Saving Hascal's Horrors - Laura Smith
I love young adult thrillers. While they keep me on the edge of my seat, by reading them, I'm able to avoid a lot of the shock gore and violence that exists in much of the horror genre today.
Saving Hascal's Horrors is a charming young adult book about a boy who loves horror movies and finds himself in the middle of one when an old missing persons case begins to haunt him and his family.
The characters are lovable and believable and are written with plenty of depth and personality. I definitely felt connected with them by the end of the book. The plot was well paced and held my attention, especially as I realized what Mike was planning to do.
Mike goes through quite a bit of maturing throughout the book as he learned to respect his sister's decisions regarding their father's shop and in making room for new friends within his group. Lots of good lessons for young boys and girls alike.
Some Bio Information
Laura Smith is an office worker by day and writes books at night and on weekends. She graduated from Carlow University in 2007 with a degree in Creative Writing. Her poetry has been published in 6 Sentences, Rune Magazine, Voices from the Garage, Falling Star Magazine and Blast Furnace Press. She has self-published three middle grade books, "The Stable House," "Saving Hascal's Horrors," and "The Castle Park Kids, which are all available on CreateSpace and Amazon. In her spare time, she enjoys watching movies, reading, taking pictures, and spending time with her family. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA.
1. What inspired you to write this book?
This book was inspired by a dream I had about a family of grave diggers combined with an adult novel I was working on from Julie's point of view. I was going to have Julie as the main character debating whether or not to close her family's shop and pursue her own career path with Mike talking her out of it by the end of the book. The dream I had was from a boy like Mike's point of view, and I decided to rewrite it from his perspective, adding my own love of classic horror movies and ghost stories to the mix.
2. Who is your favorite character?
I like all of my characters, but I would say that Mike is my favorite. I tend to gravitate towards the leaders, and Mike is a leader. I like how he is set in his ways and already has a strong grasp as to what he wants out of life. He would also do anything for his family, and that's an admirable quality as well.
3. Will we be seeing more of Julia and Mike?
I was thinking of starting a series of novellas that chronicle Mike's life both before and after the events of this book. I'm already coming up with ideas for each book in the series. The stories will be separate from each other but will all exist in the same universe with the same characters.
4. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?
This book was written entirely out of order. That was the first time I had ever done that, and it wasn't easy, but it did keep me motivated because it allowed me to write whatever I felt like writing about that day, whether it was from a specific character's point of view or a specific part of the story. The process has been different for each novel I have written, but essentially, I hand write or type a few pages every day and then go through the book over and over, adding parts, deleting sections, and just general proofreading. The editing process was actually really fun on this book because I kept thinking of new elements and characterizations to add. So, it wasn't much different from the writing process.
5. Who is your favorite YA genre author?
I read a lot as a kid, but I mostly read R.L. Stein, Ann M Martin, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved book series about real kids doing real things. I wasn't much of a fantasy reader, and I'm still not, but I do love horror and ghost stories.
6. Who did you write this book for?
I wrote this book for anyone who loves horror movies or wants to get into horror movies but doesn't like to sleep with the lights on. I thought about making it a treasure hunting story, similar to "The Goonies," but in the end I thought that just saving his family's shop would be reward enough for Mike.
7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?
I would like to sell enough books to be able to do this full time and pump out as many stories as I can about topics that interest me and that my readers also enjoy as well. I would like kids to know that a book doesn't have to have wizards and vampires in it in order to be entertaining. Regular kids are interesting enough.