Double Spooktacular Interview + Giveaway

Classes are in full swing and I have almost no time at all, so like almost everything else this year my Spooktacular is rather lacking.  I managed to get six authors to agree to participate but because my schedule is so insane I only got questions to two of them. But, they were the two authors of the six whose books I had actually gotten to read earlier in the year, so I guess that's good, right? Ugh, my track record this year has been kinda sucky, but I am super excited to feature both of these authors, and at the end of the post I've included a giveaway, so be sure to check that out too!

First up is the lovely debut author 
Kali Wallace
 whose book 
Shallow Graves
 was such a fun read.
It was like an episode of Supernatural from the monster's POV!

The Interview;

Once Upon A Teen Reader: How would you describe your book in 13 words or less?

Kali Wallace: Teen comes back from the dead, travels, meets people, kills some of them.


OUATR: Why did you choose to write horror/thrillers?

KW: As a reader I love scary stories and all they entail--dark secrets and shadows in the woods and things that go bump in the night, all of it wrapped up in exploring the dark, shadowy parts of life that we don't always feel comfortable thinking about.
But as a writer I also love the process of creating a spooky, creepy atmosphere for a story. I'm a very descriptive writer anyway, and when I'm writing there's nothing more fun than finding ways to pull a reader into a story in a way that gives them that nervous itch on the back of their neck.



OUATR: You have a plethora of supernatural creatures in the book, and most of them aren't as well known as your general vampire or werewolf, what kind of research did you do and how did you decide which ones to include?  Were there any you researched that you didn't use but really would have liked to?

KW: When I was looking around for monster ideas, I deliberately aimed for the ones that haven't gotten their chance at rehabilitation in most supernatural stories. The ones that are still considered gross rather than sexy, or are always cast as the ravenous bad guys, or give people an visceral negative reaction, because that seemed like the better way to go about asking questions about what makes a person a monster--and to frame that question not in terms of whatever supernatural bad hand they've been dealt, but in terms of what choices they make and how they choose to survive.
Most of my research involved reading around various stories and folk traditions until I found things that felt right, and sometimes making up a creature completely when nothing really fit. I would have loved to include some of the other great creatures I found. One favorite is the manananggal from Filipino mythology. But I couldn't find a way to fit her in that really gives that amazingly gruesome bit of monster lore its due--she deserves a starring role, not a brief appearance as a side character.


OUATR: Stories about monster hunters are fairly common, but it's more unusual to find one through the eyes of a monster. Why did you decide to go in that direction?

KW: I chose to tell the monster's story precisely because there are so many books and TV shows that tell the monster hunter's story, and if you read and watch a lot of them--and, oh, have I ever done that--you start to ask yourself if maybe the monster's aren't getting a bit of an unfair shake in this whole deal. Maybe they're just trying to live their ordinary monster lives, going about their monster days to their monster jobs with their monster friends, and suddenly everything is ruined when a teenage girl with a stake or a couple of dudes in a '67 Impala show up to ruin everything.
Once I started thinking about that, I was thinking about what life looks like from the point of view of somebody with monstrous tendencies but no real desire to be a monster, and I realized that rather than being a story about ridding the world of evil, it's a story about how evil grows from the choices people make, and how much harm can come from people absolutely convinced they are doing good.



OUATR: It's not uncommon for horror stories, especially those in the YA section, to include a romantic subplot, but aside from some brief flashes from Breezy's past it doesn't really come up in the book.  Was there a specific reason behind doing that?

KW: Well, yes, there is. This is a horror story, but like most horror stories, the fact that it is about death means it is also about life and how precious it is. I wanted it to be clear that Breezy's life is valuable and her death is tragic even if she isn't leaving a girlfriend or boyfriend behind, and I wanted it to be clear that whatever supernatural future she decides to find for herself, whatever she decides to do with her newly undead life as a monster, the value of her continuing existence has absolutely nothing to do with whether she finds a girlfriend or boyfriend.


OUATR: What are you working on now/next?

KW: Just last week I turned in the final revisions on my second novel, which is called THE MEMORY TREES. It's about a weirdly magical matriarchal family living on an apple orchard in the mountains of southern Vermont, and all the secrets and tragedies they've got buried in their past, and it will be out in Fall 2017.
I haven't started working on my next YA novel yet. I'm taking a bit of a break to write some short stories first.


OUATR: How scary is your book on a scale of 1 to 10?

KW: -2 for people who watch scary movies home alone with the lights off, maybe about a 7 for normal people who hide behind their cats for the jumpy bits. I think it's more creepy and atmospheric and moody than it is outright scary, but I'm probably the worst judge of anybody.


OUATR: What book would you recommend for Halloween reading?

KW: The most perfect book for this season is Adriana Mather's HOW TO HANG A WITCH, which is about Salem in autumn and witches and spooky ghostly boys, and is altogether delightful from beginning to end.


OUATR: What is your favorite movie/TV show to watch this time of year?

KW: Every time of year, but especially this time of year, I am a fan of gloomy bleak English crime shows, like Broadchurch, Happy Valley, Luther. The gloomier and bleaker the better. If everybody is British and miserable and lying about seventeen things I am watching it. 


OUATR: Do you have a go-to candy?

KW: Chocolate. I am a simple soul when it comes to candy. A good dark chocolate. A bit every day, please. 


The Book;

Title: Shallow Graves
Author: Kali Wallace
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Series: n/a
Published: January 26, 2016
Breezy remembers leaving the party: the warm, wet grass under her feet, her cheek still stinging from a slap to her face. But when she wakes up, scared and pulling dirt from her mouth, a year has passed and she can’t explain how.
Nor can she explain the man lying at her grave, dead from her touch, or why her heartbeat comes and goes. She doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past.
Haunted by happy memories from her life, Breezy sets out to find answers in the gritty, threatening world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight, and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she discovers is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.
Buy it from B&N | AmazonIndiebound | The Book Depository

The Author;

 Kali Wallace, for most of her life, was going to be a scientist when she grew up. She studied geology in college, partly because she could get course credit for hiking and camping, and eventually earned a PhD in geophysics researching earthquakes in India and the Himalayas. Only after she had her shiny new doctorate in hand did she admit that she loved inventing imaginary worlds as much as she liked exploring the real one. She’s from Colorado but now lives in Southern California. 



Find her on Facebook | Twitter | Her Website


The second author is also a debut, but her book is quite a bit different
Sarah Jude
is the lovely author of 
The May Queen Murders
which is a deliciously dark read.
The atmosphere and the gore combined to make a vividly eerie story!

The Interview;

Once Upon A Teen Reader: How would you describe your book in 13 words or less?

Sarah Jude: It’s been described as “The Wicker Man (the original 1970s film) meets Winter’s Bone.” That works for me!

OUATR: Why did you choose to write horror/thrillers?

SJ: Horror and mystery are the natural places for my head to go when I write. I blame my mother because she raised me on a steady diet of Poe stories and Hitchcock films. She died twelve years ago, but her love of all things dark and eerie has carried on through me.

OUATR: Setting is such an important part of horror stories, were the Missouri Ozarks always where the story was going to take place, or did it evolve? Either way, how did you decided that's where you wanted to set it?

SJ: I live on the fringe of the Ozarks. You go a few miles and find yourself in the northeastern foothills of the Ozark Mountains. It’s an area I’m intimate with, one of rich folklore and superstition. It was ripe for a book’s setting. It’s also an overlooked place. People think Missouri is either farmland or violent urban areas. The reality is that it’s much more. The backwoods are winding and some areas are very much off the grid, and that was where I wanted to go with the eco-commune in THE MAY QUEEN MURDERS.

OUATR: There's a fair amount of blood and carnage in the book, were there any scenes you found particularly difficult to write, and what did you do to make them feel more authentic?

SJ: People are surprised by the blood in the book, which leaves me tilting my head. Maybe it’s because it’s YA that the bloodshed is unexpected, but considering the word “murders” is in the title, that bad things are afoot shouldn’t be surprising. It was no picnic to write some of those scenes either—particularly the ones with animals because I have a deep affection for animals and work with horses and dogs. However, one has to bear in mind that rural settings are inherently cruel to a degree. Farm equipment is dangerous. Seriously. My uncle farmed his land and kept dogs to protect his livestock, and he routinely lost them to highways, coyotes, and people. It’s not uncommon.
Another point, my background is in criminology, and every bit of the literature on serial killers will tell you there’s a common thread of harming animals before moving to people. The fact that these kills are deliberate in the book aren’t to torture the characters or readers but to show the depravity of what’s at work in Rowan’s Glen. 

OUATR: I think I huge part of the book is the culture you've created in Rowan's Glen, I'm curious what pieces of the real world you pulled from, along with what kind of research you did to pull everything together into this new place.

SJ: I spent a great deal of time in the Ozarks backwoods, talking to old-timers and reading up on books about the local folklore, but I also grew up with a very superstitious mother and spent a good bit of time in the rural Midwest. Much of it was innate to me. There are these off-the-grid eco-communes that spring up where, like the Glen, they have limited electricity and keep to themselves, and it’s true—they may power a house with solar panels and wiring but a washing machine takes way too much energy and so you wash your clothes in the river. The superstitious nature of Rowan’s Glen was rooted in the founders’ rejection of most of the modern world and how they stuck to their old ways.

OUATR: What are you working on now/next?

SJ: A lot of projects! I have a middle grade that I started writing with my daughter for fun but it turns out my agent loves it. I’m also working on a few horror YAs that I’m not quite ready to talk about yet, but suffice to say, they are dark and eerie.

OUATR: How scary is your book on a scale of 1 to 10?

SJ: I’m not a good judge of its fear factor because horror is so subjective. What scares me is not scary at all to another person. But I do get a lot of readers reporting that they had to keep the lights on at night!

OUATR: What book would you recommend for Halloween reading?

SJ: I will always suggest MARY: THE SUMMONING by Hillary Monahan because it is campy, creepy, and like a teen slasher film in book form. I’m currently reading AND THE TREES CREPT IN by Dawn Kurtagich and love it. Dawn’s work is very twisty and mind-bending, which is something I find really frightening.

OUATR: What is your favorite movie/TV show to watch this time of year?

SJ: I watch John Carpenter’s classic Halloween over and over again each year. I’m actually going to sit and watch it this afternoon!

OUATR:Do you have a go-to candy?

SJ: Peanut butter cups all the way! 

The Book;

Title: The May Queen Murders
Author: Sarah Jude
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Series: n/a
Published: May 3, 2016

Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.
Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them.
 Buy it from B&N | Amazon | Indiebound | The Book Depository

The Author;

Sarah Jude lives by the woods and has an owl that lands on her chimney every night. She grew up believing you had to hold your breath when passing a graveyard. Now she writes about cemeteries, murder, and folklore. She resides in Missouri with her husband, three children, and two dogs. When she's not writing, she can be found volunteering at a stable for disabled riders.













Find her on Facebook | Twitter | Her Website

The Giveaway;

Kali and Sarah have graciously donated signed copies of their books, so those are up for grabs, along with a few other things I've added.  Check out the list below, with accompanying pictures!  Because the authors are participating I have to keep this giveaway to the US and perhaps Canada only, sorry about that my international buddies. There will be one for you soon, I promise.

What can you win?

A signed copy of Shallow Graves
A signed copy of The May Queen Murders
Your choice of the following four books; After the Woods, Bleeding Earth, Breaker, or The Killer in Me

Signed copies of both of these

and your choice of one of these

The last four books were the other authors I asked to be a part of the feature that I never got around to actually sending questions to, but I feel like they should also be featured at least somewhat. 

If enough people enter I might even add a few more books in, because honestly Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I love a good scary book. So be sure to enter the giveaway and share it everywhere!



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1 comment:

  1. I love a good horror story! There's nothing like a good book that causes you to jump or scream aloud while reading. The May Queen Murders and Breaker have been on my radar for awhile. I've just added Bleeding Earth and The Killer in Me have just to my TBR list.

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