Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The women behind CREED!

Happy Tuesday, people!

I know, I know—there’s been nothing but a hot, dry wind gracing my blog over the past several weeks.  In my defense, I’ve been trying to finish the first draft of my new manuscript before I start revisions on THE ONE THING for Disney-Hyperion. 

Or that’s the excuse, anyway.

Anyhoo…I’ve been fortunate enough to land an interview with the wildly talented Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie, coauthors of the chilling young-adult horror CREED, due out in fall, 2014 by Flux. 

Let me start by saying that I adore Lindsay and Trisha, who are the best of the best in the world of CPs—kindhearted, brilliant, and giving—so I when I had the opportunity to read CREED, I was hoping I’d adore it as well. 

I adored it even more. 

Actually, I was blown away—blown away—by this story. 

Want to know more?  Thought so. :)

Here’s the blurb:

Dee Langley is seventeen and mere months away from total freedom and a life where state social workers, counselors, and foster parents don’t dictate her every move.  She has spent years trying to eke out a normal existence, hiding from her past and walking the tenuous line between denial and self-preservation.  A weekend away with her boyfriend, Luke, and his brother, Mike, seems like the perfect opportunity to forget and start over.  Little does Dee know that she's just trading one hell for another.
When an unexpected storm and a lack of gas force their car off the road, Dee, Luke, and Mike find themselves with no other choice but to wander into the nearby town of Purity Springs for help.  But it’s not good Samaritans they find, but rather complete and utter silence, every store and every house abandoned.  It’s not until the next morning, however, that they discover the alarming truth – the town isn’t abandoned; it is populated by a deadly cult, and the leader, Elijah Hawkins, has plans for the three of them. The group’s only hope for survival lies in the hands of Elijah’s son, Joseph.  But is Joseph really their ticket to freedom or is his game just as deadly as his father’s?
Three went in, and three will come out, but not a single one will ever be a shadow of who they once were.

Now, you might have to wait till fall of 2014 to have CREED in your hot little hands, but in the meantime, my interview…

  • ·         Hi, Trisha and Lindsay!  Thank you for agreeing to take part in this interview.  Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

Lindsay: Once upon a time in a faraway land, I graduated from Knox College with an English Literature degree.  Okay, so it was the late 90’s and Galesburg, IL . . . not all that fairytale-ishJ  I’ve always loved writing, but didn’t really consider attempting publication until my oldest son (now 11) was in kindergarten.

Trisha:  I live on Cape Cod (aka land of perpetual tourists and traffic) with my husband, three kids and a rather dysfunctional black lab. I write because it gives me a chance to live every dream I ever had…just in a fictional person’s body.

  • ·         What drew you into the young-adult genre?

Lindsay: Ha! I’m so glad you ask this because it’s actually a really funny story. When I first started writing and querying, it wasn’t a young adult novel, it was a children’s book. And I thought it was the best children’s book EVER. I wrote it in a hot second, got all spazzy about it and queried it within a week. All things I know now are TERRIBLE IDEAS. 


After a slew of rejections from agents I really wish I could apologize to, I received one that really stood out. One agent that took the time to say something valuable, something that changed the way I looked at writing. She told me my voice was off, that it was more “teen” than “child” and that perhaps I was better suited to YA.


That changed everything for me, guys. I attempted a young adult novel that was ridiculously bad, so I attempted another and then another. Bad news was they were all crummy at first. Good news was they felt right.

Trisha: Well, it appears as though Lindsay wrote a book-length answer so I will keep short and sweet.  The teenage years are the most excite, scary, and emotionally-ridden years most of us will ever live through.  I like to harness that rawness, capture it and replay it through my characters. Kind of my way of saying to my teenage self: We survived and now I’m in control, will twist you into any character, setting, plot I see fit.

  • ·         GAH!  Trisha, I can attest that both you and Lindsay are amazing at capturing that “teenage rawness.”  Do you two write full or part time? 

Lindsay:  I write part-time. I have three children, ages 11, 10 and 7 so my life is actually split into two different schools, numerous volunteer committees, and of course, my nightly chauffeuring duties to their various sportsJ  I like to write at night when the entire house is finally sleeping the most, because it’s dark and quiet.

Trisha: Fulltime or as close to fulltime as I can get with kids.  I treat it as a job…send the kids to school then sit down and do writing-related things for the next six hours. 

  • ·         I have to say, CREED is so seamlessly written that it’s difficult to believe it’s coauthored.  How did you two begin working together?

Lindsay:  Actually, we were CP's long before we attempted to write anything together! In all honesty, co-authoring isn't something that works for everyone. It takes two people with similar work ethics, writing styles and above all - a similar vision to write together. Lucky for us, we had that! And so began the process of writing our first book. CREED is actually one of about 5 manuscripts we have written/are in the process of writing together and I think we both learn something new with each one. While we both write solo as well, writing can be a bit lonely and I'm not going to lie - it's more fun to ride the roller coaster of publishing with someone else:)

Trisha: To be completely honest, it was an experiment of sorts. I wrote the first chapter of a long-dead Dystopian and tossed it at my then CP, Lindsay, and asked her where she would go with it. She wrote the next chapter and handed it back to me. I added another chapter, tossed it back at her, and so it began. Kind of like one of those twista-plot books we all used to read in middle school. We were both working on solo projects at the time, and never really thought the ms would become anything more than a creative way to keep our minds busy. But in the end, much to our surprise, we had a decent manuscript.

  • ·         The characters in CREED are so multidimensional and interesting.  Did you base them on anyone in particular?  

Lindsay:  I can’t say we based any one character on a specific person, but we crafted our antagonist, Elijah Hawkins on our joint belief that sometimes the scariest characters are the ones that seem the most benign at first. So, of course I jump when Ghostface pops out in Scream, or when Jason emerges from the shadows, but I know exactly what I’m getting with a character like that. Slash and gore. On the other hand, a character like Elijah Hawkins isn’t particularly menacing at first. He’s smart, looks normal and seems well-balanced at first . . . until you realize he has a master plan – a really, really demented one.

Trisha:  Ahh….yeah the bat-ass crazy one is you, Marci.  No just kidding.  CREED was actually the product of a dream, or rather a nightmare, I had a few years back.  I scribbled out the first chapter at two in the morning when it was still fresh then tucked it aside, thinking someday it may turn into to something bigger. Guess it did!  

I didn’t base my characters on specific people per se, but rather common fears and emotions that we all have struggle with – fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, self-denial, anger, fear, pain. So in a way, I guess my characters are based on everyone, including myself.

  • ·         *whistles at ceiling and ignores bat-ass-crazy comment*  Glad you mentioned fear, Trisha.  Being the great wussy that I am, I read CREED with every light on. :)   Just so I can prepare myself for my next big electric bill, will there be a sequel?    

Trisha: We are currently working on Book two for Flux.  It is a contemporary YA sci-fi thriller tentatively titled HARDWIRED.  The release date is still in flux (no pun intended).  On the solo front. I have a YA contemporary SECRETS SISTERS KEEP coming out in Winter of 2015 with FSG/ Macmillan

Lindsay: *rubs hands in evil fashion* Trisha and I have plans . . . oh do we have plans. While we can’t really discuss a potential sequel to CREED at this moment– we can tell you that we’re not planning to abandon the horror arena any time soon.  Scaring is in our blood :)

  • ·         CREED is so different from other YA horror novels.  How would you classify it?

Lindsay and Trisha:  Creed is a YA psychological horror.  Not hack and slash, or bikini-wearing girls running in circles around the lake as an axe-wielding masked man chases them back into the abandoned house, but true psychological horror.  Think The Village meets Children of the Corn. 

  • ·         What advice would you give your younger self?

Lindsay:  I would tell myself to be patient, that every mistake had the potential to lead me to the right path. It’s so hard in publishing to get down on yourself, to think that every “no” is a failure when in reality those failures sometimes teach you more than your successes.

Trisha: Ahh…wear sunscreen? No, honestly I’m going steal a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, one I try to use as my guiding principal. “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” 

  • ·         One last question! Which writers have inspired you most?

Lindsay: I’m very inspired by people like Stephen King, who taught me that sometimes the scariest things in books are the things you can’t see – the whispers in the night and the shadows in the peripheral. The idea of the thing lurking is always much more frightening to me than actually seeing it and in turn, the depths that the human mind can descend to is terrifying. Helloooo The Shining?  TERRIFYING.

Trisha: Yes!!! An easy one.  Kurt Vonnegut and Edward Gorey...the Godfathers of the craft in my humble opinion.

Aaand…that’s it, folks!  

To Trisha and Lindsay, Thankyouthankyouthankyou for taking time out of your crazy schedules for this interview.  And to everyone else: if you want to learn more about these ridiculously talented ladies, you can find Trisha at http://www.trishaleaver.com/ and Lindsay at http://lindsaycurrie.com/ .   And CREED?  Add it on Goodreads, at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17720829-creed