Today we're excited to chat with Stephen Wallenfels author of Deadfall.
Read on for more about Stephen and his book, an interview, plus an giveaway!
Meet Stephen Wallenfels!
Stephen wrote freelance for fifteen years for the health and fitness trade journal, CBI, before switching to fiction. He published short stories for children and adults, then his debut YA CliFi (climate science fiction) novel, POD (Penguin-Ace), was published in eight languages and adapted into a screenplay. His second novel, Bad Call (Disney-Hyperion), a YA survival thriller set in Yosemite National Park, was released on December 19, 2017. His third novel, Deadfall (Disney-Hyperion), a YA suspense thriller, will be released on December 11, 2018. Stephen lives in Washington state with his wife and enjoys hiking, reading, cooking, movies, and any sport that involves a racquet and a ball.
Twin brothers Ty and Cory Bic are on the run. When they encounter a dying deer in the middle of a remote mountain road with fresh tire tracks swerving down into a ravine, they know they have to help. But when they reach the wrecked car the vehicle appears empty, with signs that the driver escaped. Until they hear a sound coming from the trunk. Ty and Cory are escaping demons of their own. But what they discover in the trunk puts them in the crosshairs of something darker and more sinister than their wildest nightmares. Told through a gripping, lightning-fast narrative that alternates between present and past, this unputdownable survival thriller unravels the tangled circumstances that led Ty and Cory to the deer in the road and set them on a perilous course through the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
It’s a combination of two things: 1) I was driving on a mountain road late at night with my brother. We had taken a wrong turn and were lost (this is back in the day of bad maps). We were both overtaken with an overwhelming sense of dread. I turned the car around and we headed in the opposite direction. I’ve always wondered what would have happened to us if we kept driving? 2) When I was a teen I was into wilderness survival and had a dream of building a hideout in the mountains, ala My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. So I combined the two and wrote Deadfall.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Cory, because he is so earnest and likes to cook. But I also liked writing Benny – he was so flawed and tragic and destined for bad things.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel. It was originally titled, “The Girl in the Trunk” (yeah, pretty bad), then “Tanum Creek Bridge” (which I liked). Disney wanted a title that was more along the lines of my previous book, BAD CALL, so I came up with Deadfall.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
Oooh, that’s a tough one! I’d have to say, at this moment, it is the gazebo scene with Cory and Kayla. Lots of subtext going on there. And in the end she asks him a question and gave him five seconds to answer: “Tell me one true thing about you that no one else knows.” I had no idea what he’d say. But the answer he gave was perfect and I got all choked up writing it down.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Wow. The most important thing? I have to decide between the universes of craft and process. I’m going with perseverance. As in writing a novel is like committing to climbing Everest. You don’t just walk out the door and climb that mountain. It will beat you every time. It is an expedition. You put your heart and soul into it, and must be prepared to hate and love the journey at the same time. There will be times when putting one foot in front of the other is the best that you can do (aka putting words on a page). And after you reach the summit and get that book published—you have to turn around and do it all over again. So call it perseverance. I had no idea it would be so challenging, so painful at times, and so much fun!
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
The colors and atmosphere. The artist captured the exact moment when things went bad for the boys. Like how I imagined it would be if my brother and I had continued down that mountain road.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2019?
I’m hoping there will be another book by Joe Ide. I love his character IQ. And I’m really looking forward to Between Before and After by Maureen McQuerry. True disclosure: she’s in my critique group. But this isn’t a shameless plug. I sincerely believe it is a special book.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2017?
American War by Omar El Akkad. I’m passionate about climate change, and that book is the gold standard. It should be required reading in high school.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m writing Promiseland (hopefully the title won’t change!), a story about a single mom that witnesses a murder and is captured by the killers and taken to a doomsday cult in Idaho.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
The scene when Cory revealed Stumptown to Astrid. My amazing editor, Hannah, kept me digging deeper and deeper into that scene, particularly as a male trying to understand how a female would feel in that stressful situation.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Ty. It was hard work making him his own person while at the same time showing that he had a lot of Benny in him.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Drafting is by far the most fun. But working with an editor to dig deeper and discover the emotional core of characters and scenes—that is a very rewarding experience. And Hannah was/is exceptional. She really made the book shine.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
I love writing dialogue, particularly when it involves subtext. In a perfect world, I would write screenplays full-time.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Climate change. It is a huge freaking deal. We have one planet and the generations to come are counting on us, right now, to do it right. In the writing world we have what’s called a “threshold chapter” where the hero has to commit to the journey and do the right thing despite all the sacrifices and costs. I believe we are living in that threshold chapter right now.
By: Stephen Wallenfels
Publisher: Disney Books
Release Date: December 11th, 2018
Two winners will receive a signed copy of Deadfall (Stephen Wallenfels) ~ US Only
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*