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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Starlight Saturday

YA Author Spotlight Presents...
Megan Crewe
Megan Crewe!!!

Imagine if you were like Allison Dubois (Medium) or Melinda Gordon(Ghost Whisperer) and could not only see ghosts and talk to them, but unlike with Allison and Melinda, your ghosts never went away.  Yeah, see, Allison and Melinda do things to help ghosts move on.  But what if that didn't happen?  What if, everyday you went to school or work, you saw the same ghosts and they were just itching to tell you all the office gossip you could handle and then some?  Would you listen?  

Well, in Give Up the Ghost, high school student Cassie, faced just such a dilemma.  However, because of the fact that practically the entire school teased her and spread false rumors about her, her decision was easy.  She listened and used what she learned to essentially blackmail the rest of the students into silence.  They had no way to know how she knew what she knew.  Or did they?  

Cassie finally had the dirt that would settle an old score for her and even the scales, but in her pursuit of personal justice, she finds a disturbing, anonymous note in her locker:
"I know how you know.  Meet me at the basketball courts, final bell, this afternoon."

But the note isn't as anonymous as the culprit thinks because one of Cassie's ghostly friends saw him and told Cassie who he was.  So, what does he want?  Will he expose her? 

You'll have to read on to find out.  In the mean time, let's get to the interview.

Let’s start with some trivia about you:

Q. Do you have a movie that you must watch every Halloween? What's your favorite scary movie? Do you have a favorite scary character or character type?

A. I like to watch a different scary movie each Halloween—variety is fun! I think my favorite scary movie is Wait Until Dark. It’s an oldie, but so chilling and creepy. I prefer psychological suspense over gore, so I like villains who mess with their victims’ heads rather than hacking them up.

Q. Do you have any Halloween traditions like decorating your house, having house parties, wearing costumes, etc.?

A. At my parents’ house, we’d always carve a jack-o-lantern and hand out candy, of course. Since then I’ve lived in apartments where we don’t get trick-or-treaters, but when I have a house of my own, I’m looking forward to decorating it and maybe getting dressed up, too!

Q. If you do you dress up for Halloween, what will you be dressed up as this year? What was your all-time most favorite costume that you ever wore? Why?

A. These days I don’t usually get dressed up. My favorite costume as a kid was a bat costume my mom made for me when I was eleven. I had cloth wings that stretched my back to my hands so I could flap them like actual wings. I thought it was very cool because I’d never seen anyone dress up as a bat before. J

Q. Are you superstitious? Do you find yourself knocking on wood or throwing salt over your shoulder? If not one of these two, what is your superstition?

A. I’m a little superstitious. If I spill salt I’ll usually toss a pinch over my shoulder. Little things like that. I don’t actually think that it accomplishes anything but better to be safe than sorry!

Q. Do you believe in ghosts? If so, have you ever had a ghostly encounter and tell us about it?

A. I’m on the fence when it comes to ghosts. I think it’s possible that they exist, but not having ever seen one myself, I’m not convinced they definitely do.

Q. Tell us 3 funny or strange things that happened to you, or someone you know, on past Halloweens.

A. They used to set up a haunted house in the gym at my school. One time I got lost in it—I took a wrong turn and ended up in part that wasn’t really part of the “house”—but it was actually scarier than the haunted house itself because I didn’t know where to go!

One year I went trick-or-treating with a friend. As we were walking up to one house I saw a man slumped in a chair near the door, done up to look like he was just a decoration. But I could tell it was a real person. I didn’t say anything to my friend, though, and when he jumped up, she jumped even higher! We laughed for a long time after.

I go trick-or-treating with the kids I work with most years now. They have autism, so they’re not always interested in the same things most kids are. Our biggest challenge is keeping them at the doorway, not heading on into the house. The one boy is far more interested in checking out people’s ceiling fans than getting candy!

Q. If you could be any paranormal creature, what would it be and why?

A. Probably a faerie. I like the idea of being able to do magic, and possibly having access to other worlds. It could be fun being some sort of shape shifter, too, but that always seems to come with a lot of problems as well.

Now, let’s get to your writing:

Q. Why the paranormal genre? What was the draw for you?

A. I’ve always liked exploring what might happen if things we think aren’t real really existed. How people would react when faced with something like ghosts. It brings out a side of people you might not otherwise see. And it’s exciting pushing characters out of their comfort zone.

Q. If you could describe your paranormal writing with a word or phrase, what would it be? Please be creative and look beyond words like vampire, werewolf, etc., and delve into the core of your writing to tell us what word or phrase you want readers to take with them when they've finished reading your story.

A. The unreal can still be true.

Q. Do you prefer playing tricks on people or bestowing treats? Does that show through in your writing? If so, how?

A. I like to trick people and then give them a treat to make up for it! ;) And I think that does show in my writing. I put characters in painful or difficult situations, but I always give them some hope and happiness by the end.

Q. Who decides what creatures you write about, you or your muse? What kind of influence do you have over your story, or is the muse always the one stirring the cauldron?

A. I think of my inspiration as being a part of me. And it’s a joint process. Certain ideas just grab me more on an unconscious level (which I guess is the muse part). But I also make practical choices based on what I think would make an engaging story and what’s already been done.

Q. What was the creature that you had the most fun creating and why?

A. My ghosts were a lot of fun. Both because they each had such individual and quirky personalities, and because I got to make up rules for how they would behave, how their memory worked, the scent they’d leave behind.

Q. If you had the opportunity to meet just one of your characters in real life, who would it be and why? Which of your characters would you never want to meet under any circumstance and why?

A. I’d like to meet my main character, Cass. I think it’d do her a lot of good to have someone who understands her situation completely to talk to, and she’s got a great sense of humor. I wouldn’t want to meet Matti—he’s vindictive and narrow-minded, and I can’t imagine I’d enjoy talking with him at all.

BLURB:

Give Up the GhostCass McKenna much prefers the company of ghosts over "breathers." Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody... and Cass loves dirt. She's on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school.

But when the vice president of the student council discovers her secret, Cass's whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees.

As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim's life, she's surprised to realize he's not so bad--and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it's time to give the living another chance...


EXCERPT:

You would think it'd be easy to get along with a person after she's dead. Not Paige. She took her big sister duties very seriously. It'd been four years since she drowned, and she still got on my case.

"You're not really wearing those to school," she said, perched in the air just above the wrought-iron headboard of my bed, her ankles crossed and tipped to the side. It was the way she used to sit at the dinner table, way back when--pretending to be hooked on Dad's every word while her mind wandered off to choicer topics. Except these days she did it without a chair.

"What's wrong with them?" I asked, zipping up my jeans. She was wearing jeans, too. Of course, her jeans were tight, low cut capris. Mine were big and baggy. I'd stepped on the hems so many times they were as thready as my violet carpet, but hey, they were comfortable.

Paige wrinkled her pert nose and shook her head. Very few things got her as worked up as my untapped fashion potential. Most of the time she had this faded tissue-paper look, so filmy I could see right through her. Get her interested, though, and she brightened up like a Chinese lantern. Right then, she was beaming from her bleached-blond hair to her strappy sandals.

A few years ago it would have pissed me off. These days, I was used to it. It was like a game: how bossy could she get, how bratty could I get. Playing at being normal.

"Don't you ever look at yourself, Cassie?" Paige said. "You've got nicer stuff in your closet. It's like you want to be a slob."

"There are more important things than clothes, you know."

"You could at least brush your hair. Please."

I stuck out my lip to blow my bangs away from my eyes, and grinned. "All right, if it's so important to you."

I found my brush in the heap of comic books, dirty dishes, and loose change on top of my dresser and tugged it through the mud-brown mess of my hair. Paige drifted over, her hand grazing my head with a faint tingle. The smell of candied apples and cinnamon wisped from her fingers.

"You could be pretty, Cassie," she murmured. "You've got an okay figure, if you dressed to show it off... A little make-up--I bet your eyes could look really green if you did it right, and a new hair cut..."

"Why bother?"

Paige groaned. "You want to have friends, don't you? People care about that stuff. You look nice, they're nice to you. You look like a mess, they're laughing about it behind your back."

My smile died. I yanked the brush through a knot, wincing. From what I'd seen, looking nice didn't stop people from making fun of you. I'd dressed pretty decent back in junior high, and it sure as hell hadn't helped me.

But that was ancient history. The kids at Frazer Collegiate weren't laughing at me now. And I had enough dirt on all of them to make sure it stayed that way.


3 Moonbeams (comments):

Molly Daniels said...

Great premise! Am putting this on my print TBB list:)

Margay said...

I just want to ask Megan one question: Do you hear that groaning, creaking sound? That is all of the other books in my tbr pile groaning in protest because I just put this one on top. It sounds like a wonderful, unique story and I can't wait to read it!

Thanks for stepping into our spotlight today!

Margay

Jeannine Garsee said...

OK, this one is definitely moving to the top of my list! Thanks, Megan and Carrie. :)