Hello everyone! I’m very excited to be interviewing the author of The Devils You Know, M.C. Atwood. Her newest release The Devils You Know is the perfect fall read if you’re into ridiculously creepy stories; we’ll be discussing favorite cliches, inspiration, writing tips and more in todays interview.
The Devils You Know by M.C. Atwood
Genre: YA Thriller
Page Length: 288
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2017
Publisher: Soho Teen
Summary from Goodreads:
Plenty of legends surround the infamous Boulder House in Whispering Bluffs, Wisconsin, but nobody takes them seriously. Certainly nobody believes that the original owner, Maxwell Cartwright Jr., cursed its construction—or that a murder of crows died upon its completion, their carcasses turning the land black. If anyone did believe it all, there’s no way River Red High would offer a field trip there for the senior class.
Five very different seniors on the trip—Violet, Paul, Ashley, Dylan, and Gretchen—have reasons beyond school spirit for not ditching the trip. When they’re separated from the group, they discover that what lies within Boulder House is far more horrifying than any local folklore. To survive, they’ll have to band together in ways they never could have imagined and ultimately confront the truths of their darkest selves.
1. What would you say are some of the challenges of writing a horror novel?
Not scaring myself so badly I can’t finish writing it! Well, that, and knowing what to include and what not to include. The danger has to be real and visceral, but sometimes the scariest things are those we can’t see, so finding that balance can be tricky.
2. I know that writers usually have a ton of story ideas so my question is; as an author how do you decide which story to develop?
Such a good question—my issue is deciding which idea to choose, for sure! Sometimes I have to write a chapter or so to realize I just don’t want to go any further with it. With a novel, you HAVE to be interested in what’s going to happen next—you have to love your idea when you start and keep loving it as it unfolds. Otherwise, it’s way too hard to stick it out. So, an idea has to have a lot of questions and suspense (even for me) as I write it to stick it out for the long haul.
3. Could you describe the exact moment that inspiration struck for The Devils You Know?
(image credit vicenews)
Yes—the minute I walked into the tourist attraction called The House on the Rock. My friend Natalie took me there and I fell in love. It’s the absolute inspiration for my book and when I landed on the characters and the story line, I was just thrilled. The house is built for a horror novel (though there’s nothing horrible about it—it’s so great!). It sparked the storyline almost immediately, and away I went. Everyone should go there—it’s the coolest place ever. Neil Gaiman included it (specifically, the world’s largest carousel) in his book AMERICAN GODS.
4.What is your favorite line in The Devils You Know?
“A person could really get used to swearing.” I know I wrote it, but it’s so, so true.
5. How do you overcome writing roadblocks (i.e. lack of inspiration, difficult scenes, character development, etc…)?
My biggest roadblock is time, frankly. And for that, it’s a matter of forcing myself to sit down and write. Sometimes that just can’t happen . . . But sometimes, it’s important to be your own drill sergeant. Also, this is where that “you have to love an idea a lot” thing comes in. When I was writing DEVILS, I missed not writing it. So, it became a treat to do it. That doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it’s great.
6. What did researching The Devils You Know involve? Was there a ton of movie marathoning?
There was definitely spooky movie marathoning. And how cool is it that writers get to do that as research? SO cool. Also a lot of reading. Also a few visits to The House on the Rock to look at the rooms. Another part of the research was figuring out how bodies move. So many of the scenes are physical, so there was a lot of “How would you move in water if you’d just been slapped by a squid tentacle?” . . . Did I mention I love my job?
7. What are your favorite horror novel clichés and did you make sure to include a few in The Devils You Know?
I love the little kid voices cliché. I mean, I love it. But I didn’t include that in DEVILS. However, sentient dolls? Check. Creepy, spider-y demon? Check. Red-swirling eyes? Check, check. I had a lot of fun with these things.
8. Can you summarize The Devils You Know in six words?
Dudes: don’t go in that House.
9. What are you currently working on right now?
I’m working on a sci-fi novel, which I’ve never done before. I’m loving the idea so far! Now just to find the time to write it . . . 🙂
About the Author:
M.C. Atwood is a creative writing professor at Rowan University in New Jersey. She has been an active member of the kidlit community since 2000, speaking at conferences, leading writing workshops, and emceeing events whenever she can. She is a bona fide cat addict and a lover of all things horror. The Devils You Know is her first novel.
See what she’s up to at www.mc-atwood.com.