Today, we are delighted to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer, the author’s FIRST standalone novel. We’ve got an exclusive Q&A with Heather about the book, plus your chance to win a copy — so be sure to keep reading for all the details!
I wanted to write a book that would scare me – what better subject than going home again to small town Michigan, where I’m from?
How did you come up with the myth of the Winged Ones? Were you inspired by anything?
I’ve always been fascinated by myths and monsters, by the power of belief, by what people in groups are willing to accept as reality. A painting hangs in my bedroom – “Heaven in Her Arms” by Alex Cherry (who can be found on DeviantArt & also did the cover of the book). It gave me a lot of inspiration.
Spencer is, down to the layout of the streets, based on the small town that I am originally from. His frustration was born from my frustration growing up there. All I wanted to do was escape – something Stephen can definitely relate to. Honestly, I feel like any teen will be able to relate to that feeling.
This is your first time writing a stand-alone novel! What were some of the unexpected challenges? What were some of the pleasant surprises?
The biggest challenge for me was letting go at the end. Saying goodbye to my new friends and accepting that we had had our time together, and it was time to move on. On the other side of the coin, writing a stand-alone enabled me to move quickly into the next book and now I’m dealing with a new set of problems, a new group of people, and loving it. That book (the title is still a secret) will be out in 2016.
“The Twilight Zone” is mentioned both in the book and in your author’s note. Did any episodes of “The Twilight Zone” inspire this book, or any of your others?
The Twilight Zone has always been a seed within me, sprouting into weird and scary things. I would not be who I am without the influence of two men: Rod Serling and Stephen King. Though this book wasn’t inspired directly by any specific episode of The Twilight Zone, I’m proud to say that Mr. Serling was walking the streets of Spencer with me every step of the way.
What’s you favorite “Twilight Zone” episode? (Mine is still “Talking Tina.”)
Ahh, “The Living Doll” – great episode! I actually own a Talking Tina doll. She creeps my daughter out. I think it’s funny. But I’m weird like that.
I have SEVERAL favorites, for a variety of reasons, but for time purposes, I’ll just pick two: “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” and “A Stop at Willoughby”.
The Joker – I love a bad guy that can kill with a smile.
Pen or pencil?
Pen. Specifically a Pilot G-2.
Favorite piece of clothing?
At the moment? My skull-crushing boots (aka my stompy boots). Knee-high boots that look very punk-military.
Song you can’t get out of your head right now?
I’ve really been grooving on “The Ghost of You” by My Chemical Romance lately.
Most recent vacation?
Most recently, I went on a Disney cruise to the Caribbean with my family. You might not guess it by looking at me, but I am a HUGE Disney nerd.
5 things that are always in your purse?
I never carry a purse. I do on occasion carry Gargy, my gargoyle companion, on my back. When he’s with me, I always have my phone, my ID/debit card, a Sharpie, and earbuds. Oh, and the souls of children. (Kidding! Kinda…)
Thanks for stopping by, Heather!
When Stephen is forced to move back to the nowhere town where his father grew up, he’s already sure he’s not going to like it. Spencer, Michigan, is like a town straight out of a Hitchcock movie, with old-fashioned people who see things only in black-and-white. But things start looking up when Stephen meets the mysterious twins Cara and Devon. They’re total punks–hardly the kind of people Stephen’s dad wants him hanging out with–but they’re a breath of fresh air in this backward town. The only problem is, Cara and Devon don’t always get along, and as Stephen forms a friendship with the charismatic Devon and something more with the troubled Cara, he starts to feel like he’s getting caught in the middle of a conflict he doesn’t fully understand. And as Devon’s group of friends, who hang out in a cemetery they call The Playground, get up to increasingly reckless activities to pass the summer days, Stephen worries he may be in over his head.
Stephen’s fears prove well-founded when he learns of Spencer’s dark past. It seems the poor factory town has a history of “bad times,” and many of the town’s oldest residents attribute the bad times to creatures right out of an urban legend. The legend goes that the only way the town will prosper again is if someone makes a sacrifice to these nightmarish creatures. And while Stephen isn’t one to believe in old stories, it seems Devon and his gang might put a lot of faith in them. Maybe even enough to kill for them.
Now, Stephen has to decide what he believes, where his allegiances lie, and who will really be his friend in the end.
Heather Brewer grew up on a diet of Twilight Zone and books by Stephen King. She chased them down with every drop of horror she could find—in books, movie theaters, on television. The most delicious parts of her banquet, however, she found lurking in the shadowed corners of her dark imagination. When she’s not writing books, she’s skittering down your wall and lurking underneath your bed. Heather doesn’t believe in happy endings . . . unless they involve blood. She lives in Missouri with her husband and two children.
*Since this blog post was written, the author of Cemetery Boys transitioned from female to male (see this article from PW), and now goes by the name Zac Brewer.