A Little Chat With David Arnold + A Giveaway of Mosquitoland

You guys! YOU GUYS! I’m so, so super excited for David Arnold to be on my blog today. WHY might you ask? Because David Arnold is awesome and I loved his debut novel, Mosquitoland, which is out TODAY (I’ll be talking about it later this week!!). It was delightfully unique and Mim is somebody you NEED to meet. Also? He’s just really a cool dude who has EXCELLENT taste in music and other things.

I’m so happy to have him here chatting about Mim, music, road trips and mental illness in fiction. I loved all his answers and had SO MUCH FUN with this one! Check out for info about Mosquitoland and David after the interview!


Mosquitoland David Arnold interview


1. Describe Mosquitoland in 5 words or less.


2. One thing I really loved was the vibrant cast of characters Mim meets on her trip — no matter how brief their encounter. If you wrote a spin-off novel from the perspective of any other character, who would it be and why?

I actually wrote a novella from Walt’s point of view. It follows him from Chicago right up to the moment he meets Mim under the bridge. I’m still revising it, and at this point, there are no plans for publication. But I’d love to get it out there one day.

(My response to that: OMG YES PLEASE).


3. I ADORE MIM SO MUCH. If Mim and I were to be friends and had a girl’s day to 1) visit the bookstore, 2) the record shop and 3) rent a movie, tell me a book or two she’d point out as favorites, the record she’d make me buy because she loves it and the movie she’d pick because she’s been dying to see it!


THANK YOU! And wow, this is a fun one. I’m going to go ahead and negate the ones she mentions in the book, because that would just be lazy. So… being that Mim is a self-diagnosed anomaly, I feel like she might be the kind of person to point out a couple books on opposite ends of the spectrum. So let’s say Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions and Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. For the movie, let’s pretend like it’s June already, and Jurassic World is out, because GAH. As for records, I think she would be the girl walking out of the store with a stack under her arms, but if she only recommends one, it would most likely be… Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys.


4. I’m always a sucker for a road trip novel so I was eager to go on this journey with Mim. Tell us your favorite road trip memory + a song that is a MUST on any road trip playlist.


Well, I did take a trip on a Greyhound as research for this book, but that is FAR from my favorite road trip memory. I think I’d have to pick the trip I took with my wife and son a couple years ago. He was 18 months at the time, but a good traveler. We drove from Nashville to D.C., then to Boston, then up to Maine for a family wedding. It was so fun! And I’m going to pick two songs for this road trip, a good pick-me-up song, and a good stare-out-the-window-at-the-passing-trees-and-contemplate-life song: Kids by MGMT, and Shelter From the Storm by Bob Dylan.


5. Mental illness is a big part of Mosquitoland. It’s such a complex topic to delve into and to really “get right”. What was your approach to handling it in Mosquitoland?


I never sat down to write a book about mental illness, but once I really dove into Mim’s character—specifically her relationship with her parents—it became evident that this was part of her story. Mental illness can manifest itself in a number of different ways, so I felt it was important to make sure Mim’s experience was plausible, and her responses were realistic. In addition to quite a bit of research on the front end, I recruited the help of three top-notch professionals: a clinical psychologist, a licensed clinical social worker, and a licensed social worker who specializes in mental health. All three of them read the manuscript and offered valuable insight. You’re absolutely correct in noting the importance of getting it right—I did everything I could to do this, and only hope it was enough.


6. If Mosquitoland were a movie and you got to be in charge of the music/soundtrack, tell me which 5 songs would definitely make an appearance in Mosquitoland: The Movie. (I’d love to know any particular scenes matched up with songs if they aren’t on the spoiler side!)


Oh man. Best question ever. Um. Okay. I actually made a chapter-by-chapter playlist. But in an effort not to overwhelm/bore everyone, I’ll only pick five: opening scene would be Don’t Think I’m Ever Gonna Figure It Out by Elliott Smith, which would then fade into David Byrne’s Glass, Concrete and Stone. The scene where Mim, Beck, and Walt are all getting burgers in the drive through, I would use something like Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple. And then in Chapter 28, I actually wrote that they’re listening to a song on the radio about an undertaker, which is Undertaker by M. Ward. And then without spoilers, I always imagined the ending being cut together to either Blood by The Middle East, or Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie. (Know what’s better than five good songs? Six. Boom. You’re welcome.)


Thank you so much for indulging me, David!! You are even more awesome in my book for the fact you made a chapter by chapter playlist…but this actually doesn’t surprise me. And omg CHILLS right now thinking about the ending with EITHER of those songs. I will be the first to petition for you to be in charge of music for Mosquitoland should it ever become a film (I can really really see it as an awesome indie flick with kickass music).

If you haven’t heard of Mosquitoland, check it out:


Mosquitoland David Arnold After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.
Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, “Mosquitoland” is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.


David Arnold is a stay-at-home dad who wrote Mosquitoland while his son napped and watched Sesame Street. This is his first novel. The family lives in Lexington, KY and readers can find David Arnold online on Twitter @roofbeam and visit him at www.davidarnoldbooks.com.

Check it out on: Goodreads // Amazon


And because I really enjoyed this book I really want to give away a copy to one of my lovely readers! So let’s do that:

Mosquitoland David Arnold

a Rafflecopter giveaway


* Ends 3/10

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Thank you for the chance to win MOSQUITOLAND, Jamie! This has been one of my most anticipated 2015 books! I need to check out that chapter-by-chapter playlist though! David has such incredible taste in music and I’ve been listening to his songs as Cinema Cycle because 1) it’s amazing 2) I neeeeeed Mosquitoland. Haha!

    • Oops, didn’t know there was prompt! Well, I think this interview works really well because your questions are so on point and just very interesting. Then, really, I guess my interest in the book is because roadtrip + mental illness + THE EXCERPT I READ OVER NETGALLEY and David’s general awesomeness. I feel like I don’t sound coherent…

  2. The cover and the title are very intriguing!

  3. OMG! I saw this book in a release list and I must must read it! I love it when a story explore a mental illness and the life of the characters around it. It always makes for a different kind of story cause as he says, all mental illnesses manifest differently with everyone. ♥

  4. Ah, I’m excited to read Mosquitoland because aside from the crazy good reviews for it, David seems like such a great person from his Twitter account.

    Oh my gosh, taking a trip on a Greyhound as research is so awesome.Gotta love researching that really puts you into the element. Haha, even if it wasn’t such a great road trip memory.

    I love good stare-out-the-window-at-the-passing-trees-and-contemplate-life songs. I’m really excited about Mosquitoland having a focus on mental illness. I really love that.

    I totally want to see this chapter by chapter playlist! Fiona Apple<3 I love that this is described as a modern odyssey.

    Great interview. I can't wait to hear all about the music in it.

  5. Oh gods, I really, really wish the Eagles land here in the PH soonest! Fantastic interview, Jaime! And even fantastic answers, Arnold!

  6. anne s. says:

    Heard about Mosquitoland and been dying to get my hands on it. Love YA, heartwrenching books!

  7. I had added this book solely because of the book cover (yes, I judge books by the cover) some time back and then a blogger I followed raved about it and then it seems everyone started talking about how great it was!

  8. Stephanie says:

    I would like to read this book because it isn’t something I would normally pick up, but your descriptions of Mim and her journey both figuratively and geographically peek my interest. Always looking for a good title to pass on to my high school students.

  9. This book looks so good! I love a story with a road trip, and it’s even better when there is a kid, and some quirky characters involved! Can’t wait to read this one, I’ll be purchasing it if I don’t win 🙂

  10. AH I loved the questions you asked! Super unique. Especially the one about the books, movies, and albums that the MC would introduce you to. This book looks great!

  11. There is nothing I love more than a road trip, so this book is definitely on my list of books to read. Good soundtrack? Check. A cast of interesting characters? Check. What more does one need??

  12. Oh hey! Another book to read!
    The bus on the cover is what grabbed my attention 😛
    I’m sorta a ’60s/70s style lover and my dream is to travel around the county in a self renovated VW camper. Anyway, I’ve never heard of this book but I’ll for sure be reading it whether I win it or not 🙂

  13. I know that this shouldn’t affect my decision, but I am SO into this cover that it makes me want to read the book on those grounds alone – but now that I know Mim is a kick-ass heroine, I’m even more excited.

  14. Before I even knew what this book was about, I wanted to read it because of the awesome book cover. Now, knowing what it is about, I want to read it even more. Love road trip stories! Thanks for the giveaway!

  15. Been hearing a lot of buzz about this book, so thanks so much for the chance to win a copy! Plus, I really love the cover.

  16. Ahh! I’m so excited to read this book. I love reading and mental illness and this interview was very intriguing. XD

  17. I’m really intrigued by this one, especially with all the love it’s getting! It also helps that I’ve seen (though not met) David a couple of times at writer’s conferences, so I would like to check out his book for that reason alone!

  18. This is the talked about book right now. I keep seeing it everywhere online. Want to get it in my hands!

    Fun interview questions!

  19. I like rode trips so much! I have read two road trip YAs this month, Paper Towns and Vivian Apple At The End Of The World. So Mim and I would get along!

    And hey, David is always fun to interview! I have interviewed him on my blog last December. He’s sure approachable, too! I’m so grateful to him. 🙂

  20. I’ve always been a sucker for reading books about mental health. On the same note, I’m very picky when it comes to how it’s approached in books. This one looks like it’s a great representation! Thank you for the giveaway.

  21. I really loved your questions and how David answered them, I’m really excited to read this book myself because every blogger I know who have reviewed this book absolutely loved it!

  22. Nikki Robinson says:

    I like books that tackle mental illness, even if it’s not intentional. I also think it’s really cool he wrote this as a stay at home dad!

  23. I’ve been so excited for this book…and am even more excited now! I love this interview! Glad my reserve is ready at the library!

  24. If I don’t win, I’m buying a copy for myself! I really want to read this one.

  25. I’d be sooooooo excited to win this, but will be buying it if I don’t. I adore the cover

  26. A ROAD TRIP BOOK! That’s one of the biggest reasons that I really want to read Mosquitoland. Also, the question about the books/record/movie? LOVE the answers that he provided for that one. Can’t wait to meet Mim!

  27. Simply the title makes me want to read it!

  28. I saw this at BN the other day and was *this* close to buying!

  29. Loved this interview! *-*
    I cannot wait to read it (I have already ordered it, so I won’t be joining the giveaway) and I’ll definitely be listening to those songs while reading the book to set the right mood 🙂

  30. Tiffany says:

    I love the premise of this book! I can’t wait to read it (and winning it would be nice!), I’ll have to make a play list of those songs while reading…