EERIE, the new horror novel by bestselling thriller author Blake Crouch and his brother Jordan Crouch went live on the Nook May14 (for those of you with Nooks http://barnesandnoble.com/c/blake-crouch ). The rest of us get our chance beginning June 14. While we wait, here’s a Q&A promoting these guys and EERIE.
GR–I’ve read a lot of ghost stories lately (through the SCARE THE DICKENS OUT OF US ghost story contest) and too many of them are not true ghost stories, they are horror stories. Is EERIE truly a ghost story? And why did you pick this genre?
BLAKE–This is going to take some fancy footwork. For those who don’t know, EERIE is about two people who are trapped in a house by an otherworldly presence that has claimed the upstairs bedroom. They don’t know what it is, and neither does the reader. So you ask whether or not this is a ghost story proper, by which I assume you mean, a story with ghosts in it. Well the question of what kind of entity they’re dealing (with) and whether it’s there at all is the story, so it’s hard to talk about it without tipping our hand too much.
JORDAN–For the longest time, we didn’t know the answer ourselves. It was this big hole in our outline that we kept skirting around until we had everything except for a clear idea of what was in this house with them. In fact, we didn’t fully commit until a few thousand words into the first draft. One of the hard things about writing a “haunted house” story is striking a balance between familiar and new. We already had two people trapped in an old house, which is about as traditional as it gets, so we wanted the “force” that confronts them to feel comparatively fresh. It took a while to get it right.
BLAKE–That was really hard to do, and we ended up incorporating some of the elements we like from other genres to make it work. Some you might not expect. What we’ve ended up with feels pretty unique to us.
JORDAN–Right. So I guess I’d say it’s more than a ghost story.
GR–Jordan, introduce yourself.
JORDAN–Hi. I’m Blake’s younger brother. He’s 33, I’m 27. This is my first novel and first collaboration with Blake. I graduated from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, in 2007 with degrees in Creative Writing and English Lit. Seattle’s home for me where I’m currently working on a few writing projects, one of which is another novel that will hopefully be out at the end of the year.
GR–Can you recommend any must-read blogs for e-book writers?
BLAKE— http://www.jakonrath.blogspot.com/ , http://www.davidgaughran.wordpress.com/let’s-get-digital, http://www.deanwesleysmith.com , http://terribleminds.com/rambles/blog , and http://writeitforward.wordpress.com. They’re all worth your time.
JORDAN–I’ll second http://www.jakonrath.blogspot.com/ . It’s a great resource for anyone interested in self-publishing, but particularly for those who are new to it.
GR–Make up your own question.
BLAKE and JORDAN–The two of you are brothers. How did your relationship affect the experience of writing this book?
JORDAN–It definitely made it feel more immediate. The main characters are brother and sister after all, which we didn’t intentionally choose for that reason, although I’m sure there was some Freudian stuff happening beneath the surface.
BLAKE–It’s funny. The two main characters were originally going to be romantically involved. She would have been his old high school sweetheart who blows back into town at a time when his marriage is self-destructing. We played with that relationship for a while, but it ended up creating more problems than it was worth.
JORDAN–Yeah, we didn’t want to deal with a wife that wasn’t a major character or find a way to have their marriage fall apart off screen. This is a story set almost entirely in one location with two characters who are terrified for their lives. That’s where we wanted the dramatic energy to come from. It seems obvious now that siblings are perfect for that kind of a setup, and you’d think two brothers would be able to figure that out, but it took us forever to get there.
BLAKE–It fell into place after that. You never know how collaborations are going to pan out. Writing is a personal venture, and including another person in the equation doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be twice as good. I’ve been lucky with this in that past, and it’s great when it works with someone else. It’s awesome when it’s your brother.
JORDAN–Definitely. There were some heated moments, but they were always about making the story better. It’s a lot easier to tell your brother that you don’t like an idea than it is someone else. That candor let us cut through a lot of the formality and just write the story. And it’s cool to have both our names on something that we’re proud of.
BLAKE–Yep. Glad it’s done, sad it’s over. We’d do it again in a heartbeat.
GR–Thank you BLAKE CROUCH AND JORDAN CROUCH, authors of EERIE. I haven’t collaborated on a work since I was in high school, but now you’re giving me ideas about dragging my sister in for co-authorship. Sounds like fun (mostly). She’s my main beta reader, though, and I’d hate to lose that. And to those of you considering writing for the first time, this is how it gets done, just like they said.
Catch up to Blake Crouch at http://blakecrouch.com.
WHAT I READ THIS WEEK—2012 THE WAR FOR SOULS by Whitley Strieber. Pushed Too Far by Ann Voss Peterson.