There are lots of new things going on with my blog! I just switched to WordPress and I’m slowly unraveling its mysteries. I’m also starting a new series where I interview debut YA authors. If you’re a debut YA author and you want to be interviewed, learn more here.
Today I’m super excited to introduce my first interview-ee ever: Jennifer Walkup, author of SECOND VERSE.
Bad things come in threes. In Shady Springs, that includes murder.
Lange Crawford’s move to Shady Springs, Pennsylvania, lands her a group of awesome friends, a major crush on songwriter Vaughn, and life in a haunted, 200-year-old farmhouse. It also brings The Hunt: an infamous murder mystery festival where students solve a fake, gruesome murder scheme during the week of Halloween. Well, supposedly fake.
Weeks before The Hunt, Lange and her friends hold a séance in the farmhouse’s eerie barn. When a voice rushes through, whispering haunting words that only she and Vaughn can hear, Lange realizes it’s begging for help. The mysterious voice leads Lange and Vaughn to uncover letters and photos left behind by a murdered girl, Ginny, and they become obsessed with her story and the horrifying threats that led to her murder.
Murder Yet to Come
But someone doesn’t like their snooping, and Lange and Vaughn begin receiving the same threats that Ginny once did. The mysterious words from the barn become crucial to figuring out Ginny’s past and their own, and how closely the two are connected. They must work fast to uncover the truth or risk finding out if history really does repeat itself.
SECOND VERSE came out nine days ago. I just started reading it and I can tell you right now that it’s the perfect October book – I may or may not have forgotten to study for a test last night because I was so sucked in.
Ladies and gentlemen, here is the fabulous author, Jennifer Walkup!
Why don’t we start by having you tell us a little bit about the inspiration for SECOND VERSE? Was there a particular 200-year-old farmhouse that frightened you as a kid?
There was no farmhouse as a kid, but when my husband and I were house hunting we did look at a particular farmhouse that made me shiver. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t inspire some of the details in Second Verse.
As for the inspiration for the novel, it went through a million drafts before becoming the final book it is today, but it did start with a teeny kernel of an idea, inspired in part by the anniversary of the death of a very famous musician (it’s a long story, and I have it posted on my site http://www.jenniferwalkup.com/#!second-verse-extras/c1yhf). I don’t want to give too much away, but I started asking myself lots of questions about what is here around us in this life, and what happens to us after all this. I was inspired by all the different possibilities.
I love the title SECOND VERSE. Where did it come from?
Book titles are so hard and Second Verse went through many. But the title is one that works on many levels. In part it refers to the musical storylines that are woven throughout, but it also works thematically on a few levels. But that’s all I can say on that without giving anything away.
I can’t get enough of ghost stories and mysteries – my favorite ghost movie is THE ORPHANAGE. What’s your favorite scary movie or book?
Oooh, I’m not sure. I devoured Poe and King when I was younger. The atmosphere in Fall of the House of Usher is unparalleled, in my opinion, and there are many Stephen King books and movies that have given me nightmares! I love Misery and Carrie and It for movies, and too many of his books to list. So many of them were just awesome in their terrifyingness (did I just make up a word? I believe I may have!) Overall, I’m not too impressed with newer scary movies, but Paranormal Activity was pretty frightening!
How do you get in the mood to write a spooky book? Any eerie music or favorite secluded writing spots?
If I’m writing daily (which I try and do when drafting, but am not always successful), I can usually stay in the mood of the story. I don’t listen to music while writing, but I have playlists for each book that I sometimes listen to before writing and often when I’m revising). Here’s a link to my playlist for Second Verse (http://www.jenniferwalkup.com/#!second-verse-extras/c1yhf). Some of it’s just music I like, but a lot of it is instrumentals and other creepy tunes.
There’s a satisfying romance in SECOND VERSE as well. Do you think there’s anything about a mystery or a ghost story that helps a romance develop in a book?
Well going through scary or traumatic events together certainly provides a good opportunity to get close, and quickly. In the case of Lange and Vaughn, they go through way more than a new couple should ever have to. I’m sure it’s not the easiest way to start a relationship, but their many discoveries lead them down paths together that I’m sure they don’t mind being on.
What is it about young adult fiction that drew you in as a writer?
I have written fiction for a variety of ages, but young adult is where my author voice and stories seem to have the best fit. I love exploring the YA time of life and all that comes along with it. There is so much good stuff happening in YA fiction, it’s a really fun place to be right now.
We all know how hard it is to write a book. Was there ever a time when you seriously considered giving up on your writing dream, and what made you decide to stick to it?
Despite how difficult both writing and publishing are, I don’t think I’ve ever seriously considered giving up. Writing is really ingrained in me, it’s such a part of who I am, I don’t think I could ever just stop doing it. Publishing is tough, there is no doubt about it, but I’ve always just kept pushing through. If you quit, it will never happen, if you try, you at least know it might.
Can you tell us anything about your future projects? Any more ghosts in your future?
Well right now I’m working on revisions for the Second Verse sequel, so yeah, lots more creepiness in the immediate future. After that, who knows where my next idea will take me!
Thanks so much for having me here on your blog!
Thank YOU for writing such a deliciously eerie book. 🙂
Also, you can follow her on Twitter @JennWalkup. She’s hilarious.