Gretchen McNeil since before she made her first sale (her debut YA horror novel, Possess, came out last fall), partly because we are agent-mates (the inimitable Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown, Ltd.) and partly because she's a member of YA Rebels, a fantastic group of published and aspiring authors who video blog regularly, which I admire. (I admire anything done regularly.)
Last week her second novel, TEN, released to a world eager to get its mitts on it, and the buzz online has been fabulous! Here's a little bit about the book:
And their doom comes swiftly.
It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives – three days on Henry Island at an exclusive house party. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their own reasons for wanting to be there, both of which involve Kamiak High’s most eligible bachelor, T.J. Fletcher. But what starts out as a fun-filled weekend turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.
Suddenly, people are dying and the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
PRAISE FOR TEN:
"TEN is a real page turner! Gretchen McNeil knows how to plot a thriller: Her setup is flawless and the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat."(Christopher Pike, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the THIRST series and REMEMBER ME)
"Gretchen McNeil's TEN is my new number one! I jumped at every creaking floorboard in my house and on the page. This is sure to be a teen thriller classic!" (Nancy Holder, Bram Stoker Award winning author of THE SCREAMING SEASON)
"You want to read this book. McNeil incorporates all the thrills and chills of a horror movie into this fast-paced, gripping tale. With its quippy dialogue, it’s like reading Scream. This reviewer got the willies while reading Ten on a sunny afternoon." (Top Pick in Romantic Times, September 2012)
"A scary gorefest of murder and mayhem, not for the faint of heart [...] a breathless read." (Kirkus)
"Agatha Christie meets Gossip Girl [...] in McNeil’s (Possess) throwback to old-school thrillers [...] has all the hallmarks of a traditional slasher flick, including imprudent sex, gory slayings, and dramatic revelations." (Publisher's Weekly)
"In the esteemed tradition of teen horror fiction, Ten hits all the high notes: a stormy night, illicit liaisons, cut phone lines, suspicious disappearances, double-crosses, secret histories, and plenty of twists." (Booklist)
And now, my interview with the lovely and hilarious Gretchen!!
We're always told to "kill our darlings." Do you have a short excerpt--a couple lines or a paragraph--that you'd care to share with us, something you love but just didn't quite make the cut?
Sadly, with TEN everything after the first page practically is a spoiler. I will say this – I usually write SHORT first drafts, so it's less about killing things and more about beefing them up.
Turn to page 99 of your current release: which word on that page describes your main character best, and why?
"Kumiko immediately came to his defense. 'Oh yeah, Miss Brilliant?'" Brilliant. I like to think I am. Reality likes to remind me I'm not.
What’s the most amazing book-related thing to happen to you in the last year?
Christopher Pike read, loved and blurbed TEN, then called me on the phone the day TEN released. Yeah, it doesn't get any better than that!
Do you have a quirk or detail in common with your main character (e.g., favorite food, habit, phrase)?
Meg talks to herself a lot. Tells herself to calm down, think logically, step back from a situation. That's me. Sometimes, people catch me having full, imaginary conversations with myself, complete with hand gestures and facial expressions. That's…embarrassing.
What’s your favorite place you’ve ever traveled for book research?
Dun Aengus, Inishmore, Aran Islands, Ireland
Speaking of travel, which do you like best: planes, trains, or automobiles?
I'm an LA girl and I love to drive. Love.
In the SHADE trilogy, Aura is the first of a generation that can see ghosts. What do you think defines your generation?
We're one of the first generations of women to put off having families until well into our 30's and sometimes 40's.
If you could bring any person back as a ghost so you could ask them about their lives, who would it be?
Dorothy Parker. I feel like she and I would have been epic friends. And drinking buddies.
Thanks so much to Gretchen for stopping by, and BIG congrats on the new release!