Monday, October 6, 2014

Something Wicked Returns with Holly Schindler and Her New Book, Feral



I am so very excited to be participating in this wonderful month long event that is all about the Wicked!

A huge thank you to my co-hosts Heidi at Rainy Day Ramblings, Candace at Candace's Book Blog and Maja at The Nocturnal Library for once again helping host this great event. Not only do they allow me to be a part of it but this year I get to open the event and host the first full week, I am so excited!

I wanted to start the week off right with a very fun post by author Holly Schindler. As most of you are probably aware Holly wrote the YA mystery/thriller Feral and it was quite the twisted ride with lots of unknowns, mystery, and of course craziness. Just how I love my reads and even better, it is perfect for this time of year where anything is possible and lots of things go bump in the night.

Along with the guest post, don't forget to check out the giveaways!




Book Description:

The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know. It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely

survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew. But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened. But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley…. Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.

FERAL AND THE PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER:

FERAL falls squarely into the realm of the classic psychological thriller. While the book features mystery, horror, and paranormal elements, the emphasis is on the “psychological” rather than thriller / action. The novel features a Hitchcockian pace and focus on character development (here, we’re exploring the inner workings of the main character, Claire Cain).

Essentially, every aspect of FERAL is used to explore Claire’s inner workings—that even includes the wintry Ozarks setting. The water metaphor is employed frequently in psychological thrillers to represent the subconscious, and in this instance is incorporated in the form of a brutal ice storm (that represents Claire’s “frozen” inner state). The attempt to untangle what is real from what is unreal (another frequently-used aspect of the psychological thriller) also begins to highlight the extent to which Claire was hurt in that Chicago alley. Even the explanation of the odd occurrences in the town of Peculiar offers an exploration into and portrait of Claire’s psyche.

Ultimately, FERAL is a book about recovering from violence—that’s not just a lengthy or hard process; it’s a terrifying process, too. The classic psychological thriller allowed me to explore that frightening process in detail.



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Holly Schindler Bio:




Holly Schindler is the author of the critically acclaimed A BLUE SO DARK (Booklist starred review, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year silver medal recipient, IPPY Awards gold medal recipient) as well as PLAYING HURT (both YAs).

Her debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, also released in ’14, and became a favorite of teachers and librarians, who used the book as a read-aloud. Kirkus Reviews

called THE JUNCTION “...a heartwarming and uplifting story...[that] shines...with vibrant themes of community, self-empowerment and artistic vision delivered with a satisfying verve.”

FERAL is Schindler’s third YA and first psychological thriller. Publishers Weekly gave FERAL a starred review, stating, “Opening with back-to-back scenes of exquisitely imagined yet very real horror, Schindler’s third YA novel hearkens to the uncompromising demands of her debut, A BLUE SO DARK…This time, the focus is on women’s voices and the consequences they suffer for speaking…This is a story about reclaiming and healing, a process that is scary, imperfect, and carries no guarantees.”


Schindler encourages readers to get in touch. Booksellers, librarians, and teachers can also contact her directly regarding Skype visits. She can be reached at hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com, and can also be found at hollyschindler.com, hollyschindler.blogspot.com, @holly_schindler, Facebook.com/HollySchindlerAuthor, and hollyschindler.tumblr.com





SCARIEST VILLAINS – HOLLY SCHINDLER

I often think the most terrifying part of a real-world villain is that he isn’t a complete black hat. They never are. In a book or on a movie screen, the villain is easy to spot. He’s rotten. He’s out to get our hero. And, in the old westerns, he literally wore a black hat. He had a uniform! If only the villains we meet up with in our daily lives were so easy to spot.

No, in the real world, no one is 100% black hat—or 100% white hat, for that matter. Even the good guys have black streaks. And bad guys—the villains in our own personal lives—have redeeming value. The “antagonists” of our lives can be very polite. They can have good senses of humor. They have people who love them, people they are themselves trying to do right by—they have family and best friends and can be counted on in times of crisis. Rarely do the bad guys come into our lives looking, from the get-go, like our future adversary. And that’s what makes them scary: our villains, in the real world, are just so incredibly hard to identify.

That’s the case with my latest YA, FERAL. The book’s a psychological thriller—and one of the conventions of the genre is the search to untangle what is real from what is not real. In FERAL, Claire finds herself arriving in a town that is quite literally peculiar. She sees a ghost in the basement of her school. She sees spirits of the town dead floating through the fog. She witnesses the soul of a murdered classmate falling into a feral cat—and later, is confronted by the spirit of the classmate, who claims she wants to invade Claire’s body in order to get a second chance at life.

But no one else seems to be witnessing the same things Claire does. Why? Is it because Claire has been through something horrific—a gang beating in her hometown—and she simply is more in tune with the horrors that exist in the world? Or is it because Claire has been damaged more than she was willing to recognize, at first—and the visions are all in her own mind?

And because Claire is not sure what is real and what isn’t, she also doesn’t know who her villain—her primary antagonist—even is. Who does she need to be running from? The ghosts in the fog? The spirit of Serena? Or is it Serena’s murderer? And who could have possibly wanted Serena dead in the first place? One of her classmates? Could it even be Rich, the preacher’s son, who in many ways is the only person in town that Claire feels she can trust?

…Or—this is the worst, most frightening possibility of all: Is the antagonist—the one that Claire needs to worry about, the one that has the power to do the most harm—Claire herself?


What is more terrifying, really, than being in a dark room and not knowing who is in there beside you?




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Don't forget to check out the other great post at Heidi's blog!

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings: Sweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell


Also don't forget about the grad prize giveaway for a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

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40 comments:

  1. you're right, it's true about bad guys. I heard great things about the book and I confess that I'm quite curious. thanks for the post.

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  2. Sounds scary!!! My mom is from Missouri, so I'm familiar with the Ozarks. The mountains always make for an interesting setting!

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    1. They do because you never know what can be lurking there. :)

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  3. "What is more terrifying, really, than being in a dark room and not knowing who is in there beside you?"

    *SHUDDERS* I don't think I'd want to know who was there beside me, if anyone. Just leave me in the bliss of my ignorance on that matter:) My favorite types of villains are the ones that are so very hard to identify, the ones that can even seem like heroes for much of the story, and then slowly but surely questions begin to arise. Loved this guest post Ali and Holly!!!!

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  4. Wonderful guest post! I agree, some of the best villains in books are those that have redeeming aspects, and that there's some sort of gray area that scares you. I enjoy a good psychological thriller every now and then so I have this one on my list! Thanks for the great post perfect for this time of year :)

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    1. I agree! I love someone I love to hate and hate that I like them just a little.

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  5. Yeah, that's exactly what I think villains should be written as in books. Villains aren't always dramatic and over the top. Sometimes, it's the people you wouldn't even think could possibly do anything evil are the ones that turn out to be real villains. It's what makes them so complex.
    Thanks for sharing, Ali! :)

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  6. OOH Kindlemom okay you've gone and done it you made me drink the Kool-Aid. I WANT THIS :)
    Thanks
    Deb

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  7. I enjoy a good psychological thriller and Feral sounds perfect for Fall. Fantastic guest post on villains.

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    1. Thanks Kim for stopping by and I hope you do try it. :)

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  8. Absolutely! I hate villains that are cartoonishly evil, they never scare me and they never really make sense. For me, the villain needs to be someone who rationalizes bad decisions, and keeps making them anyway. A character with true nuance, not just a part of a black and white picture. I loved Feral!
    Thank you for sharing this, Ali! I was sans wifi for days, at a very inopportune moment.

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  9. So true, the villains in real life sneak up on us and we never know who will bring us conflict next. Very thougthful guest post. I still have an ARC of this that needs to be read, hoping to get to it soon. Thanks for posting, today, Ali.

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    1. I hope you can get to it soon as well Heidi!

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  10. Sooo off topic, but I love the author's glasses!! Ok, now I want new ones lol.

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  11. This is a wonderful guest post! I love villains that sneak up on me and when I don't know whether the main character can be trusted. I am excited to read this one soon!

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  12. I agree that the scariest villains can be the ones that aren't the easiest to identify right away! Feral sounds creepy, but good, too :)

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  13. I love thrillers and this one will have to be read, if they make it into a movie I could not sit there watching it. I am a scaredy baby!! I have put it on my TBR list.

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    1. For some reason movies always scare me more as well. Maybe because the people are more real in them? I don' t know!

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  14. Mary DeBorde
    Just wanted to say that I'm currently reading Feral and it is honestly
    AWESOME!! Grabbed me right from the start and it keeps on delivering :D

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    1. So happy to hear that and thanks so much for stopping by!

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  15. Nice post! This really does sound good, like it would actually keep me engaged.

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  16. I just love anything that is spine-tingling and mysterious. I love books that keep me guessing til the end.

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  17. Oh I remember reading about this one. Sounds like one I'd really like but that would so wig me out at the same time. lol

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    1. There were definitely parts that were creepy!

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  18. I've really enjoyed thrillers lately and this was really twisty!

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  19. I've been wanting to read a thriller for a while now and this one sounds pretty interesting.

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  20. Ugh, I just wish I could read everything right now! I have been wanting to read this one for a long time!!!

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    1. I know what you mean Becca. There need to be more hours in the day just for reading. ;)

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