I want to thank Katie for agree to do an interview with me and for making me realize that I can and should read horror novels. You never know what you'll discover until you open the pages on a novel and with Bad Girls Don't Die, you'll learn that some of the best characters lie in wait between the pages of some of the best writing and scariest situations you could imagine!
1) How did you come up with the concept for Bad Girls Don't Die?
I was sitting around one day, daydreaming, and I had this idea about two sisters who don’t know anything about their family’s past. To fill in the gaps, they tell each other stories about their “real” parents, and then the younger sister starts making the stories come true in a creepy way, while the older sister has to deal with the fallout. Over the next few years, that story evolved into what it is now. But the relationship of the sisters never changed.
2) If you could back and write Bad Girls Don't Die through any other character's perspective (for fun) who would you choose and why?
“Kasey” would be the easy and obvious answer, but I think Megan’s perspective would be really interesting. (I agree, Megan rocked my socks)
3) Your novel seemed designed specifically to scare the pants off of me. One of my biggest fears is dolls. What are you afraid of?
I’m afraid of so many things! I’m a bit of a worrywart. I can’t watch scary movies, because I’ll remember everything I see and be haunted by it. I’m very afraid of something happening to my loved ones (or my dog!). On the plus side, I’m not afraid of heights in the least.
4) Horror isn't a very common genre in YA now. What made you decide to write a horror novel and what would you say to those that are a little sheepish about the genre?
To be honest, I didn’t even know I was writing a horror novel. I was attracted to a ghost as a dramatic device, because it can be spooky without being gory, and because a ghost could happen to anyone. When my agent read the book, he told me about the parts that scared him, and I was really surprised. I was also surprised that so many people were specifically afraid of dolls. Who knew? The downside is that now I find them much creepier than I used to. (It doesn’t help that readers send me pictures of scary dolls.)
For people who are shy of the horror genre, I’d say: don’t get “horror” in books confused with horror movies. Whereas horror movies give me nightmares, scary books seem to be thrilling in the sense that they make you pay more attention to your surroundings. So give it a try! (This is also advice to myself… like I said, I’m not very good with scary, so I’m making a deliberate effort to expand my horizons.)
5) Was there anything that got cut during the editing process that you were sad to see go? Reversely, was there something added during edits that you are particularly fond of?
There was one incident from Alexis’s past that I hated to cut, because I thought it was a pretty funny thing for her to have done. The good news is, I put it in “From Bad to Cursed,” so it wasn’t lost forever!
There was also a certain outcome to the story that got changed on recommendation from my agent and editor. I agree with them in context of the book, but I’m still intrigued by it, in a morbid sort of way. It involved a character who’s revealed to be much darker at the end of the book.
6) I was really fascinated with Alexis and Kasey's relationship as siblings because it felt authentic to me. How did their relationship come about and did it evolve from how you originally thought it would be?
Well, thanks. Actually, their relationship in the first book is exactly what I had always imagined it would be. I think that was the core of the story for me. It does continue to evolve in the second and third books, in ways I wouldn’t have imagined at the beginning.
In terms of crafting the sibling relationship, I have fairly complex relationships with my own siblings, so I drew from that.
7) When you write, do you listen to music? If so, is there one song or band you feel represents Bad Girls Don't Die for you?
I can’t listen to music while I write, because the lyrics distract me. But between writing sessions, I tend to listen to a specific playlist for the project over and over again. The whole playlist for Bad Girls Don’t Die is on my website, but the song that really represents it to me is "Girl Next Door" by Saving Jane.
8) Do you have anything that is essential to your writing process? Do you have a favorite place to write?
No—I write all over the house and wherever my laptop is. I can write with noise, if it’s a public place. I’m fairly flexible, although I’ve found that I can’t write a first draft while walking at my treadmill desk. It uses too much of my brain, apparently.
9) Have you read anything that you love lately?
I recently read Cynthia Hand’s “Unearthly,” which comes out in January, and I really enjoyed that. And I listened to the audiobook of “Wives and Daughters” by Elizabeth Gaskell, which was wonderful. I’m in “slow reader” mode, because I’m so deep into the draft of Book 3. I read 13 books in May and maybe two in October. Probably none in November!
10) I know the sequel to Don't Die, From Bad To Cursed, comes out . Is there anything you can tell us about it?
The jacket copy and cover are now viewable on my blog… Aside from that, I can tell you what a challenge it was to untie my neatly tied-up happy ending from Book 1 to create more chaos in Alexis’s life. But once I set about it, I was really glad to have the opportunity, because there was more than Alexis needed to learn! And that continues into Book 3 as well.
Win Bad Girls Don't Die:
- This contest is US/Canada only
- Make sure you fill out the form
- Contest ends December 28th
- Leave a comment on the bottom of this interview for an extra entry
- Must be 13 years or older
- You may only enter once