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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Interview + Giveaway with Laurel Gale, author of Dead Boy

 Today I welcome debut author Laurel Gale to The Hiding Spot to chat a bit about her middle grade novel, Dead Boy, her favorite word (which relates to something both fascinating and terrifying), the Christopher Pike book that provided her with a hiding spot, and more!

Your debut novel, Dead Boy, which features a main character who’s not quite alive, is obviously a great pick for Halloween. Of course, this Crow’s story is truly for any time of year. Can you touch on some of the bigger, universal themes readers will find in your book? 

Friendship is central in Dead Boy. When the story begins, Crow is very lonely. The cause of this—being a dead boy plagued with maggots and rot—may be bizarre, but I think most readers will be able to relate to his feelings of isolation and his desire for a friend. Melody, who has just moved to town, is also lonely. She has an easier time meeting other kids her age, but she also deals with betrayal and bullying. The importance of having true friends who are always there for you—and of being a good friend in return—runs throughout the story. 
Tell me a little bit about your writing process: Do you outline? Start at the beginning? The middle? The end? 
I always start with chapter one, and although I’ll jot down notes for later scenes, I never write chapters out of order. I don’t like outlines, but I usually write a one-page synopsis before I write much of the actual manuscript. Dead Boy was actually unusual for me because I didn’t know what was going to happen or how the story was going to end. I had a few possible ideas, but I made most of it up as I wrote—which meant I had a lot of rewriting to do. 
What jobs did you have on your way to becoming a published author? Is there a certain work experience that has shaped your writing or provided inspiration? 
I’ve had a lot of different jobs over the years. Some of them, namely freelance writing and ESL instruction, helped me develop my writing skills. Others, like working in a coffee shop or at a Renaissance festival, seem more unrelated, but they still provided me with real life experiences, and I think this is helpful for novelists. I want to be able to write about a wide range of characters, so it’s helpful to have a wide range of experiences. 
If you had to pick a favorite word, what would it be and why? 
I like the word spelunk, which means to explore caves. Caves fascinate me, and this word immediately brings to mind mystery and adventure. Caves also terrify me, and I imagine that spelunk is the sound I might make as I fell down a crevice and then thudded against the ground if I ever tried to go spelunking. 
My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Name a notable book that provided you with a hiding spot. 
I also like to hide in books. I suppose most writers do. People often talk about books as passages to other worlds, and this is so true for me. No matter what’s going on in my life, whether I’m bored or stressed or both, I can escape into a good book. 

I think the first book I really used as a hiding spot was See You Later by Christopher Pike. I read it during the summer before sixth grade, which was a very stressful time for me. I think it was my first introduction to science fiction, and it was definitely the one that ignited my obsession with speculative literature. I read every Christopher Pike book I could get my hands on, and then I started reading other fantasy and science fiction authors. These books provided me with a sometimes necessary escape, and See You Later was the one that started it all. 
What can readers look forward to next? 
Right now, I’m working on my next middle grade fantasy.


2 winners. Open internationally. Ends 12/17/2015.

More About the Book
A darkly funny and literary debut novel about a dead boy named Crow who has a chance at friendship - and a chance at getting his life back

Just because you’re dead doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a life.

Crow Darlingson died in the 4th grade. But he’s still alive. And growing, actually. He can’t eat or taste anything, his body parts sometimes fall off (mom always sews them back on, though), and he’s only allowed to leave his house once per year, on Halloween.

Crow’s parents are separating, and despite their reassurances, he’s pretty sure it’s his fault. After all, having an undead son can’t be much easier than being one. Sneaking out at night only makes things worse, but he can’t resist the chance at a real friendship with Melody Plympton, the new girl next door, who loves mystery more than she minds the stink of his flesh or the maggots that sometimes crawl out of his nose.

Together they investigate the mysterious Meera - a monster living in the nearby park. Logic and fear tell Crow to stay away, but fuzzy memories lure him on. When Crow and Melody venture into its underground lair, Crow’s not just risking the half-life he clings to. He’s also risking the only friend he’s had in years.

The importance of friendship is crystallized as Crow and Melody face tests of loyalty, courage, and honor in this macabre middle grade novel by a debut author.
About the Author

Like Crow, Gale resides in the Nevada desert. She lives with her husband and a band of furry monsters that might actually be ferrets, her favorite animal (even though they don’t make an appearance in this story).


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