When Alexis’s little sister Kasey becomes obsessed with an antique doll, Alexis thinks nothing of it. Kasey is a weird kid. Period. Alexis is considered weird, too, by the kids in her high school, by her parents, even by her own Goth friends. Things get weirder, though, when the old house they live in starts changing. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in. Kasey is changing, too. Her blue eyes go green and she speaks in old-fashioned language, then forgets chunks of time.
Most disturbing of all is the dangerous new chip on Kasey’s shoulder. The formerly gentle, doll-loving child is gone, and the new Kasey is angry. Alexis is the only one who can stop her sister — but what if that green-eyed girl isn’t even Kasey anymore?
Today Katie Alender is on for My Favorite Things. She’s provided us with this delightful post (which I can SO relate to!) and I’ll be giving away both of her books! Make sure you read to the end for all the info.
“The Terrifyingly High Price of Writing Horror”
I didn’t know my first book was scary. You see, I don’t like scary movies. I never read Stephen King books. I got as far as the poem at the beginning of “The Tommyknockers” and had to stop because I was too scared. So it never, ever occurred to me to write a scary book.
My agent (before he became my agent) read it and said, “Wow, there were a couple of really creepy parts!” And then my editor complained that it kept her up all night. Since then, when I meet people who have read “Bad Girls Don’t Die”, at least half of them comment on the spookiness first thing.
I’m often asked what other scary stuff I enjoy, since I’m obviously such a horror buff. And then, when I admit that I have no tolerance for anything even remotely eerie, I get laughed at. True, one my favorite movies is “The Others”… but that’s as much as I can take. I tried to watch “Poltergeist” the other day and had to turn it off after the first shot.
What’s more, when it came time to write my second and third books, because I don’t like scary stuff, I was at a bit of a loss. I knew my agent, editor, and readers were expecting me to bring more of the spooky stuff from the first book. I just didn’t know how on earth to make that happen!
So what I did was, I started looking for ways that things could be scary. I would think, “What would be the scariest thing that could happen right now?” And the answers would be things like—I could turn and look at the window and there could be an old woman standing there, staring at me (which actually happened to one of my friends, by the way… I would have literally died of fright). Or I could look up and see a strange spectral creature tucked in the corner of my room. Or I could be lying in bed and hear a window break somewhere in the house. And then I would use these scary moments to play up the scariness factor in my books.
But there’s just one little problem—in coming up with all of these ways to scare my readers, I ended up turning myself into even more of a scaredy-cat. For instance, in From Bad to Cursed, there’s a scene that takes place in the deepest, darkest night—so dark you can hardly see your hand in front of your face. Now, to be honest, I wasn’t really positive nights could get that dark. But I figured a little exaggeration in the name of creative expression would be okay.
Cut to: a few days later, I’m outside at night with my dog. We reach the end of the street, where there are no street lamps. And suddenly, I’m thinking: OMG IT IS TOTALLY THAT DARK. And naturally, I assumed something scary was going to pop out of the bushes and eat me.
So, yeah… if my books scare you, I’m sort of sorry and sort of not sorry. Because they scare me a little, too!
Thanks so much for having me as a guest!
Thanks so much Katie! I have to say I’m afraid of horror too. I don’t watch scary movies and I don’t read Stephen King (I tried, it freaked me out too much!) but I’ve discovered I can do horror in young adult books. It depends on the story of course, but some books that people say have freaked them out haven’t really affected me at all. So when it comes to YA I’m willing to try it out!
Bad Girls Don’t Die Description:
I have a copy of Bad Girls Don’t Die and an ARC of From Bad to Cursed to giveaway.
Must be 13 or older
Open to US/Canada only
Ends July 5th, 2011
What scares you? Are you a fan of the scary or are you a little wary? Tell us your thoughts! Remember to leave contact info.
For the schedule and list of Giveaways for The Favorite Things event check out the schedule post. And make sure you head over to My Bookish Ways to see what she has going on today as well!
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