Very rarely do I get excited about paranormal novels involving ghosts, but when I heard about today's featured novel I couldn't help but freak out over the fact that something like this was going to be published, especially for the YA world. Actually today's author is one of the first I contact, asking if they would be available for an interview, and luckily she was! What author am I talking about? Courtney Alameda! A 2015 debut YA horror author!
Peace, Love, Teen Fiction: I’ll give you an easy question so you can warm up: Describe Shutter in up to 10 words.
Courtney Alameda: We’ll go for alliteration: Girls, guys, ghosts, guns, gore, and grit.
PLTF: Normally I don’t ask about covers because I know authors have no control over them, but can you explain what that black thing on your cover is?
CA: The black thing you’re referring to is the novel’s ghost, actually. When my editor sent me the cover comp, I was hesitant about the artwork—mostly because horror projects rarely feature their monsters on covers or promotional materials. However, I’m grateful now as I think it entices the right audience and warns away anyone not looking for a good scare. (Plus, I’m thankful they didn’t put a girl in a pretty dress on the cover—Micheline wouldn’t be caught dead in a ballgown.)
PLTF: If Micheline was real and you were undead what color would your aura be and why? And would you be corporeal or spiritual.
CA: I’d choose to be a ghost, which means my aura would be violet. Not only is violet one of my favorite colors, but as a horror author, I imagine I’d enjoy spending my afterlife frightening people.
PLTF: Where did the idea of the soulchain curse come from?
CA: That’s a really good question! SHUTTER went through roughly four drafts before selling, and the only constants between the drafts were the camera and the curse. In all the drafts, the curse had a visual representation under Micheline’s skin; however, in the fourth draft I decided the curse needed to look like chains made of ghostlight, which fit with Micheline’s abilities and the book’s theme of revenge “shackling” an offended party to the offending one. So, I suppose it was a symbolic choice as opposed to a creative idea.
PLTF: What’s next?
CA: I currently have two short stories set in the SHUTTER-verse on their way to publication: the first is TRIGGER, which is the story of the reaping of the Embarcadero Scissorclaw (one of the defining moments in Micheline’s life), which will be available on Tor.com soon. The other short story is called FIXER, and is a story told from Ryder’s perspective on the days following Micheline’s mother’s and brothers’ deaths.
I’m also currently writing a new novel, though it’s currently under siege by a very tantalizing and exciting new idea . . .
1. On a scale of 1 to 10 how scary is your book?
For me, it’s a 4 or a 5. For some readers, it’s been a 10.
2. If you were a character in your book would you survive?
Probably not, I’m only good with fictional guns.
3. Favorite scary movie?
ALIEN or CABIN IN THE WOODS
4. Favorite Halloween candy?
5. What were you last year for Halloween or what do you plan on being this year?
I love getting dressed up—half my closet is costumes, wigs, and props! Last year I cosplayed as Lara Croft; this year I’ll probably do steampunk Snow White.
This or That
1. Corporeal or spiritual?
2. Alive or undead?
3. Hunting ghosts or developing the technology to hunt them?
4. Seeing auras or predicting death?
5. Tricks or treats?
Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.
When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying.
Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.
OUT FEBRUARY 3, 2015
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Courtney Alameda’s career has been spent in and around books. She holds a B.A. in English Literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Brigham Young University, spent seven years working for Barnes & Noble, and currently works as an Adult & Teen Services librarian at the Provo City Library. Her forthcoming novel, SHUTTER (winter 2015, Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan), is a tale spawned in part by Bram Stoker’s DRACULA, in part by her experiences both paranormal and not-so-paranormal, and features a cast of monsters inspired by everything from Japanese folklore to survival horror video games.
Courtney is represented by John M. Cusick of Greenhouse Literary. A Northern California native, she now resides in Utah.
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Courtney has graciously donated one of her beloved ARCs AND a necklace for me to give away! Do you know how crazy jealous I will be of whoever wins this giveaway? I'm serious, how unethical is it to enter your own giveaway cause you guys, I'm totally considering it. Although in the end I shall leave it to you all to enter. The giveaway will run for two weeks and is US only! Make sure to leave Courtney lots of love in the comment section!