It's almost cheating, it's so easy. I grew up in Missouri and went to college in Columbia. It takes no effort to set a book where you live. That's why my editor insisted I set my next book in Seattle. I'm getting lazy, writing everything about Missouri.
What is the inspiration behind EVERYONE DIES IN THE END?
When I was in college, I was determined to have a supernatural adventure. I would have loved it if some mysterious cult had marked me for death.
Is it based on any of your own experiences? (Were you in a scholars program?)
Sadly, no one ever tried to assassinate me in college. I did, however, attend Mizzou as an undergraduate. In fact, Sherman, the main character in EVERYONE DIES, started out as a college senior, until it was suggested he'd be more believable as a teen.
This is a departure in style from your previously published YAs—more fantasy, less realism. Why the switch-up?
Maybe I wanted to challenge myself. Maybe the voices in my head told me to do it. I now have one contemporary YA book, one LGBT YA book, and one YA horror. At least I'm not typecasting myself.
What are your reading tastes, movie tastes? What influenced the book?
This is heavily influenced by H.P. Lovecraft, the great 1920s author who pioneered the 'aliens keeping a guy's brain alive in a jar' story.'
This book has quite a few action scenes—are they hard to write? Or do they flow easily? Why do you think that is?
I came up with the car chase/train wreck scene years ago. I'm glad I was finally able to stick it in a book. I wrote the World War I battle scene once when I was alone at my mom's house in the middle of the night and ended up scaring myself. I wouldn't say these gruesome scenes are easy to write...but
they sure are fun.
Humor comes easy for me. It's hard for me to pitch PLAYING WITH MATCHES to people: It's about a girl with a badly disfigured face...and it's funny! Everything else, however, is more difficult for me to write. I hope EVERYONE DIES gives the audience a few belly laughs as they turn all the lights on and check under the bed.
Is it harder to develop a character in an action-driven story? How do you deal with that?
I didn't want to make my hero the stereotypical action movie macho man. Instead, I made him a boring twerp who's suddenly fighting for his life (and hooking up with a cute redhead).
Did you do any research? Any truth at all to the “historical” sections?
A bit. The fire at Academic Hall, life in the 1930s, that sort of thing. I'm sure my readers will point out my many historical errors.
EVERYONE DIES: An epic story of love, adventure and intrigue...at a science fiction convention!
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