Friday, March 13, 2009

Writer tackles subculture

Novelist writes on bizarre behavior

Express Staff Writer

Katie Arnoldi is the author of the novels "Chemical Pink" and "The Wentworths."

Katie Arnoldi has been writing for 30 years. Her career started with short stories, which she said never sold and made her want to quit writing. When she was pregnant and on bed rest for several months, she made some decisions about how she was going to change her life, which ultimately led her to becoming a successful novelist.

Arnoldi became a body builder and entered a lifestyle of body obsession. She was a successful competitor at regional competitions in Venice, Calif., and found the subculture of body culture strange and excellent material for her first novel, "Chemical Pink."

"It is a Pygmalion story about a woman body builder," Arnoldi said. "It is a novel about obsession and there are details about women using steroids. People got riled by the book because they were not fully aware about the lifestyle of women body builders."

Arnoldi said being a body builder allowed her to gain control of her body and succeed at something. Continuing her success as a novelist, Arnoldi penned "The Wentworths," which was released in March 2008 and will be in paperback edition at the end of March.

"The Wentworths" takes a look into the life of rich people, class and power. The Wentworths live by a different set of rules.

"'The Wentworths' is about another subculture," Arnoldi said. "I tend to be drawn to dark subcultures. This book is disturbing because these people live outside the norm and by a whole different set of rules. They are twisted."

Arnoldi said people are fascinated by the unknown life of wealthy people, and the book will ring true in Sun Valley. One of the driving forces behind "The Wentworths" is the use of animal imagery and sexual desire.

"Sex drives human behavior," she said. "There tends to be a lot of sex in my books."

Arnoldi is working on a new novel about the subculture of Mexican drug cartels, which is a major issue in California. The cartels have been growing millions of plants in California's national parks, and the situation has become very dangerous.

"The growing sites are devastating to the environment," Arnoldi said. "They have tapped into the irrigation systems for illegal growing. The pesticides have permanently damaged waterways."

Arnoldi's books have been optioned for potential film and television projects. She does most of her writing at The Office in Brentwood, Calif., a writing facility where writers rent space to write.

"I am fascinated by people and what makes them behave they way they do," Arnoldi said. "How do people get so messed up?"

Arnoldi will have a book signing on Friday, March 13, at 7:30 p.m. at Iconoclast Books in Ketchum. She is married to celebrated artist Charles Arnoldi, who will be having an exhibition with Gregory Amenoff at the Ochi Gallery on Friday, March 13, from 6-8 p.m.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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