by Marissa Kennerson
Publisher: Full Fathom Five Digital
Release Date: October 8th 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Cult
Just like any average seventeen year old, Twig loves her family. She has a caring mother and a controlling father. Her brothers are sisters are committed to her family’s prosperity…
All one hundred and eighty three of them.
Twig lives in the Family, a collective society located in the rainforest of Costa Rica. The Family members coexist with the values of complete openness and honesty, and a shared fear of contagious infection in the outside world.
So when Adam, their Father, prophet, and savior, announces that Twig will be his new bride, she is overjoyed and honored. But when an injury forces her to leave the grounds, Twig finds that the world outside is not necessarily as toxic as she was made to believe. When she meets Leo, an American boy with a killer smile, she begins to question everything about her life within the Family, and the cult to which she belongs.
But when it comes to your Family, you don’t always get a choice.
Hello Marissa! We are super excited to have you in our FFBC tours.
Old favorite: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
New favorite: The Distance by Helen Giltrow (can't stop thinking about it!)
New: The Good Wife
My seven year old just said, "I think your favorite movie is Star Wars." I think he is right.
Omg! That is hard to choose! "Cowboy Take Me Away" Dixie Chicks and "You Got Me" Erykah Badu and the Roots. The other day my son and I were going through the drive through car wash with the disco lights and soap and jamming to Wilco's Nothingsgonnastandinmyway - so good.
Sushi and chocolate - but not together!
Stars Hollow in the Gilmore Girls
Oz (Okay I just want to visit - probably not move there!)
Jane Austen's English countryside - especially Sense and Sensibility (but can I take my heater?)
I'm racking my brain for my last literary crush...I'll tell you who it is NOT: Christian...what's his name? I'll think of it, but he's strong and demands honesty from himself and others and he's got great jeans. (Sounds a bit like my husband. Lol.) Wait - I got it. Leo from the Family. Is that okay to say? Read below to hear more about him.
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." - Eleanor Roosevelt and "The only thing to fear is fear itself." FDR - have affected me the most in my life. (Smart couple!)
The Family is a story about finding your own identity outside of your family. Only Twig's family is 183 brothers and sisters and one domineering, charismatic, over-the-top father. Can you say cult? It's a sweet love story set in a sinister setting. It's a total page-turner.
Twig is an artist. She's a natural individualist living in a totally conformist, dangerous community. She is sweet and brave, smart and very very human.
Leo is so full of life, love and happiness. He's based very loosely on a friend of mine (and his family is based on a family I know and love who introduced me to so much when I moved from a conservative small town to Santa Monica in high school.) Leo is strong and sexy. He's got groove and intellect. Twig meeting Leo: basically her whole world comes crashing down. But he's there to help her pick up the pieces. And life looks pretty damn good when they start to clear way the rubble.
I was very interested to write about how an artist would survive in a cult. Someone who was intrinsically different but never had any nourishment for those differences. Would the creativity bubble up anyway? How would they survive emotionally? Twig started to sneak out to make art with the nature in her surroundings...
I researched some pretty awful scary stuff about WACO and Jonestown and South Korea to build the world of the cult. All of it helped to build Adam and the world of The Family.
I was really scared to go down these roads historically and down this road myself. But it was very educational and brainwashing is fascinating and scary. I don't think I"ll ever quite fear going to those dark places inside myself again. My intentions are good, I'm a good person. Okay -to explore a bit. But I do take my writing responsibilities seriously. There is just certain stuff I will not put out in the world. No way.
This is going to sound a little red state out of context, but I swear I'm a big old democrat. Leo is defending America to Twig - because she's been brainwashed to think America is this horrible place. Leo says,
"I’m willing to bet that pound for pound America has probably given more people the opportunity for a better life than any other country in the world."
Yes! Twig getting dressed for Thanksgiving in the woods! The whole dinner party was so fun to write! Fashion porn!
Side of the Road by Lucinda Williams - it's such a heart wrenching WRENCHING song about needing to leave the situation you're in - for Lucinda a relationship - just for a minute to figure out who you are without it. That's really how Twig needs things to be as she explores the world outside the Family.
Elle Fanning for Twig! Tom Cruise for Adam or Edward Norton.
What a fun question! Someone said the other day, "Make sure you have some time because it is nearly impossible to put down." That was nice! I think a cozy spot on the couch with either sunshine streaming in or pouring down rain would work great. Coffee. Hot cocoa. Popcorn. Enjoy!
I felt much more free with language writing for a young adult audience. I think sometimes writing for adults we can get a little precious. I also just loved pulling from that time in my own life. Being a teen is such a time of passion!
I would really love to write a thriller next. Something super psychological but action packed. A bit like the Family. But totally different.
Thank you so much for everything, Marissa!
The pleasure and honor are all mine!
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Marissa Kennerson received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. Before earning her master’s degree in psychology and art therapy, she worked for Wired and Glamour. She lives in California with her family. The Family is her first novel (Full Fathom Five Digital) and will be coming out October 2014.