Welcome to today’s spot on the WHAT BEAUTY THERE IS by Cory Anderson Blog
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Title: WHAT BEAUTY THERE IS (What Beauty There Is #1)
Pub. Date: April
Pre-order your copy from The King’s
English Bookshop and receive
an EXCLUSIVE character art bookmark and autographed bookplate.
An exhilarating, emotionally powerful and superbly written thriller that’s Winter’s Bone meets The Road
Winter. The sky is dark. It is cold enough to crack bones.
Jack Morton has nothing left. Except his younger brother, Matty, who he’d do anything for. Even die for. Now with their mother gone, and their funds quickly dwindling, Jack needs to make a choice: lose his brother to foster care, or find the drug money that sent his father to prison. He chooses the money.
Ava Bardem lives in isolation, a life of silence. For seventeen years her father has controlled her fate. He has taught her to love no one. Trust no one. Now Victor Bardem is stalking the same money as Jack. When he picks up Jack’s trail, Ava must make her own wrenching choice: remain silent or help the brothers survive.
Choices. They come at a price.
pin—while they last!
Cory Anderson is a winner of the League of Utah Writers Young Adult Novel Award and Grand Prize in the Storymakers Conference First Chapter Contest. She lives in Utah with her family. What Beauty There Is is her debut novel.
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Can you tell us a little bit about the WHAT BEAUTY THERE IS and the characters?
The book follows Jack on a quest to find a suitcase of stolen money as he crosses paths with Bardem, the charismatic, merciless thief who’s hunting the same cash. Jack’s only hope comes in the form of Ava, who decides to help him. But Ava’s secret—that she’s Bardem’s daughter—guarantees devastation.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing the story of a teen girl seeking justice for her imprisoned brother. It is the story of someone driven to right a wrong. It is also an exploration of power and inequity.
Were any of the characters in the book inspired by people from your real life?
Ava and Jack both embody parts of me. Ava’s thinking is mine. Her strengths and her struggles. Then Jack, he’s willful like me, and this gets him in trouble. Writing their hopes and fears felt very familiar to me because their thoughts were intensely personal. Apart from that, Sheriff Doyle was inspired by my father. Like Doyle, he was law enforcement. He spent his life helping people.
Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite?
I adore Matty. He’s a kid who is easy to root for. He has this pure heart. I love his earnestness. My least favorite—I didn’t have one. I wrote this whole book, and never once did a character bore me.
What is your favorite passages in WHAT BEAUTY THERE IS?
My favorite passages are Ava’s. These are the parts that I love the most, because they came from my life, so these are the parts that are most intimate and sacred to me. It was brutal to write them, but it was also beautiful. Like looking at old photographs of a loved one who you’ve lost. These passages are almost memory. I feel haunted by them.
What kind of research did you have to do for the story?
I did a lot of research on meth distribution and its impact on rural communities. I looked at the chain of trafficking. Meth is the biggest drug problem in Idaho. It is different from other drugs in that meth has an element of criminality that goes along with it: of abuse, and violence. The number of adult people incarcerated in Idaho is heartbreaking. Writing about its effect on teens and kids was important to me because they are the ones living with the bad choices of adults in their families. They are also the ones making a difference. They see the ruin meth causes and are choosing a different way forward.
Who is your ultimate book boyfriend/girlfriend?
I just finished The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He. So it is Hero.
What inspired you to write YA?
I sometimes hear people talk about YA as if it is somehow lesser. I couldn’t disagree more vehemently. Young people are complex and layered and amazing, and so should be their stories. I write for young adults because books mattered so much to me at their age. I feel like I have something to say to them. I also want to know what they think. I want to talk and have a conversation.
What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong. It is on my nightstand.
Instagram, Twitter or Facebook?
Favorite TV show?
I recently loved The Undoing.
Sweet or Salty?
Song you can’t get enough of right now?
I could listen to all of Taylor Swift’s new album, but I’m particularly mad for “evermore.”
2021 Movie you’re most looking forward to?