Tuesday, September 9, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Feral by Holly Schindler

 Welcome to Jenuine Cupcakes, this is my stop on the FERAL Blog Tour!

About the Book  
FeralThe Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know.

It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened.

But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….

Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.

FERAL AND THE PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER: FERAL falls squarely into the realm of the classic psychological thriller. While the book features mystery, horror, and paranormal elements, the emphasis is on the “psychological” rather than thriller / action. The novel features a Hitchcockian pace and focus on character development (here, we’re exploring the inner workings of the main character, Claire Cain). Essentially, every aspect of FERAL is used to explore Claire’s inner workings—that even includes the wintry Ozarks setting. The water metaphor is employed frequently in psychological thrillers to represent the subconscious, and here is incorporated in the form of a brutal ice storm (that represents Claire’s “frozen” inner state). The attempt to untangle what is real from what is unreal (another frequently-used aspect of the psychological thriller) also begins to highlight the extent to which Claire was hurt in that Chicago alley. Even the explanation of the odd occurrences in the town of Peculiar offers an exploration into and portrait of Claire’s psyche. Ultimately, FERAL is a book about recovering from violence—that’s not just a lengthy or hard process; it’s a terrifying process, too. The classic psychological thriller allowed me to explore that frightening process in detail. 

About the Author  
Holly Schindler is the author of the critically acclaimed A BLUE SO DARK (Booklist starred review, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year silver medal recipient, IPPY Awards gold medal recipient) as well as PLAYING HURT (both YAs). Her debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, also released in ’14, and became a favorite of teachers and librarians, who used the book as a read-aloud. Kirkus Reviews called THE JUNCTION “...a heartwarming and uplifting story...[that] shines...with vibrant themes of community, self-empowerment and artistic vision delivered with a satisfying verve.” FERAL is Schindler’s third YA and first psychological thriller. 

Publishers Weekly gave FERAL a starred review, stating, “Opening with back-to-back scenes of exquisitely imagined yet very real horror, Schindler’s third YA novel hearkens to the uncompromising demands of her debut, A BLUE SO DARK…This time, the focus is on women’s voices and the consequences they suffer for speaking…This is a story about reclaiming and healing, a process that is scary, imperfect, and carries no guarantees.” Schindler encourages readers to get in touch. Booksellers, teen librarians, and teachers can also contact her directly regarding Skype visits. 

You can find Holly Schindler here...

 I had the chance to ask Holly one question, and I chose the one I ask all of my blog guests. Here's what she said: 

Brownies, cupcakes, or pie? 
This question’s got me thinking about writing fuel…and how it’s changed over the past few years… 

When I was in college, I did a bunch of initial drafting of my poems and short stories by hand. My favorite spot was a lesser-known nook in the student center, which came complete with a fireplace and overstuffed chairs. Perfect during cold winter months. I’d grab some snack machine goodies—most likely, hot tea with sugar and some sort of Danish-style treat. And I’d sink into one of the chairs and scribble away… 

After college, I immediately dove headfirst into my writing career. This was back in ’01, before there was really much opportunity to network online. I was drafting my books on a real dinosaur of a computer—the thing didn’t even have a modem. But it was pretty fantastic, too, looking back on it. Just me and my work, no outside distractions. If you can completely unplug from your online activities (even for just a couple of hours a day), I highly recommend it. At this point, my drafting sessions were fueled by coffee and donuts. Lots of donuts. My favorite was cherry cake with chocolate icing. 

These days, my sugar intake is down—so I’ve veered away from the Danish and donuts. My writing’s done either in my office, or (preferably) on my laptop on my back deck. I’m still joined each day by a good cup of coffee, but I’d have to say my favorite writing fuel is my hometown’s signature dish: Springfield-Style Cashew Chicken. (It’s a cross between fried chicken and Chinese food.) I can’t begin to tell you how many deadlines have been met while downing a steaming plate of the stuff. 

 …I will say, though, that even though the sugar intake is down, I still have the same all-time favorite sweet treat; I’m just not sure how to classify it: cheesecake. (Is that a cake, a pie, a custard, etc.?) Whatever category it falls under, it’s the best…And usually reserved for celebrations of book sales. 

 FERAL Trailer


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