Hi everyone! Happy Monday! Only five more days until Halloween! Eep! So far we’ve had some amazing authors on the Trick-or-Treat Chronicles.
She’s written just about a bazillion books and all of them have incredible ratings on Amazon and Goodreads. Somehow I was living under a rock and had only heard of Susan for the first time this year when I read her novel Very Bad Things. It literally blew my mind. Very Bad Things is a fantastic YA thriller that’s like Pretty Little Liar’s and Gretchen McNeil’s Ten had a baby and it became a superhero and saved the world. THAT is how good this book is. In fact, I raved about it on Goodreads, gave it a five, and wished I could give it a 23. You can read the full review here. And since this is slowly becoming the longest introduction in the world, I just want to say this. If you do nothing else this year, pick up one of her books. You will NOT regret it.
Hi Susan. Thank you so much for letting me interview you. I read your amazing YA mystery book VERY BAD THINGS and I absolutely loved it! What inspired it?
Years ago, I read an article in the newspaper about a FedEx employee who opened a leaky box that he was delivering. Yep, it contained body parts. Blech. It was so gross that I knew someday I’d have to use it in a book. So the idea for Very Bad Things was born (and, yes, the leaky package is in there!). The story revolves around Katie, a senior at a prep school, who’s had kind of a rough time since her dad died. She has a best friend named Tessa and she’s dating Mark, who’s the school’s hockey star. Her life seems too good to be true: and it is. When a risqué photo of Mark and a girl named Rose shows up online after a hockey party—and then Rose goes missing—Katie begins to wonder how well she really knows Mark. As she starts digging into the mystery of Rose and what happened to her, she learns things about other people that shake her faith in everyone around her, including Tessa.
Ooohhh! How creepy that’s it’s based off of something that really happened. I love it! Now, you you have several novels out right now (Little Black Dress, Very Bad Things, The Debs, etc.) Which has been your favorite to write and why?
Unbelievably, Very Bad Things is, like, my 18th published novel. It seems crazy to have that many out. I loved writing the women’s fiction, like Little Black Dress and The Truth About Love & Lightning, because I got to tell juicy stories about families and relationships and secrets. Those are definitely books of my heart. I just finished writing Say Yes to the Death, the sixth Debutante Dropout Mystery for HarperCollins. The first five in the series will be out in a boxed collection the day Very Bad Things drops, as a matter of fact! They’re just good, silly fun. I also have another mystery series with HarperCollins called the River Road Mysteries, which debuted this summer. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but it’s probably Very Bad Things because it’s my newest “baby” and it took two years of blood, sweat, and tears to write. I’m really proud of how it turned out, and I’m biting my nails, hoping readers will like it!
Trust me, readers will love it! I know that I did. So tell me, what’s your writing process like? Tea? Cookies? Music? Silence?
Hmm, tea and cookies sound good! (I haven’t had lunch so I’m hungry!) I don’t play music while I work because I tend to start humming or singing along and get distracted. I prefer silence or maybe a TV on in the background (and since I have a toddler, that usually means I get to hear lots of “Sesame Street” and “Barney!”). I seem to write better on gloomy days. Maybe that’s the mystery writer in me! My process mostly involves keeping my butt in the chair and making myself get at least 1,000 words written every day. Toward the end of a book, the words come a lot faster, kind of like flying downhill on a roller coaster.
I love it. I think that the key to being a successful writer is writing! So, being a Halloween interview, I have to ask. Do you believe in ghosts?
Have you ever had a real-life spooky encounter?
I’ve had a few, like a week after one of my cats died when I swear I saw the shadow of that cat jumping off a chair. And when I lived with my grandmother twenty years ago before she passed away, I heard her talking in the middle of the night. I tiptoed into her room, and I could swear she was having a conversation with my grandfather. I couldn’t see him, but I think she could. And I know he was there.
Whoa! That’s incredible! I believe in ghosts and I just love hearing these stories. In fact, I have a similar one in my family where a family member was heard talking to her already deceased husband just days before she herself died. It’s all so interesting. So, what is your favorite scary movie?
The Sixth Sense.
Such a good one! What is the best thing you’ve ever been for Halloween?
This sounds creepy when I write it down…once for a mystery convention, I was a murdered cheerleader. I had my old cheerleading outfit from high school (down to the socks and red and white shoes), and I got a big plastic knife that I stuck through a headband. Then I did fake blood down my face. I was a big hit.
Hahaha! I love it. That’s such a fun idea. It reminds me of one of my favorite R.L. Stine books. What is your favorite scary, spooky, or fall read?
I still remember reading Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot when I was about 12, and it got me so scared that I was afraid to be alone for a while!
Oh. I love Salem’s Lot, but I admit that I haven’t read the book yet! Looks like I need to! So, who is your favorite book or movie villain and why?
Hmm, I think it’s Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind because she’s both a heroine and a villain. She saves Tara in the end, but she screws up so many people’s lives in the process (including her own).
Oh! That’s such a good one. Scarlett is such a fantastically written character. So, speaking of Halloween, what’s your favorite Halloween drink or treat?
I love pumpkin anything: pumpkin cookies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin ice cream, and pumpkin cake. This is my favorite time of year!
Oh, yes! I’m a sucker for pumpkin everything. I have some pumpkin ice cream in my freezer right now. So, tell us, because I’m hooked on your writing. What’s next for your story-telling? What can we look forward to?
Say Yes to the Death, the sixth Debutante Dropout Mystery, will be out next September. I hope to write another YA mystery one of these days after I take a little time off with my two-year-old, Emily (and Emily’s daddy!). I’ve been working nonstop for 15 years, and I’m pooped!
Understandable. After reading Very Bad Things, I see just how much work and detail you put into your books. Someone get Susan a margarita and a Hawaiian vacation, stat!
What do you associate with the following words?
(Example: Bat – Dracula)
Bones - Chicken
Pumpkin - Muffin
Moon - Pie
Graveyard – Tombstone
I almost wrote “Tombstone Pizza”—I think I’d better go eat lunch!
Hahaha! I think I need lunch too, because that sounds fantastic!
Thank you so much Susan for taking the time to visit today and partake in this fun Halloween interview. You’re amazing to read and a fantastic sport. I can’t wait to read you for years to come!
About Susan McBride
Susan McBride is the USA Today Bestselling author of Blue Blood and four other award-winning Debutante Dropout Mysteries from HarperCollins/Avon, including The Good Girl’s Guide To Murder, The Lone Star Lonely Hearts Club, Night Of The Living Deb, and Too Pretty To Die. A sixth title, Say Yes to the Death, will be out in September 2015. Susan has another series with Avon that debuted in May 2014, the River Road Mysteries, starting with To Helen Back and followed by Mad as Helen (July 2014) and Not a Chance in Helen (September 2014). Susan’s young adult thriller, Very Bad Things, is an October 2014 release from Delacorte Press. Publishers Weekly raves: “McBride’s fast-paced plot is fueled by jumps between multiple characters’ perspectives, and her rendering of the venerable yet sinister school… is as absorbing as the tightly wound mystery.”
In addition to her mysteries, Susan has penned three well-received women’s fiction titles.The Truth About Love & Lightning (02/13) was selected by Target stores for their Emerging Authors program, was a Midwest Connections Pick, and was dubbed “a poignant page-turner” by Publishers Weekly. Little Black Dress spent five weeks on the St. Louis bestsellers list and was a Target Recommended Read. The Cougar Club was selected by Target Stores as a Bookmarked Breakout Title and named a Midwest Connections Pick by the Midwest Booksellers Association. Foreign editions of Susan’s books have been published in France, Turkey, Croatia, and Bulgaria (and, coming soon, Lithuania!).
Susan has one nonfiction title available: In the Pink: How I Met the Perfect (Younger) Man, Survived Breast Cancer, and Found True Happiness After 40, which tells her tale of becoming an “accidental Cougar” and marrying a younger man, her cancer diagnosis at age 42, and finding herself pregnant at 47.
She has authored several YA non-mystery novels for Delacorte about debutantes in Houston: The Debs (2008) and Love, Lies, And Texas Dips (2009). Gloves Off, the third book, has not been released.
In January of 2012, Susan was named one of St. Louis’s “Most Dynamic People of the Year” by the Ladue News. In April of 2012, she was given the “Survivor of the Year” Award by the St. Louis affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. As Susan likes to say, “Life is never boring.”
Susan is graciously giving away TWO hardback author signed copies of VERY BAD THINGS. You can enter by using the Rafflecopter form below. There are many ways to win! Thank you Susan for the generous offer! Winners will be chosen at random on 11/10/14.