On behalf of Halloweenpalooza, thanks so much for agreeing to participate. Let’s start with some quickies:
Favorite color: Lavender
Favorite scene in a horror flick (the one that made your blood run cold): The end of THE OTHERS.
Dogs or cats: cats
Male or female friends: both
Guilty pleasure: Britney Spears songs on my iPhone
Favorite Halloween candy: KitKat
Favorite scream queen: Jamie Lee Curtis / Sissy Spacek
Have you ever carved a pumpkin: Not well, but yeah.
1. Since there are so many types of horror, what can a reader expect when they pick up a story written by Emily Carpenter? What kind of potato salad do you bring to the horror picnic table?
I think I’m definitely categorized as southern gothic women’s fiction-horror, which I never realized was a genre, but has actually turned out to be my favorite. It’s horror that involves a woman’s journey to find herself in a really creepy southern setting – which, when I reread that sentence, sounds funny – but I mean it in all seriousness. My main characters have to find their strength and agency and personhood to fight the evil they encounter. Even, if they don’t understand exactly what’s coming at them. Also, I am going to bring along a spooky old house somewhere in the south. I’m going to do that for you, because, look, no story is complete without a creepy house.
And I like my potato salad with mustard in it, so…. Whatever the metaphor is there, run with it.
2. What motivates you to write horror?
I love to be scared myself. I love really high stakes in a story. I love a ticking clock and the impending threat of utter doom. I love the unknown, in the natural and supernatural world. Daphne du Maurier and Shirley Jackson and Stephen King never, ever fail to enthrall me.
3. What do you hope a reader gets when they read BURYING THE HONEYSUCKLE GIRLS?
I hope they have a really good time. I hope they get emotionally invested in the characters, so much so that they race through the book. The greatest compliment is when someone loves the book so much they tell their friends, “You have GOT to read this book.”
4. In terms of your readers, do you like feedback? What’s the best thing a reader has ever said or done?
I love positive feedback. I am still coming to terms with the negative. Recently, I heard author Curtis Sittenfeld say she divides feedback into four quadrants: smart-positive, smart-negative, dumb-positive, dumb-negative. She said smart-positive thrilled her; smart-negative was useful; and dumb-positive was an ego boost. Dumb-negative, she wasn’t interested in. I thought that was really ingenious. It’s tough to hear criticism after the book’s already been published, and I’m not sure it’s terribly useful because you can’t change what’s already out there. I will say I absolutely love criticism when I’m drafting and editing, though.
The best thing a reader ever said to me was that she had a lot of health problems and was confined to her bed, and she loved my book because it took her to another world and distracted her from her pain.
5. What scares you? Have you had any encounters with the supernatural?
I actually have. It was actually in a church setting and involved a guy, some people might call him a psychic, who shared some really personal details about me and then gave me some advice and predictions, which actually came true. No ghosts, though.
6. Would you be up for spending a night in a haunted location? If, yes, where would it be and what would you like to find out? Is there a location you’d never visit? Not even for a million dollars?
I would’ve probably done it in my 20s or 30s. Now I want a cushy bed and room service and pay-per-view if I’m going to spend a night out somewhere.
7. Stalkers! What fictional stalker terrifies you the most and why?
That dude in the Alex Cross book, KISS THE GIRLS. The one with the underground lair? Just, no. Also, there was a guy like that in a Dean Koontz book, too, I think. Double no. Underground lairs are unacceptable in every way.
8. In terms of Halloween, what’s your best memory of the holiday?
Getting dressed up with my brothers and sister and roaming all over our neighborhood after dark. No parental supervision, no candy inspection. Just wild, free 1970s Halloween fun.
9. In terms of writing, what’s the key to crafting memorable characters?
I think flaws are key. Like, serious flaws that threaten to derail the character’s life and goals. I think that’s what makes people really interesting. Also, secrets. Everybody has secrets in real life. Characters in books need their secrets, too. And the perfect name.
10. What’s next for Emily Carpenter? What can your fans look forward to reading?
My next book is coming out June 2017 (Lake Union). It’s about a woman who agrees to write a tell-all memoir about her famous, horror-novelist mother. She travels down to an island off the coast of Georgia and gets drawn into the life of the woman on whom her mother based her iconic, first novel, then creepiness ensues. I’m doing a book-within-a-book, where there are excerpts of the original, 1970s horror novel within the body of the main novel. I’ve had so much fun writing an old-school 70s horror novel. Research was a blast. I read THE BAD SEED, ROSEMARY’S BABY, THE EXORCIST, and CARRIE again to just steep myself in the flavor of that time. All are great in their own way, but – c’mon – CARRIE is everything.
GIVEAWAYThree paperbacks of BURYING THE HONEYSUCKLE GIRLS!!! I’m telling you this book has been in the top ten of Occult for so long that I think they just permanently awarded Emily that position!!! Like, just HERE! Take it! Anyway, three paperbacks are up for grabs!!! But there is an option for an Audio version so please specify “Audio” if that’s what you want!!!
WINNERS ARE LIMITED TO THE U.S. and CANADA.
To win: go to the Official FB Event Page; find the post announcing today’s giveaway; and comment, “I WANT TO WIN” in that post and you just might!!!
Althea Bell is still heartbroken by her mother’s tragic, premature death—and tormented by the last, frantic words she whispered into young Althea’s ear: Wait for her. For the honeysuckle girl. She’ll find you, I think, but if she doesn’t, you find her.
Adrift ever since, Althea is now fresh out of rehab and returning to her family home in Mobile, Alabama, determined to reconnect with her estranged, ailing father. While Althea doesn’t expect him, or her politically ambitious brother, to welcome her with open arms, she’s not prepared for the chilling revelation of a grim, long-buried family secret. Fragile and desperate, Althea escapes with an old flame to uncover the truth about her lineage. Drawn deeper into her ancestors’ lives, Althea begins to unearth their disturbing history…and the part she’s meant to play in it.
Gripping and visceral, this unforgettable debut delves straight into the heart of dark family secrets and into one woman’s emotional journey to save herself from a sinister inheritance.
AUTHOR BIOBURYING THE HONEYSUCKLE GIRLS is her first novel. You can visit Emily online at emilycarpenterauthor.com.
Link to Amazon Author Page