Fearless Friday with Alexandra Sirowy & Shannon Grogan

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August YA Thriller Debuts Shannon Grogan and Alexandra Sirowy teamed up to ask their MC’s a few questions!

Introducing, Kara, the main character of FROM WHERE I WATCH YOU:

Dealing with the aftermath of betrayal, her sister’s death, and the collapse of her family, 16-year-old Kara focuses on her dreams of becoming a professional baker. Winning a national baking contest could help her escape to a prestigious culinary school.

But someone is watching.

Someone hides, follows, and leaves her creepy notes.  If she doesn’t figure out who it is, she could lose everything. Her chance of escape. The boy she’s beginning to love and trust. Even her life.

 

And, Stella, the main character of THE CREEPING:

Stella is the lucky one. When she was six, Stella and her friend Jeanie went into the woods to pick strawberries. Stella came back. Jeanie never did. Eleven years later, Stella is over it, even if whatever happened to Jeanie is still lost in her messed up memory. Stella has a summer full of cove days, best friends, and her gorgeous crush to look forward to, that is, until the fresh corpse of a little girl with eerie similarities to six-year-old Jeanie is found on the anniversary of her disappearance.

What are you most afraid of losing?

Stella: My friends! Especially my three bests, Zoey, Michaela, and Cole. I’d be lost without them.

Kara: I’m most afraid of losing my mom. She’s really all I have left. Even if she is a nut job and she drives me crazy. After everything, I guess I still need her. As long as she doesn’t turn into the mom from “Carrie”.

 

What are you afraid of that you’d never admit to aloud?

Stella: Ouija boards completely eek me out. Totally crazy, I know. I can handle the real stuff that goes bump in the night, but just whisper something like Bloody Mary to me three times in the same zip code as a mirror and I can’t sleep for a week.

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Kara: Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary! No, just kidding, Stella! I’d never admit this to anyone but you, but I’m afraid of pigeon germs. I kinda live in the city and they’re dirty and everywhere and they poop everywhere! I swear there is going to be some kind of pigeon flu outbreak. It’s gross.

Pigeons Pigeons Pigeons!

Pigeons Pigeons Pigeons!

Which scary movie or book would you cast yourself in and why?

Stella: I don’t like all those scary movies that have the girl always shrieking her head off or running the wrong direction or waiting for someone to save her.
I wouldn’t be that type of heroine. Whatever movie or book I’d be in, I’d be the one figuring things out and saving the day.

Kara: Me too, Stella. I think maybe “Silence of the Lambs”. The heroine in that was kick ass smart, in FBI training. Oh, FYI, that one is a book and a movie. Creepy!

Silence of the Lambs

Silence of the Lambs

Would you rather be covered by spiders or snakes?

Stella: Snakes for sure. Anything but spiders.

Kara: Yuck, neither! I think I agree with Stella. Snakes. At least if you stand up they will fall off. Spiders cling! Ick!

What’s your most embarrassing moment ever?

Stella: Ummm, hello? I already get enough sideways glances and stares. Invite more attention or whispers? Not gonna happen.

Kara: Ooh Stella, what secrets are you hiding? Why are people whispering about you? Hmm. Well, I try to keep mostly to myself so as not to bring attention either. But I think my most embarrassing moment was in 9th grade when I dropped an F bomb in Home Ec after I burned my hand pulling cookies out of the oven. That wasn’t really the embarrassing part though, the embarrassing part was Mr. King making me repeat it and spell it on the white board, and then use it in a sentence. And then giving me a detention.

 

Shannon writer photo crop 2Shannon Grogan teaches 2nd grade by day, and writes at Starbucks while her kids are at ballet and baseball. If she can stay off Twitter and stay awake, she writes at night, in a tiny logging town near Seattle, Washington. Her debut, FROM WHERE I WATCH YOU, will be published by Soho Teen, August 2015.
Alexandra Sirowy PhotoAlexandra Sirowy is the author of THE CREEPING, a debut thriller for young adults coming August 18th, 2015 from Simon and Schuster’s Books for Young Readers. To learn more, visit Alexandrasirowy.com or follow her on Twitter.

Introducing: Kim Savage

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I’ve scared away the sweet old man again.

Explaining why nice people flee me seems like a good way to introduce myself. I’m Kim Savage, and I write psychological thrillers for young adults. My novel AFTER THE WOODS will be released by Farrar, Straus & Giroux/MacMillan in 2015, and a second, stand-alone thriller, CELLOPHANE SISTERS (working title) will be released in 2016.

You see, when I write, especially first-draft stuff, I look like a keening witch doctor. I sway as I type, and whisper, looking for lyricism. Working my way into a trance, I tap with grand, oversized strokes, closing my eyes to envision scenes. I read dialogue in character, making sure it sounds authentic. Sometimes, I model my characters’ actions. What does Deborah look like when Shane shows up in Liv’s hospital room? Does she draw in her chin? If so, would her waddle flatten and spread? Wait, I can check this on my mirror app! Oh yeah: major spread. It all adds up to one freaky scene, made worse by the fact that I write in my public library. Choose another table, sweet old man who scans the Globe every morning. Vodoun priestess is in da house!

The magic started when I stalked my dream agent, Sara Crowe, at a Society of Children’s Books Writers & Illustrators retreat and signed with her a month later. She sold my book in a pre-empt to Janine O’Malley at FSG, which I’m pretty sure is entered through pearly white gates inlaid with gold. Next time I’m in NYC, I’m checking that out.

I live with my husband and youngish kids just north of Boston. I’ve spent most of my life as an introvert in disguise, because extroverts have more fun. Though I’ve had careers in journalism and development, writing fiction is the only thing I’ve truly wanted to do. So I shake my head over the fact that I get to write, tics in full force, every single day.

I’m starting to suspect all this conjuration has sparked some supernatural mischief. Because during the last few weeks, my novel has been haunting me.

By way of background: in AFTER THE WOODS, a man tries to abduct Julia and her best friend, Liv. One year later, everything is turned upside down. Liv freezes out Julia, whose terrifying flashbacks of the attack make reassimilating to high school life impossible. When Liv’s risqué new habits include Shane Cuthbert, a violent addict whose temper Liv cultivates, Julia realizes she must remember what really happened that day in the woods before she loses Liv forever.

Back to the magic. Recently, while watching the news, I saw my opportunistic reporter, Paula Papademetriou—not all of her, just her man-hands—attached to a local newscaster.

Last month, I was eased off the road by Shane Cuthbert’s matte black muscle car.

On the same road, I pulled over to send a text and saw the house my predator, Donald Jessup, lives in with his mother. The brown vinyl siding, the yellow mail exploding from the mailbox, the frayed lawn chairs were all there.

Shiver.

I think I know what’s up. I’ve been going hard at Novel Two, and my first baby will not be ignored. The doppelganger body parts and suspiciously similar settings are just Novel One’s way of reminding me it’s there. After all, you can’t summon magic and expect it to stay dormant (see “Frozen”).

AFTER THE WOODS began with flipping a question. Would you sacrifice yourself to save your best friend? Then: would you sacrifice your best friend to save yourself? What follows isn’t easy. Neither are my characters. I’m with Clare Messud when she asks, “The relevant question isn’t ‘is this a potential friend for me?’ but ‘is this character alive?’ ”

I want readers to care as deeply about Julia and Liv as I do. About them, if not for them. Understand their hard choices, then agree, or disagree. Ultimately, I hope my characters come alive for readers, which would, in fact, be a little bit of magic.

I’d love to hear from you, especially about your favorite “tough” YA characters. Tweet me @khsavage

 

Kim Savage is the author of AFTER THE WOODS, a debut psychological thriller for young adults coming in 2015 with Farrar, Straus and Giroux/MacMillan. She is working on CELLOPHANE SISTERS (working title), also with FSG/MacMillan, her second thriller for young adults. Before writing fiction, she worked as business journalist, pitching stories along the lines of “Stigmatized Properties: When Murder Kills Property Values”. You get the idea.