Alys Arden’s story of breaking onto the writing scene is the stuff that dreams are made of. Travelling a lot for work, she felt she needed a hobby and decided to try her hand at novel writing. She posted an early draft of The Casquette Girls – about a centuries-long conflict between witches and vampires in New Orleans – on Wattpad.com, where it caught fire. And rightly so, it’s a superb young adult novel, thick with monsters, folklore and actual history. The book found more fans, as well as critical acclaim, when she later self-published it (pretty much giving a clinic on how to do self-publishing right). As a result, the series landed a traditional publishing deal with Amazon imprint Skyscape soon after, and The Casquette Girls received a re-release in a revised edition.
I’ve been following the book since its early Wattpad days. And championing it for almost as long. There are those times in your life when know you’ve stumbled onto something special and this was one of them.
All that said, it’s a great pleasure to be able to welcome Alys into the Library for 31 Days of Halloween
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31 Days of Halloween
In your opinion, what is the all-time scariest horror novel or short story?
When I was in middle school we went on a class field trip to see a theatrical production of A Tell-Tale Heart. It simultaneously gave me nightmares — I swear I heard that thumping heartbeat in silent moments for weeks after — and started an obsession with Poe.
What’s the scariest scene and/or book you yourself have written?
I doubt this would be a reader’s answer, but one of the scenes that scared me the most writing-wise was this… Early on in The Casquette Girls. Adele, my sixteen-year-old narrator is en route home with her father after a three-month mandatory hurricane evacuation. As if that wasn’t long enough, they are driving back to New Orleans from Miami, so the suspense of what might be awaiting (slash-not waiting) for them at home is quite built up by the time they drive through one southern Storm-stricken town after the next. They’ve been listening to three months of rumours about looters and squatters, so walking into their desolate house with no electricity in the middle of the night, the tension is high… when Adele wanders away from her father, no warning from the media could have prepared her for who she is ultimately attacked by…don don don.
In the sequel, The Romeo Catchers (releasing May ’17) there is a pretty badass graveyard-séance scene with a homemade Ouija board, but that’s all I can say about that, right now. And there are creepy children. 😀
List your top three fears.
– Someone being in my house when I come home. I’m very BOO fraddy-cat.
– The feeling of anything crawling on me on my skin.
– Small spaces/crowds (great for NYC living!)
Learn more about Alys at http://www.alysarden.com/