|Visit Lindsey (and her cat) at Jesse Said Yes!|
Thanks for coming over, Lindsey. Tell us about yourself. What do you do when you're not writing about supernatural phenomena in small Kansas towns?
It's a pleasure to be here! I work as a school librarian, which means I get to throw books at students and get paid for it! I'm only half kidding. My cat Jesse allows my boyfriend and me to live with him as long as we feed him regularly and scratch that impossible itch behind his ears. I'm addicted to Critique Circle, and when I'm not critting, I'm either reading or writing. That's about it, I guess. I like reclusive, drama-free living.
I've heard about a few of your adventures as a school librarian, and I suspect that and a few other real-life aspects inspired the ideas in The Grave Winner. Do tell!
Well, I drive twenty minutes to work and back again, which means I don't pay attention to the road. Yikes! It's because I'm on auto-pilot, and my brain can spin in peace. That's when I notice things, like a beat up old box on the side of the road. That box was there forever! Then, I started to think about all the possible reasons that box could be there, and I knew I had to write a story about a box. My opening scene for TGW starts with a box. Actually it's a coffin, which isn't all that original. But what happens next is original, I think. The flood gates opened, and snippets from real life poured in: the spiders in my garage, the cute guy on that TV show Dead Like Me whose real name is Callum, and the lyrics from The Fratellis's "Creepin' Up the Backstairs" as inspiration for my MC's best friend, Jo.
I know you've written another YA novel. Can you tell us about that one and any other writing projects you have now?
My first novel is called Pause. It's about a girl whose sister is married to the the CEO of Pause, a drink which makes you stay the same age forever. It turns out the sister is missing, as is the CEO. Mystery and adventure ensue, and everything isn't quite what it seems. I made the rounds with agents on that one, snagged a few requests, but nothing ever happened. I'm submitting a few short stories for publication, and have another idea for a novel running around in my head.
What authors and types of books do you like to read? What young adult titles can you recommend to the younger crowd?
I try to diversify my reading since I'm K-12, but those YA books are hard to resist! I love Harry Potter and The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I enjoyed the His Dark Materials trilogy and Holes by Louis Sachar. I like horror, mystery, romance, paranormal, fantasy, and science fiction. Umm, I think that's it.
Time for that random question. You've just been hired to a promotions position at Kellog Co. What would you put in a new breakfast cereal box as a gimmick?
A coupon for a free custom-made action figure. All you have to do is send in your picture, then BAM! You get your very own action figure that looks just like you!
Finally, Ms. Loucks, would you be so kind as to share an excerpt from one of your novels?
I'd love to! This is from the end of chapter one of The Grave Winner.
Another storm threatened outside my window as the wind picked up. Typical Krapper, Kansas. The weather here was just as random as how the cards fell in fifty-two card pick-up. One minute was sunny and almost tranquil. The next, a tornado could rip through the front door. The nonstop wind made me want to punch someone in the face, just like I did to that kid in third grade when he introduced me to the stupid card game.
The wind mingled with Dad’s snores to create a strange song as the light outside my window dipped into twilight. Between the broken harmonies of the coming storm and the snoring, there was another sound. Whispering. It wasn’t the wind. The wind here didn’t whisper before a storm. It shrieked.
It came from the window above my head. My heart pounded.
I refused to look up so I buried my face in Darby's hair. How could she still be sleeping with the tapping and the whispering and my crazy heartbeat?
Taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap. And more whispering.
My body was as rigid as the giant tree in my front lawn. Which was far enough away from my window that it couldn’t be its branches reaching for me.
Could it be dead Sarah, her muddy face pressed against the glass, looking down at me, Darby, and Dad? Why hadn’t I closed the stupid blinds?
I pressed my lips together so they’d catch my scream.
I'm so glad you stopped by today, Lindsey! I'll be first in line to buy your published novel!
Thanks so much for having me! It's been fun!