Today, I’m excited to be hosting the exclusive cover reveal for The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth, plus we’ve got a Q&A with Jenn to talk about her highly anticipated new book! But first, here’s more about The Killing Jar:
“I try not to think about it, what I did to that boy.”
Seventeen-year-old Kenna Marsden has a secret.
She’s haunted by a violent tragedy she can’t explain. Kenna’s past has kept people—even her own mother—at a distance for years. Just when she finds a friend who loves her and life begins to improve, she’s plunged into a new nightmare. Her mom and twin sister are attacked, and the dark powers Kenna has struggled to suppress awaken with a vengeance.
On the heels of the assault, Kenna is exiled to a nearby commune, know as Eclipse, to live with a relative she never knew she had. There, she discovers an extraordinary new way of life as she learns who she really is, and the wonders she’s capable of. For the first time, she starts to feel like she belongs somewhere. That her terrible secret makes her beautiful and strong, not dangerous. But the longer she stays at Eclipse, the more she senses there is something malign lurking underneath it all. And she begins to suspect that her new family has sinister plans for her…
Sounds amazing right? Well, wait until you see the GORGEOUS cover:
Hippie horror, a mysterious commune, monstrous moths, and, well, a good bit of killing. There’s a reason it’s called THE KILLING JAR, after all.
The idea for TKJ didn’t come to me as an “idea” the way my stories usually do. I just sat down one day and started writing about a girl named Kenna Marsden, who sneaks in after curfew and finds that her mom and younger sister have been attacked and mortally wounded, and the man who tried to kill them is still in the house.
What does that story opening have to do with communes and hippies and moths that feed on blood? I guess you’ll have to read it and find out!
What was the original “spark” that got you started writing THE KILLING JAR?
It was a collision of two disparate elements: my love of a good horror story, and my infatuation with hippie communes. The idea of them, anyway.
THE KILLING JAR takes place on a mysterious hippie commune in Oregon. I wanted to write a book with an element of wish fulfillment, and I’ve always wanted to form my own commune. I have this idyllic version of it in my head. It would be like a Free People ad come to life, all flowing dresses and gypsy jewelry and adorable goats. I don’t know if I’ll ever start my own commune, but I’m impatient so I decided to write about one. I did visit a commune in Oregon when I was doing research for TKJ. Alas, it was quite creepy. All of the people on it looked a little too Deliverance for my taste. But the goats were cute!
Your cover is gorgeous! It’s unusual for authors to have much of a say in their cover design — but you have a pretty unique story with THE KILLING JAR. Tell us about it!
I always ask my husband, Ryan, to design a temporary book cover for whatever I’m working on, just so it feels more real when I’m in the muck. He came up with something really beautiful and eerie, which I’ve had up on Goodreads as a temp cover for a while now. The cover designer at FSG loved what he did, and so she went in and improved on it and made it even better! This doesn’t happen often, so I feel fortunate to have gotten a hand in the design.
What do you hope the cover conveys to readers?
The thing about this book is that it’s a horror novel, but it’s not what people typically think of when they think of horror, so I don’t want it to look like it belongs firmly in any one genre. I’ll be honest. It’s a weird book, and I have no idea how people will react to it. But I do hope the cover design gives people a sense of menace and dark beauty to prime their mood for what lies beyond the book jacket.
I felt like I shot myself in the foot a bit with STRUCK, which dealt with apocalyptic stakes. For my follow-up, I was paralyzed by the conundrum I’d created for myself: how do you top the end of the world? The answer is, you don’t. Or I couldn’t. So, for TKJ, I decided to scale way back, but still deal with some of the same themes I dealt with in STRUCK: fanatical belief and brainwashing, balancing one’s personal capacity for darkness and light, and the way addiction helps us hide from aspects of ourselves we don’t want to deal with.
Speaking of your first book … any word on a sequel? (Goodreads is teasing us with a “2016 placeholder” release date.)
Well . . . I hate to break it to STRUCK fans, but there is actually no sequel in the works. Some hopeful person posted about a sequel on Goodreads, and then I fanned the flames a little bit by giving it a title, since STRUCK 2 wasn’t very interesting. But a lot of people have added AFTERSHOCK to their to-read lists, so now I’m considering writing a prequel novella. I’ll have to get permission from the powers that be first. Stay tuned!
And finally … some flash questions!
Randall Flagg from Stephen King’s The Stand (aka Walter o’Dim, the Walkin’ Dude, the Dark Man, the Hardcase, the Man in Black, etc . . .) He has many names and many faces, all of them delightfully bad!
Pen or pencil?
Pen! I have no problem with commitment.
Favorite piece of clothing?
Black, rock n’ roll bell bottoms. I’m not sure they fit me anymore, but I can’t bring myself to get rid of them.
Song you can’t get out of your head right now?
“I Love You, Honeybear” by Father John Misty. The whole album is stuck in my head.
Most recent vacation?
New Zealand. But that was a year ago, so I guess it’s time for another vacation, right?
5 things that are always in your purse?
Aside from my wallet and phone: A cyborg pen, my emergency asthma inhaler, rings that I’ve taken off so I can type, rum balls chapstick, and hard candy, preferably butterscotch flavored.
Look for The Killing Jar in stores in January 2016. Here’s a little bit more about Jenn & how you can connect with her online:
Jennifer Bosworth grew up in a small town where there was nothing to do but read and get into trouble. She did plenty of both, which led her to a career writing about people who get into trouble. Jennifer and her husband recently escaped from Los Angeles and are now hiding out in Portland, Oregon with a couple of long-legged dogs. In her spare time she can be found watching horror movies and dreaming of starting her own hippie commune, where there will be many goats. Learn more about her on her website or just Google her and see what happens.