Saturday, October 21, 2017

0 Ari Goelman, author of THE INNOCENCE TREATMENT, on thinking he'd figured out how to write a novel

We're delighted to have Ari Goelman join us to chat about his latest novel, THE INNOCENCE TREATMENT.

Ari, what book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

While I was writing THE INNOCENCE TREATMENT, I thought quite a bit about FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON -- it's an old science fiction story (turned novel) published well before I was born, which tells the story of a person with a cognitive disability who is treated and turns into a super genius. While it is a very different kind of novel than THE INNOCENCE TREATMENT, Lauren's journey obviously resonates with the journey of the hero at the center of the novel.

How long did you work on THE INNOCENCE TREATMENT?

Honestly, hard to say. THE INNOCENCE TREATMENT was a pretty fast book for me to write. On the other hand, it was years between the time I started and the time I finished. (It was a very busy period of my life, between raising children, working a day job, and writing.) All told, it probably took quite a bit less than a year to actually write a first draft of THE INNOCENCE TREATMENT. Writing it went so smoothly, that at the time I really thought I had figured out how to write a novel. Now I'm not so sure. Sad face.

What do you hope readers will take away from THE INNOCENCE TREATMENT?

Ha. So much. When I was writing it, I had no idea how timely THE INNOCENCE TREATMENT would feel when it came out. It's a book about the importance of political truths and lies, and the twin dangers of naivete and mindless paranoia. In this current political climate, I hope that readers walk away questioning the facts they think they know and thinking hard about how to assess the truth for themselves.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

Um. Pretty hard? I wrote two books, published one (my first book THE PATH OF NAMES, a middle grade fantasy about summer camp and ghosts), wrote another three books, and then THE INNOCENCE TREATMENT. Along the way, I also wrote dozens of short stories, about two dozen of which I managed to get published. (Details at:

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I find it works best to mix it up. That said, I find I'm generally at my most productive if I work at a coffee shop or library with my ear buds in, listening to music with no words.

What are you working on now?

I have my next YA novel with my agent, Molly Ker Hawn, awaiting revisions, and I'm about halfway through a very rough draft of the next one. Both of them are YA fantasies set in Vancouver, but otherwise very different from one another.


The Innocence Treatment
by Ari Goelman
Roaring Brook Press
Released 10/17/2017

You may believe the government protects you, but only one girl knows how they use you.

Lauren has a disorder that makes her believe everything her friends tell her--and she believes everyone is her friend. Her innocence puts her at constant risk, so when she gets the opportunity to have an operation to correct her condition, she seizes it. But after the surgery, Lauren is changed. Is she a paranoid lunatic with violent tendencies? Or a clear-eyed observer of the world who does what needs to be done?

Told in journal entries and therapy session transcripts, The Innocence Treatment is a collection of Lauren's papers, annotated by her sister long after the events of the novel. A compelling YA debut thriller that is part speculative fiction and part shocking tell-all of genetic engineering and government secrets, Lauren's story is ultimately an electrifying, propulsive, and spine-tingling read.

Purchase The Innocence Treatment at Amazon
Purchase The Innocence Treatment at IndieBound
View The Innocence Treatment on Goodreads


Ari Goelman is the award-winning author of novels for children and young adults. His debut novel, The Path of Names, won the Chocolate Lily Award (2014) and was shortlisted for the YA Sunburst Award (2014), the B.C. Book Prize Award (2014) and the Diamond Willow Award (2014). He has also published more than a dozen short stories in such publications as Strange Horizons, Talebones, and Daily Science Fiction. He is a past winner of the Writers of the Future competition, and a graduate of the Clarion West writers workshop. Ari earned a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Urban Studies. He has worked as a teacher, a writer, a researcher, an urban planner, a camp counselor, a stay-at-home father, and a host of other jobs. These days, in addition to writing fiction, he teaches research methods at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. He lives in Vancouver, Canada, with his family.


Have you had a chance to read THE INNOCENCE TREATMENT yet?
How long does it take you to write a first draft?

And how long do you spend polishing?

Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Charlotte, Jocelyn, Anisaa, Erin, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

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