We're glad we didn't miss the opportunity to chat with Kelley Armstrong, where we learned more about her latest novel MISSING.
I love Southern gothics, and within a short space of time, I read an article on small town Appalachia and saw a blurb for a movie about a boy being found in a forest. Those three things coalesced into an idea for a story, about a girl growing up in one of those towns, who finds a boy in the forest and starts unraveling deep, dark family secrets.
What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud?
One of the toughest scenes wasn’t emotionally difficult but just very, very tricky to get right (or to a point that I was comfortable with it.) When Winter first meets Jude, he holds her captive, demanding answers about his missing brother. But Jude is the male lead, not the villain, so I had to walk a very fine line with that scene. Winter is justifiably furious, and it must be clear that Jude thinks she’s involved in his brother’s disappearance and that he’d never do this otherwise. I edited and finessed that scene a lot to get it where I wanted it.
Is there a scene you particularly love?
The church scene, where Winter and Jude have their “breakthrough” moment. He just saw her at her most vulnerable, dealing with her abusive father, and in trying to forget that, she asks him about piano, which turns out to be a very sensitive subject for him, something he loved and abandoned. To help cheer her up, though, he offers to show her a few chords. Now, in edits, one of my editors asked me to cut the piano part, because apparently, there’s a piano scene in Twilight. I refused, and my early readers pinpointed this as being one of their favourite scenes, so I’m glad I kept it.
What do you hope readers will take away from MISSING?
I hope they’re entertained. I hope they find it a satisfying read. Those are always my goals. If they see more there—issues of poverty and privilege, insights into violence and dark impulses—then that’s great, but my primary goal is giving them a good, enjoyable read.
What are you working on now?
I just finished another standalone thriller, due out next year. The easy way to describe it would be to say it’s about a school shooting. Except it’s not—not about the shooting itself, that is. Skye Gilchrist and Jesse Matin are middle school friends about to embark on their first date when there’s a shooting at the local high school. Skye’s beloved brother is killed, as is Jesse’s brother, who has tormented him all his life. But only Jesse’s brother is a victim. Skye’s was one of the shooters. Skye’s family leaves town quickly, and the story really begins when she’s forced to return at sixteen and deal with her brother’s legacy…and with Jesse.
ABOUT THE BOOKMissing
by Kelley Armstrong
Crown Books for Young Readers
The only thing Winter Crane likes about Reeve’s End is that soon she’ll leave it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There’s nothing for them there but abandoned mines and empty futures. They’re better off taking a chance elsewhere.
The only thing Winter will miss is the woods. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found Lennon left for dead, bleeding in a tree.
But now Lennon is gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left at all? What if they’re all missing?
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ABOUT THE AUTHORKelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay. All efforts to make her produce "normal" stories failed.
Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She's the author of the NYT-bestselling "Women of the Otherworld" paranormal suspense series and "Darkest Powers" young adult urban fantasy trilogy, as well as the Nadia Stafford crime series. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.
Have you had a chance to read MISSING yet? Have you had several things you've read about coalesce into an idea for a story? Have you had a lead you needed to be careful not to come across as too villainous? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!
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