Hello my wonderful readers! *waves*
Today I have the pleasure of being a part of the FERAL blog tour! I am so excited about this book. I love a good YA thrillers, in fact I wish there were more of them in the YA genre. Of course I am planning on reviewing Feral someday soon but today I bring you a fun post all about the book and author Holly Schindler. There will also be a short and sweet interview with Holly and a giveaway to win a signed print copy of her book. :) Open INTL!
Sit back, relax, and read on. ;)
Feral by Holly Schindler
Hardcover (ebook), 432 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by HarperTeen
Genre: YA - Psychological Thriller
The 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 in this instance 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.
A short and sweet interview with Holly.
What are a few of your favorite books and authors?
I’m just an overall fan of the written word, and always have been. One of my earliest book memories is snagging a new Little Golden Book every single time I went to the supermarket with my mom (back in the days when I was still small enough to ride along in the cart).
I’m an old literature major, so I honestly do love reading the classics (I’ve read JANE EYRE more times than I can count). I also read everything from the latest in juvenile literature to mystery to romance to women’s fiction to sci-fi. Gabrielle Zevin’s ELSEWHERE is actually my all-time favorite YA; I’d also have to say Truman Capote’s IN COLD BLOOD is maybe one of my favorite books, regardless of genre.
I’m a bit of a pinball in the bookstore, though—one day, I’m tearing through the newest general fiction releases, the next I’m in poetry, the day after that, horror. And while I do have authors I love, if I’ve got to choose between one I know I like and a new-to-me author, I’m probably going to snag the new author. I think it’s really important, as a writer, to expose yourself to as many different voices and styles as possible.
How long did it take you to write FERAL?
From first sentence to published version…about ten years. I first drafted the book in my pre-publication days (it took seven and a half years of full-time effort to sign my first book deal). In the beginning, FERAL was an MG mystery. But revision kept taking me into increasingly darker territory—and that was when I knew it needed to be bumped into the YA category. With that bump, I also believed what I was putting together was a YA horror novel.
I soon discovered, though, that my main character was too juvenile for YA. I didn’t even think I could try to age her. I thought I needed a brand-new protagonist. When I brainstormed the new MC’s backstory, I crafted the beating subplot. It became apparent that the book had to be about recovering from violence…I also knew at that point that the book wasn’t a straight mystery OR horror, but a psychological thriller.
Once the book was acquired by HarperCollins, we went through several rounds of rewrites, all of which aimed at pulling the recovering from violence theme closer to the front and placing the book more solidly into the realm of the psychological thriller.
…I’m always insisting that an author should NEVER give up on a book. I’m a big, big believer in the power of revision. I’m not sure that a book ever becomes multi-layered with only one draft; I think that happens with a slew of successive rewrites. It certainly happened that way with FERAL.
About The Author: Holly Schindler
Find Holly @
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.”
Please use the rafflecopter form below to enter.
Prize: A signed copy of Feral!