Today we're excited to chat with Cat Scully author of

Jennifer Strange.

Read on for more about Cat and her book, plus a giveaway!




Meet Cat Scully!


Cat Scully is the writer and illustrator of YA horror illustrated novel JENNIFER STRANGE, releasing July 21, 2020 from Haverhill House Publishing. Cat is best known for her world maps, which have been featured in Brooklyn Brujas trilogy by Zoraida Cordova, Winterspell by Claire Legrand, and Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis. She works in video game development for the Deep End Games, designing their next title. After five years as a mentor in Pitch Wars for middle grade and young adult speculative fiction, she now edits for Cornerstones Literary in adult, young adult, and middle grade. 

She loves Earl Grey tea, Bioshock, Evil Dead, Hellboy, watercolors, horror books, comic books, and anything involving outdoor sports.

She is represented by Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.



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Meet Jennifer Strange!

"JENNIFER STRANGE is a gruesomely fun, demon-infested YA romp in which two teenage sisters learn and ply the family's secret demon-fighting trade. A promising debut." -Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and Survivor Song

Fifteen-year-old Jennifer Strange is the Sparrow, cursed with the ability to give ghosts and demonic spirits a body—a flesh and blood anchor in the mortal world—with the touch of her hand. When a ghost attacks her high school and awakens her powers, her father dumps her unceremoniously in the care of her estranged older sister Liz, leaving only his journal as an explanation.

Drawn to the power of the Sparrow, the supernatural creatures preying on Savannah, Georgia will do anything to receive Jennifer’s powerful gift. The sisters must learn to trust each other again and uncover the truth about their family history by deciphering their father’s journal…because if they can’t, Jennifer’s uncontrolled power will rip apart the veil that separates the living from the dead.

A fast-paced and splattery romp, fans of Supernatural, Buffy, and Evil Dead will enjoy JENNIFER STRANGE - the first illustrated novel in a trilogy of stylish queer young adult horror books with big scares for readers not quite ready for adult horror.

“This debut novel is overflowing with sardonic wit and memorably feisty (and satisfyingly angry) female protagonists...It’s clear this is a story that has more to come, and horror buffs will happily anticipate the next volume.” –The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Plenty to appeal to readers: The illustrations that help to visualize the creatures and describe the charms that protect the girls, and two determined young women who awaken to their new powers...As a first novel introducing new characters, readers can hopefully look forward to a deepening of those storylines. – School Library Journal  



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~ Author Chat ~



YABC:  Who is your favorite character in the book?

It's always been awkward, witty Jennifer for sure, but actually it's also Miriam. We only see her for a brief amount of time, towards the end, but she is the epitome of the elegant Victorian lady. Think Eva Green in Penny Dreadful and you're there. She wears a black silk dress with a snake eating a bird, purposefully embroidered as Jennifer is "the Sparrow" and she is absolutely the snake. JENNIFER STRANGE is the first in a series, so book two is really going to delve into who she was, how she was able to prolong her age to live in present-day, and delve deeper into the brief glimpse we get of her in the first novel. In the first book, she's an ever-present force Jennifer and her sister Liz must confront in order to try and lift their curse and uncover why her family hates the Sparrows so much.


YABC:  Which came first, the title or the novel?

The novel definitely came first, or rather, the idea for the television pilot script for my screenwriting class back in 2009. I was absolutely relishing being a writing major in college because I could write about anything! The screenwriting department was particularly supportive of my penchant for monsters and mayhem and the people who fight them. I advanced very quickly through the classes in the television program, feeling like I found my niche in screenwriting because it was both visual and verbal, and being a writer/illustrator, it came very naturally to me. Until the TV pilot class. I was a big movie person, not TV. I was never into LOST or any of the big shows. I had never seen Supernatural or Buffy, but when asked what my pilot thesis was going to be, it immediately struck me that I wanted to write a show about a skeptic and a believer who solve supernatural cases. You guessed it. I had never even seen the X-Files either. I went back to my dorm room with only a day's time to come up with a new pitch and I did what I always did when I got stuck - I drew until the story came to me. I drew Jennifer, Liz, Marcus, and Miriam, and their whole story unfolded for me. The name Jennifer Strange popped in my head right after.


YABC:  Do you have a favorite writing snack?

My favorite thing to eat while writing is actually a London Fog (Earl Grey tea either hot or iced with milk) and Trader Joe's chocolate coconut almonds. I'm not a huge chocolate person, but I love anything with coconut, even coconut ice cream!


YABC:  Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?

I've had a long journey with this book. It was my first ever novel and it's been through over ten years, three agents, been a young adult to a middle grade and back again, and it was the hardest to revise and get right. I've always had a stubborn nature and a lot of perseverance. I always say that sticking with it was the biggest thing I learned, but honestly, it's to not take all the advice everyone gives you about your book. Back when I was first agented, I was so eager to please them I did every single note instead of studying for myself to improve my craft and trusting my gut about my story. Looking back, I wish I had known to stick up more for myself and please people a little less. Now I know to say that I know my story, and I'm going to fight for it, because trusting your instincts is important. Jennifer Strange was always a long game concept, where you're going to get a taste with the first book but not the whole picture. It's a quick read, and the side characters are very brief, but I had to trust in doing that because I knew the groundwork and hints had to be laid for a bigger wallop in book two. A lot of things are going to come together and make sense in a a way you won't see coming.


YABC:  What do you like most about the cover of the book?

It's funny to talk about the cover for me because I designed it, which gave me massive anxiety when I found out I was going to be the one designing it. I pitched an idea to our cover designer Dyer Wilk, who does incredible covers, and he told me from the sketch that I should be the one to do it. He had to talk me into it because as a designer I knew it's the biggest seller of the book and it had to be perfect. I had never done a cover before, only interior maps and illustrations, and the pressure was definitely on...in my head. I talked with some close friends, Todd Keisling who does beautiful cover designs all the time and Christopher Golden who works in comics and knows great art direction. They were tremendously helpful in their feedback to get Jennifer Strange looking just right. Her face took so many do-overs. I think I'm the proudest of her face because that was the hardest part of the design to pull off and the most important.


YABC:  What’s up next for you?

Writing Jennifer Strange book two! Right now, it will probably be called Jennifer Strange and the Red Gate. I hint at that in one of the drawings I put in the book and never explained. The illustrations in Jennifer Strange are full of hints so read carefully. I'm also working on a book called Mercy Park that's going out soon I am incredibly excited about. I'm also tremendously excited about the video game my studio is working on right now that we haven't announced yet, but will soon! Definitely give a follow to the Deep End Games and check out their first title Perception, which was built by a lot of talent that worked on Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite. I'm a huge gamer and it's a dream to get to work with the team that made my favorite game. I can't wait to show everyone what we're working on in the near future.


YABC:  Are there any film adaptations, tv shows, audiobooks, or other adaptations in the works for this book?

You never know...On the film/tv side, all I can say is things are in the works. Getting the audiobook made is really important to me, even if it means I'm the one creating the audiobook. My brother is dyslexic so it's important to me he's able to read it, and he has an easier time with audio. It's also important to me because I live with heart failure, and there are times I can't read my memory loss is so bad. So I rely on audiobooks a lot to read when my heart and my brain are too tired to process written words.



YABC:  Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?

The hardest part to write was definitely the portions that were art-based, so the answer would have to be writing the journal entries for Jacob. I created part of this book to be told in journal-form, with the parents telling the story of their past for their daughters to decipher. Jacob was a ghost hunter who met and fell in love with a young Sparrow of Summoning named Emily Beaulieu, and he soon found the very family he studied under held Emily hostage. He sprung her free, not knowing how terrible her powers really were. They consequently had Jennifer and Liz not knowing if their girls would also develop a terrible gift. And it was a lot to explain just through journal entries and art, even though I was doing all the drawings myself. I'm really thankful to my interior designer, Errick Nunnally who helped me keep everything straight in the layout. He's not only a talented artist but an author of several amazing books, so he had a lot of fantastic insight as to how to tackle this portion of the novel so that the journal actually looked like a journal. I want the reader to feel like they're holding the journal from Supernatural or the Necronomicon from Evil Dead in their hands.


YABC:  Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?

I've actually come to love revising more. Drafting feels so chaotic and difficult, where I'm just trying to get the words on paper. It's like running into the woods where the monster is chasing you but you have to keep stopping to check the map so you don't get lost. Can you tell I'm a plotter? I actually write out all the beats of my book before I start, beginning-to-end. I still write like a screenwriter, with A, B, and C plots as well as beat sheets. That all still works for me. I like revising because I can go back and clean up the whole mess and really make it shine. It takes me doing a lot of passes: one for story, one for background and surroundings, and one for sentence polish and cleanup. I can't always do it all at once. I have to read it aloud to myself too. Best advice I've ever gotten. You can hear the wrong notes that way. It absolutely works.


YABC:  What would you say is your superpower?

Dialogue and action scenes. I'm definitely still a screenwriter first, book writer second. I write very strong dialogue and I think that comes from being more of an introverted extrovert - I love people, and I really like hearing what they have to say and how they think. I listen a lot, observing everything all the time, and it transforms into the dialogue in my stories. I can tell what region of the South someone is from by their accent, and not just by state, but whether they are from a sub-region within that state. It's because I listen a lot, and it transforms into my ability to write natural, powerful dialogue.



Jennifer Strange

By: Cat Scully

Publisher: Haverhill House Publishing

Release Date: July 21st, 2020








  1. 1x Miriam's Occult tea set - cup and saucer
  2. 1x Marcus's protection embroidered patch
  3. 1x Blackwell Antiques enamel pin 
  4. 1x Marcus's black and gold pendulum
  5. 1x Jacob's leather-bound journal with blank pages
  6. 1x Jennifer and Liz double-sided bookmark by @A Stranger Dream 
  7. 1x Accessories swag pack by @FanServiceNails including Banish nail polish mini, Summon nail polish mini, Bonaventure magnolia-scented rollerball perfume, and the Black Gate black lip gloss
  8. 3x signed art prints of the Wraith, Poltergeist, and Banshee
  9. 1x signed copy of Jennifer Strange
  1. 1x Jacob's leather-bound journal with blank pages  
  2. 1x Marcus's protection embroidered patch
  3. 1x Blackwell Antiques enamel pin 
  4. 1x Marcus's black and gold pendulum  
  5. 1x Jennifer and Liz double-sided bookmark by @A Stranger Dream   
  6. 3x signed art prints of the Wraith, Poltergeist, and Banshee
  7. 1x signed copy of Jennifer Strange  
  • Third Prize Winner gets: 
  1. 1x Marcus's protection embroidered patch
  2. 1x Blackwell Antiques enamel pin
  3. 1x Jennifer and Liz double-sided bookmark by @A Stranger Dream   
  4. 3x signed art prints of the Wraith, Poltergeist, and Banshee  
  5. 1x signed copy of Jennifer Strange


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