen” which blocks the creativity.

ANA: What new book are you currently working on?

ELLE: Apocalypsis, a 3-book series.  Sci-fi, post-apocalyptic/dystopian.

ANA: Who is your favourite YA author?

ELLE: That’s tough!  If I were to pick one author who really influenced me, I’d say Madeleine L’Engle.  A Wrinkle In Time was one of my favorites.  Loved Judy Blume too.   Loved JRR Tolkien.  There are many!

ANA: I agree wholeheartedly. Madeleine L’Engle is still one of my favourite authors. Speaking of which, when you were in high school, did you know that you were going to write books? What did you want to be?

ELLE: I had no idea I was going to write books.  I did a lot of writing though, for fun.  I probably should have pursued it more, but I was lazy in high school.  All I wanted to do was travel in Europe and goof around.  I was a lost soul in high school.  It took me a lot of years to feel comfortable in my own skin.

ANA: Can you tell us 3 random facts about yourself?

ELLE: I live in France.  I love Reese’s Pieces and anyone who visits me from the U.S. has to bring me a bag of them.  I love the beach but sit under an umbrella the entire time and complain about the sand.

ANA: The only items that your characters were able to grab before being wrecked are some standard survival supplies and a Louis Vuitton makeup case. (I approve.) But if you could take 5 things with you onto a deserted island, what would they be?

ELLE: A very sharp hunting knife, an axe, a thick plastic tarp, a satellite telephone, and a big-ass battery for the phone.

ANA: Wrecked’s ending was a bit of a cliffhanger. Are you planning a sequel for it? If so… please give us a teaser!

ELLE: Yes, there is a sequel, called “Reckless” that is planned for December, and all four characters will be in it.  And maybe a fifth.  :)

ANA: Oh, the drama. I can’t wait to see how this mysterious fifth character will shake things up in the tight-knit group. Thank you so much for the interview, Elle.

Have you read Wrecked yet? If not, what are you doing? Go enter to win it here!

I’ll keep you posted,

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