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A Thrill Ride of Summer Reading

A Thrill Ride of Summer Reading This summer, I had a plan. A plan to scare, thrill, and completely immerse myself in young adult murder mystery. The result? Well, I certainly spent a good deal of time biting my finger nails. I even had a few “ah ha!” moments. I have to say, there were times where I really had to suspend belief, but then I reminded myself that teens, not a 30-something jaded mother of two, were the intended audience for these books, and it made me realize how hard the authors had to work to orchestrate such complex stories with characters you could root for. Here are three you might try if you are writing mystery/thrillers or just enjoy a good “who-done-it” read. Ten by Gretchen McNeil On an island off the coast of Washington State, ten teenagers converge at a house to party. Much like Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, one by one the teenagers begin to get knocked off. The story is told third person, but only one perspective, so it’s pretty straightforward. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, but with big personalities, they all stand out pretty well. I thought this one was pretty good at keeping the true murderer under wraps.         The Rules by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie Told from multiple third-person perspectives, a group of teenagers meet at an old warehouse deep in the woods near the shore. They’re there for a scavenger hunt, but it quickly becomes clear that someone has murder on the mind. This story is a little more gruesome than some, but it does get the award for most creepy. I had a small suspicion who it might be at the halfway point, but I was guessing enough to be very intrigued with the reveal.         NEED by Joelle Charbonneau This is a little more than a “someone around here must be killing us” kind of read. That’s because the book uses social media as it’s catalyst for the crimes, implicating teens in murders that they never knew they’d be taking part in. The concept is fascinating, the main character really grows on you, and the plot is intriguing. It’s certainly worth the read for something different.   So, all in all, it was an exciting experience. It’s still hard for me to love anything without a major dose of romance (Ten probably gets... read more

Debut Author Interview – Ryan Dalton

Today we’re happy to host  an interview with Ryan Dalton about his debut YA release The Year of Lightning.  WWAT: Most of our readers are aspiring authors. Please tell us a little about how you became interested in writing. Dalton: I’ve been a book geek pretty much since I could read. Once I picked up a book, I basically never put it down. That love stuck with me early and has always been there. Then, between about eight and ten years old, I started to realize that the books I loved were written by actual everyday people, and it wasn’t long before I decided I was going to be one of them. From that point on, I always said that I would publish books someday. WWAT: One of the hardest parts of editing is getting that first chapter just right. In The Year of Lightning, you did an excellent job of introducing your two main characters first and then adding the suspense that’s needed to keep us hooked. Did you make many changes from your initial draft to get this first chapter? Dalton: I’m glad you liked it! My original first chapter was very different from the finished novel. It was a completely different scene with different characters, and my plan was to introduce the twins in chapter two. That original first chapter worked for about half of my beta readers, but the other half didn’t respond to it at all, so I knew it needed to change. Then I got some advice from a fellow writer that helped me realize what needed to change, and the first chapter became what you see. It works much better than what I had originally planned. WWAT: You create a unique small town setting in the first few chapters, seen through the eyes of your MCs at their new home and school. Is the town based on anything from your own life? Dalton: I spent my early years in a small town, so that kind of setting felt natural to write. The town in the story is fictional, but I did include a few common small-town elements. Each one has its own little identity and culture, so it was fun to build one from the ground up and see it become a character of its own. WWAT: The title you chose for your book definitely reflects your story. Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about your inspiration for the supernatural aspects of your story? Dalton: I like creepy books, but I’m not generally a fan of ghost or horror stories. Those do tend to intersect, so... read more

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