Today the author I’m lucky enough to feature is:
Why do I think Gretchen is a rock star?
She made me not only want to read horror but actually like it, want to read more, AND start planning my own horror book. I’m not going to lie to you, I’m a big ole chicken when it comes to horror movies so horror books are an option that I’ve ignored because my imagination is 10 times more terrifying that what I can watch. But reading Gretchen’s book Possess? I was hooked! Not only does she write a great scary story, she gives back to her fans. Like we say in the South “she’s good people” and I hope I’m lucky enough to meet her one day.
First up is the Q & A portion of the post!
So far all of your books have been in the YA horror genre. Did you find it easier or harder to start in a genre that isn’t heavily represented in YA right now? Was it an easy transition to switch to contemp for your upcoming series? I think writing horror has been an incredibly freeing experience. Because there isn’t a lot of it out there, I get some freedom in what I write – I don’t have to worry about whether or not something’s been “done” or if I’ll be compared to BOOK X or BOOK Y. I get to fly under the radar a little bit. The contemporary came more easily than I was expecting. I think TEN helped pave the way for me in the genre, in that there’s no magic, no sci fi, no monsters in a dialogue-heavy novel with a lot of characters. GET EVEN was a little scary because there even MORE characters – four main POV characters plus a half dozen love interests, a handful of friends and obligatory adults running around. But I had so much fun with it, and I hope that’s imparted to the reader.
For your book Ten there was a major push from your fans (myself included) to help promote your book since several stores were not going to carry it. Was this a positive experience for you to see your fans helping get the word out there? I cannot imagine a more positive experience in all of publishing. I was utterly blown away by the level of grass roots support for me and my book. TEN has sold very well, and I attribute a huge portion of its success to the ground swell from The Army of Ten. You guys were a live saver, plain and simple.
Have you always thought about writing/becoming an author? What was the first major step towards starting that made it feel official? I actually never thought about being a writer until about six years ago. Since the time I could walk, I always wanted to be a performer – first a dancer, then as I got older as an opera singer. That didn’t pan out quite as I’d hope (not for lack of trying, but some things aren’t meant to be) and I set that dream aside. The writing was almost a fluke. I was going through a very painful divorce and feeling lost and rudderless. I woke up one day and said, “I’m going to write a novel!” having never written anything before in my life. I did, and it was horrible. But I found I was absolutely addicted to storytelling, and so I improved, found a genre that fit my style, and BOOM! Here we are.
To get slightly off book topic, I absolutely love your style! All of your dresses and shoe pictures on twitter are adorable!! Where can we (ok maybe me) find them? God, I love to shop. I really, really do. Although I used to hate it. I am not and never have been a skinny girl. I’m 5’2″ and a 14/16 with a big rack, so finding clothes that fit and are flattering as always been a challenge. I could never wear the latest trends, so I had to make my own style. My wardrobe is a mixture of ModCloth.com, Anthropologie, Banana Republic (mostly for work dresses) UniqueVintage.com. I’ve learned what styles work for me, and what doesn’t. And I’m not afraid to order things and send them back if they don’t work! As for shoes, I love Zappos. In fact, I love them so much they’ve made me a VIP member. I…buy a lot of shoes.
What has been your favorite memory/moment so far with fans? (A certain experience that just stuck out.) There have been so many. My fans have been very good to me. I think the one that stands out was the moment I realized I had fans. It was at BEA 2012 and I was signing ARCs of TEN. I showed up early with my editor and ran into my friend Victoria Schwab who said, “Um, have you seen your line?” I said, “Oh, no. No one showed up.” Apparently, the opposite. There was this massive line of fans who’d been there for over an hour. I could not believe they were actually there for me, so my editor walked over to confirm. Yep, the Gretchen McNeil line. I was instantly nauseous. And I don’t think I truly believed they were there for my book until I started signing. Afterward, I cried.
What is your favorite book this year that you think is a must read for everyone? I just finished THE BURNING SKY by Sherry Thomas, out – ironically – the same day as 3:59, and also from Balzer + Bray. Its epic fantasy, and a historical, and a book about magic. And creatures. And love. I was totally hooked.
Now on to the books!
Gretchen has not one, not two, but three great books I was lucky enough to read. (There will be more, I know for a fact.:P)
First up let’s look at her upcoming release, 3:59
Josie Byrne’s life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend Nick has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she’s betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can’t get worse. Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time—3:59 a.m. Jo’s life is everything Josie wants: she’s popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they’re just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror – Jo. Josie and Jo realize that they are doppelgängers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo’s perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to jump through the portal and switch places for a day. But Jo’s world is far from perfect. Not only is Nick not Jo’s boyfriend, he hates her. Jo’s mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh. By the end of the day, Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there’s a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it’s too late?
I’m beyond excited to share my review for this one and you will see it up on the blog in the upcoming weeks!
Gretchen has two other FABULOUS books out that if you haven’t already read you should definitely check out. Click on the photos to check out their goodreads link and the title for my review! Possess Ten
Want to know more about Gretchen?
Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, writer and clown. Her YA horror POSSESS about a teen exorcist debuted with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins in 2011. Her follow up TEN – YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer – was released September 18, 2012, and her third novel 3:59 – sci fi doppelganger horror about two girls who are the same girl in parallel dimensions who decide to switch places – is scheduled for Fall 2013. Gretchen’s new YA contemporary series Don’t Get Mad (Revenge meets The Breakfast Club) about four very different girls who form a secret society where they get revenge on bullies and mean girls begins Fall 2014 with GET EVEN, followed by the sequel GET DIRTY in 2015, also with Balzer + Bray. Gretchen also contributed an essay to the Dear Teen Me anthology from Zest Books. Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4’s Code Monkeys and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. Gretchen blogs with The Enchanted Inkpot and is a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels where she can be seen as “Monday.” She is repped by Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown, Ltd.