For those of you who have not yet read the book, head to your favorite bookstore pronto and buy it! You don't want to miss it. And trust me, it will keep you up all night :)
Gretchen joins us today to talk about herself, her books, and all the good things in life!
PJH: You’ve just run into an old classmate from high school and you tell them your latest book just came out. They ask what it’s about. What do you say?
GMcN: Ten teens trapped on an island with a serial killer. It's an homage to Agatha Christie's masterpiece And Then There Were None, in a throwback style to the Christopher Pike novels I loved as a teen.
PJH: I'd love to hear about the writing process for TEN? Did you plan a bunch ahead of time? Are you a quick first drafter? Do you spend gobs of time revising? How does the writing mind of Gretchen McNeil work?
GMcN: I write quickly, which came in handy for this book. I had to write the first draft of TEN in ten weeks, due to deadlines for my publisher. So there was literally no room for error. I had a tight outline, which did vary somewhat from the final product, but at least gave me a strong guide to follow. In the end, I wrote the first draft in eight weeks, had some trusted friends read it and give me feedback, spent a week revising and sent it off.
TEN by Gretchen McNeil (Balzer & Bray, September 18, 2012)
PJH: Tell us about the research! Did you seriously research a bunch of killing methods online? Did the FBI come after you? What's the craziest thing you discovered in your research stage?
GMcN: Oh, I'm sure my Google searches have landed me on some sort of government watch list. The trickiest part of TEN is coming up with unique ways to kill people. I realize that makes me sound like Dexter, but it's true! Can't just have the same old, same old.
The craziest thing I discovered is that you can actually electrocute someone using a generator, some jumper cables and a doorknob. That's all I'm saying.
PJH: You are doing an amazing job of marketing this book! It's everywhere. When it comes to marketing, what do you think makes the biggest difference in whether a book is successful?
GMcN: The biggest difference is getting your book in front of people and I've found that word of mouth can really accomplish that. One person who reads and loves your book tells ten others. If only five of them read it and love it, but each tells ten more people, etc. etc. Well, you get the picture.
POSSESS by Gretchen McNeil (Balzer & Bray, 2011)
PJH: What is next? WIPs? Future publications? Please tell all!
GMcN: Next up is my Fall 2013 release 3:59, a parallel universe doppelganger story about two girls who are the same girl but different, who discover that their parallel worlds connect every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. After that, I just announced my next two books, GET EVEN and GET DIRTY, books 1 and 2 in the Don't Get Mad series, for 2014 and 2015. I pitched them as Revenge meets The Breakfast Club, about four girls who form a secret revenge society for bullied classmates which goes well until one of their targets turns up dead.
PJH: Thanks so much, Gretchen!
And their doom comes swiftly.
It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives – three days on Henry Island at an exclusive house party. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their own reasons for wanting to be there, both of which involve Kamiak High’s most eligible bachelor, T.J. Fletcher. But what starts out as a fun-filled weekend turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.
Suddenly, people are dying and the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
Praise for TEN:
"TEN is a real page turner! Gretchen McNeil knows how to plot a thriller: Her setup is flawless and the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat." – Christopher Pike, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the THIRST series and REMEMBER ME
"Gretchen McNeil's TEN is my new number one! I jumped at every creaking floorboard in my house and on the page. This is sure to be a teen thriller classic!" – Nancy Holder, Bram Stoker Award winning author of THE SCREAMING SEASON
"You want to read this book. McNeil incorporates all the thrills and chills of a horror movie into this fast-paced, gripping tale. With its quippy dialogue, it’s like reading Scream. This reviewer got the willies while reading Ten on a sunny afternoon." – Top Pick in Romantic Times, September 2012
"A scary gorefest of murder and mayhem, not for the faint of heart [...] a breathless read." – Kirkus
"Agatha Christie meets Gossip Girl [...] in McNeil’s (Possess) throwback to old-school thrillers [...] has all the hallmarks of a traditional slasher flick, including imprudent sex, gory slayings, and dramatic revelations." – Publisher's Weekly
Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, writer and clown. Her YA horror POSSESS debuted with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins in 2011. Her follow up TEN – YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer – will be released September 18, 2012, and her third novel 3:59, sci fi doppelganger horror is scheduled for Fall 2013. Gretchen's new YA contemporary series Don't Get Mad (Revenge meets The Breakfast Club) begins Fall 2014 with GET EVEN, followed by the sequel GET DIRTY in 2015, also with Bazler + Bray.
Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4's Code Monkeys and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. Gretchen blogs with The Enchanted Inkpot and is a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels where she can be seen as "Monday."
P. J. Hoover is the author of the upcoming dystopia/mythology YA book, SOLSTICE (Tor Teen, June 2013), the upcoming Egyptian mythology MG book, TUT (Tor Children's, Winter 2014), and the middle-grade SFF series, THE FORGOTTEN WORLDS BOOKS (CBAY, 2008-2010). You can read more about her and her books on P. J.'s website or blog.