Category Archives: Horror

Guest Post – Thrills, Chills and Nightmares – Point Horror Box Sets by Mark Stewart


Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?

The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

They were basically what I was reading and enjoying as a young adult and thanks to the author Juno Dawson, who started #PointHorrorBookClub on her website in 2013, I have started to re-read these books that I used to rush to the shops every weekend and buy and sit for the whole weekend reading.

Juno announced in January 2015 that she was no longer able to carry on #pointhorrorbookclub and with her blessing I am going to try and carry it on with version 2!  Juno has done a fantastic job – I hope I can keep up her good work *gulps*

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new please click here


I know lots of people who hold Point Horror close to their hearts and one of the things I love about hosting the #PointHorrorBookClub is getting to chat to other fans from all over the world!

Mark Stewart , who lives in Australia, is also a huge fan of all things Point Horror and has been joining in with us on #PointHorrorBookClub for what seems like ages now.  Mark and I were chatting and he had a brilliant idea for a guest post about the Point Horror Box Sets so I invited him along to chat about them!

It’s such a fascinating post and shows how different the Point Horror Books were marketed in Australia and possibly were even released way before here in England! 

You can find out more about how the Point Horror Books came to be in England in this fab guest post about Publishing Point Horror by Anne Finnis-  here

*hands microphone to Mark*


Thrills, Chills and Nightmares – Point Horror Box Sets

As the popularity of Point Horror (PH) began to grow in the late 1980’s, Scholastic hit on the bright idea of packaging up some of their best-selling titles and selling them in box sets. These various sets were released until the mid 1990’s and, seriously, what horror junkie wouldn’t have loved unwrapping one of these babies on Christmas morning?

 Information on publishing dates, numbers released, titles included is scarce to say the least – in fact, even just finding out what sets exist is tricky! So I’m hoping that by sharing what information I have, that maybe some other information might come to light. Wherever I have made an assumption, I’ll endeavour to justify my reasoning.

 So let’s start at the start…

 The ‘Thrills, Chills and Nightmares’ (TCN) box set appears to be the first one released. There are a few reasons why I believe this to be the case: 1) The books included are from 1985 – 1988, 2) The ‘Point’ logo on the spines is pre ‘blood splatter’ and 3) the cover price of the set is $11.00 USD. The cover price is especially telling as I have no other PH box set with an $11.00 cover price; every other set I have has a higher price.

As pictured, I’ve been lucky enough to find a sealed set for my collection. Given that it is sealed, I feel it’s safe to say that the books included in the first TCN set are:

·         Slumber Party (1985) – Christopher Pike

·         Weekend (1986) – Christopher Pike

·         Twisted (1987) – R. L. Stine

·         The Lifeguard (1988) – Richie Tankersley Cusick

 The presence of ‘The Lifeguard’ dates this set as being from 1988 (at the earliest). I would assume that ‘The Lifeguard’ would be an early edition, potentially a first edition, whereas the others may be subsequent printings – but I’m not about to open my set to check!

 Including such big YA horror hitters as Pike, Stine and RTC I’m assuming led to a sales return from the box set idea that was pleasing to the powers that be at Scholastic. So the TCN box set was re-released, this time with a cover price of $11.80 USD. It’s quite easy to see the difference as the re-release’s cover price is on a white background as well.


Now here’s the catch – although I have two of the re-release box sets, both are unsealed and while both contain the same 4 books, one clearly has a couple of later release versions in it that someone presumably added in at a later stage. This leads to the biggest question mark I have over PH box sets – determining the make-up of the titles. Given that I do have two copies of the TCN re-release (from different places) and they both have the same titles, I’m 99% certain that these are the books originally included. One clue that helps me to be 99% confident is that the total cover price of the 4 books – $2.95 x 4 = $11.80

 The re-released TCN contains 3 different novels from the first:

·         Weekend (1986) – Christopher Pike

·         The Boyfriend (1990) – R. L. Stine

·         The Accident (1991) – Diane Hoh

·         The Snowman (1991) – R. L. Stine.

 As with the original TCN set, the age of the books helps identify a release date. So while the original TCN was released c. 1988, the TCN re-release was released c. 1991. The Accident and The Snowman in my set are both second edition printings, which makes some sense – I would assume that the initial print run would have been sold as standalone novels and then subsequently bundled into the box set.

 One other point of note with the two TCN sets is that the re-release features the cover art of a book (Slumber Party) that is absent from the set. This is pretty rare for PH box sets.

 The fact that the re-release of TCN seems to be c.1991 is made all the more intriguing by another great feature of PH – the sequel. In the case of TCN, two follow up box sets ‘More Thrills, Chills and Nightmares’ (MTCN) and ‘Still More Thrills, Chills and Nightmares’ (SMTCN) were released as the PH machine kicked into high gear.

It would appear that two versions of MTCN were released, however unlike TCN there is no difference in the cover price (both $11.80) and I would assume that both sets were released at the same time c.1989 based on the titles included.

 Version 1:

·         Blind Date (1986) – R. L. Stine

·         The Babysitter (1989) – R. L. Stine

·         Trick or Treat (1989) – Richie Tankersley Cusick

·         Party Line (1989) – A. Bates

 Version 2:

·         The Babysitter (1989) – R. L. Stine

·         Trick or Treat (1989) – Richie Tankersley Cusick

·         Party Line (1989) – A. Bates

·         Prom Dress (1989) – Lael Littke

 The only difference between the sets is ‘Blind Date’ and ‘Prom Dress’. Online research shows a number of different sites listing both versions. I’ve yet to see a sealed set, so I can’t be 100% sure of the titles, however these two combinations are all I’ve ever come across, so I don’t believe there is a third version.

 So our time line now reads:

 1988 – TCN

1989 – MTCN

1990 –

1991 – TCN (re-release)

 “So what about 1990?” I hear you cry – and you have a point. Filling that gap is SMTCN. Also with a cover price of $11.80, its line-up of titles suggests that it is our c. 1990 set. I’m only aware of one version of this set:

·         My Secret Admirer (1989) – Carol Ellis

·         April Fools (1990) – Richie Tankersley Cusick

·         Beach Party (1990) – R. L. Stine

·         Final Exam (1990) – A. Bates

 In summary, the ‘Thrills, Chills and Nightmares’ series of box sets provided PH fans with a great selection of titles across 5 sets spanning 4 years. With the inclusion of some PH classics, I’ve no doubt that the sets were big winners with the fans. The re-release of TCN in 1991 is a bit of an oddity; perhaps they had left over sleeves that they wanted to use up as opposed to designing new ones? Perhaps the presence of other box sets on the shelves led Scholastic to believe that readers who may have missed out on the first set and had since bought the latter sets might want to complete their collection? There is certainly no doubt that the sequel sets preceded the re-release of TCN, so it might just remain a mystery for some time to come!

Well, that’s enough for today – I’ll have another box set story for you shortly 🙂

Please feel free to comment below.

Mark


A huge huge thank you to Mark for featuring on Tales and a huge round of applause for such a fab guest post!

I honestly cannot thank Mark enough!  Point Horror was my childhood and I feel so honoured to be able to still chat about it today! 

*claps hands excitedly*

It’s such a fascinating post and shows how different the Point Horror Books were marketed in Australia and possibly were even released way before here in England!

Were these box sets even released over here in England?  And with the likes of Pike appearing in these box sets and Twisted by R L Stine under the then named Point banner why were these excluded from the Point Horror brand in England?  So many questions!  But so many extra books to potentially add into our Point Horror collections!

You can find out more about how the Point Horror Books came to be in England in this fab guest post about Publishing Point Horror by Anne Finnis-  here


Why not join in Point Horror Book Club and the discussion on the 13th of every month?

Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read?  Are you new to Point Horror?  Has our opinion changed?  Are they still as good?  Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror?  Or are the a whole load of cray cray?

You can find all #PointHorrorBookClub posts old and new here

Do you remember Point Horror?  Which was your favourite?  Would you like to join in on #pointhorrorbookclub ?

Happy Point Horror-ing!

Guest Post – Heart Racing Alternatives For Valentines Day by Sharon Gosling


I am super excited to be part of the fab blog tour for a new addition to the brilliant Red Eye Series, Fir by Sharon Gosling!

The Red Eye series published by Stripes are a series of individual YA Horror stories to chill the blood and scare you to the core.  Books published in the series include Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell and Sleepless by Lou Morgan.

Fir was released on the 9th February 2017 and I simply cannot wait to read it!  I brilliant addition to the Red Eye Series.

And as it’s Valentines Day today…..

HAPPY VALENTINES!

We thought it would be great to share some heart racing alternatives to Valentines in the scary guest post…..

*evil laugh*


Moving from Stockholm to an isolated pine plantation in northern Sweden is bad enough, but when the snows come early and all links between the Strombergs and the outside world are cut off, it gets worse. With only a grudging housekeeper and increasingly withdrawn parents for company, there is nothing to do but to explore the old plantation house. Anything to stay out of the endless pine trees pressing in on them. But soon it becomes clear that the danger within the old plantation house is even greater than what lies outside…

A chilling YA horror, perfect for fans of Dawn Kurtagich, Juno Dawson and Stephen King.

Heart Racing Alternatives For Valentines Day

Why rely on a date to make your evening on Valentine’s Day? Far better to get your heart racing with a good scare! Here’s Sharon’s top tips for an alternative Valentines.

Books

The Bunker Diary – Kevin Brooks

There was an outcry when Brooks’ tale of a group of people locked in a bunker by an anonymous madman won the Carnegie Medal in 2014. It certainly shook me up – I had nightmares for weeks after reading it. It’s an uncompromisingly bleak story, all the more horrifying for the absence of any supernatural entity to take the blame. This is man’s inhumanity to man, writ large and horribly believable.

Florence and Giles – John Harding

This has the feel of the Henry James classic ghost story The Turn of the Screw, though there are no ghosts here – there’s only the growing, helpless sense that what we’re reading might be a rather twisted view of what’s actually happening. Set in New England in 1891, the book is told from Florence’s point of view, the older of two children who have been left in the care of a rich and mainly absent uncle. Convinced that the people charged with looking after her and her little brother are unfit and possibly malevolent, Florence takes it upon herself to make sure Giles is safe. Brooding, creepy and shocking.

Frozen Charlotte – Alex Bell

I love the believable mythology Bell has woven into this tale, which lends a real sense of anticipation to the action and takes the idea of possessed dolls to a whole new level. The action hits the ground running from the first page with some ill-advised meddling with an Ouija board app and winds up the tension from there. There’s a sequel coming soon, too, which I can’t wait to read!

From a Buick 8 – Stephen King

I love Stephen King and although this might not be an obvious choice for a horror from his bibliography, this is one of the first of his I read and it’s stayed with me ever since. The idea that something as mundane and apparently harmless as a car can harbour such terror and other-worldliness opens up a universe of possibilities.

The Lottery – Shirley Jackson

This short story from 1948 has become a classic of the horror genre and yet the terror in it comes not from blood and gore but from the complicit silence that reigns at its conclusion. Oh, what one human is willing to do to another.

Films

The Babadook

It’s about the evil residing in a children’s book – what’s not to like? It’s also really beautiful to look at and the child actor in it (Noah Wiseman) is unsettlingly talented.

The Mist

Based on a Stephen King novella, although the film alters the ending to make it even bleaker. Gorgeously shot by Frank Darabont, it’s worth watching in the claustrophobic monotone that the director describes as his preferred version.

The Descent

Darkness, enclosed spaces and people-eating monsters – I managed to watch this film once at the cinema but have abandoned all subsequent viewings as it freaks me out too much! Note: if you want to experience the full horror, make sure you watch the UK version – the US version features a different, more upbeat, ending.

 The Others

A classic ghost story with a great cinematic twist – the scene with the little girl in the veil really creeped me out.

The Hole

The 2001 film, not the 2009 one with the same name. My love of unreliable narrators is making itself felt with this one – it’s the story of a group of teenagers who get someone to lock them into an underground bunker to avoid school. Thora Birch is brilliantly ambiguous as the under dog (or is she?) and my scalp prickles as I remember the conversation in which it’s pointed out what will happen to them if the one person who knows they’re down there gets hit by a truck.

TV

The Fades

From 2011, this BBC mini-series is what Iain De Caestecker did before he went Stateside to join Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Paul keeps seeing visions of the apocalypse and the spirits of the dead. It’s creepy, with some great acting and a real sense of dread.

Stranger Things

I loved this, not only for all the pitch-perfect 80s observations of the genre and great soundtrack, but also for the genuinely scary nature of the monster and the ashy hopelessness of the alternate plane.

The Walking Dead

Zombies have been everywhere for a long time, but they’ve never been done better on television than in this adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s comic series – and the human characters show themselves to be as capable of acts of horror as the mindless undead.

The X Files

The first episode I ever saw was season one’s ‘Darkness Falls’, in which Mulder drags Scully out to a remote, ancient forest. There they find that illegal logging has released a miniscule bug, dormant for centuries, that really likes eating human flesh. I was thoroughly scared and definitely had a few nightmares as a result. Cut to however many years later, and my new book FIR involves an ancient forest and the forces willing to do anything to protect it. I guess it really stuck with me….

You can buy a copy of Fir here or from your local bookshop


About Sharon Gosling

Sharon started off as an entertainment journalist, writing magazine articles and books about science fiction television shows. She’s also written, produced and directed audio dramas. In 2011, she wrote The Diamond Thief, (originally published as an ebook under the title Remy Brunel and the Ocean of Light). Published in traditional format by Curious Fox as their launch title in 2013, The Diamond Thief went on to win the Redbridge Children’s Award in 2014. The sequel, The Ruby Airship, was published in April 2014, and the final book in the trilogy, The Sapphire Cutlass, in April 2016. Sharon also still writes books about television and film – most recently she has co-written tie-ins for the Planet of the Apes and Batman vs Superman films as well as the television series companion The Art and Making Of Penny Dreadful, all for Titan Books.

Sharon and her husband live in a very remote village in northern Cumbria, surrounded by fells, sheep, and a host of lovely neighbours who will one day make very good characters in their own book. When she’s not writing, she bakes a lot of cake and bread, attempts to grow things in an allotment, and catches the baby rabbits unhelpfully brought in by the cat.

You can follow Sharon on twitter – @sharongosling


Blog Tour

Catch up of follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to the lovely Sharon Gosling for such a fab heart racing post!
Also a huge thank you to Charlie at Stripes for organising and having me as part of this fab blog tour.

Have you read Fir?  What did you think?  Are you a YA Horror fan?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Author Of The Month – Juno Dawson


I am so excited to have announced yesterday that the brilliant Juno Dawson is our #BritishBooksChallenge17 Author Of The Month for January 17!

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

I am a huge HUGE fan of Juno and her books whether it be YA Horror, YA Contemporary or Non Fiction, Juno will captivate you with her writing.  Juno is a brilliant UKYA talent and I am so excited to shine the spotlight on her and her wonderful books as Author Of The Month!

And remember if you read, review and link up any of Juno’s books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  January link up here you will gain an extra entries into the January Prize Pack Draw!

Look out for a Q&A with Juno this January about her new book Margot and Me!


About Juno Dawson

Queen of Teen 2014 Juno Dawson is the multi award-winning author of six novels for young adults. In 2016, she authored the best-selling World Book Day title: SPOT THE DIFFERENCE.

Her next novel is the beautiful and emotive MARGOT & ME (Jan 2017) which will be followed by her adult debut, the memoir THE GENDER GAMES (Jul 17).

Juno also wrote the bestselling non-fiction guide to life for young LGBT people, THIS BOOK IS GAY. In 2016 a follow-up, MIND YOUR HEAD, featured everything a young person needs to know about mental health.

Juno is a regular contributor to Attitude Magazine, Glamour Magazine and The Guardian and has contributed to news items on BBC Women’s Hour, Front Row, ITV News, Channel 5 News, This Morning and Newsnight concerning sexuality, identity, literature and education.

Juno’s titles have received rave reviews and have been translated into more than ten languages around the world.

Juno grew up in West Yorkshire, writing imaginary episodes of Doctor Who. She later turned her talent to journalism, interviewing luminaries such as Steps and Atomic Kitten before writing a weekly serial in a Brighton newspaper. In 2015, Juno announced her intention to undergo gender transition and live as a woman.

Juno writes full time and lives in Brighton. In her spare time, she STILL loves Doctor Who and is a keen follower of horror films and connoisseur of pop music. In 2014 Juno became a School Role Model for the charity STONEWALL.

You can find out more about Juno on her website – www.junodawson.com

Or why not follow Juno on twitter using @junodawson


The Books and Why We Love Juno Dawson

Fiction

Something wicked this way comes…

She thought she’d be safe in the country, but you can’t escape your own nightmares, and Lis London dreams repeatedly that someone is trying to kill her.

Lis thinks she’s being paranoid – after all who would want to murder her? She doesn’t believe in the local legends of witchcraft. She doesn’t believe that anything bad will really happen to her. You never do, do you? Not until you’re alone in the woods, after dark – and a twig snaps…

Hollow Pike – where witchcraft never sleeps.

One year after the suicide of their friend Janey, the rest of the group decide to spend the summer together in a holiday villa in the Mediterranean. They’re hoping to get over the terrible events of the previous year, but then a new guest arrives, claiming to have evidence that Janey’s suicide was actually murder. When the guest is found dead, it becomes clear that the killer must be one of the group – but who is it? And will they strike again?

A compelling psychological thriller – with a dash of romance.

Drip…drip…drip… In five days, she will come…

Roberta ‘Bobbie’ Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of Bloody Mary: say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear… But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it?

Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror – five days – but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before… A truly spine-chilling yet witty horror from ‘Queen of Teen’ author Juno Dawson.

You can check out my review of Say Her Name here

Meet Molly Sue. Once she’s under your skin there’s no getting rid of her…

Seventeen-year-old Sally Feather is not exactly a rebel. Her super-conservative parents and her treatment at the hands of high school bullies means that Sally’s about as shy and retiring as they come – but all that’s about to change. Accidentally ending up in the seedier side of town one day, Sally finds herself mysteriously lured to an almost-hidden tattoo parlour – and once inside, Sally is quickly seduced by its charming owner, Rosita, and her talk of how having a secret tattoo can be as empowering as it is thrilling. Almost before she knows what she is doing, Sally selects sexy pin-up Molly Sue, and has her tattooed on her back – hoping that Molly Sue will inspire her to be as confident and popular as she is in her dreams.

But things quickly take a nightmareish turn. Almost immediately, Sally begins to hear voices in her head – or rather, one voice in particular: Molly Sue’s. And she has no interest in staying quiet and being a good girl – in fact, she’s mighty delighted to have a body to take charge of again. Sally slowly realises that she is unable to control Molly Sue… and before long she’s going to find out the hard way what it truly means to have somebody ‘under your skin’.

A funny and moving love story about friends, first loves and self-discovery by the Queen of Teen 2014.

When sixteen-year-old Toria Bland arrives at her new school she needs to work out who her friends are, all in a crazy whirl of worry, exam pressure and anxiety over fitting in. Things start looking up when Toria meets the funny and foul-mouthed Polly, who’s the coolest girl Toria has ever seen. Polly and the rest of the ‘alternative’ kids take Toria under their wing. And that’s when she meets the irresistible Nico Mancini, lead singer of a local band – and it’s instalove at first sight! Toria likes Nico, Nico likes Toria . . . but then there’s Polly. Love and friendship have a funny way of going round in circles.

An exclusive World Book Day story from UK Queen of Teen Juno Dawson. Avery has always suffered at the hands of bullies, so when she’s given a seemingly-miraculous opportunity to join the ‘A-list’ she grabs at it with both hands. But appearances can be deceiving, and soon Avery’s not so sure she likes this new version of herself. And it’s only by overcoming her fears that she can learn the true meaning of being comfortable in your own skin.

Fliss’s mum needs peace and quiet to recuperate from a long illness, so they both move to the countryside to live with Margot, Fliss’s stern and bullying grandmother. Life on the farm is tough and life at school is even tougher, so when Fliss unearths Margot’s wartime diary, she sees an opportunity to get her own back.

But Fliss soon discovers Margot’s life during the evacuation was full of adventure, mystery . . . and even passion. What’s more, she learns a terrible secret that could tear her whole family apart . . .

Please note this book is due for release on the 26th January and can be pre ordered here

Non Fiction

In this essential guide to growing up, acclaimed author and former teacher Juno Dawson, writing as James Dawson, gives readers the gritty truth to what’s going on with their bodies, how to survive on the social food chain and much more!

A funny and pertinent book about being lesbian, bisexual, gay, queer, transgender or just curious – for everybody, no matter their gender or sexuality

Former PSHCE teacher and acclaimed YA author Juno Dawson gives an uncensored look at what it’s like to grow up as LGBT. Including testimonials from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, this frank, funny, fully inclusive book explores everything anyone who ever dared to wonder wants to know – from sex to politics, how to pull, stereotypes, how to come-out and more. Spike Gerrell’s hilarious illustrations combined with funny and factual text make this a must-read.

From the critically acclaimed author of THIS BOOK IS GAY,  Juno Dawson.

We all have a mind, so we all need to take care of our mental health as much as we need to take care of our physical health. And the first step is being able to talk about our mental health. Juno Dawson leads the way with this frank, factual and funny book, with added information and support from clinical psychologist Dr Olivia Hewitt. Covering topics from anxiety and depression to addiction, self-harm and personality disorders, Juno and Olivia talk clearly and supportively about a range of issues facing young people’s mental health – whether fleeting or long-term – and how to manage them. With real-life stories from young people around the world and witty illustrations from Gemma Correll.

 

Short Stories

Juno also has original short stories featured in these brilliant anthology’s

Malorie Blackman brings together the best teen writers of today in a stunningly romantic collection about love against the odds. Featuring short stories and extracts – both brand-new and old favourites – about modern star-crossed lovers from stars such as Gayle Forman, Markus Zusak, Patrick Ness and Andrew Smith, and with a new story from Malorie Blackman herself, Love Hurts looks at every kind of relationship, from first kiss to final heartbreak.

The UK’s top Young Adult authors join together in this collection of new stories and poems on the theme of home.

Contributors include: Tom Becker, Holly Bourne, Sita Brahmachari, Kevin Brooks, Melvin Burgess, Katy Cannon , Cat Clarke, Juno Dawson, Julie Mayhew, Non Pratt, Marcus Sedgwick, Lisa Williamson and Benjamin Zephaniah.

£1 from the sale of every book will be donated to Crisis, the national homelessness charity. To find out more about Crisis, see www.crisis.org.uk

You can buy any of Juno Dawson’s books here or from your local book shop!


A huge thank you to the lovely Juno fan’s that provided me with quotes for this post.  I highly recommend all of these books from our January Author Of The Month!

Look out for a Q&A with Juno this January about her new book Margot and Me!

And remember if you read, review and link up any of Juno’s books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  January link up here you will gain an extra entries into the January Prize Pack Draw!

Are you a Juno Dawson Fan?  Do you have a favourite Juno Dawson book?  Are you new to Juno Dawson?  Which book do you think you would read first?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

PHBC – The Snowman by R L Stine


Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s? The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book. There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read? Are you new to Point Horror? Has our opinion changed? Are they still as good? Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror? Or are they a whole load of cray cray?

Lets find out…

#pointhorrorbookclub

Join in the discussion with this months pick….

The Snowman by R L Stine

Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Vote for the next #PointHorrorBookClub read here!


** Please note that as this is a discussion there will be spoilers**


The Tagline

A cold blooded killer

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

Heather Dickson is one very unhappy girl.  She can think of nothing better than killing off her nasty, vile Uncle.  She has a loving boyfriend and a best friend and a job that she hates….what more could she ask for?!

A boy called The Snowman turns up in Twin Valley but he’s not all what he seems…….

The Snowman?!  Oh he sounds frightfully chilling!

He really is not that terrifying.  Heather seems to loose all common sense and gets swept away by The Snowman’s cool charms and good looks and starts cheating on her boyfriend with him whilst giving him lots and lots of money from her trust fund whenever he asks.

I’m not sure I like this Snowman guy!

Fear not dear reader, he does however redeem himself by killing the vile Uncle of Heather…..with his snowman red scarf!

I bet Heather loved him even more after that…I mean she hated her Uncle right?!

Hmmmmmm no……It’s then she starts to realise that not everything with The Snowman is as it seems……

The Girl

Wow!  Where do I start with unhappy Heather Dickson!  With her golden hair featuring an off centred pony tail, her dark blue almost violet eyes, her high cheek bones and creamy pale skin….she had high hopes to be a classic Point Horror girl didn’t she?  She turned out to be this and much much more…..worse.  I think I spent nearly every chapter screaming OH HEATHER!  WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING!  ARE YOU CRAZY! and shaking my head at her….lots!

Heathers parents died years before in a car crash and she is now living with an Aunt and Uncle for the last 13 years whom she hates with a passion.  And that passion made me chuckle on numerous occasions with her fantasies about killing Uncle James.  I mean she even fantasises about killing her Uncle whilst kissing her boyfriend…..need I say more!

Oh yes I can!  She also cheats on her boyfriend because she takes a fancy to the mysterious Snowman and thinks about him too whilst kissing her boyfriend…..poor Ben.

Always living her life in slow motion, her Dad’s lighter always at hand (phew) and with a trust fund stuffed full of money she threw money at The Snowman constantly!  Pay for this Heather, oh silly me I have forgot my wallet, LET ME BLACKMAIL YOU HEATHER AND THEN YOU CAN STILL GIVE ME MONEY.  Even at the end when he kidnapped Heather she was still offering him money!  Say what now!

Bless her!  She was captured under The Snowman’s spell!

The Love Interest

The Snowman!

Boo!  Hiss!  Boo!

With his amazing pure white (not silver) parted in the middle hair which was wavy and long, his apple breath, dark features, ruddy skin which was almost tanned, his adorable cleft in his chin and dark brown eyes that were like dark coals he made Heather swoon and swoon and swoon and throw money at him left right and centre.

He was kind of horrible to Heather, but evidence above indicates she kind of deserved it!  And lets face it he killed the horrible Uncle and destroyed our comedy value of fantasy deaths….I shall never forgive him!

The Gang

Ben with his large dark eyes, straight black hair and his Honda Civic was the perfect dumped Point Horror boy.  He deserved so much more than pining after Heather.  Evidence above indicates he is potentially not a good kisser either!

Uncle James with his narrow face, thin lips, yellowed false teeth, thick glasses, long boney arms and legs that made him look like a gigantic insect and ancient olive coloured overcoat was completely vile!  The best thing about this guy was they way Heather kept killing him over and over again in her dreams and of course when he finally got bumped off I have to admit I did a little giggle when the ambulance people left him on the front porch for the night!  Oh gosh this made me laugh more than it probably should have!

I guess I could put best friend Kim Slater in here as a severely unused point horror best friend can ever be.  Kim was short with brown curls and a hoarse scratchy voice.  Stiney also felt the need to point out to us that she was a little chunky even without the 3 long sweaters she wears (grrrrrr)…..but yeah she popped up every now and again and didn’t really do much to help her friend Heather.  She must have realised, like us, that Heather was past help!

Oh and poor Aunt Belle – she was the only character I actually felt sorry for in this book – bless her fragile bones and lilac smelling skin.

Fashion Faux Pas

I think I was that wrapped up in trying not to laugh too much at the Point Horror I didn’t notice any terrible fashion!

Dialogue Disasters

“He looks like a big green squirrel”

“You were fascinating that I was a large roast beef”

“He looks like a pencil with a red eraser at the top”

“He suddenly looked to Heather like a department store mannequin”

“He looks like a tooth pick”

“You look like a Heather…..You know.  All blonde and pretty.  Heathery”

“I dance like a water buffalo on roller skates”

“He looks like a toothpick”

There was a wide range of comparisons to things in this Point Horror!

“Coffee, tea or me?”

Heathers chat up lines are the best!  Take note!

“And through the gray thoughts, the bright pink head of her uncle appeared, like a flowering weed sprouting up through a concrete sidewalk”

No YOU laughed!  You did!  I know you did!

Body Count

1!  And lets face it….he deserved it right?!

Loved all the fake Uncle James deaths more though especially the sledding one!

Weeeeeeeeeee!

Is it scary?

No!  It’s really really not!

It kind of enforces the don’t fall for the mysterious stranger or any stranger you set eyes on vibe though!

Did the best friend do it?

Nope!  This book was what it said on the tin….all about The Snowman!

And not the walking in the air kind either!

Some Mild Peril?

I guess being chased by a car in the middle of the night in the icy snow could be classed as mild peril.  Other than that not really!  Unless we class snowman gate at the end as a contender?

Is it any good?

This one was mildly okay, but mainly for comedy value for me.  With a fab opening chapter and an egg cracking death by page 5 I thought it couldn’t possibly get any better…..how wrong was I?!

That’s right old Stiney thought that Raymond Briggs ending to The Snowman was for whimps and decided that the only possible ending was to but a live person inside a snowman to try and kill them….luckily Heather had seen the The Snowman on TV every Christmas and knows a snowman melts!

Final Thought

For once I am speechless……..

Cover Wars!

I found this really awesome foreign cover!  Which do you prefer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book I’ve added some fun questions to ponder!

  • Your given the title The Snowman to right a Point Horror – what would it be about?
  • What happened to The Snowman after the book?
  • Did Heather and Ben stay together?
  • Where was Kim throughout this whole book?!

You can leave a reply by using the reply button at the top of the page!

Vote for the next #PointHorrorBookClub read here!

What will you pick?

And the winner was…..

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Thanks for joining in….

PHBC – Prom Date by Diane Hoh


417r2r5z4dl-_sx285_bo1204203200_
point1-510x180

Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s? The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book. There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read? Are you new to Point Horror? Has our opinion changed? Are they still as good? Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror? Or are they a whole load of cray cray?

Lets find out…

#pointhorrorbookclub

Join in the discussion with last months pick….

Prom Date by Diane Hoh

417r2r5z4dl-_sx285_bo1204203200_

Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

Don’t forget this months #PointHorrorBookClub for the 13th December…..

The Snowman by R L Stine

41hjwmrgbml-_sx285_bo1204203200_

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here


** Please note that as this is a discussion there will be spoilers**


The Tagline

She’d kill for a date….

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

It’s coming up to Prom Night at Toomey High!  You know that night where you get to go to a fancy dance, with a fancy date, in a beautiful fancy prom dress……unless of course someone wants YOUR date all to themselves!

Wait?!  What?!

Yes that’s right!  Someone REALLY wants to go to Prom so they are going to bump off the competition and when they still get turned down for a date bump off some more competition!

Oh the horror!

And that’s not all!  What persues is ruined Prom dresses, creepy lighthouses, a dead body floating in the water, dumpster fires, cash box face hitting and bumper cars!

It’s carnage in this Point Horror I tell you!  Carnage!

So the cancel the Prom right?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha …. you’ve got some good jokes!

*picks out Prom dress*

The Girl

Margaret Dunne was our girl and I kind of liked her.  With her light brown, very fine, straight hair, tall and thin body with good skin that had never seen a blemish in all her life she was a bit of a typical point horror girl, but there was just something different about her.  Could it have been the way she moved so gracefully or her amazing doe shaped deep brown eyes?  Or even her long thick upturned eyelashes or even the fact that she loved sunglasses?  I’m not sure, but she seemed to have it together and in her own words she was an intelligent born leader.  She had never dated a boy exclusively for any length of time, but she was not a heartbreaker, she could never hurt any one.  Margaret loved books and rejected her Mom Adrienne’s attempts to “Beautify” her and most importantly she was most definitely not going to prom!

Well that was of course until hot boy Mitch came along!

Then all bets were off!

Did anyone else notice she called her Mom by her name, Adrienne, for most of the book and the occasional Mom slipped in there every now and again?

Anyway she did adore her Mom and I quite liked the scenes when they were together.  It was great to see a Point Horror Mom not only in a Point Horror, but acting like a Mom too!  Go Adrienne!

That being said Adrienne wasn’t around when Margaret was almost burning to death in a dumpster!  No!  She was swanning it up at Impeccable Tastes with her unnamed boyfriend!  Poor Margaret had to be saved by…….her own shoe!

Margaret does get thrown in the firing line of the Prom Date killer though when her love interest shows up and asks her to prom……

The Love Interest

Other than the million prom dates whos dates get bumped off or injured throughout the book i.e. Michael Danz the poor thing, there was one hot main love interest for Margaret…..Mitch McGill!

With his warm spaniel brown eyes, strong bones and great face.  He was tall with broad shoulders had thick dark hair and a nice smile…… he was our typical Point Horror boy and actually pretty decent.  Not Chelley fancying pretty decent, but decent.

He was a nice all round guy and he genuinely seemed to really like and care for Margaret and I loved how he seemed to avoid the Pop’s at all costs.

He did give me a chuckle though when he got asked to Prom by future Prom Date killer reveal Liza, but didn’t think to mention it until right at the end because you know it wasn’t important…..THERE WAS ONLY A KILLER KILLING OFF BOYS PROM DATES ON THE LOOSE but hey ho!

The Gang

Only fair to start off with best friend to Margaret, Caroline LaSalle.  With her bronze and muddy water coloured hair, good skin, her eyes a little green and a little gray and her thin face that was sharp around the edges no wonder people thought she and Margaret were sisters(?!).  She of course was not going to prom and was holding out for a hot guy to ask her even though a poor underused boy called Scott was pining after her.  She liked to always be right and planned to buy turquoise contact lenses…..well that’s if she ever remembered to put them in, but then say she didn’t say she hadn’t put them in, but really had *mind swirls*.

She was the classic red herring best friend and to be honest let Margaret off quite easily when she got accused of being the murderer because she was so desperate to go to Prom (not).  She did try and pull the feel guilty for going to prom without me Margaret card and I do wish Scott had turned her down when she finally asked him to the prom but other than that she was okay.

Then there were Margaret’s two other best friends because of course there had to be four to make a Quartet (a common theme throughout the book)….Jeannine Baker with her narrow face, tall and thin as a stick frame and red frizzy hair and Lacey Dowd who in contrast was short, stocky (grrrrr very R L Stine, but at least Hoh didn’t make her the murderer!) with a dutch boy bright blonde haired bob.  They were not very good friends really were they…..I mean as soon as one of the Pop’s was bumped off and couldn’t go to the prom they were right there trying to poach their dates.  I did do an evil chuckle when they didn’t end up going to prom in the end!  All the lollingtons!

Then there were The Pop’s……Stiney was way ahead of his time here I think with his unique name for “The Plastics”.

Up first is top Pop Stephanie Markham who may only be remembered for floating by the rocks in her yellow jacket….dead.  Yes that’s right she got pushed from the top of an old creepy lighthouse….that must have hurt!  With her love for all things yellow, her credit card and a prime candidate for prom queen she was our classic queen of the bitches.  She was tall and leopard sleek with dark hair like black velvet and perfect porcelain skin…..did she really deserve to be pushed to her death because someone wanted her Prom Date?

No YOUR nodding!

Then of course to make up the Pop’s Quartet there was olive skinned, perfect make up Kiki and blue eyed, quite the artist and a quieter kid of beauty Beth Andrews.

And then the brilliant Liza Buffet!

OMG I think I loved Liza as the evil, desperate to go to Prom, murderer.  She was described as not as mean as Stephanie, tall, blond and although red was not her colour she loved to kill!  She would do anything for a date and I think that whole scene at the end just made me go QUEEN!  More on that later!  I loved the chapters when we saw her thought process and inside her head and I loved how she just had to have a date to prom so she figures she will eliminate all of her friends.

QUEEN!

I can’t not mention little Scott Noonan with his thing for Caroline.  With his freckles, blue eyes and bushy red hair.  He was severely under used in this Point Horror and didn’t really get a time to shine.  I mean he sometimes bought Caroline a single yellow rose for crying out loud….that’s just too adorable right?!

Fashion Faux Pas

I didn’t spot too many….but a horn rimmed glasses and pink suit combo did slip in there some where although I’m unsure who was wearing this!

There was also a bright yellow shorts and top combi that Lacey wore to the hospital!

*pops on Margaret’s sunglasses*

Dialogue Disasters

“How could your best friend be completely insane without you knowing it?”

I’ve said it before and I will say it again….THIS IS POINT HORROR!

“Was Caroline really insane?  Was that why she’d been doing so much reading about mental illness, because she was afraid she had it?”

NO HOH!  NO!  GRRRRRRRRRR

“His obvious concern warmed her like a wool sweater”

Margaret likes it as hot as a dumpster in her sweaters!

“After a long drought even a few drops of water were a blessing”

This is Margaret’s comparison to dating…….*coughs*

“One of these days he’s going to get tired of being treated like the contents of a vacuum cleaner bag”

Poor Scott was living his own Point Horror nightmare!

“The image of me in a prom dress would be as hard for them to grasp as the meaning of a Shakespeare sonnet”

To be or not to be….

“I’m dreaming of a White Christmas”

Says Margaret waking up from sleep in her hospital bed…..I think this is when Hoh gave Stiney the idea for The Snowman!

“This wasn’t one of those disgusting teen horror films where the girl was so desperate for a date, she took a chain saw to anyone who stood in her way”

No THATS what we call a Point Horror!

“I cannot believe that someone is attacking girls to keep them from attending their senior prom!  It so totally insane!”

It’s so totally Point Horror!

Body Count

1 full on push someone off the top of a light house murder!

Yeah!

Plus of course one stray cat poisoned by accident (death by milk) and three near misses for our other characters!

It was awesome!

Is it scary?

Hmmmmmm not really ….. more borderline slasher horror film that kept me guessing until the very end…..I mean it could have been anyone!

Did the best friend do it?

Oh yes!  One of the Pop’s best friends of course, but it still totally counts!

I mean I was all for Scott being the reveal to be honest because it would have been a better twist than the one we had…….but still Liza took the Pop’s friendship oath of “One For All.  And All For One” very seriously indeed!

And that ending scene when she comes into Prom like something out of Sunset Boulevard was just a Point Horror classic moment!  Just brilliant!

gloria-swanson-norma-desmond

This being said another good twist would have been that the Pop’s Moms did it……you know it would have been great!  #QuartetForever

Some Mild Peril?

I guess climbing a creepy rotten lighthouse and being pushed off the edge, being locked in a burning dumpster after a failed poison attempt and basically become human prom date bait for Liza classes as mild peril right?

Is it any good?

I have to say I really really enjoyed this one.  It was a lot longer than our normal Point Horror, but I really liked the feel to it.  It had a good range of suspects and a pretty decent storyline.  I could quite easily imagine this being a 90’s film and really enjoying it.

Shout out to the brilliantly names shops in this little old town – Quartet, Impeccable Tastes – I basically want to live there…..but not go any where near Prom!

Final Thought

“Atmosfear”

Cover Wars!

Which do you prefer?

417r2r5z4dl-_sx285_bo1204203200_601575

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book I’ve added some fun questions to ponder!

  • What would you do if you didn’t have a date to the Toomey High Prom?
  • You want to make a grand entrance to the Prom…..what would you do?
  • What happened to Liza after the book ?
  • Did Mitch and Margaret stay together?
  • What ever happened to Scott?

You can leave a reply by using the reply button at the top of the page!

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub to discuss this months pick……The Snowman by R L Stine !

41hjwmrgbml-_sx285_bo1204203200_

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Thanks for joining in….

sig2

PHBC – Halloween Night II by R L Stine


41ow0ynjl3l-_sy344_bo1204203200_ql70_point1-510x180

Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?  The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read?  Are you new to Point Horror?  Has our opinion changed?  Are they still as good?  Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror?  Or are they a whole load of cray cray?

Lets find out…

#pointhorrorbookclub

Join in the discussion with this Halloween Special!

Halloween Night II by R L Stine

41ow0ynjl3l-_sy344_bo1204203200_ql70_

Check out our thoughts on the first Halloween Night here

Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

Don’t forget next months #PointHorrorBookClub for the 13th November…..

417r2r5z4dl-_sx285_bo1204203200_For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here


** Please note that as this is a discussion there will be spoilers**


The Tagline

Tricks, treats and…death

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

One year after Halloween Night we return to the old gang of Fairview….on Halloween!

Oh No!  Not Halloween again!

Yep!  Clues in the title!  You remember how much Brenda loves Halloween….especially since her best friend and cousin plotted and tried to kill her previously…on Halloween.

You would think she’d be over hating Halloween by now!

*rolls eyes*

How can anyone hate Halloween?!

Well Brenda does, but she likes making films…..not those kind of films…scary films….with her friends Traci and Angela called Night of the Jack O’ Lantern….because you know Brenda has no reason to ever fear pumpkins!

She also has new boyfriend Jake who she loves with all of heart!

Awwwwww how sweet!

No he’s really not….trust me!

And once Brenda gets cheated on and dumped that’s when the creepy cards, rotten pumpkins and pumpkin pillow worms start….., but who could be responsible for ruining another Halloween for Brenda!

And how about a good Halloween trick to scare a victim to death……

*evil laugh*

The Girl

Copper haired Brenda Morgan is BACK!  Back with her downgraded green eyes (they were emerald previously), fair skin and freckles that darken when she gets angry!

Like before I had a very love/hate relationship with Brenda…although I did find her slightly more irritating this time around.  I mean her love for jack ass Jake was just plain annoying….she kind of deserved the Happy Last Halloween card that creeped her out so much!

I loved the fact that her pure hatred of her cousin Halley was still alive and kicking and Brenda’s little blue car was still rattling along.

And her freak out over the “fat man” who simply just wanted to return her lost wallet was hilarious.

It seemed that catching Jake and Halley together and snogging each others faces at the mall over a yellow table really pushed Brenda over the edge.  Poor Brenda really does not have good luck with boys….last time it was slime ball Ted and now jerk Jake!

I also loved how much Brenda hates Halloween for obvious reasons, but yet she was quite happy to go along with a revenge prank oh you know like the one that was played on her a year before!

Will she every learn!

The Love Interest

Jack Ass Jake….oh this boy made my blood boil.  He was a jerk from start to finish.  He loved his own reflection, was constantly late for everything, didn’t date girls for very long and basically loved himself too much for my liking.

Come to think of it he actually reminds me of one of my exes!

Ugh!

He was Brenda’s boyfriend who basically ran off with her cousin and then goes back to Brenda thinking she must be lucky he gave her a second chance!

Just no!

I was so so happy when the girls all started to plot to scare him to death and record it on camera…..it was an extra bonus to me that he actually got killed off!

I’ve never been so happy to lose a Point Horror boy before!

Best part of the whole book and if a coffin too!

No YOUR laughing!

The Gang

Lets start with newbie Angela Bowen.  The curly brown haired, dark brown eyed, chubby girl!  Yes you heard me right…..Stiney actually put a chubby girl in a Point Horror…..so of course she turned out to be the reveal/killer/weirdo.  And of course she had to have the most ridiculous Point Horror capture ever…..befouled by a pumpkin!  Right on the head!  And burnt by the candle inside!  Ouch!

But lets not forget she was fun to be with, had a good sense of humour and was a good understanding listener who liked orange nail polish and lived in a scary house that was like something out of a horror film.  She was pretty awesome right?!

I actually did like Angela…and although I guessed she would be the reveal I think we can all thank her for killing off the worst Point Horror boy EVER which I have to admit was a nice twist that made me cheer with joy!

Oh and silly me….she had a love for skeletons!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then we have best friend Traci (with an I) Warner back again with her long black hair and dark eyes (again upgraded from silvery last time) and this time around expert filmmaker.  She blended into the background of any fake scenario for the gangs film project for school which mainly just entailed cat fights over boys to be honest.  Again she kind of just went along with things like before, but I seemed to like her a bot more this time around.

Brenda’s cousin Halley was back again, but this time as a fully fledged Morgan.  Not content with going out with Brenda’s old boyfriend Ted (remember him?) with her sexy looking ways, blonde hair and sweet and spicy perfume she manages to steal Brenda’s boyfriend right in front of her face! I think this was payback as Brenda moaned on about Halley going out with her ex Ted so much even though jerk Jake was Traci’s ex!  All a bit Made In Chelsea if you ask me!

And then there was the return of Dina…..you know the one that tried to stab Brenda in the first book who conveniently doesn’t remember a thing about what happened last Halloween (you can recap here Dina).  Do you think this had anything to do with her tripping over that pumpkin last time?  In custody of her parents after being released from hospital and seeing a shrink she was still the tall, slender, pretty but pale dark eyed girl but this time with hair past her shoulders it’s just a shame that we didn’t get a whole chapter from her point of view again!

It was also great to see Brenda’s little brother make an appearance again although a slightly toned down version from the first book….but I still loved him anyway!

Fashion Faux Pas

Did anyone spot any?

I did spot Angela wearing a canary yellow t shirt and dark green denim jeans with dangling plastic earrings which made me think of Pat Butcher!

200px-pat_pam

Dialogue Disasters

Not many this time around but these ones made me chuckle…..

“She was definitely on the chubby side and always had to worry about her weight”

That’s no excuse for making Angela the reveal Stiney!

“They had this horrible court fight over who got Halley and the judge decided they were both unfit parents”

Say what now?

“You can’t break cd’s….their indestructible!”

Oh the 90’s!  Bonus points for upgrading from tape cassettes though.

“Tomorrow will be better Bren.  You’ll see”

“Yeah.  Better. Brenda echoed.  Much Better”

“But it wasn’t”

“The next morning, the vest she wanted to wear over her white t shirt had a stain on the front.  She had to change her whole outfit!  Then she couldn’t find her hairbrush!”

*screams*  OH THE HORROR!

And not to forget the best line of this whole book…..

“I just remembered my parents have a really large bull whip in the closet”

All I’m saying is if Angela’s parents didn’t exist I think we all know who the bull whip really belonged to don’t we Angela!

Body Count

1

And I think we were all thankful to Angela for that one!

Lets hope the footage gets leaked!

Is it scary?

Hmmmmm not really….more classic Point Horror through and through.

Although I think the biggest horror of them all was when Brenda lost her wallet AND DIDN’T GET TO BUY HER SWEATER!

Did the best friend do it?

DING DING!

We have another winner!

Okay so not the best, best friend, but the newbie best friend….it totally counts though!

I mean Brenda doesn’t have much luck with best friends does she?!

Some Mild Peril?

One word….pumpkins!

Yep I went there!

stock-photo-halloween-girl-with-pumpkin-head-158135618

Oh also the fact that Brenda’s parents do not show up in any way shape or form before page 67!  I class that as mild peril considering everything that was going on under their roof when they were meant to be responsible for two teenagers!

Oh how I love a good set of Point Horror parents!

Is it any good?

I enjoyed it, but it felt a little slow.  I enjoyed the Halloween feel to it and the haunted houses, pumpkins and tricks and I must admit that pumpkin ending gave me a good old chuckle and the sense of now I know what they covers all about!

Final Thought

*ponders if this book was sponsored by Coke as it appeared EVERYWHERE*

Cover Wars!

Which one do you prefer?

41ow0ynjl3l-_sy344_bo1204203200_ql70_halloween-night-2

Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book I’ve added some fun questions to ponder!

  • Did anyone miss Jake after his timely death?
  • Where were Brenda’s parents?
  • Was Dina totally under used?
  • Did the girls ever finish their horror film project – Night Of The Jack O Lantern?
  • If you were filming a typical Point Horror scene for your project what would you film?
  • What happened to the fat old man?

You can leave a reply by using the reply button at the top of the page!

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub on the 13th November to discuss Prom Date !

417r2r5z4dl-_sx285_bo1204203200_

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Thanks for joining in….

sig2

Guest Post – Unlikely Heroes by Peadar O’Guilin


 51WD7fYg4EL._SX300_BO1,204,203,200_

I am super excited to have been asked to feature a fab guest post for this wonderful book The Call by Peadar O’Guilin.

The Call is due to be released on the 1st Septmber 2016 published by David Fickling Books and I have heard the most amazing things about this book already!

The Call is a powerful, genre-changing YA fantasy featuring a rich, dynamic cast of characters and a truly kick-ass heroine! The ‘Ireland’ of Peadar’s fiction is both rooted in reality, the past and the future and the roles of mythology, landscape, poetry and language are central to the action.

A huge thank you to Hayley,Darran and Emma at Ed PR for asking me to feature this post.

So I asked Peadar O’Guilin about unlikely hero’s …….


51WD7fYg4EL._SX300_BO1,204,203,200_

“Prepare to be shocked. In fact shocked doesn’t even cover it… you will be sucked into one of the most extraordinary stories you are ever going to read.”
– David Fickling

Nessa is ten when her childhood innocence is shattered and she learns about The Call; the 3 minutes and 4 seconds that will determine the rest of her life. Every Irish teenager must play their part: some come back ‘Survivors’, some come back deformed, but none come back unchanged.
Teenagers across Ireland train vigorously in preparation for ‘The Call’. ‘Survivors’ document their stories in the Book of Conquests but as everyone’s experience is different, no one truly knows what to expect and no one imagines Nessa, the girl with crooked legs, will survive. Not even her parents.
But Nessa is determined to prove them all wrong. Targeted as the weakest student during practice drills, she develops ingenious ways to outwit her hunters. As her fellow students are ‘called’ one by one, and the boundary between the Ireland that she knows and the world of the Greylands grows ever closer, Nessa fears, not only for herself, but for her friends, ferocious Megan and sweet Anto. As she waits for the inevitable, will Nessa have done enough? Will she find a way to survive THE CALL or is her fate sealed before she’s even begun?


10 Unlikely Heroes

 It’s a strange name for a blog post isn’t it? 10 Unlikely Heroes. I mean, by definition all heroes are unlikely. Their job is to achieve the impossible. For example, we never hear of St. George and the tiny, but aggressive piglet. No! To become a legend, he had to defeat a dragon

 And yet, heroic challenges don’t always manifest themselves as exciting mythological beasts. Some people with depression achieve the impossible just by getting up in the morning. Others fight and fight to learn how to walk after a stroke, or to pass exams in an atmosphere of prejudice and disdain.

 These are the real unlikely heroes, but it would be wrong to assume nobody writes about them. There is a whole industry of “issues” books. Stories specifically about people struggling with medical conditions and disabilities and societal prejudice.

For example, there’s Sarah Crosson’s incredible “One” about conjoined twins. This year it deservedly swept every award in the universe.

51fTkDiJY0L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

There’s Jenny Downham’s masterful “Before I die” wherein a teenage girl races against cancer to find fulfillment.

51JNldmPCTL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

And I’ll never forget how much I laughed reading Brian Conaghan’s “When Mr. Dog Bites”, where the plucky protagonist makes his way in life suffering from Turretts Syndrome…

514mMBDs+9L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

 “Issues” Books are fantastic, necessary and important. They are beloved of parents and critics and schools. Some of them are among the best things I have ever had the pleasure to read. But you’ll never catch me writing one, because, I, my friends, am an author of adventure stories. I want danger and terror and excitement. I want hordes of monsters to tear through the town, leaving chaos and horror in their wake, and the only person who can stop them, the only one who would dare is…

 Well, who, exactly?

 St. George? Must it always be a St. George type?

 When I bring down the apocalypse, the people who inhabit the pages of the “issues” books aren’t just going to sit there waiting to die. There’ll be boys with Turrets and girls on crutches, who will want to live with just as much intensity as the body-builder types and the sports stars. Their odds will be steeper, but they’ll fight hard and if they succeed, if, wouldn’t that make them even more heroic than those for whom it was easy?

 Well, here I am. I’ve written an adventure book with just such a character, a character I love dearly. So, when I was asked for a post about 10 Unlikely Heroes, I thought, “Yes, this is going to be easy!” Off the top of my head, I thought of I, Claudius with its lame and stuttering hero. I thought of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan with his “chalk-stick bones, friable as talc”… And what about Tyrion Lannister? These three triumph over dangerous, violent circumstances. Over sneering enemies and a world designed only to crush such as they. They’re brilliantly written and engaging personalities that no reader can help but fall in love with.

 But then, I realised I’d come unstuck. Because, all three are men — nothing wrong with that, I’m made that way myself. But still. Really? I can’t think of any women at all? Also, none of the works I’m talking about here count as YA. I mean, I can name a dozen YA books with unlikely heroes off the top of my head, but they are, as I said above, “issues” books, and I’d love to be able to recommend some absolutely corking adventure stories that feature characters with disabilities, but that are not about the disabilities themselves.

 So, I throw myself at your mercy, dear readers. Please, what do you suggest?

The Call - cover

 The Call by Peadar O’Guilin is published by David Fickling Books on the 1st September price £10.99 hardback

You can buy a copy of The Call here or from your local bookshop


About Peadar O’Guilin

Peadar

PEADAR O’GUILIN is a powerful and original new voice in YA Fiction but has been writing curious stories for as long as he can remember. He attended the same boarding school as James Joyce in Co. Kildare and since then, he has written plays, published short stories, and performed as a stand-up comedian.

Language, landscape and the history of ancient Ireland are important themes for Peadar and after brief forays living in Milan and Venice he returned to his native Ireland and now lives just outside Dublin

You can find out more about Peadar on his website – www.peadar.org

Or why not follow him on twitter using @TheCallYA


Blog Tour

You can follow or catch up of the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!

The Call blog


A huge huge thank you to Peadar for such a thoughtful guest post and to Hayley, Darran and Emma at Ed Pr for organising!

Have you read The Call?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued?  Which unlikely heros would you suggest to Peadar?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

sig2

PHBC – Call Waiting by R L Stine


$_35point1-510x180

Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?  The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read?  Are you new to Point Horror?  Has our opinion changed?  Are they still as good?  Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror?  Or are they a whole load of cray cray?

Lets find out…

#pointhorrorbookclub

 Join in the discussion with this months title!

Call Waiting by R L Stine

$_35

Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

 There is a link to a poll at the bottom of this post to vote for your next #pointhorrorbookclub read! The next book will be announced on 22nd August 2016

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Also do check out our Q&A with the one and only Richie Tankersley Cusick that went live this month – here !


** Please note that as this is a discussion there will be spoilers**


The Tagline

Don’t pick up the phone….

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

Right!

*flicks hair*

Karen Masters is so in love with douchebag hunk Ethan that when she thinks he is seeing Wendy behind her back she starts turning into Glenn Close circa Fatal Attraction era!

233417206_f7cd1de65e_b

Please don’t tell be Ethan had a bunny rabbit!?

Nope thank goodness he didn’t that’s all I’m saying!

Anyway, all Karen cares about is how much she loves Ethan and would do anything for Ethan etc etc and then Ethan drops the bombshell!

What she was right? He was cheating on Karen?!  We finally have a gay character in Point Horror?!

We can only dream of such a story line in Point Horror!

Well kind of but not with who she thought, but Ethan wants the best of both worlds and tells Karen that they should “see other people”!

Ugh!

Yep Ugh indeed!

This sends Karen spiralling out of control and she does the only thing she can possibly think of to keep Ethan …… pretend that she is getting creepy phone calls from someone who wants to kill her!  And these phone calls all happened whilst she is on the phone via her Call Waiting beeps!

But soon Ethan finds out that Karen doesn’t have Call Waiting!

OMG THE HORROR!

But that’s not the end of it…..then the calls really start happening!  FOR REAL!

Dum dum duuuuummmmm!

The Girl

Oh dear!  Oh dear!  Where on earth do I start with Karen Masters!?

With her dark short hair, dark eyes and very thin appearance I thought she would be one of those Point Horror girls that I would not forget in a hurry…..this was true, but maybe for all the wrong reasons!

With her parents divorced, brother always out with friends and birdlike Mum always working Karen was in the house on her own quite a lot.  But fear not as Point Horror love interest Ethan saved her from her loneliness….apparently!

Karen and Ethan both love bike rides, trivial pursuit and chessboards on rainy evenings…..the perfect romantic couple……that was until Karen thought Ethan was having it away with prop master Wendy!  Oh the horror!  So naturally Karen does the only thing that any girl should do…..stalk your boyfriend outside his own house to see what time he comes home!

And then get caught out by him whilst chatting to your friend about stalking your boyfriend on the phone!

Yep that’s right!  What a brilliant role model Karen was for all teenage girls (NOT!)…..she was very jealous indeed.

But nothing was going to stop Karen!  She loved Ethan with all her heart…he was even worth getting stressed over which gave Karen a very stiff neck indeed!

And do you know what a stiff neck is like?!  DO YOU?!

And this was just the beginning….when things start to come crashing down and falling apart between her and Ethan (mainly because Ethan was a douchebag – more on this later) Karen becomes a little unstable.  I mean making up receiving threatening phone calls just to keep your man is just the worst and then to get busted for doing it!

Oh Karen…..he’s just a boy!

Was it just me or did anyone else laugh when she started to get the calls for realises?!

Also I did admire Karen’s commitment to date nights and especially the new dance club…..horrific snowy bad weather outside is nothing to Karen!  Ethan still must take her to dance!

The Love Interest

Douchebag Ethan!

Ugh!

I mean he’s not the worst Point Horror boy we have ever had I guess!  He does stick by Karen in the end, but still!

With his long black hair, dark soulful eyes, broad forehead, silver earing through one ear and red Bonneville car he had so much Point Horror boy potential.  According to Karen he was funny, outgoing and playful, but all we got to see was him being a bad liar and lets be honest a bit harsh to poor old Karen.

He constantly broke date nights with Karen, he used the line “I think we should see other people” rather than lets break up AND “We can just go out on Saturday nights”. *rages*  He constantly hid behind his friend Jake who always seemed to be bailing him out of a Karen situation.  UGGGGHHHHH!

Ernie calling in sick so Ethan had to work seemed to be the tipping point!

Okay, okay so Ethan may have reminded me a bit of a guy I went out with at school who did the same to me and yes okay I may still be slightly bitter heartbroken about that whole time, but come on Ethan sucked big time!

I mean I guess he kind of redeemed himself in the end by sticking by Karen with the phone calls and “realising what she meant to him”, but he should have know that all along!

The perfect ending for me would have been Karen realising this and saying “look Ethan I may take you up on that seeing other people thing…hi Jake” but no! NO!

*mumbles under breathe*

What was with Ethan and Jake anyway?!  Ethan “rushing off to do math with Jake” *winks*.  Oh why couldn’t we just have a gay love triangle for once in a Point Horror!

The Gang

I have to start with best friend Micah Davis!  A bit of a flirt with blonde curly hair that she played with a lot, long nails, velvety voice that sounded like a sexy purr (?)  and a serious Kit Kat problem (who doesn’t?  Especially the peanut butter ones!) she was after Ethan all along the hussy!  She was meant to be Karen’s best friend and then when Ethan doesn’t break up with Karen she decides to push Karen further over the edge by actually making scary phone calls to her only to be busted by a chiming clock!  Ouch Micah!  Ouch!  Oh also the big finale girl cat fight!  Wow we haven’t had one of those for ages!  Me-ow!

Jake the best friend who had Ethan’s back ….ALL THE TIME.  Who didn’t want these two to get together?!  They would have been adorbs!  Anyway …. tall, with red wiry hair, long gangly arms, a horse voice that earned him the nickname Frog and who reminded Karen of a Grasshopper was severely under used and only there to get Ethan out of tricky situations with Karen.  I’m putting it out there that Jake fancied the pants of Ethan!  100%!  Who’s with me?

Wholesale-Green-font-b-Grasshopper-b-font-Mascot-font-b-Costume-b-font-Locust-Mascot-font

Okay older brother Chris was our typical joker of a Point Horror character!  The college kid with his passion for comedy shows, practical jokes, sandy hair, millions of friends and apparently lots of girlfriends!  I have to admit some of his practical jokes on Karen were hilarious but maybe that was just me being cruel because it was Karen and it was so funny and…..okay I will stop now!

Cousin Adam was a bit of a pointless red herring character wasn’t he?  Not even his love of horror comics and horror movies or the fact that he was really into history could help him.  Having recently moved back into the area and with his rust coloured hair, dark eyes, black rimmed glasses, zits on his chin and skinny appearance he was the perfect extra character we all needed.  He was shy, had a silent laugh that sounded like coughing (?), carried a brown briefcase and liked calling his cousin after midnight!  Other than that he didn’t really do anything did he?!

And what about poor old Wendy Talbot!  Prop Master for the school production of Guys And Dolls with her straight red hair, grey green eyes and paper Mache head that was so heavy she fell down the stairs *sniggers*…. any way she got a lot of flack for apparently “flirting” with Ethan!  I felt a little sorry for her!  Was there something in that shoulder touch?! And that prop gun that Karen thought was real!!  She must have been the best prop master EVER!

Oh also a quick shout out to the two secretaries arguing over pencils and how dark they are!  THIS.  WAS. BRILLIANT!

Fashion Faux Pas

Oh I spotted a shaggy coat that made someone look like a bear!

Charles-Fréger-5

A pale blue down vest over a bulky yellow sweater and faded denim jeans with a hole in one knee.

And the crème de la crème of fashion faux pas’s ……Ethans silky, red and gold patterned shirt!

s-l300

Oh the 90’s!

Dialogue Disasters

Here are some bits of dialogue that made me laugh!

“You’re a nervous nut”

Micah being a good friend to Karen here *coughs*

“You’re so pale, Karen.  And you look positively anorexic”

Ugh!  Micah is the worst!

“She put her hand on his shoulder.  Like she owned him or something”

Karen advising us all that we mustn’t ever put out hands on a boys shoulder

“A Pop-Tart?  Since when are you such a health nut?!

Really?  Are Pop Tarts healthy?  I think not!

“Does Adam still spend all his time reading those old horror comics and watching old horror movies?”

*Cheers*

“She had a strong impulse to grab Ethan by the shoulders and shake him”

No Karen you must not touch a boy on the shoulders!!!

“Try to get yourself together okay?”

Ethan to Karen….after he has dumped said they should see other people…..RUDE!

“Karen, Ethan and your brother have just told me a disturbing story.  About Call Waiting!”

I’m starting to wonder if Karen’s Mum and I read the same book?

“Howcome your spending so much time with Jake these days?”

That is a very good question Karen!

Body Count

0!

Stiney offers us more or a “psychological” Point Horror rather than a blood thirsty heavy body count Point Horror this time around!

I’m sad there was no Piranha’s!

Is it scary?

Erm…..nope!  It really wasn’t.

I think I sat more open mouthed about poor Karen’s state of mind and everyone ignoring that fact than it being scary to be honest.

Did the best friend do it?

In the end YES!

DING DING WE HAVE A WINNER!

But this was only after Karen got busted making up pretend phone calls to herself on her Call Waiting option so Micah thought she would do it for realises….you know to push Karen further over the edge AND TO STEAL HER MAN WHO SHE HAD BEEN SEEING BEHIND KARENS BACK!

Some Mild Peril?

I guess driving cars at high speed in the snow and ice could be classed as mild peril?  Other than that….not really!

Oh except a hot fire poker stick in the big finale of course!

Is it any good?

It was okay…..not the worst Point Horror we have read, but certainly not the best.

It was also not as good as some of the Point Horror Stiney offered us over his time writing Point Horror….it did made me ponder if this was ever really a Point Horror or just repackaged as such.

Final Thought

Did Karen turn into Ghostface from the Scream movies?!

Cover Wars!

Which one do you prefer?

$_35n11525

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book I’ve added some fun questions to ponder!

  • Ethan – hot or rot?
  • Jake & Ethan – were they secretly together?
  • What flavour Kit Kat?
  • What happened to Ethan and Karen after the book?
  • Are Karen & Micah still friends?
  • Lets hear your scary phone call – what would you have said to Karen?
  • Which secretary was right?  Which pencil is the best?!

You can leave a reply by using the reply button at the top of the page!

Richie

Don’t forget our fab Q&A with Richie Tankersley Cusick that went live this month – here !

It’s like a dream come true!

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub on 13th September 2016 !

You can vote for your next #PointHorrorBookClub read here!

Voting closes on the 22nd August 2016!

And the winner was…….

phbcsept16

The next read will be announced on the #pointhorrorbookclub page here and on twitter using the hashtag #pointhorrorbookclub on the 22nd August 2016!

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Thanks for joining in….

sig2

Tales Q&A with Richie Tankersley Cusick


Richie

IMG_3120-300x225

Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?  The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

They were basically what I was reading and enjoying as a young adult and thanks to the author Juno Dawson, who started #PointHorrorBookClub on her website in 2013, I have started to re-read these books that I used to rush to the shops every weekend and buy and sit for the whole weekend reading.

Juno announced in January 2015 that she was no longer able to carry on #pointhorrorbookclub and with her blessing I am going to try and carry it on with version 2!  Juno has done a fantastic job – I hope I can keep up her good work *gulps*

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new please click here


The #pointhorrorbookclub have read a number of Point Horror Books by Richie Tankersley Cusick including…..

41ENFPXDX2L__SX278_BO1204203200_-177x300

41S33BTDGRL__SX285_BO1204203200_-182x300-1-182x300Teachers-Pet-188x300

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And we still have many more to revisit!

These books are most definately memorable from the Point Horror era and I have had the absolute honour of putting some questions to Richie!

For this task I recruited some awesome #pointhorrorbookclub members as well as myself with some burning questions for Richie!  Thanks for all of the brilliant questions!

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new please click here

NB – as this is a discussion this will contain spoliers!


About Richie Tankersley Cusick

Richie

Richie Tankersley Cusick was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on April Fools Day. Being an only child, she began at an early age to invent invisible friends and special worlds of her own, which sparked her passion for writing.

Among her first and fondest memories is living alongside the bayou in the small town of Barataria. Rich with legends and folklore, this area was once frequented by the pirate Jean Lafitte, who supposedly hid his treasure within the dark shadows of Bayou Barataria. The influence of Southern mystery and charm was overwhelming to a little girl’s imagination–ruins of old plantation houses, aboveground cemeteries, moss-draped oak trees, crumbling churches, shrimp boats, old drawbridges, haunted roads, and the murky waters of the bayou. Many of these childhood experiences would prove to be major inspiration for her books. She would love the South always.

When Richie was old enough to start school, the family moved to the suburbs where they shared their home with a ghost. Though her growing- up years were spent in Louisiana, summers were spent in Missouri with her grandparents, where she received regular—and fascinating—doses of Ozark superstitions and folk tales. She attended Riverdale High School, then went on to the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now called UL Lafayette) in Lafayette (Cajun capital of the world!) where she graduated with a BA in English and a minor in English history.

Soon after graduation she moved to Kansas City, where she worked as a writer at Hallmark Greeting Cards for nine years. Once again, her house was inhabited by a ghost. Upon publication of her first book—Evil On The Bayou—she left Hallmark and began writing books full time.

Twenty-eight books later, she now lives in North Carolina with her two cocker spaniels, Audrey and Halle Berry, and shih tzu, Emma, and is currently at work on a new novel. She writes at an antique rolltop desk which was once owned by a funeral director. And yes…it’s haunted.

You can find out more about Richie and her books on her website – www.richietankersleycusick.com


I am so excited to have Richie talk to us today!

Here we talk about the Point Horror brand, experiences, writing and haunted desks!

*breaks out buttery popcorn and settles in for the ride!*


Hi Richie.  Welcome to Tales Of Yesterday and to #pointhorrorbookclub!  Thank you so much for stopping by!  We are so excited and thrilled and excited to have you here!

Hi, everyone! I feel so honored, being asked to participate in your Point Horror Club.  In fact it’s been so long since I wrote books for Point, I’m actually shocked that anyone even remembers me!  I hang my head in shame that it’s taken me so long to get back with you—punctuality has never been one of my virtues.  But I felt it was important to dig deeply into your thought-provoking questions, hoping I’d be very thorough with my answers.  All the questions were so interesting—some I’d never even considered before—and I found the interview to be both fun and challenging.  I hope you’ll forgive me if I’m too wordy with my replies—this is precisely why I’ve never been good at short stories! 

Firstly, yay to Point Horror…we have re-read three of your contributions to Point Horror so far, Teachers Pet, April Fools and Trick Or Treat.  We can’t wait to re-read more!  I always remember Fatal Secrets being my personal fave so we will have to re-read that one soon.

fs

 So some of the #PointHorrorBookClub have put together some (maybe too many) questions for you….we are all very excited!

Chelle, I’m thrilled that you and your group have become fans of Point Horror—especially because it’s been years since the books were published.  Does that mean they’d be considered vintage now?  🙂  However, I’d like to clarify that my only Point books were THE LIFEGUARD, TRICK OR TREAT, APRIL FOOLS, AND TEACHERS PET.  Readers often—and understandably so—think that the rest of my books were published under the Point banner, when in fact, only those four were part of the list.  I had a happy and productive stay at Point but then moved on to other publishers.  I’m so flattered that your personal favorite is FATAL SECRETS—but that one was published by Archway, as were most of my other titles. So now I’ll dive in and tackle your questions—I’m very excited, too—here goes!

[Point Horror Book Club – This is really interesting – I can only presume that maybe the UK pulishers rebranded the books or bought the books under their own Point banner here in the UK.  Speaking to Anne Finnis at YALC about this point it seemed that the books that they were sent to choose from were not specified as not being Point titles]

Right onto the questions!

Paul P: *waves* “Teacher’s Pet” was the first Point Horror book I ever bought and got me into reading!  How did your involvement in Point Horror come about?

Hi Paul! (this is me waving back!)  I really got my start with Point Horror in kind of a roundabout way, I guess.  I’d written my very first book EVIL ON THE BAYOU, which was part of a series called “Twilight,” then published by Dell.  The publisher liked the book very much, so I wrote another—but unfortunately the series ended before my book could be considered.  In the meantime, an editor from Scholastic had read my first book and really enjoyed it—so I was asked to write a book for Point.  I was given the title THE LIFEGUARD, which ended up on the Publishers Weekly Bestseller List.  And that led to three more books with Point.

653322

Chelle:  How many Point Horror Books did you write all together and over how many years?

I wrote four Point books:  THE LIFEGUARD, TRICK OR TREAT, TEACHER’S PET, and APRIL FOOLS, probably over the course of about four years.  After that, I moved to Archway, the YA division of Simon & Schuster, where I published VAMPIRE, FATAL SECRETS, THE MALL, SILENT STALKER, HELP WANTED, THE LOCKER, THE DRIFTER, SOMEONE AT THE DOOR, OVERDUE, SUMMER OF SECRETS, STARSTRUCK, and THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR.   I also published two adult books with Simon & Schuster—SCARECROW and BLOODROOTS.  In addition, I wrote novelizations of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, THE HARVEST, and THE ANGEL CHRONICLES.  And finally I moved to Penguin—their YA division is called Speak– where  THE UNSEEN series, WALK OF THE SPIRITS, and SHADOW MIRROR were published. THE UNSEEN was originally a four-book series, but later was also combined into two volumes, THE UNSEEN 1 and THE UNSEEN 2.  Speak also came out with a book called SPIRIT WALK, in which both WALK OF THE SPIRITS and SHADOW MIRROR were combined into one volume.

Paul P:  Did you write the Point Horror stories based on titles given to you or were you allowed to make up the titles?

For all four of my Point books, I was given specific titles to work with.  I remember when I was given the title THE LIFEGUARD (my first Point book).  They told me the cover would have a picture of a rather ominous-looking lifeguard on it.  And I was thinking,  if there’s already a picture of a lifeguard on the cover, and the title is THE LIFEGUARD, then the “bad guy” is pretty much given away already, right???  So I came up with the idea of having three different lifeguards in the book, so even though the reader knew that a lifeguard was the bad guy, they wouldn’t know WHICH lifeguard was the bad guy!!!

9780590432030

Mark:  Several of your PH titles seem to have started life outside the PH stable. How did they end up being released under the banner?

Actually, I really hadn’t started on any of my Point books until the titles were assigned to me.  Then the challenge was to come up with a suspenseful idea that would reflect the title.  My main goal was always to make the book much scarier and more involved than the actual title sounded.  I always wanted to give my readers more than they’d bargained for.

Chelle:  What was the process of Point Horror publication like for you? Caroline B Cooney, in another #pointhorrorbookclub Q&A gave the impression that it was somewhat of a factory mentality, churning books out based on titles that would appeal to readers?

My personal belief is that Point did have a specific group of writers they very much respected and used for their YA horror genre.   I’m thinking that Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine were probably their most successful authors—both were amazingly prolific, and I always admired their ability to turn out so many books so quickly.  I can’t speak for them, but in my own experience, I never felt like I was expected to do any sort of “factory” thing and just churn out book after book.  After THE LIFEGUARD was published, I was given TRICK OR TREAT to work with; after that I was given a 2-book contract which included my other two Point titles.  And though I was assigned specific deadlines, I never felt the presssure to become a” book machine.!”

41S33BTDGRL__SX285_BO1204203200_-182x300-1-182x300

Paul H:  We have come to realise that some of the more prolific Point Horror authors (Stine, Hoh) were occasionally ghost-written.  Were you ever approached to ghost-write for a fellow PH author?

No, I was never asked to do any ghost writing for Point.  The closest thing I can compare that to, is being asked to write novelizations for BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and ANGEL when I was with Archway.  In those cases, I was given the actual scripts written by Joss Whedon (the creator of Buffy and Angel), and my job was to flesh them out into book form.  The books were a lot of fun because basically, they’d already been written.

$_35

$(KGrHqR,!qsE88gcIQI2BPfS3KiyF!~~_35

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chelle: Did you have to work towards a specific word count for Point Horror?

Although I’ve never been a writer concerned with “word count,” my books always seemed to be around 225-250 pages.  We probably were given guidelines about the actual book length, but I don’t really remember them, and my books just always seemed to end up at that particular length.

Mark:  How long did it take on average to write a PH book?

On average, most of my books took around three months to write.  I always did two to three drafts before I was satisfied with a complete manuscript.  But after I turned in a manuscript, I’d then have many consultations with my editor, where we’d discuss different ways to make the book better.  Then I’d go back and edit and rewrite till we both agreed that the book was the very best it could be.  The books actually came out about a year to a year and a half after they were written and given final approval.

Cazzy:  Which book did you enjoy writing most and which character was your favourite?

Boy, that’s a tough one!  With every book I write, a little of myself stays locked inside it forever, and the characters stay locked inside ME forever.  But even though each and every book has a special meaning and memory, there are always some that just seem a little more special than others.  Of my Point titles, TRICK OR TREAT is probably my favorite.  Conor will always be one of my most favorite characters, and I enjoyed every second I spent with him.  I’ve even had readers ask me to write a sequel to TRICK OR TREAT, focusing on Conor and his future relationship with Martha.  A wonderful idea, I agree—but one I haven’t pursued yet. 

41S33BTDGRL__SX285_BO1204203200_-182x300-1-182x300

Paul H:  Which of your Point Horrors are you most proud of?

That’s another tough one.  I guess THE LIFEGUARD will always be a souce of pride to me because it was my very first Point title and also my very first really successful book.  There were a lot of challenges involved with it, and I was a very new, very enthusiastic writer, who really wanted to do a good job.  I remember my concern about the book being on a beach, because I’d never really had any experience of being around beaches.  So I went to AAA and got every travel book I could get my hands on, everything about beaches and coastal areas.  I went through every book and wrote down tons of information about beaches—details and descriptions such as flora and fauna, boats, water, lighthouses, sand, shells, weather—every possible thing I could think of that was beach-related.   I made lists of words and phrases.  I kept the lists close at hand while I wrote.  Most of those details found their way into the book, gave it a realistic atmosphere, made it come alive. After the book was published, I had so many readers tell me that Beverly Island was just like the coasts where they lived or vacationed, that my beaches made them feel like they were actually there. That really made me feel good, that I’d achieved exactly what I’d set out to do.

9780590432030

Mark: Which of your PH titles do you think has aged the best?

I definitely think TRICK OR TREAT has best withstood the test of time.  Readers still comment on that book, and especially on Conor.  Readers still say it scared the life out of them!  Yay!  That’s just what I was trying to do!!!  However, out of all my published books, THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR (published by Archway) seems to have remained in print the longest, and those characters are still some of my very favorites.

493790

Paul H:  With a few notable exceptions, Point Horror’s tended to stick to a few basic rules:  female protagonist, brooding romantic interest, a general whodunit structure.  Was it a challenge to invent compelling plots within those boundaries?

Honestly, I don’t think I was ever aware of those rules when I was writing.  I basically just wrote the kinds of books I loved and that I thought teens (mainly girls) would also love.  Surprisingly, I’ve heard from many boys who’ve enjoyed my books too, which really makes me happy.  I’ve always written stories that I personally wanted to write, even when titles were assigned to me.  I’ve always enjoyed reading YA books, both when I was a teen and also now as an adult.  Before I wrote EVIL ON THE BAYOU, I read quite a few current YA horror books, focusing on what their appeal was, what teens really liked about them, and what readers’ expectations were.  I remembered things that had always kept me glued to those books I’d loved reading as a teen—romance, suspense, mystery, cute guys (and mysterious cute guys), the totally unexpected, the irresistible challenge of whodunit.  I think that the world in general changes with each generation, but I also feel that deep-down emotions, hopes and fears, those extremely personal issues and pressures that young adults face, really don’t change that much.  Every generation is very different, but very much the same.

  I always try to write books that my readers can identify with. My main character/heroine is a sort of Everygirl—a girl any female reader can relate to. My books are more character-driven, rather than plot-driven.  I never use a formula or an outline, but at some point in my writing I suddenly realized that I usually have three guys—don’t ask me why, but three seems to be the magic number.  I usually have very supportive best friends that the main character can confide in, whether those friends are guys or girls.  The “side” characters (what I like to call them)—guys, boyfriends, girlfriends, best friends, eccentrics, neighbors, and especially the villains, are always much more interesting to me.  They influence the direction of the book, and their interaction with the main character gradually reveals her true spirit and personality.   I think you’ll find in most YA books that the adults disappear very early on, or that they make very few appearances.   In my own books, the presence of grown-ups (including parents) is usually minimal, whether they’re apathetic or oblivious, out of town or deceased, etc.  Even loving and concerned parents have very limited interaction; they’re only used for the purpose of further defining the teens.  The idea is to leave the young adult characters pretty much on their own, so they’re forced to figure out solutions for themselves.

 I try not to date my books with things like current technology or current slang, etc.  Those things change so quickly; often by the time a book is published, many fads and innovations are already out of date.  So I really try to concentrate on people and relationships, more than things.  I don’t go into a book with the idea of moralizing or lecturing or teaching any lessons.  But again, I do notice certain recurring themes in my books—like the importance of friendships, not judging by appearances, and discovering one’s true nature through adversity.

 My characters must always deal with “bad surprises.”  That is, they’re very normal, doing the right things, being good people, minding their own business when suddenly—through no fault of their own—they’re dealt disasters and tragedies and seemingly hopeless obstacles which they must overcome,.  Through these frightening situations they find courage and strength within themselves and come out stronger in the end.  An unfortunately, obstacles and challenges never go out of date.

Chelle:  We have noticed a difference between the early Point Horror book and the later Point Horror books in death rates and breaking boundaries.  Do you think as Point Horror became more popular the publishers loosened the reigns a little?

That’s really an insightful question.  You wouldn’t believe the boundaries I had to work around when I was writing YA back then.  Censorship was pretty rigid, and publishers weren’t big on gore, curse words, sex, suggestive language, etc.  Yes, quite a challenge—and today their restrictions would probably be laughable!!!  I’m sure that to keep up with the times, and to keep up with new challenges facing young adults, the publishers were forced to give a little—or a lot.  However, in my own books, I’ve never been big on gratuitous sex, violence, or gore—not then and not now.  Actual deaths and murders not-always-but-usually happen off-screen.  I tend to lean more towards suggestions rather than graphic action.  And yes, in SHADOW MIRROR, (SPOILER ALERT!)  two characters actually have sex, but ONLY because I felt it was necessary to the plot, to move it forward, to set the stage for what might happen in their futures, and also to show the reactions/personalites of the side characters who are peripherally involved.  But I’m very particular and careful about what I put into a story; I won’t write things just for the sake of shock value.

6681206 

Mark: Did you plant any friends / family in your stories?

You know, sometimes I wonder if each character in a book has just a tiny bit of some person we’ve ever known, loved, or hated in our lifetimes!!! The only characters I can truly say were modeled on actual people are the Loberg sisters in THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR.   They’re comical characters (in fact, one of them is based on me)—and my dear friend who recognized herself in the other sister,  was totally flattered—she thought the characters were hilarious!

 I LOVE my characteres, and when the book is finished, I actually go through a grieving period because I miss them so much.   My characters are as real to me as any real-life person, and I live with them 24-7 for the duration of the book.  For example, my last books WALK OF THE SPIRITS and SHADOW MIRROR were very different projects for me–not my usual horror themes, but more mystery-oriented (or what I like to call, my “quieter books”).  I was going through a very painful time in my personal life, and these characters were with me every second of every day.  In fact, sometimes I wonder if I could even have survived that time of my life without the presence and support of those characters.  And do you know that even now—when I’m feeling particularly frustrated or blocked—I actually go back and re-read those two books just to be with those beloved characters again?  Yes…I admit, this writer is a bit eccentric that way!

Chelle:  Have you read any other Point Horrors?  Which one was your favourite?

Yes, I’ve definitely read books by Point authors, though I certainly couldn’t pick a particular favorite..  In fact, I’ve read many YA authors who inspired me and influenced my desire to write YA.  There are so many good authors out there, it’s impossible for me to pick a favorite.

Paul H:  Which of your Point Horror stablemates (other Point Horror authors) did you rate the highest?  Did you ever meet any of them?

I honestly couldn’t rate any of the other authors—they all have their own different and very exclusive styles, which appeal to such a wide variety of readers. I remember when I first started writing professionally,  Christoper Pike and I were attending a conference together, and he was kind enough to share some writing advice with me, a truly unselfish gesture I’ve always appreciated.  I also love John Peel—one of my most admired authors and a special friend, even though –sadly—we’ve lost touch over the years.  R.L. Stine and I also became very good friends and did some book signings together, though—once again, regrettably–I haven’t seen him for many years.  As for myself, I’ve  always had a very strict policy:  I NEVER read any YA books while I’m writing one.  I don’t want any other books creeping into my subconscious to influence me in any way, shape or form.  Once I finish writing my own YA book, however, then I’ll start reading teen books again.  The same rule applied when I wrote my two adult books.  I wouldn’t even consider reading another adult book while I was involved with my own—so while I was immersed in writing my own adult book, that’s when I’d switch to reading YA.

Chelle: Which of your Point Horror characters would you most like to go to dinner with?

Dinner?  Do they actually have time to go to dinner in between dodging perilous situations????  Of course, it would have to be Conor from TRICK OR TREAT.   Cute, witty, mysterious, and loyal to the end—who wouldn’t want to have dinner with him???  But if you asked me about any of my other books, I’d have to say Charlie from THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR, and especially Gage and Etienne from the WALK books.

Mark:  Trick or Treat was adapted for the short lived PH audiobook collection. What did you think of that version and did you get any input into it?

You know, I don’t think I ever actually listened to it the whole way through—and since I can’t even remember it now, I don’t know how to answer your question.  However, I had no input at all—I don’t remember even knowing about it till I received a copy in the mail!!!

2349319

Chelle:  If you had to write one more PH what would you call it?

How about MEGA-BESTSELLER????  Seriously though, I have so many titles spinning around in my head, but I won’t reveal them here. What if other writers saw them and decided to use them for their own books??!!   🙂

Cazzy:  where do your ideas come from?

Cazzy,  you wouldn’t believe how many times I’m asked that question—and every time I feel totally baffled by it.  Some ideas come from the most obvious places; other ideas come without warning from my own head.  Here are just a few examples I can think of:  Reading books; watching movies; looking at pictures; traveling; studying places and scenery; current events; being aware of one’s surroundings; talking to people; doing research, hearing about legends, folklore or mysteries (I have a soft spot in my heart for ghosts, especially since I grew up with one in my house, and also because have a haunted rolltop desk where I work); hearing an interesting name of a person, place, or thing (I have tons of books on names, both people and places); watching teens, their mannerisms, how they talk and interact; letting my imagination run wild.  I’m particularly fond of the supernatural, gloomy atmospheres, wolves, monasteries,  cemeteries, old houses (each has its own soul and personality, you know, just like a character), brooding characters, the unexplainable, and, as I mentioned before, “bad surprises.”  I believe in just about everytthing–just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.  And evil has always fascinated me–how the mind of an evil person works (or doesn’t). 

 I’ve always loved watching the old, classic horror movies:  Dracula (with its many renditions), Frankenstein, The Wolfman.  My favorite was always The Wolfman—that desperate pathos of an innocent man suddenly finding himself helpless in the midst of a “bad surprise” (a horrific surprise, really). My heart always ached for him and his sealed fate.  I’ve always loved that classic character more than all the others. 

 But here’s a bit of information that might interest you.  And it’s about your homeland.  Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been absolutely fascinated with England.  Everything about England intrigued me, captivating and stirring my imagination.  Jack the Ripper and the foggy streets of London. Yorkshire and the moors.  The beautiful countryside, farmhouses, and sheep.  I loved the sea-sprayed cliffs of Cornwall.   I loved Victorian England. I loved British authors, legends, tales, and folklore.  I loved castles, churches, monasteries, houses, old towns and villages, and English history.  I loved your language and the differences in British and American words that mean the same thing (I have British dictionaries)!  And, like most Americans, I love British accents and could listen to them all day! 

 I have a huge collection of books about England (travel, history, literature, cookbooks, etc.).  I minored in English history in college. My parents gave me a trip to England for my college graduation present, and I’ve been fortunate enough to travel there four more times (or is it five?).  And the whole fascination is so odd really, because when I was a child, no one ever mentioned England to me.  I never heard about it from any friend or family member, and in school I even hated geography!  It was if England had always been in the back of my mind, just waiting for me to discover it and explore it.  Later I found out that my Tankersley ancestors had come from England.  That there’s actually a town called Tankersley (which a friend and I visited; to my disappointment it was nothing like what I’d hoped it would be, but we did have a drink at a pub!). 

 At the risk of sounding maudlin, I’ve always felt hopelessly in love with everything British—I even adore your food (and cook it for friends!). England has always inspired me. There’s so much history and heritage, romance and passion and pride about your country—you embrace your past.  And unlike so many things in America, you tend to preserve your landmarks and buildings, rather than tearing them down or replacing them in the name of “modern progress.” You are SO lucky to live there, and I am SO lucky to have gotten to visit!  I’ve always felt such a strong emotional connection that I can’t really explain.  Reincarnation?  Subconscious memories passed down and imbedded in me from past generations?  Whatever the reason, I can honestly tell you that each time I’ve traveled to England, the very second I step foot on British soil, I feel like I’m home. 

 So I’ve probably given you lots more information than you need.  And I’m sure there are still even more ways I’m able to tap into ideas, but hopefully this will give you just a hint of where they might come from.

Mark:  Which or your books (if any) do you think would adapt well for TV /film?

Please don’t think I’m impressed with myself, but I believe that ALL my books would lend themsevles perfectly for film.  Interesting characters, plot twists and turns, and surprise endings.  Too bad no directors, actors, or screenwriters seem to agree with me!

Paul H:  What was your favourite thing about the 90’s?

Hmmm…my favorite thing…

 Well, since I live in my own world and imagination most of the time, I can only tell you one of my favorite memories  Sitting in my office at my rolltop desk (the haunted one, you know), with snow falling outside my window, and the white-powdered trees brushing the windowpane.  A cup of hot spiced tea steaming on the table beside me…my cocker spaniels curled up and snoozing on the couch…the scent from a pumpkin-spice candle (anything pumpkin is wonderful) filling the room.   Scary soundtrack music playing in the background, pictures of my characters pinned on the bulletin board above my desk,   And having a wonderfully productive day full of inspiring ideas, perfect plots, and characters who’ve spoken to me and told me where they want to go and what they want to do next.  What could be better?

Cazzy:  How do you think the YA genre has changed since the 90s?

Wow, there’ve been so many changes.  You won’t find the strict censorship that was common back then.  No more passive female characters—they’ve now become stronger and self-reliant, leaders in their own right. There are now more series and sagas.  More action and fantasy, apocalyptic worlds.  More heroes and villains. To me, it seems there are fewer boundaries or restrictions now as to what an author can create.  Books now, as in generations past, tend to reflect the scary times we live in, the fears, the uncertainties, the need for some control over our destinies. There’s so much more variety in books now, more obstacles to overcome, more complicated plot layers.  Writers are a lot more free now to express themselves and their wildest ideas.  I think in this day and age—anything goes.

Cazzy:  do you think PH could make a comeback for today’s teens/pre-teens?

That’s a very interesting question and hard to predict.  Readers will always have very subjective, very personal tastes in books.  If you go into a bookstore nowadays, you’ll see shelves display themes of every kind.  Some readers prefer more action-oriented books; some prefer more introspective novels.  Some enjoy fantasy; others prefer reality. Some love to enter past or future worlds; others like to stay grounded in more familiar, everyday experiences.  Novels have a way of going through cycles.  What’s popular today often saturates the market to the point where readers feel they’ve read it all before.  And then some new trend comes along to take the place of the current fad.  I think romance will always be popular, no matter what form it takes, and that readers will always love the challenge of a good mystery and the fun of a good scare, no matter where the plot is set. So who knows?  It’s almost impossible to predict what young adults will clamor for next.  All I can say is that young adults—and publishers–are always searching for that next great idea.

Tara:  I would love to find out if there are plans for more books? YA horror is quite popular and I believe there is certainly a market for it. I want more Point Horror!

Tara, I certainly can’t speak for Point Horror.  As I mentioned before, it seems that genres tend to run in cycles. But I believe that people, no matter what age, always long for and enjoy a good scare.  That’s why I think horror will always be popular.  With the horror genre, readers can always convince themselves that the fear and danger aren’t real. If they get frightened, they can always close the book or walk away from the film.  I think horror is both compelling but also fun.  Can anyone predict what the next trend will be, or where it will take us?  There are so many possibilities out there, and so many good writers with so many wonderful ideas—to me, horror will always be around, in one form or another. 

Chelle:  I’d love to know what you’re up to now and where Point Horror has taken your career? Do you still write horror?   Is it a favourite genre of yours?

I’ll always be grateful to Point Horror for giving me the opportunity to write and hone my craft.  Having worked with both positive and negative editors,  I learned the importance of listening, compromising, and working together as a team to make the book as good as it can be.  I published my first bestseller there.  With each book written, I learned so much, which moved me forward into even more creative experiences.  I’ll always be indebted to them for taking a chance on me.

 Yes, I still write horror, and I’ll always love it.  I remember that as a child, I was seldom frightened by scary movies—in fact, I loved the suspense and the spooky atmospheres, could usually guess the ending, and was especially excited when a plot actually fooled or frightened me. 

 And though I’ve recently taken time off from writing, I’m currently at work on a new book—scary, of course!

Chelle:  Could you tell us a little about some of your other books?

All my other books are horror/thrillers, except for WALK OF THE SPIRITS and SHADOW MIRROW, which I consider to be more mystery than horror. The reason for this change is that my last editor didn’t want me to write a horror novel—she wanted something that was much tamer.  It was difficult for me to switch gears, but I really got lost in those books. I grew–and remain–especially close to those characters, and loved being part of their close-knit group.  As one reader said to me, “Who WOULDN’T want to be part of a group like that?” I always try to fill my novels with surprise twists and turns and compelling characters—except for the BUFFY and ANGEL novelizations, in which the plots and characters were already written.

1295093

Paul H:  Who are your favourite authors?

I don’t think there’s enough room to list them all here!  My earliest inspiration was, naturally, Nancy Drew!  I also loved Margaret Mahy, Joan Aiken, Lois Duncan, Judy Blume, Margaret Mahy, and Joan Lowery Nixon.  Later I grew into Edgar Allan Poe, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Thomas Hardy. I read and still love to read what were then called Gothic Romances—now they’re referred to as Romantic Suspense.  These books heavily influenced me heavily with their dark heroes, gloomy settings, eerie old houses,  and trapped heroines. I loved Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt, Susan Howatch, Daphne du Maurier, and Phyllis Whitney. I really enjoy Nora Roberts, Tess Gerritsen, Patricia Cornwell, Tami  Hoag, and Jeffery Deaver.  But really, it’s so hard to narrow down the field, because there are so many amazing authors out there, and I don’t have the space here to name them all.

ndciphgif

Amy:  What was the first horror novel that you remember reading?

To be honest, I don’t remember the first horror novel I ever read.  I just know that I always loved scary books and scary movies—mainly because I found them so fascinating and fun instead of scary. And those that succeeded in actually scaring me, I considered quite brilliant.

Chelle: Growing up who inspired you into writing?  Are there any Authors or books that inspired you?

You might refer to Paul’s question above.  I’m afraid I got carried away with my answer but actually listed only a handful of authors that inspired me and made me want to be a writer. 

 But here’s a funny story for you:  when I was in grade school, we were asked to write an original story.  I wrote a very short “book” called TOMMY LIZARD’S FIRST HALLOWEEN.  I wrote it with much flair and drama, complete with illustrations.  By the way, I’m a terrible artist; I have no talent at all.  But I still proceeded to tell the story of Tommy Lizard trick-or-treating from house to house until he finally got ahold of a black jelly bean, which made him very sick.  I ended the book with my brilliant rendering of poor Tommy Lizard throwing up the black jelly bean.. then smiling and saying “Bye Bye!”  And do you know, I still have that story, written in pencil on wide-ruled paper?  Yes, my very first novel (and artistic endeavor), three very creative pages long!

Chelle: Are there any authors you would like to collaborate with?  Who?

You know, I’ve never thought about collaborating with another author.  I’m very much a loner, and I totally need my solitude to create the world I’m writing about.  I completely immerse myself in the book I’m working on at the moment—I seldom see friends, pick up the phone, or answer the door.  I even rarely leave the house, because I don’t want to step outside of my special book-world.  Even when I take a physical break from writing, I’m still writing and thinking in my head so that I don’t break the spell of the book.  As I’ve said, the characters are very real to me; I even speak to them out loud to make sure their dialogue is natural, believable, and revealing.  I try to build a world so realistic, that my readers feel like they’re actually there, that they actually know and participate with the characters.  I don’t do outlines—if I try to plot things out, then I feel like I’ve already written the book and can’t write it over again.  I never try to guess ahead when I write.  Just like the reader, I’m totally surprised at what happens next in the book.  For me, it’s like watching a movie unfold.  I basically create the characters, let them go, and watch them tell their story.  I simply follow their lead and don’t ever know how the book is going to end—or who the bad guy is—till I’m nearly finished with the first draft.  And the funny thing is, I’m always surprised!  “OMG, you’ve got to be kidding!  I didn’t know he/she was going to be the villain!!!!  I had no clue it would end this way!!!!!”

Amy:  Are there any books or films that have scared you?

I don’t scare easily, but yes, there are definitely some books and films that have scared me. Stephen King’s THE SHINING kept me glued to every page; I couldn’t put it down.  I really disliked the movie—to me, it didn’t capture one bit of the book’s brilliance, and I was very disappinted in its interpretation.  Two films that still scare me (even though I’ve seen them a million times) are THE HAUNTING (the original, not the remake) and THE CHANGELING.  I didn’t see the ends coming, and the incidents leading up to the climaxes were really unnerving!

11588

220px-Thehaunting1963

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amy:  Why do you think people like to be scared?

Of course, this is only my personal opinion, but to some people it’s just plain fun. Fun to be scared because people know it’s a safe scare.  If a reader gets scared, he/she only has to close the book.  If a movie-watcher gets scared, he/she only has to leave the theatre or change the channel on the TV.  It’s a way of controlling those things we can’t predict or understand; it’s a way of having some control in this frightening, unpredictable world.

 In my workshops I always suggest to students that they turn off the sound on their TVs but continue watching the show—then try to imagine what the characters might be saying.  Conversely, I suggest that students close their eyes while watching a show–then try to imagine what the characters are doing while only hearing them talk. It’s a good way to learn about action and dialogue, how to make your characters real, and how to create suspense.

 I also tell my students that less is more, and it’s a self-imposed rule I try to follow as well.  If too much is spelled out to the reader (too much gore, too many scares without any relief, etc.), the book loses its impact.  Readers can become de-sensitized, the book becomes boring, and often never gets finished.  However, if a writer puts just enough in to tease and tempt the reader, put them on an emotional roller coaster of clues and suggestions—then the reader’s imagination will take over.  And once that happens, a reader’s imagination will create scenes even more graphic and horrifying than anything a writer could ever write.

 Horror is a way to express strong negative emotions that would never be acceptable in normal society.  Horror is challenging—one never knows what will happen next.  Horror stays with you long after the initial fear is over—it makes you afraid of the dark, it makes you check under the bed and in your closet, makes you want to leave the light on.  I believe the fear of the unknown is something we all share, a feeling of powerlessness, a fear of what lies ahead that we can’t guess or imagine.  And in reading or watching horror, we have some control over the bad and scary things in life.  Horror has been around since the beginning of time, and I believe it will be around forever.

Chelle: What do you think makes a good story?

I think that to every author, to every reader, the idea of a good story is purely subjective.  What I look for and enjoy in a book will probably be different from another person’s preference.  But speaking for myself, I think a good story is one that sucks the reader in.  That transports them from their actual world into the book-world, that makes them believe the characters are real, that makes them experience thoughts and actions so completely that it’s as if the story is truly happening to them.  Characters that the reader can relate to and identify with.  Situations that make the reader think, feel, and react.  And most of all, a good story is one which shows the reader that he/she isn’t alone. That other people (represented by the characters) experience the same emotions and struggles that readers experience.  To me it’s important for a reader to finish the book with a sense of fulfillment, satisfaction, and connection.  If I can do that with any one of my books, then I feel I’ve done my job successfully.

Thank you so much Richie for taking the time to answer these questions and feature on Tales Of Yesterday and #pointhorrorbookclub. We all love your contributions to Point Horror and wish there were more!  It really is an honour and I look forward to reading more of your books!

And thank you for allowing me to meet all of  you—it’s truly been a privilege.  I’d just like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed your interview, and I sincerely wish I could meet each and every one of you in person.  Your questions have inspired me and reminded me once again why I love doing this for a living.  And if there are ever any more questions or thoughts you’d like to put out there for me, I promise to answer them to the best of my ability—I’ll even try to respond in a much more timely manner!  So thank you again for allowing me to meet with all of you and for taking the time to think of me.  I hope you continue enjoying scary books.  Horror writers need more great readers like you!

 Fondly,

Richie

So there you have it #pointhorrorbookclub!  Richie answered everything we asked!  I think it was nice to read another slightly different side to the story of Point Horror and how they came to be.  Richie seemed to have a mix of free reign and structure with her Point Horror experience which is fascinating! Nice to see that the publishing team came up with some of the titles again…this seems to be the common ground of creating Point Horror!  I also love Richie’s stories too!.

What did you all think?


 point1-510x180

Why not join in Point Horror Book Club and the discussion on the 13th of every month?

Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read?  Are you new to Point Horror?  Has our opinion changed?  Are they still as good?  Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror?  Or are the a whole load of cray cray?

You can find links to all #PointHorrorBookClub posts old and new here

Another huge huge thank you to Richie for featuring on Tales and a huge round of applause for such a fab answers!  And thank you Point Horror Book Club members yet again for fab questions!

*claps hands excitedly*

Do you remember Point Horror?  Which was your favourite?  Would you like to join in on #pointhorrorbookclub ?

Happy Point Horror-ing!

sig2

 

 

 

 

Guest Post – My Five Last Reads by Sarah Baker


ThroughMirrorDoor_Cvr2

I am super excited to have the lovely Sarah Baker author of the wonderful Through The Mirror Door on Tales today .

Through The Mirror Door was released on the 7th July published by Catnip Publishing and I have heard the most amazing things about this book already!

So today Sarah Baker tells us her five last reads…..


ThroughMirrorDoor_Cvr2

Since the accident, Angela has been alone. When she is invited on holiday with her cousins, it is her chance to be part of a family again if she promises to behave herself. But secrets lie in the walls of the crumbling French holiday home and the forbidden rooms draw Angela in. Soon night-time footsteps, flickering candlelight and shadows in windows lead her to a boy who needs her help. To save him Angela must discover the truth about what happened in the house all those years ago . . . and face the terrible secret of her own past.


My Five Last Reads

The Crowham Martyrs by Jane McLoughlin

51by4UbTDZL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_

With a creepy gothic boarding school, a girl with unusual powers and a spine-tingling mystery, this book will keep you reading into the early hours. It’s a fantastic and genuinely scary story. I raced through it.

Captain Pug, The Dog who Sailed the Seas by Laura James

51j0IFOdo+L._SX352_BO1,204,203,200_

Pug is a rather wonderful character who enjoys jam tarts for breakfast (well, who doesn’t?) and seems to find himself on adventures quite by accident. It’s a fun read with plenty of humour and gorgeous illustrations by Eglantine Ceulemans.

The Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine

61uxVP9JOoL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

Orphan Sophie Turner has just taken a job in the millinery department at Sinclair’s, a shiny new department store, but things get off to a sticky start as the priceless Clockwork Sparrow is stolen right before the grand opening, and Sophie’s the lead suspect. She must use her wits and her friends to find the real culprit, save her job and the day. Grab yourself a cup of tea and an iced bun because you’ll enjoy this adventure.

Lying about Last Summer by Sue Wallman

51SrPxPLimL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

This is the story of Skye who’s sent to a camp for grieving teens after losing her sister in an accident, but while she’s there she begins receiving text messages from her dead sibling. It’s a tense contemporary YA thriller that deals with bereavement in a very real and moving way. Unputdownable.

The Speed of Darkness by Catherine Fisher

61fZZrSOqZL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

The last in the Chronoptika Quartet and I am already a big fan. This ties up each story with all the magic, beauty and wit of the other books. It’s a captivating read and a series I know I’ll return to again and again. Time travel, science, magic and myth? I can’t recommend it more highly.

ThroughMirrorDoor_Cvr2

Through the Mirror Door by Sarah Baker (£6.99, Catnip)

You can buy a copy of Through The Mirror Door here or from your local bookshop


About Sarah Baker

SB author pic

I’m a children’s author. My first book, Through the Mirror Door, will be published by Catnip Books on 7th July, 2016. You can find out more about it here.

I used to work in film as a story editor where I did an awful lot of script and book reading (yay). I’ve also worked for Aardman Features and the Bermuda Film Festival and I’ve been a writer and blogger for vintage fashion magazines. You can read some of my pieces here.)

Once up on a time I used to review books, but now when I’m not writing, I’m usually reading.

I currently live in a book fort in London with my son.

You can find out more about about Sarah on her website – www.bysarahbaker.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @bysarahbaker


A huge huge thank you to Sarah for for such a brilliant post and to Laura at Catnip Publishing for organising!

Have you read Through The Mirror Door?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

sig2

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...