Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today, I thought I’d give you a break and share some exciting news! A colleague of mine is getting published! Her debut novel is up for pre-order and I thought this would be a great time to share it with all of you! So, without further ado, here’s my interview with up and coming author Chelsea Ichaso. Take it away Chelsea!
- What inspired you to write this story?
I used to teach high school English, and one of the books in our curriculum was A Separate Peace by John Knowles. It’s about two prep school boys whose friendship is torn apart by jealousy. It’s such a painful story, but also one that I feel like everyone can relate to on some level. One day, I thought about what it might look like if a close friendship were destroyed by a crime, rather than jealousy. Eventually, this idea developed into Little Creeping Things.
- Why did you choose this genre?
YA mystery-thriller was the genre that really lent itself to the type of story I wanted to tell. It started off as more of a suspense idea that took on twists and turns and a cast of suspects. At that point, I knew I had a full-fledged mystery on my hands. Luckily, mystery-thriller is one of my favorite genres to read and watch. Now, it’s also my favorite genre to write.
- Tell us about your writing process.
Once I have a new concept, I take a clean notebook and scribble down all my thoughts in streams of consciousness fashion. I end up with anywhere between ten and thirty handwritten pages. Then I try to hone in on the valuable sections of those notes by making a more condensed version. It’s a complete mess, but it works for me. If there’s an evident piece of the puzzle that isn’t fitting, I find a clean page and list any and every solution until something sticks.
When I have a mostly fleshed-out plot, I get on the computer and type a chapter-by-chapter outline. I don’t use formal beat sheets, but my outline will hit on all of the important elements of story structure. I find it easier to add and rearrange parts as I go when the outline is a Word doc rather than handwritten. Once I’m happy with the outline, I save it as a new document and draft right on top of it, deleting sections as they go from bullet points to complete chapters. When the outline has completely disappeared, the novel is done.
- Do you have a favorite place to write?
I love coffee shops for a change of scenery. My desk at home is nice, but sometimes being out of the house allows my brain to recharge because the normal distractions of home aren’t there. And good coffee certainly doesn’t hurt the writing process.
- How do you handle writer’s block?
I have to be in the right state of mind to come up with an idea. If not, I just get frustrated and waste a lot of time trying to force it. When I feel ready, my process for attacking writer’s block is similar to how I begin a book. I sit and scribble in a notebook for hours until I land on something that excites me. There are also plenty of times that I’ve come up with ideas while traveling. Sitting in a car or on a plane is the perfect time to brainstorm. My husband is not a writer, but he and I will take turns pitching story ideas, the more bizarre the better. Sometimes, the tiniest grain of an idea will come out of those sessions and evolve into workable concept.
I love to read (probably not a huge surprise). I also play soccer. My husband and I are on a co-ed team together, and all three of our kids play. Watching the little ones on the weekends is one of my favorite pastimes.
- What are you working on next?
I’m in the editing stages of my second YA thriller. I can’t say much about it yet, but there will be plenty of secrets and lies. I’m also working on a few projects in different genres and age categories because I like to juggle manuscripts. When one draft goes off to my critique partners, I do a round of revisions or begin to draft something else.
- Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m definitely a plotter. I find it very difficult to write thrillers without any plotting. My outlines aren’t extremely detailed, but I know the basic shape of my books ahead of time. I know the major twists. That said, I love it when a new character development or level to the story arises as I’m drafting, and I always allow myself room to improvise. Some of my favorite scenes and twists originated in the spur of the moment.
- What is your favorite book?
It’s impossible to choose, so I’ll list a few. Bird Box by Josh Mallerman is my favorite horror novel. I’m hard to scare, but this one had me genuinely creeped out. I love The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and Shadow and Bone (the entire Grisha trilogy, really) by Leigh Bardugo. A fantastic mystery I read recently was In the Woods by Tana French.
10) What is your favorite food?
In and Out Burger. I’ve heard this is a west coast thing, so if you don’t live out here and you get a chance to visit, you absolutely must try it.
Thanks, Chelsea! Now a here’s the cover and blurb of her debut novel and I must say, I’m going to be reading this one very soon!
PRAISE FOR LITTLE CREEPING THINGS
“Everyone’s a suspect, and no one is safe, in this twisty debut from a compelling new voice in YA, Chelsea Ichaso. Don’t miss it!”–Kit Frick, author of See All the Stars, All Eyes on Us, and I Killed Zoe Spanos
“Little Creeping Things is a stunning debut in every sense of the word. From the chilling opening pages to the jaw-dropping final reveal, the pacing is relentless, the twists dizzying. Cass is the best kind of unreliable narrator, delightfully acerbic and hopelessly sincere even when she isn’t telling the truth. Chelsea Ichaso has without a doubt written the breakout thriller of the year.”–Dana Mele, author of People Like Us
“Little Creeping Things, with its cast of creepy and untrustworthy characters, will satisfy the appetites of all manner of mystery fans.”–Booklist
“The reveal…is both well earned and eerie.”–Kirkus Reviews
“Ichaso’s debut is a riveting whodunnit… a psychological thriller worthy of mystery aficionados.”–School Library Journal
When she was a child, Cassidy Pratt accidentally started a fire that killed her neighbor. She’s pretty sure she didn’t mean to do it, and she’d give anything to forget that awful day. But her town’s bullies, particularly the cruel and beautiful Melody Davenport, have never let her live it down. In Melody’s eyes, Cassidy is a murderer and always will be.
Then Melody goes missing, and Cassidy thinks she may have information about what happened. She knows she should go to the cops, but she recently joked about how much she’d like to get rid of Melody. She even planned the perfect way to do it. And then she gets a chilling text from an unknown number: I’m so glad we’re in this together.
Now it’s up to Cassidy to figure out what’s really going on before the truth behind Melody’s disappearance sets the whole town ablaze.
To order Chelsea’s book, click on one of the links below.
Thanks Cheslea for being a guest today! I’m looking forward to reading your book!