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Author Spotlight

5 Questions With MOSQUITOLAND Author David Arnold!

What’s better than falling in love with the hilarious and heartbreaking mind of a literary character? Getting to know the brain that created them! Read on for a Q&A with David Arnold, author of Mosquitoland and Kids of Appetite, both of which star irresistible and beautifully complex characters you won’t be able to stop thinking about.


Were there any books that stuck with you as a teenager?

So even though I’ve always been a big reader, I didn’t really discover young adult books until I was well on the other side of young adulthood. But one book from my teen years that does stand out: Jurassic Park. To this day, it’s the only book I’ve ever literally read the cover off of.


What are some of the most important aspects of storytelling?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me storytelling means giving myself over wholeheartedly to my character. There are certainly other considerations to keep in mind, but I don’t believe anything is more important than pathological authenticity. This means following my character to dark places sometimes. It means being painfully vulnerable on the page. There are usually tears involved, and that’s okay. Necessary, even. If I don’t feel a thing while writing, the reader won’t feel a thing while reading.


Explain where you got the ideas for such a wonderfully unique cast of characters.

Sometimes reading a great book makes me want to quit writing; other times, it makes me want to be a better writer. A couple years ago, after rereading S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, it was luckily the latter. No one writes the reckless abandon of youth like Hinton, and I found myself wanting to capture a bit of that in my own storytelling. I also wanted to write a larger cast. One of the things I love about Wes Anderson movies is the way he introduces his characters at the beginning of the film—and I thought, I could do that. So one of the first things I did was write out my “cast of characters,” including these pithy descriptors, and I think that process really set the tone for the rest of the novel, so the whole thing almost feels like a play.


What do you hope readers take away from your books?

I mentioned writing with pathological authenticity. I’m a dad, and when I’m asked what I want for my son, that’s the only thing that really comes to mind—I just want my kid to be okay with who he is. And I mean really okay, like deep down. So I guess if there’s one thing I hope readers might find in my books, it’s that same thing: exactly who you are is enough.



Ready to read more from David Arnold?

Get your copy of Mosquitoland!

Get your copy of Kids of Appetite! 



















Penguin Teen