close

The Qwillery | category: Ballantine Books

home

The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

qwillery.blogspot.com

Interview with Alexandra Oliva, author of The Last One


Please welcome Alexandra Oliva to The Qwillery as part of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Last One was published on July 12th by Ballantine Books.



Interview with Alexandra Oliva, author of The Last One




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Alexandra:  As a kid I didn't keep much of a diary, but I often retreated to the woods behind my house with pen and paper or stayed up late filling notebooks with stories. In that way, I've been writing for as long as I can remember. Then, in college, I realized that while I could probably perform perfectly well in any number of professions, I didn't care about anything else as much as I cared about writing. Not knowing what else to do, I started pursuing writing straight after graduation. I had jobs, of course--waitressing, tutoring, a dash of office work--but I always identified as a writer above all else and my goal was to be traditionally published. It wasn't easy--it took three manuscripts, a decade of trying, and a heck of a lot of heartache--but I made it.

As for why: Words are the only medium through which I've ever been able to create anything even close to what I imagined possible. Writing has also always felt like the only way I could contribute something uniquely me to the world. Besides, it's fun! I'm following a selfish impulse, really.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Alexandra:  I fall somewhere in the middle; I tend to have a few key moments in mind from the beginning of the writing process and then I bushwhack from one to the next. I'd liken it to having a treasure map with a few Xs marked, but there's no trail and the terrain is a mystery--at the beginning, at least.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Alexandra:  When I start a new piece of writing I sometimes get annoyed at myself because the prose doesn't feel like it's coming out polished enough. That's natural of course--it's a first draft. But when I've just spent weeks/months/years fine-tuning another project, it's sometimes difficult to readjust to churning out first-draft level writing. I often have to remind myself that it's through revision that I will really get the chance to achieve what I hope to achieve.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Alexandra:  I think my somewhat odd childhood is my biggest influence, really. I grew up in an extremely secluded mountain town where I had a lot of freedom to just be. As shy and quiet as I was, I somehow never felt insecure about my off-kilter-for-a-girl interests (video games, sci-fi and fantasy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)--I just loved what I loved. I also had a lot of time and space to be bored, which is great for developing creativity. When you have only one TV channel and the only thing on is golf, you find other ways to entertain yourself. I think that's where the core of my writing comes from--entertaining myself through reading and writing SFF as a kid. As I've gotten older and more "worldly," my interests have expanded; I've become more aware of what other really cool literature exists out there and become more interested in beautiful prose for the sake of beautiful prose. That's why in my writing I try to meld pretty writing with exciting plots--because I love both.



TQDescribe The Last One in 140 characters or less.

Alexandra:  A woman is on a reality TV show when disaster strikes, and she thinks it's all just part of the show.



TQTell us something about The Last One that is not found in the book description.

Alexandra:  It includes Reddit-inspired message boards, which were really, really fun to write.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Last One? What appealed to you about writing a novel that deals with reality TV and an apocalyptic / post-apocalyptic setting?

Alexandra:  I've always loved apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stories, anything involving impending doom and disaster--one of the earliest I can remember reading was Lucifer's Hammer. Growing up I also read a ton of science fiction and epic fantasy, which wasn't technically apocalyptic, but often involved a hero racing to stop evil from either taking over the world or ending the world. I'm not sure why those stories appealed to me so much, but I think some of it is rooted in the fact that I was such a mouse as a child. I wanted to be more like the brave characters featured in these stories--the more rogue-like the better. However, the books I grew up on tended to be very black-and white, good-versus-evil. That kind of dichotomy no longer appeals to me, but I still love the excitement and emotion inherent to a character's facing the possibility (or actuality) of their world being destroyed.

Regarding reality TV... I don't know. I never had any particular desire to write about reality television. When the idea for this book came to me, it was more about wanting to find a way to really mess with a character's head. I loved the idea of not only using the setup of a potentially apocalyptic event, but giving the main character reason to believe that what was going on around her might not be real--without making her blatantly insane. That's where the reality show came in. This of course meant I had to design and write a reality show, and I figured that if I was going to do that I might as well go all out and have fun with it.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Last One?

Alexandra:  I took several wilderness survival classes, including a fourteen-day field course with the Boulder Outdoor Survival School, a fantastic outfit in southern Utah. It was an incredibly intense and amazing experience that really helped me flavor the book with the detail and realism I wanted. While I was writing The Last One, I also liked to joke that whenever I wasted an afternoon binging on episodes of Mantracker or The Colony it was okay because I was doing "research." With those particular shows there's an argument to be made that that was true, but that argument gets mighty weak when applied to things like Masterchef...



TQIn The Last One who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Alexandra:  I don't know if he was the easiest to write, but I probably had the most fun with Exorcist. He's the wild-card contestant on the reality show and very happily plays the part. He does some pretty ridiculous stuff, which was really fun to write. The hardest was Zoo, the main character. Half the tale is from her first-person perspective, which I'd never written in before. There's some pretty intense psychological stuff going on with her, and it took me a long time and many tries to get that aspect of the story where I wanted it to be.



TQWhich question about The Last One do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Alexandra:

Q: Do you think researching and writing this book has affected how you would act in the event of a natural (or unnatural) disaster?

A: Yup! Mostly in that when it comes to the initial survival phase, I wouldn't worry about food at all. A person can function for a surprisingly long time without food, but being without shelter or water can kill you awfully quickly in the right--or more accurately, wrong--circumstances. That's why I now keep a stash of water purification tablets and drops in my house. I'm not a prepper; I don't bank on the worst coming to pass and I certainly don't want it to--but if it does, I really don't want dirty water to be what gets me.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Last One.

Alexandra:

1) The first one on the production team to die will be the editor.

2) They'll wait until I'm asleep--or nearly asleep--to strike. That's how they do it; they blur the line between reality and nightmare. They give me bad dreams, and then they make them come true.



TQWhat's next?

Alexandra:  This is my debut and it took me eleven years to get here, so right now my full attention is on sending this book out into the world. Once things with The Last One quiet down and I'm able to reclaim some mental space, I'm looking forward to settling in to work on my next book.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Alexandra:  My pleasure! Thanks so much for having me.





The Last One
Ballantine Books, July 12, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

Interview with Alexandra Oliva, author of The Last One
Survival is the name of the game as the line blurs between reality TV and reality itself in Alexandra Oliva’s fast-paced novel of suspense.

She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.

It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.

Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.

But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.

Sophisticated and provocative, The Last One is a novel that forces us to confront the role that media plays in our perception of what is real: how readily we cast our judgments, how easily we are manipulated.





About Alexandra

Interview with Alexandra Oliva, author of The Last One
Photo © Lynn Paul
Alexandra Oliva was born and raised in upstate New York. She has a BA in history from Yale University and an MFA in creative writing from The New School. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. The Last One is her first novel.

Website
Twitter @ali_oliva
Facebook



2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Last One by Alexandra Oliva


2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Last One by Alexandra Oliva


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge.


Alexandra Oliva

The Last One
Ballantine Books, July 12, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Last One by Alexandra Oliva
Survival is the name of the game as the line blurs between reality TV and reality itself in Alexandra Oliva’s fast-paced novel of suspense.

She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.

It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.

Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.

But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.

Sophisticated and provocative, The Last One is a novel that forces us to confront the role that media plays in our perception of what is real: how readily we cast our judgments, how easily we are manipulated.

Review: House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy


House of Echoes
Author:  Brendan Duffy
Publisher:  Ballantine Books, April 14, 2015
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages
List Price:  US$26.00 (print) $13.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780804178112 (print); 9780804178129 (eBook)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Review: House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy
In this enthralling and atmospheric thriller, one young family’s dream of a better life is about to become a nightmare.

Ben and Caroline Tierney and their two young boys are hoping to start over. Ben has hit a dead end with his new novel, Caroline has lost her banking job, and eight-year-old Charlie is being bullied at his Manhattan school.

When Ben inherits land in the village of Swannhaven, in a remote corner of upstate New York, the Tierneys believe it’s just the break they need, and they leave behind all they know to restore a sprawling estate. But as Ben uncovers Swannhaven’s chilling secrets and Charlie ventures deeper into the surrounding forest, strange things begin to happen. The Tierneys realize that their new home isn’t the fresh start they needed . . . and that the village’s haunting saga is far from over.

House of Echoes is a novel that shows how sometimes the ties that bind us are the only things that can keep us whole.



Deb's Review

In Brendan Duffy’s gothic-style mystery novel, House of Echoes, The Drop is a plateau set between two mountains near the Adirondacks in upstate New York. It is a unique setting for the storied home, The Crofts. Dating back to the early 1700s, The Crofts is an imposing four story estate whose blank windows have seen much suffering in the fields and forests in her sight.

The village of Swannhaven is a close-knit community run by families who have lived in the shadow of the mountains back to the Revolutionary War. Times have been tough for this remote village. They've experienced recurring cattle death, great fires, punishing weather, starvation, poisoned water, and farming families hit hard by the economy. But the long surviving “Winter Families” take care of their own. Newcomers Ben and Caroline Tierney are determined to turn The Crofts into a fabulous inn and perhaps spark a reversal of fortune for all. Ben’s lineage goes back to one of Swannhaven’s founding families, so he and Caroline and their young sons Charlie and Bub are welcomed into the fold, enthusiastically by some and, in proper Yankee tradition, more grudgingly by others.

Told in multiple points of view, we see the Tierney’s troubled marriage, the process of renovations on The Crofts, and the cast of villagers through the eyes of Ben, Caroline and eight year old Charlie. It is Ben’s thoughts that we are most often privy to, but Charlie’s curious and secret adventures underscore that something is most assuredly not right in their isolated woodland.

A layer of history is added by way of letters written by a former resident mostly in 1777, relating a grim and despairing companion tale in tandem with the primary story. The scattered clues slowly reveal a picture of looming crisis – “can you see it?” The experiences and impressions that the main characters don't share with each other create a level of tension for the all-knowing reader as the story does a slow burn toward a fevered but somewhat predictable end.

Novels about foreboding, ancient homes are plentiful, and it's always interesting to see what role the house itself will play. The Crofts is a character in the story, without a doubt, but in a different way from the most common house-as-antagonist tales.

The main characters are mostly interesting and likable, and the shifting points of view are used strategically throughout the story. There are a few forays into lesser characters’ heads that were jarring to me, even though those choices were made with valid reason. There are also minimal jumps from the third person to the first person and then to the second person in the final chapters. I see the value of these switches, but they did disturb my immersion in the story’s conclusion.

Duffy’s sleight of hand kept most of the truth out of sight until the end, so there were some surprises. There was one entirely out of character decision that brought to mind the horror trope “Too Dumb to Live.” Since these bad decisions typically serve up extended conflict I can give it a pass, especially in this genre.

House of Echoes, Duffy’s debut novel, is fast-paced and quirky enough to make it a quick read. There is a fair amount of gore, so if you're sensitive to that, be warned. If you enjoy gothic horror, mysteries, and thrillers, House of Echoes is worth your time. I'd recommend a night or two at the historical Crofts, but don't overstay. History has a way of consuming the unprepared.

Interview with Brendan Duffy, author of House of Echoes - April 24, 2015


Please welcome Brendan Duffy to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. House of Echoes is published on April 14th by Ballantine Books.



Interview with Brendan Duffy, author of House of Echoes - April 24, 2015




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Brendan:  It’s great to be here—thanks for inviting me!

Unintentionally abstract picture books in elementary school, ghastly poetry in high school, short stories in college: in one form or another I’ve been writing for nearly as long as I can remember. As for why I started writing…I guess there are things inside me that want to come out.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Brendan:  I’m a pantser in deep denial. I start out with every hope of sticking to an outline and it never works for me. Events and characters always take on a life of their own. Watching me work is a study in inefficiency. I have hundreds of thousands of discarded words to prove this!



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing? You have been an editor. How does this affect (or not) your own writing?

Brendan:  Revising is hardest for me. God, it’s so tough: trying to be objective while poring over hundreds of pages representing months or years of work. Forcing myself to be ruthless in determining what works and what doesn’t is a kind of torture. But being an editor does help a bit with this. Years of wrestling unwieldy pages into something cohesive and consistent and focused removes some of the preciousness from the writing process. While revising, you need to accept that characters and events are going to change as the book evolves into what it’s supposed to be. It’s a painful process and hard work, but absolutely essential.



TQ:  Describe House of Echoes in 140 characters or less.

Brendan:  A young family in trouble. An old mansion with secrets. A terrible winter is on its way, but there's much more to fear than the weather.



TQ:  Tell us something about House of Echoes that is not in the book description.

Brendan:  In many ways, House is a classic Gothic setup, but with modern characters with modern problems. This is where the meat of the book is for me. There are external factors involved, but the driving conflict in the novel is the relationship among the Tierneys, the family at the center of the book. The tension and history between them. The differences between what they say and what they mean. This is very much a story of a young family under extreme stress. Their situation becomes more strained as the narrative progresses, and their survival depends on whether they’ll be able to reconnect with each other by the end.



TQ:  What inspired you to write House of Echoes. What appealed to you about writing a psychological thriller?

Brendan:  My inspiration for House was to write the kind of book that I most enjoy reading. I read very widely and very enthusiastically, but the kinds of stories I get most excited about are the type that straddle several categories at once. House is a psychological thriller, so it has suspense, but it also has features of crime and horror along with some historical elements. It has roots in the Gothic tradition, but it takes some surprising turns along the way. Something I love about many psychological thrillers is the way they play with POV and unreliable narrators. Sometimes readers don’t know exactly what kind of book they’re reading until they get close to the end. I loved assembling the components of the novel for the reader in such a way that, by the climax, they all come together like the pieces of a puzzle box. Only then are you able to see the full story.



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Brendan:  Charlie, the Tierney’s eight-year-old son, was both the easiest and most fun for me to write. With its shifting POVs, complicated narrators, and atmospheric setting, House pushes right up against the line between reality and fantasy. This line becomes deliciously blurred from Charlie’s POV. He’s at this great age where imagination and reality overlap. The rules of his world haven’t yet solidified, and this was wonderful territory to play in.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from House of Echoes.

Brendan:  Two of my favorites are:

“Caroline wanted to believe that this was a whole new life, but it wasn’t. Not really. Ben knew that no matter how far you run, you’re still yourself when you get there.”

“Charlie had learn things about the dark during that long night...He knew that the dark was not one thing but many.”



TQ:  What's next?

Brendan:  I’m in the process of revising a novel that I’m very excited about. Like House, it’s a blend of categories, and presses the confines of reality to its breaking point. It’s structurally complicated and several of the characters have evolved in thrilling and unexpected ways. It’s about friendship and love and secrets and revenge.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Brendan:  It’s been my pleasure!





House of Echoes
Ballantine Books, April 14, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Brendan Duffy, author of House of Echoes - April 24, 2015
In this enthralling and atmospheric thriller, one young family’s dream of a better life is about to become a nightmare.

Ben and Caroline Tierney and their two young boys are hoping to start over. Ben has hit a dead end with his new novel, Caroline has lost her banking job, and eight-year-old Charlie is being bullied at his Manhattan school.

When Ben inherits land in the village of Swannhaven, in a remote corner of upstate New York, the Tierneys believe it’s just the break they need, and they leave behind all they know to restore a sprawling estate. But as Ben uncovers Swannhaven’s chilling secrets and Charlie ventures deeper into the surrounding forest, strange things begin to happen. The Tierneys realize that their new home isn’t the fresh start they needed . . . and that the village’s haunting saga is far from over.

House of Echoes is a novel that shows how sometimes the ties that bind us are the only things that can keep us whole.





About Brendan

Interview with Brendan Duffy, author of House of Echoes - April 24, 2015
Photo by Patricia Gilhooly
BRENDAN DUFFY is a talented young author with a background in publishing. Before writing HOUSE OF ECHOES, he was an editor at both Putnam and Hyperion. He lives in New York, where he is at work on his second novel.



Website

Twitter @Brendan_Duffy

Goodreads



2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.


Brendan Duffy

House of Echoes
Ballantine Books, April 14, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy
In this enthralling and atmospheric thriller, one young family’s dream of a better life is about to become a nightmare.

Ben and Caroline Tierney and their two young boys are hoping to start over. Ben has hit a dead end with his new novel, Caroline has lost her banking job, and eight-year-old Charlie is being bullied at his Manhattan school.

When Ben inherits land in the village of Swannhaven, in a remote corner of upstate New York, the Tierneys believe it’s just the break they need, and they leave behind all they know to restore a sprawling estate. But as Ben uncovers Swannhaven’s chilling secrets and Charlie ventures deeper into the surrounding forest, strange things begin to happen. The Tierneys realize that their new home isn’t the fresh start they needed . . . and that the village’s haunting saga is far from over.

House of Echoes is a novel that shows how sometimes the ties that bind us are the only things that can keep us whole.

Interview with Chrysler Szarlan, author of The Hawley Book of the Dead - September 23, 2014


Please welcome Chrysler Szarlan to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Hawley Book of the Dead is published on September 23rd by Ballantine Books. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Chrysler a very Happy Publication Day.



Interview with Chrysler Szarlan, author of The Hawley Book of the Dead - September 23, 2014




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Chrysler:  It’s a pleasure to be here, in the virtual world of The Qwillery. Thank you for having me. I love virtual worlds, after all, and write of them often.

I began writing as a kid. I wanted to be an actor or a writer; I used to pen poems and stories about horses and put on plays in the back yard for an audience of stuffed animals. My parents were always too busy to attend as they had to work hard to keep me well supplied with books.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Chrysler:  Oh, definitely a pantser. My characters tell me what to write. I can’t do anything without them. I’m actually not sure I would write with any regularity, only I’ve somehow, luckily, managed to tap into this very cool world that’s half real and half fantasy, with all these brilliant characters who spur me on.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Chrysler:  Revising. Because after they tell me their stories and a little bit about themselves, my characters head back to the western Massachusetts hilltowns where they live and leave me to it. They run off to ride their horses in the cool haunted forests of Hawley, and hang out at Pizza by Earl or the Perpetual Tag Sale, and have all kinds of further adventures with evil magicians, and I get stuck messing about with bits of paper filled with their thoughts that I then have to sort out and make some sense of.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Chrysler:  The list is really endless. I love the creepy New England writers so much I had to become one. Nathaniel Hawthorne and H.P. Lovecraft and Shirley Jackson and Stephen King and Alice Hoffman and early Annie Proulx—before she moved to Wyoming, she lived in Vermont and wrote brilliantly and creepily of New England. And I’ve always loved the nineteenth century Brits, especially Charlotte Bronte. She was pretty creepy, too (what is a Gytrash, does anyone know?). And now, I work at an amazing indie bookstore, the Odyssey Bookshop, and I help choose the First Edition Club picks, so I’m always getting to read brilliant writers I hadn’t read before: Cynthia Bond and Emily St John Mandel and Lauren Francis Sharma and Jess Walter and John Vaillant, and the new books of my old favorites, Ruth Ozeki and Julia Glass and John Irving and I could go on, but suffice it to say my favorite writers remain, in no particular order, Annie Proulx and Stephen King and Louise Erdrich and Barbara Pym, whose books I read when I am anxious.



TQ:  Describe The Hawley Book of the Dead in 140 characters or less.

Chrysler:  A woman magician with real powers is the reluctant heroine, a wife and mother, who must fight an unknown evil nemesis in a haunted forest.



TQ:  Tell us something about The Hawley Book of the Dead that is not in the book description.

Chrysler:  It’s the first in a series called The Revelation Chronicles. I think that’s the most important thing that gets left out of many of the descriptions of the book, oddly. And there’s falconry and Irish mythology in it, too. But it’s subtle in this book. This is not high fantasy. Not yet.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Hawley Book of the Dead? Why did you set the novel primarily in Massachusetts?

Chrysler:  So many things inspired me and allowed the characters to come to me. Riding my own horse in the actual Hawley Forest. The title, which I had stuck in my head for years before I found its story. Reading Robertson Davies, and his very cool Deptford Trilogy, which is about magic and a magician (also saints and rural Canada). NaNoWriMo (that’s the very cool National Novel Writing Month) inspired me. But I guess just living in the hilltowns, among the people and the landscape. That’s what inspired me the most. I have this whole half real, half fictional world going now, with all its characters. And I can’t stop writing about them. And we all just live here, in western Massachusetts. It’s a magical place. After all, so many writers lived here and got inspiration from the landscape and the people – Emily Dickinson, Hawthorne, Melville, Robert Frost, Richard Wilbur. It’s kind of a mecca for writers.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Hawley Book of the Dead?

Chrysler:  I got to go to Las Vegas. Everything else I just kind of knew. I know western Mass and the people who live here. I know enough about Irish mythology, as I’ve spent a bit of time in Ireland. But I didn’t know much about magic, and the history of magic, despite being a magician’s assistant for about two minutes in the ‘80’s (I was terrible). I really only started researching stage magic when my heroine, Reve, told me she was an illusionist in Las Vegas. I actually hated the thought of going there, it was never a place that held any attraction for me. But it was amazing. It was this over the top city springing up from the desert. It was actually about five cities, Paris and Venice and Cairo and New York and Florence. And it is the city of magic. I had an amazing time there, in the city and the surrounding desert. There’s real magic there, as well as in Hawley.



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Chrysler:  The easiest was Caleigh, I think. She is the most direct, maybe because she is the youngest. She’s very open. Reve was really hard. She has these different personas; there are different levels to her. The wife and mother. The performer. The woman with a special power that she doesn’t want to give any room to in the real world, because she’s afraid of it and it has burned her in the past. And she is also the character of mine who is most like me. Not that I have a super-power, but we see the world in the same way and have similar ways of expressing ourselves. I didn’t even see it until a good friend pointed it out, though.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Hawley Book of the Dead.

Chrysler:  Well, the first sentence is kind of cool: “On the day I killed my husband, the scent of lilacs startled me awake.” A lot of people seem to like it.

And I love a lot of things Falcon Eddy says, like: “You’ll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind, missy.”



TQ:  What's next?

Chrysler:  The second book in The Revelation Chronicles, which is so far called Dreamland. It’s the further adventures of Reve and her daughters.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Chrysler:  Thank you so much for welcoming me to your world!





The Hawley Book of the Dead
The Revelation Chronicles 1
Ballantine Books, September 23, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Chrysler Szarlan, author of The Hawley Book of the Dead - September 23, 2014
For fans of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and A Discovery of Witches comes a brilliantly imagined debut novel brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic.

Revelation “Reve” Dyer grew up with her grandmother’s family stories, stretching back centuries to Reve’s ancestors, who founded the town of Hawley Five Corners, Massachusetts. Their history is steeped in secrets, for few outsiders know that an ancient magic runs in the Dyer women’s blood, and that Reve is a magician whose powers are all too real.

Reve and her husband are world-famous Las Vegas illusionists. They have three lovely young daughters, a beautiful home, and what seems like a charmed life. But Reve’s world is shattered when an intruder alters her trick pistol and she accidentally shoots and kills her beloved husband onstage.

Fearing for her daughters’ lives, Reve flees with them to the place she has always felt safest—an antiquated farmhouse in the forest of Hawley Five Corners, where the magic of her ancestors reigns, and her oldest friend—and first love—is the town’s chief of police. Here, in the forest, with its undeniable air of enchantment, Reve hopes she and her girls will be protected.

Delving into the past for answers, Reve is drawn deeper into her family’s legends. What she discovers is The Hawley Book of the Dead, an ancient leather-bound journal holding mysterious mythic power. As she pieces together the truth behind the book, Reve will have to shield herself and her daughters against an uncertain, increasingly dangerous fate. For soon it becomes clear that the stranger who upended Reve’s life in Las Vegas has followed her to Hawley—and that she has something he desperately wants.

Brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic, The Hawley Book of the Dead is a brilliantly imagined debut novel from a riveting new voice.





About Chrysler

Interview with Chrysler Szarlan, author of The Hawley Book of the Dead - September 23, 2014
Photo by Tracey Eller
Chrysler Szarlan lives in western Massachusetts with her family, works part-time as a bookseller at the Odyssey Bookshop, and rides her horse in the Hawley Forest whenever possible. An alumnae of Marlboro College, she jogged racehorses and worked as a magician’s assistant before graduating from law school, after which she worked as a managing attorney with Connecticut Legal Rights Project. She is deep into her next novel.



Website  ~  Twitter @/ChryslerSzarlan  ~  Facebook  ~  Goodreads


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge.


Chrysler Szarlan

The Hawley Book of the Dead
Ballantine Books, September 23, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan
For fans of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and A Discovery of Witches comes a brilliantly imagined debut novel brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic.

Revelation “Reve” Dyer grew up with her grandmother’s family stories, stretching back centuries to Reve’s ancestors, who founded the town of Hawley Five Corners, Massachusetts. Their history is steeped in secrets, for few outsiders know that an ancient magic runs in the Dyer women’s blood, and that Reve is a magician whose powers are all too real.

Reve and her husband are world-famous Las Vegas illusionists. They have three lovely young daughters, a beautiful home, and what seems like a charmed life. But Reve’s world is shattered when an intruder alters her trick pistol and she accidentally shoots and kills her beloved husband onstage.

Fearing for her daughters’ lives, Reve flees with them to the place she has always felt safest—an antiquated farmhouse in the forest of Hawley Five Corners, where the magic of her ancestors reigns, and her oldest friend—and first love—is the town’s chief of police. Here, in the forest, with its undeniable air of enchantment, Reve hopes she and her girls will be protected.

Delving into the past for answers, Reve is drawn deeper into her family’s legends. What she discovers is The Hawley Book of the Dead, an ancient leather-bound journal holding mysterious mythic power. As she pieces together the truth behind the book, Reve will have to shield herself and her daughters against an uncertain, increasingly dangerous fate. For soon it becomes clear that the stranger who upended Reve’s life in Las Vegas has followed her to Hawley—and that she has something he desperately wants.

Brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic, The Hawley Book of the Dead is a brilliantly imagined debut novel from a riveting new voice.


Interview with Alexandra Oliva, author of The Last One2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Last One by Alexandra OlivaReview: House of Echoes by Brendan DuffyInterview with Brendan Duffy, author of House of Echoes - April 24, 20152015 Debut Author Challenge Update - House of Echoes by Brendan DuffyInterview with Chrysler Szarlan, author of The Hawley Book of the Dead - September 23, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan

Report "The Qwillery"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?

Cancel
×