Interview with Trisha Leaver, author of THE SECRETS WE KEEP - enter to win a signed copy of CREED

Today, we have an interview with Trisha Leaver, co-author of the YA horror/thriller CREED, and author of THE SECRETS WE KEEP, a YA contemporary (coming April 2015).

First, a little about Trisha:

I live on Cape Cod with my husband, three children, and one rather irreverent black lab. (He is actually half dalmation so that could explain a bit of the excitability.)  I am a chronic daydreamer who prefers the cozy confines of my own imagination to the mundane routine of everyday life. I am a member of the SCBWI, the Horror Writers Association, and the YA Scream Queens -- a group of nine female authors who are deathly serious about their horror.

Read on for more about Trisha, her books, and for details on how to win a signed copy of CREED!

Three went in. Three came out. None even a shadow of who they once were.

When their car breaks down, Dee, her boyfriend Luke, and his brother Mike walk through a winter storm to take refuge in a nearby town called Purity Springs. When they arrive, the emergency sirens are blaring and the small farming town seems abandoned. With no other shelter, they spend the night in an empty house.

But they soon discover that not everything in Purity Springs is as it seems. When the town's inhabitants suddenly appear the next morning, Dee, Luke, and Mike find themselves at the mercy of the charismatic leader, Elijah Hawkins, who plans to make Dee his new wife. Elijah's son, Joseph, offers to help them escape . . . but the price of his help may be more than Dee and her friends can bear.

BG: How did you get started as a writer?

TL: I never considered myself a writer, more of a chronic dreamer. I dream most every night and only in black and white. A few years back, in a silly attempt to analyze my dreams, I stared writing down the more vivid ones in a journal. I quickly found myself less curious about what my subconscious was trying to tell me and more concerned with how the dreams were “supposed to end.”  It took off from there, and I started me crafting endings to the dreams my subconscious so rudely left unfinished.

BG: You live in Cape Cod, which seems like such a happy, sunny place. Which makes me wonder: what brought you to writing horror?

TL: My siblings actually. When I was a kid, I was religious about checking under the bed for monsters. (I still am, but that is topic for a totally different post LOL) Anyhow, one night, as I was crouched down peering into the darkness, my sister asked, “What would you do if you actually found someone under there?”  Rather than think about that logically, I did what most kids do – I ran to my big brother complaining that my sister was teasing me. He laughed and said: “It’s not the monsters under the bed you should worry about, rather the ones in people’s the closet.”  It took me several years to figure out what he meant by that, but to this day, I credit them and that bantering episode for my love of psychological horror.

BG: Ha. Siblings! :) (I was an under-the-bed checker too, by the way. ) 

How do you get inspired to write scary books? 

TL: Most, if not all, of my horror plots come from nightmares. Creed was actually the start of a nightmare.  I was going to a concert with two of my childhood friends. We hit a dear and got forced off the road.  Seeking help, we wandered into a nearby town.  It appeared deserted, but yet there was food still on the table and cars still running in the driveways.  Worst of all, I could see shadows of people darting between the buildings.  But I couldn’t get those shadows to interact with me, couldn’t get them to respond to my calls or materialize.  That is when I woke up in a cold sweat, and to be honest, I was a bit peeved that my subconscious left me hanging, completely unsure of what those shadows were or if I would even survive. I called Lindsay that morning and told her about my dream and we started plotting out CREED from there.

BG: Wow. What a nightmare! I loved that you called Lindsay to tell her about it, and then started writing!

Since you're a YA Horror writer AND a member of the YA Scream Queens, you must have some insight into up-coming YA Horror titles. Which ones should we be adding to our must-reads lists?

TL: SHUTTER by Courtney Alameda for sure. And then there is CUT ME FREE by Jen Johansson.  I read an ARC of CUT ME FREE and let me tell you… it is sooooo good! I just finished MARY: THE SUMMONING by Hillary Monahan and need it to be fall of 2015 already so I can get my hands on the sequel. And of course there is Dawn Kurtagich’s THE DEAD HOUSE.  I am going to go all sorts of crazy to get my hands on that one!

A girl takes over her twin sister's identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters.

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world.

When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister's life.

BG: I love the premise for THE SECRETS WE KEEP. It's so fascinating to think about! It made me wonder ... Do you have a sister? (And has she read THE SECRETS WE KEEP?) ;)

TL: I do have a sister, Irish Twins as my mom used to call us.  And yes, she has read THE SECRETS WE KEEP.  It actually releases on her birthday which I think is perfectly beautiful since the book is about the complicated bond between sisters.

Thanks to Trisha for the interview!

We hope you get a chance to add CREED and THE SECRETS WE KEEP to your to-read lists! You can learn more about Trisha by visiting her website or by following her on Twitter.

Trisha was kind enough to offer a signed copy of CREED to one lucky reader! Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. 

Thanks for reading, and good luck!