Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Halloween Thrills & Chills Blog Tour
5 Questions with Laurie Stolarz + Giveaway

Blog Tour hosted by The Midnight Garden
Check below for the full schedule 

I am THRILLED to be part of The Midnight Garden's Halloween Thrills & Chills event, and welcome Laurie Stolarz to Love is not a triangle. Laurie is the author of Welcome to the Dark House, and what I didn't realize until now is that we're practically neighbors. And quite apt for today's post, our towns are separated by the hub of Halloween itself, Salem, Massachusetts. 

5 Questions With Laurie Faria Stolarz (Okay, 6)

1. You write thrilling, chilling stories, so we want to pick your brains. (Not literally.) What are some of your favorite horror books or movies?

Misery - I read the book and saw the movie - and I loved both. I love the whole premise of the story - a writer goes to his writing retreat to work, has a car accident, and gets saved by one of his super fans, who turns out to be deranged.  In the movie, Kathy Bate’s portrayal of Annie Wilkes was chillingly entertaining. I also love that this movie wasn’t a “slasher.” I tend to gravitate more toward psychological thrillers rather than hardcore horror.
Scream - I loved the campy feel of this movie, and the way the film pokes fun of itself (its genre). Neve Campbell is amazing as our heroine, Sidney Prescott. And the dialogue throughout was fun and clever.
I Know What You Did Last Summer - Like Misery, I read this book and saw the movie. Both were thoroughly entertaining (I love Lois Duncan!). LikeMisery, I like that this wasn’t so much a slasher film, but more a suspense thriller.  There were some gorier bits, but trust me when I say that I ducked my head behind a pillow when those came on. Plus, it stars Buffy (a.k.a. Sarah Michelle Geller), earning major bonus points.
The Silence go the Lambs - Okay, I totally had to keep a pillow at the ready while watching this film (definitely some gory parts). But Hannibal Lector’s character (and Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of it) is genius. In some respect, we actually root for this villain.  Jodie Foster’s fear is palpable in the movie.  I loved it.
The Blair Witch Project - I loved the reality-themed premise of this movie: a group of aspiring filmmakers decides to camp out one night to investigate the legendary Blair Witch.  They end up getting lost in the Black Hills, never to be seen again, though their video equipment is discovered (hence the Blair Witch movie).  The movie was made to appear like a documentary, and for that reason, taking into account when it came out, (in 1999, before reality TV was the major “whoa” that it is now), makes it ahead of its time. 
2. Do you believe in the supernatural? Tell us about the strangest or scariest or weirdest thing that's ever happened to you.

Once, while in grad school, before I was ever published, I was at a TJ Maxx store.  I bent down to look at something on a shelf, when someone grabbed my hand from behind and shoved something into my hand. I turned to see who it was.

It was Laurie Cabot, Salem, Massachusetts’ official witch.  Having grown up in Salem, I’d seen Laurie Cabot before.  She shopped at the grocery store where I worked during high school and college.  She had her own store. I’d taken tourist-friends to see it.  I’d also see her on occasion in town, walking the common or eating in a diner.

Did I ever believe she was a true witch?  To be honest, having grown up in Salem, I’d become somewhat jaded about the whole “hocus-pocus-witchy” thing. Don’t get me wrong, I fully respected those who practiced Wicca as a religion, but did I believe that Laurie Cabot had psychic powers, when it seemed that just about every other person in Salem was claiming to be a medium, psychic, or clairvoyant…or crystal-ball forecaster/tea-leaf reader/astrologist/palm reader/aura reader/chakra balancer/fill-in-the-blank-with-your-favorite-sixth-sense practitioner here? Admittedly, the answer is no.  I didn’t begrudge her a bit, however.  I actually saw her savvy businesswoman.

When I was confronted by her in TJMaxx, I was completely shocked.  What did she want? She didn’t know me. What was in my hand? Meanwhile, Laurie was trembling.  She said, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but I had a nightmare about you last night, and in the nightmare…” Her voice trailed off.  She couldn’t get the words out. 

I looked down to see what was in my hand.  It was a chunky crystal rock.

Laurie then proceeded to tell me that the crystal was for my protection, that in the dream I was killed, and that it would happen in four days.

She continued talking, detailing who the killer was, including his physical description and personality profile, and getting specific about how he would kill me. She told me not to go anywhere alone, not to drive my car, etc., etc.  She said it was meant to be that she saw me there, because now I could change the future.

All the while she was talking to me, I just kept thinking: this is my novel.  I was to defend my graduate thesis the following day.  Blue is for Nightmares, my first novel, was that thesis.  Laurie Cabot had given an entire synopsis of my book that day.  There is a character in that story who is going to be killed in four days by the villain that Laurie described, and in the manner that she detailed.  That same character is given a chunky crystal rock for protection. The novel was published about two years after my thesis defense. There is no way Laurie could have read the novel beforehand.  Only a few fellow classmates and my thesis chairs had access to it.   

3. Say you're locked in a haunted house and have to barricade yourself in a room with other wily survivors. Choose one person in each of the following categories to be in that room with you, and tell us why you chose them!
a. one character from one of your books

I would choose Camelia Hammond from my Touch series, because she doesn’t back down from anything that scares her. I also love that her psychometric ability (her ability to sense the past or future through touch) is an extension of something she loves (her sculpture).  

b. one living author

Theresa Caputo, a.k.a. the Long Island Medium.  Not only would she make me laugh, but hopefully she would be able to communicate with the unrested spirit and get him or her to go into the light.

c. one dead person

Bruce Lee for his ability to kick ass.

d. one relative, colleague, or friend 

I would pick my husband because he’s super resourceful.  He can fix and rebuild anything.  He’s also able to engineer and build, so I feel like he’d be able to break us out of there somehow. 
4. Tell about something spooky that inspired one of your stories.
A lot of readers ask me if I ever get my ideas from dreams or nightmares.  The truth is that I don't.  I don't really dream too much – not that I can remember, anyway.  But about two years ago, I did have a nightmare and Welcome to the Dark House is the result.
I dreamed about horror film fanatics from around the country – all of them eagerly awaiting the next film in a certain famed director's cult-followed movie series.  In my dream, the famed director was pretty done with his cult-followed series (in the book it’s called the Nightmare Elf series).  He wanted to pursue “more serious” projects.  But since there was so much interest in his Nightmare Elf movies, he decided to host a contest: fans of the Nightmare Elf series could enter their worst nightmare for the chance to meet the director (in the book, he’s named Justin Blake) and see his confidential new project. 
Six teens win and get flown from around the country to stay in a house (think MTV’s The Real World; yes, I watch that show, so maybe that was preying on my mind during my sleep). As the winners arrive, they couldn’t be more excited. They can’t wait to meet Justin Blake and see his confidential film.
That’s when my dream took a dark turn. I dreamed that the winners get taken – by limo – to the screening destination, only once they get there, they find that there’s no screening at all.  I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say there’s a creepy amusement park involved and their worst nightmares come back to haunt them.

5. What's the best part about writing horror for teenagers/children? The most challenging?

Even though I loved making up stories as a young person, I wasn’t a big reader.  I tended to gravitate toward books that would keep me turning pages. Those books tended to be high concept, i.e. someone was in danger/someone’s life was at stake/someone was missing.  Those books were usually in the suspense or horror genre. So, what’s most exciting for me is the ability to target readers that were like me as a young person – those who didn’t naturally gravitate toward books. I love that I can get young people excited about reading – the same way certain horror/suspense authors did for me years ago.

The most challenging part? I think this answer applies to most genres of young adult fiction…. I think when writing for young adults, it’s so important to keep abreast of what’s going on for them in both society and popular culture.  What’s important to young adults?  What are they into? What do they fear? What is their language? What are they watching? Listening to? Concerned or excited about?  I spend a great deal of time trying to immerse myself in teen culture through books, movies, magazine, TV, eavesdropping, etc., etc.

It’s also challenging to know what’s scary.  I feel that our society has been exposed to so much horror – both in reality and in the media.  In some way, I think all of this exposure can sometimes have a desensitizing effect. What’s scary for some may be just so-so creepy for others.  For me, I don’t like to use a lot of blood and gore in my work – mostly because I’m not a fan of it myself in books or movies.  It’s all a matter of taste, though, and it’s so subjective, but some readers want that to up the fear factor.

Bonus Question (because we're nosy): What are you working on next? Are there more scary things in store for your readers?

I'm working on the sequel to Welcome to the Dark House.  It's called Return to the Dark House and it will be out next summer – yay!

by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Published: July 22, 2014 by Disney Hyperion
What’s your worst nightmare?

For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams.

And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now.

Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group—the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting.

Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.

By the time Ivy and Parker realize what’s really at stake, it’s too late to wake up and run.


Laurie Faria Stolarz  is the author of Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, and Deadly Little Lessons, as well as Project 17; Bleed; and the highly popular Blue Is for Nightmares; White Is for Magic; Silver Is for Secrets; Red Is for Remembrance; and Black Is for Beginnings. Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Stolarz attended Merrimack College and received an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston. Laurie lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Connect with her on her website or on Twitter: @lauriestolarz
**Thank you for stopping by! You definitely don't want to miss being creeped out at any of the other stops on this spooky tour. Plus the more blogs you visit, the more chances you have to win books.**
Thrills and Chills: Halloween Event Tour with Jonathan Stroud, Hillary Monahan, and Laurie Stolarz
Wednesday, October 1   The Midnight Garden        5 Questions with Jonathan Stroud
Thursday, October 2       The Starry-Eyed Revue    Into the Spooky Swamp Setting of Mary: The Summoning
Friday, October 3            Supernatural Snark          Rules for Surviving a House of Horrors (with Laurie Stolarz)
Monday, October 6          Xpresso Reads                 Deleted Scene from Mary: The Summoning
Tuesday, October 7         Love is Not a Triangle      5 Questions with Laurie Stolarz
Wednesday, October 8    For the Love of Words    10 Great Horror Films with Jonathan Stroud
Thursday, October 9        Winterhaven Books        How I Became a Horror Fan (with Hillary Monahan) 
Friday, October 10           YA Romantics                  Quiz: What Dark House Character Are You? 

Monday, October 13         My Friends Are Fiction   Fashion Accessories for Ghosthunters (with Jonathan Stroud)
Tuesday, October 14         The Flyleaf Review          5 Questions with Hillary Monahan
Wednesday, October 15    Books with Bite              Top 10 Items to Survive The Dark House Amusement Park

Thursday, October 16        The Social Potato          A Tour of Jonathan Stroud's Writing Space

Win a Thrills and Chills box of horror! Includes copies of the following new releases:
The box will be delivered just in time for spooky Halloween reading. Open to US and Canadian residents, see complete rules on entry form.

If the Rafflecopter form isn't showing up, please click HERE to find it.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. That's such a creepy/crazy story about Laurie Cabot. I've seen her around while vacationing in Salem/Marblehead as well and having someone of her reputation speak with me like that would definitely chill me. I have a few paranormal stories of my own from that region, but the oddest sensation I've ever had was on a plantation in Louisiana. We were on a tour and we walked into the parlor in front of this huge window, and I got this horrible pain in my rib cage, to the point where I was clutching it and my dad was asking if I was okay. I waved it of, until the guide said that the owner of the house had been fatally shot through the window that I was standing in front of, through his rib cage.

  2. The back story to Welcome to the Dark House is pretty interesting. I love how people's dreams can invoke such a strong emotion in people and it was enough to inspire him to write the book. It sounds like a pretty unique plot and a book I'm sure I would really love! I would love to win this collection because it would let me read new books by authors that are also new to me. I am an avid reader and I'm always searching out new and exciting authors to add to my list!

  3. OMG. That story about the witch and TJ Maxx gave me the chills!!

  4. A horror writer growing up is Salem, that's rather perfect. haha I love that you admit to eavesdropping for your stories! (Mostly because it means I'm not the only one!) I'm so glad you said you don't do blood and guts, I totally agree, it's not scary just gross.

  5. If someone approached me in TJ Maxx and handed me a chunky crystal and told me i had four days to live i think id lose my mind!! thats so crazy.. I love books like this that can creep you out and give you chills as your flipping through the pages.I found some new books to add to my TBR thanks!

  6. Aw, I love this post :D Thank you so so much for sharing. <3 Hmm. I haven't seen any of those movies, lol :D But ack. I am not sure what it the scariest movie I have seen. Or book. Wait. BOOK. The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. <3 SO CREEPY and awful and sweet and all kinds of perfect. And middle grade. Perfect. <3 Anyway. Love this post, hih :)

  7. Welcome to the Dark House sounds awesome, and I'm already dying to read it! The witch story was really interesting! I had a semi-odd experience with a self-proclaimed witch when I was really young. I used to have this recurring nightmare about a ghostly orchestra (weird, I know) and the music they played in the dream was so awful and chilling that I'd wake up completely terrified. One time, when we were visiting a neighbor of my grandparents, I told her about the dream while my mom was talking with her (the neighbor) visiting sister in the kitchen, and asked for her advice on how to make it stop. She looked right at me and said, "You've got ghosts following you. You must be a witch like me."
    I waited to see if she was joking around, but she looked bizarrely serious. She walked across the room and opened the closet, which was filled with discolored jars of plants and unidentifiable objects. She grabbed one jar filled with salt (I think) and started sprinkling it in my hair.
    "There, now they'll leave you alone"
    Weirdly enough, I didn't have any more ghost-band dreams after that, but I'll put it down as a placebo.

  8. If someone approached me and told me I only had four days to live, I think I'd just be shell shocked. (I'm really glad it wasn't true!)

    But the plot for this book sounds absolutely fantastic and I look forward to it!

  9. This was a great interview! That part about Laurie Cabot knowing the synopsis of her novel was really interesting/spooky.

  10. Mary DeBorde
    I love Laurie's epic writing style, creepy ghosts, and (to answer Q) YES: one time I was closing up at my job, only person in the small store, and heard children giggling and saw a boy's blond head walk past the counter. Thought the door was unlocked and kids has sneaked past ... but when I jumped up to investigate, the door was locked and no one else was there. The quiet/hush afterwards was enough to make your skin crawl - you could just *feel* that something was off. Oddly enough, I wasn't truly scared, rather a trifle unnerved. It was all so unexpected!! :P

  11. EESH! I agree with everyone, the Laurie Cabot story is crazy creepy! I had to go back and re-read it, just to make sure what I read was real. lol! I loved reading the story though. Well, I loved this entire interview! These questions are so fun and getting to know Laurie Faria Stolarz a little better makes me interested in her work. Plus, I like her style! SCREAM FTW! Gotta make room for Welcome to the Dark House this year. :)

    Marlene @ The Flyleaf Review

  12. RETURN TO THE DARK HOUSE! Everything that I read before that was completely obliterated from my mind when I saw the name of this sequel. Except Laurie Cabot. Creepy!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...