Wednesday, October 8, 2014

YA Horror/Thriller Spooktacular Day 6 - Fiendish

Today I have the honor on interviewing another veteran YA horror author whose debut novel came out four years ago and subsequently hit the NYT bestseller list.  She has since written three other books, her newest one being about a girl who got trapped in a cellar for 10 years.  Please welcome Brenna Yovanoff!

Peace, Love, Teen Ficiton:  Ill start simple; describe Fiendish in no more than 10 of your own words.

Brenna Yovanoff:  Girl wakes from magic sleep, monsters and kissing ensue.

PLTF:  Your novels are different but they all have a sort of gothic element to them, why do you include that in the stories?

BY:  Ive been an avid horror fan for well, basically my whole life. I saw my first true horror movie when I was five, and it was completely mindblowing. I loved everything about the concept of being scared for FUN, and Ive been fixated on all things frightening ever since.

PLTF:  What was the weirdest/creepiest thing you researched when writing this novel?

BY:  The weirdest? Definitely catfish. I mean, Fiendish is a very locale-specific book, and so I spent a ton of time researching hill magic, and regional legends, and folk traditions of the Ozarks, and still, the weirdest thing I ever came across? Catfish. I probably watched fifteen youtube videos of people fishing for them, just because they are so smooth and strange and whiskery.

PLTF:  Youve written about a variety of paranormal phenomenon, how do you decide what to write about and do you have a favorite?

BY:  For me, story ideas tend to be less about exploring a particular phenomenon, and more about playing around with ideas in order to invent some sort of weird situation. Even though I always seem to wind up writing about some type of paranormal element, I never feel like I specifically pick the element for its own sake. Its more like every one of my stories has started with the idea of a person who has some sort of problem, and the nature of that problem tells me about their world. Clementine has lost almost everythingher home, her family, ten years of her lifeand now her journey is to figure out what could possibly be so bad that the only option was to bury her.

PLTF:  Whats next?

BY:  My next book is a little bit of a departure from my others. I mean, I guess you could say that pretty much everything Ive written has been a departure from what came before it, so I really need to be more specific.  My next book is kind of a LOT of a departure from my others.  Its a story about insomnia and emotional intimacy, with a dollop of sly, secret cynicism, and more love-story than I have ever written. Its currently called FOURTEEN DREAMS, and comes out from Delacorte in 2016.
Lightning round
1.  On a scale of 1 to 10 how scary is your book?

Well, I think Fiendish is kind of adventuresome more than scary, so Id say maybe a 4 or 5? However. Ive been told that normal people dont use the word adventuresome to describe supernatural floods or venomous dogs or the end of the world, so probably at least a 7.

2.  If you were a character in your book would you survive?

Am I myself? Because maybe yes. I mean, I like to think I would.  Am I [spoiler] or [spoiler] or maybe [spoiler]? Because then its not looking so good.
3.  Favorite scary movie?

So, so (so) many, so Im going to have to say Cabin in the Woods, because its really good and charming and terrifying and I just like that it has so many favorite scary movies too.

4.  Favorite Halloween candy?

Candy corn. I know, I know, there is something so terribly wrong with me. Like, its not even real candyit is literally nothing but sugar, wax, and several kinds of dye, but I cant help it. CANDY CORN.

5.  What were you last year for Halloween or what do you plan on being this year?

My last halloween costume was Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange and also sort of a ballerina. I had a black bowler hat and a false eyelash and a tutu and my sisters steel-toed boots from when she was in AmeriCorps.
This or that
1.  Be trapped in the cellar or find that person?

Find them, definitely! There are a lot of spiders in that cellar.

2.  Find out what happened or get as far away as possible?

Get out of dodge. Like, I am tempted to make myself sound heroic? But I am not actually that heroic.
3.  A haunted place or a haunted person?

A haunted place, because you can avoid it without hurting its feelings.

4.  Small towns or big cities?

Cities. My favorite thing when we moved out of Arkansas was that there were movie theaters everywhere!

5.  Tricks or treats?

Treats. Treats that look like bloody, viscous hearts made of out of cake!

Happy October, and thanks so much for having me!

Clementine DeVore spent ten years trapped in a cellar, pinned down by willow roots, silenced and forgotten.

Now she’s out and determined to uncover who put her in that cellar and why. 

When Clementine was a child, dangerous and inexplicable things started happening in New South Bend. The townsfolk blamed the fiendish people out in the Willows and burned their homes to the ground. But magic kept Clementine alive, walled up in the cellar for ten years, until a boy named Fisher sets her free. Back in the world, Clementine sets out to discover what happened all those years ago. But the truth gets muddled in her dangerous attraction to Fisher, the politics of New South Bend, and the Hollow, a fickle and terrifying place that seems increasingly temperamental ever since Clementine reemerged.

Find Fiendish on

Brenna's novels include The ReplacementThe Space Between, and Paper Valentine. They are all available from Razorbill/Penguin Group.
Here are some things about her (not book-related):
She's good at soccer, violent video games, and making very flaky pie pastry.
She's bad at dancing, making decisions, and inspiring confidence as an authority figure. She suspects this is because she's short, and also terrible at sounding as though she has any idea what she's talking about.
Find Brenna on


  1. Great interview! I love Brenna's books and I really need to get Fiendish soon. I mean, it's October, how could I not? ^^
    And I wish I could have seen that Alex costume. A droogish ballerina. So awesome.

  2. I've got to add that the cover is EPIC!! Can't wait to read :D

  3. Mary DeBorde
    Gotta also add that we really enjoyed the movie Cabin In The Woods, too - that movie was funny, terrifying, mind-twisting and all around awesome lol