(Beneath the Trap Door Book 1)
(Beneath the Trap Door Book 1)
by A. A. Pencil
The Reunion is on tour with Reading Addiction Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author. Please visit all of the other tour stops as well.
To celebrate the release of The Reunion, A. A. Pencil's debut novel, during the months of November and December, 1% of the gross sales of all novels with Lavish Publishing, LLC will be donated to the Lupus Foundation of America. The donation will be made in May 2014 in honor of A. A. Pencil and National Lupus Awareness Month.
C. Moore Catholic High School's 10-year reunion was organized as many reunions are; to reminisce, to see who had made a success of their lives, and in truth, to gossip on who had not. But this party in the secluded, 1890's mansion once owned by a long dead, paranoid WWII Veteran, was to become anything but typical.
After a horrible accident within the mansion, the alumni realize they are locked in and fighting for their lives. Instantly, tempers rise and fingers are pointed as the number of living alumni begins to rapidly decrease. Theories range from there being a murderer in the midst to the mansion possibly being haunted by the previous owner's ghost.
Who or what is responsible and will anyone make it out alive?
Find out for yourself in this combination of a mystery and psychological thriller, with a twisted ending!
The Reunion (Beneath the Trap Door) is a great thriller book. It is interesting, suspenseful and scary story with many twists and turns that will definitely not leave you indifferent.
The story is focused on a group of former classmates - Lauryn, Annabelle, Samantha, Theodore, Taylor, Tyler, Paige, Remington, Julian, Allan and his wife Tatianna, Isabelle, Miles, Dominic, Myra, Caroline, Joshua - who get together on the ten year high school reunion in a mansion outside the city that Lauryn rented for this purpose. Every one of them comes with different story, different history and with their own unique personality, but the relationships between them are somehow intertwined.
From the very beginning you can feel the tension between them and through the story it only intensifies. Soon, the strange and creepy things begin to happen. There are many surprises and suspenseful moments with some vivid detailed scenes, but that only make the story even better.
The story has everything what you expect from any good thriller that really draws you in. It’s a great reading and I would recommend it to any thriller fan.
Interview With the Author
Hi Atoyia, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, The Reunion (Book 1 of the Beneath the Trap Door series).
Which writers have influenced you the most?
I’ve been most influenced by writers like Edgar Allan Poe, R. L. Stine, and Stephen King. I’m fascinated by horror stories whether they are gory, psychological, or sociological.
What age group do you recommend your book for?
While one of my goals is to be a writer whose work spans many age groups, this particular book is probably more suitable for older teens and adults. Some scenes in the book are rather gory or violent. I don’t want to give the kiddies nightmares!
What sparked the idea for this book?
I’ve been a fan of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and never really found any novel quite like it after that. I decided to write this book after watching a miniseries named Harper’s Island, a horror thriller where the guests for a wedding were dying one by one by a serial killer who should’ve died years before.
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
Normally, I’d get the idea for the novel first. Afterwards, I create a character list and try to give them unique backgrounds. Often times, my characters’ quirks and personalities stem from people around me.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The most difficult part to write in the book was actually the first chapter. I wanted The Reunion to be fast-paced and I realized that I wouldn’t have much time to introduce my characters in the midst of death and chaos. I chose to introduce my characters and explain their backgrounds in the beginning of the novel, which may slow it down at first but once the reader hits the second chapter, they’ll understand the reason behind this decision.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
My book is entitled The Reunion because a group of people with various backgrounds reunite after ten years of not seeing each other. Growing up, I always believed that people never really change. This idea dissipated as I watched some of my former classmates transform into totally different people. One of my goals for this novel is to enlighten readers that it’s 50-50. Some people will either change (for better or worse) and others will stay the same. This book also explores the idea of how people react when cornered. Will they break out of their shell and ‘man up’ or cower in fear?
How long did it take you to write this book?
The idea came to me in November 2012. I jotted it down but didn’t create a character list until around March 2013. The time it took me to actually write the story was about four months. I wasn’t too committed especially because I was spending the majority of my days searching for a stable nursing position. I ended up writing on the weekends or while sitting in waiting rooms!
What is your writing routine?
First, I get the idea for the story. To me, the idea itself isn’t serious enough to become a book until I know the problem and possible solutions. Next, I purchase a poster board and create a chart where I can list my characters, their appearance, history and background, possible major events, outcomes and themes. Finally, I try to create a timeline which works as my story skeleton, and then I follow through with writing the actual story.
How did you get your book published?
I sent queries to many literary agents, mostly around NYC, where I live. I didn’t hear back from about 40% of them and the others came back as rejections claiming that although the story seemed interesting, it was not what they were looking for at the moment. I read an article somewhere which suggested that newbie writers may benefit from submitting their queries to newer literary agents or independent publishers. I queried two new indie publishers and one of them, Lavish Publishing (the one that seemed as though it would specialize in romance novels!), accepted it! That was one of my most exciting days ever! Strangely, the day after I posted on Facebook that Lavish Publishing was going to publish my work, the other indie publisher (which specialized in horror and science fiction) got back to me, saying that they’d love to read my manuscript and highly believed that my work would be a good match for them!
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
My advice for aspiring novels is to comb through criticisms. Know when criticism is constructive or fueled by jealousy or anger. I almost gave up writing because of a few people who told me that it wasn’t for me. Know that not everyone around you, no matter how close they may be, will offer their full support. If you have a love for writing, don’t let anyone stop you. Pay attention to the information in writing articles and guides, learn from your mistakes and put on your noise-cancelling headphones when useless criticisms are booming around you.
Great advice! What do you like to do when you're not writing?
When I’m not writing, I enjoy cooking with my mom, Rosemarie. We love trying new ideas and I find it funny using my father, Ray, as a guinea pig! (He doesn’t mind.) I also like spending time with my tech-savvy brother, Ray Jr. We watch sci-fi and horror shows and movies and often play video games when he’s not busy with term papers.
What does your family think of your writing?
My immediate family has been very supportive. They’ve known of my interest in writing since the beginning. Now, they’ve been a major force in marketing and book promotion. I have other family members who didn’t seem to bat an eye when I announced that my first book would be published. But that’s life, right?
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
Growing up, I was a very shy and sensitive individual. I rarely spoke up or shared my ideas in school. I used to take everything personally and internalize almost every emotion. The shyness melted away as I grew older but I still consider myself a reserved individual. I’m still sensitive but not as fragile as when I was a child, reading between lines that weren’t there or losing sleep over what someone else thinks of me.
Did you enjoy school?
I think like most kids, I enjoyed school when I excelled in a certain area or when I had free time to spend with friends, otherwise, I’d rather be at home watching television or playing games.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
I did enjoy reading as a child. I just hated when all the good books were taken from the school library and I was stuck with those with yellow pages and microscopic bugs running around.
What was your favorite book as a child?
My favorite childhood book was Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. I felt as though I was inside of the book and didn’t want to put it down for fear that the scenes would move on without me.
Who were your favorite authors as a child?
In the third grade, my favorite author was Beverly Cleary. I was absolutely in love with the character Ramona and her many adventures. I even thought that I’d one day change my name to Ramona. As I grew older, R. L. Stine quickly became my favorite author. His books widened my imagination and always had me at the edge of my seat.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I realized that I wanted to be a writer when I was about nine years old. I had completed my first short story at around five pages. It was silly and gruesome at the same time but my mom, the short story’s only audience, loved it and told me to keep writing stories.
That's great! Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Definitely. My school began a program in which students would read certain books and then take a computer test on them. When passed, the student would earn points. The problem was that the books that I was interested in did not qualify for points. I had to frequently read one of the library’s moldy books! I remember looking around the library one afternoon and seeing my classmates annoyed with the book in their hands. That’s when I promised myself that one day my books would be on the library bookshelves and students would enjoy building up their points!
Fantastic! Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I don’t hear much from my readers, most likely because I’m a new author and I still have a long way to go with promoting myself and the book, but most people who know me and have read The Reunion have given it good reviews. That really motivates me to continue writing. My reviews from bloggers or readers who have purchased the book are also positive, mostly giving it 4.5 stars. It’s exciting and I love when I can learn something from the review that can help me in my future writing.
Speaking of which, what can we look forward to from you in the future?
The Reunion is the first book of the Beneath the Trap Door series. I plan to have two other books in this series. I’m hoping to one day break into YA fiction and I also have a dream of writing a memoir later on in life which highlights my journey with Lupus. For now, if all goes well, I’d like to stick to thrillers and stories with tons of suspense.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today. Best of luck with your future projects.
About the Author
A. A. Pencil works part time as a school nurse at an all-boys Catholic school in New York City. As a Lupus survivor, she uses writing as a significant part of her therapy and you will see influences from classical writers such as Agatha Christie and Edgar Allan Poe in her work. When not working or writing, she enjoys cooking, shopping and walking. She has sponsored a child in Mexico for over three years with a children's organization. She currently lives in a borough of New York City with her extended family who are her greatest supporters.