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Interview with April Genevieve Tucholke

Today is the release day of BETWEEN THE SPARK AND THE BURN, the much-anticipated sequel to April Genevieve Tucholke's gothic suspense debut, BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA. April took the time to answer some of our questions about her writing process, for which we are very thankful. Enjoy! 

The Interview

(1) You hear a lot about the difficulty of writing sophomore books. What has your experience been like? Can you talk a bit about how the writing process has changed (or not) now that you're published?

I plotted out my sequel, and wrote it on a brutal four-month deadline, whereas I wrote Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea on my own time, by the seat of my pants.

I have less time to write, now that I’m published. I spend a good 5 hours a day answering emails and planning future events, etc. It came as a shock to me—the business side of being an author. I often don’t start writing until 4 or 5 pm. It’s a difficult balance.

(2) I know you've mentioned Stephen King as an influence on your writing. What elements of his work do you connect with? How have they impacted your writing?

Stephen King regularly uses kids as main characters. "The Body,” IT, The Shining, Apt Pupil, “Children of the Corn”… I love writing, and reading, about kids who are in danger and have to rely on their wits to survive. And King, like Lovecraft before him, has a love of small towns with eerie, ominous undercurrents. My books are all centered around a small town, or series of small towns.

(3) Some of the themes in your first book seem to be about power and the temptation to use that power, along with fear of oneself. How do these emotions relate to the experience of being a teenager?

When I was a teenager, I had increased independence, and freedom, and power…but I was without the worldly experience I needed to use those things wisely. This is something that River, and Violet, struggles with in both of my books. Can absolute freedom corrupt absolutely, like absolute power?

(4) Your writing has such a lush, atmospheric sense of place and mood. I wonder if you could tell us a bit about your approach to using setting in your stories, especially in the context of writing horror or suspense.

As I said above, I love using small towns as backdrops. It’s human nature to fear the unknown, and the wild, which is why I prefer to set my stories in semi-fictional places surrounded by the sea, or the woods. Cities are modern and fast paced and have many realistic horrors…but for mystery and the otherworldly, I will always turn to the boring-on-the-outside-foreboding-on-the-inside Lovecraftian small town. Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” has a line about how tales and superstitions thrive in sheltered, long settled places. I couldn’t agree more.

(5) What's next for you?

I have a YA horror anthology coming out with Penguin in fall, 2015 called Slasher Girls and Monster Boys. And I’m working on a dark, twisting YA mystery that will be published by Penguin in 2016.

About April

April Genevieve Tucholke is a full-time writer who digs classic movies, redheaded villains, big kitchens, and discussing murder at the dinner table. She and her husband—a librarian, former rare-book dealer, and journalist—live in Oregon. Visit her website here.

Thanks, April!

Stephanie Kuehn

Stephanie is the William C. Morris award-winning author of Charm & Strange, Complicit, Delicate Monsters, and The Smaller Evil.

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  1. This was super cool! I enjoyed Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea so I'm so excited for the sequel. Also, very thoughtful interview. I never thought about whether freedom could corrupt...

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex


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Item Reviewed: Interview with April Genevieve Tucholke Rating: 5 Reviewed By: stephanie kuehn