Rockstar Book Tours Blog Tour, Interview & Giveaway: Pitch Dark (Courtney Alameda)
A veteran bookseller and librarian, Courtney Alameda now spends her days writing thriller and horror novels. Her debut novel, SHUTTER, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award and hailed as a "standout in the genre" by School Library Journal. Her forthcoming novels include the science fiction/horror mashup, PITCH DARK (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends 2018), and SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS, an urban fantasy set in Japan. (Co-authored with Valynne Maetani. HarperTeen 2018).
Courtney holds a degree in English literature with an emphasis in creative writing. She is represented by John M. Cusick of Folio Literary. A northern California native, she now resides in Utah with her husband, a legion of books, and a tiny five-pound cat with a giant personality.
Member HWA, SFWA, SCBWI; and SDCC Creative Professional.
Meet Pitch Dark!
Set against a future of marauding space scavengers and deadly aliens who kill with sound, here is a frightening, fast-paced YA adventure from the author of the acclaimed horror novel, Shutter.
Tuck has been in stasis on the USS John Muir, a ship that houses Earth’s most valued artifacts—its natural resources. Parks and mountains are preserved in space.
Laura belongs to a shipraiding family, who are funded by a group used to getting what they want. And they want what’s on the Muir.
Tuck and Laura didn’t bargain on working together or battling mutant aliens who use sound to kill. But their plan is the only hope for their crews, their families, and themselves.
In space, nobody can hear you scream . . . but on the John Muir, the screams are the last thing you'll hear.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
My inspiration comes from my characters. Generally, the first time I “meet” a new character in my head, I see them standing on the cusp of great danger. In the case of Pitch Dark, I saw one of the main characters, Laura Cruz, walking into the pitch-blackness of a damaged starship without a flashlight. I wondered what she was doing, what she wanted, and why she was barefoot. So I followed her into the darkness.
And that’s how a book is born, at least for me.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Ah, a writer’s favorite question! I enjoyed writing Laura and Tuck for different reasons—but while writing in Laura’s voice, I had access to her exceptional intelligence and acute powers of observation, which made it easy to describe the John Muir for the reader. Most of the characters I write have been broken in some way in their past, but not Laura. She’s facing enormous challenges, but she does so with an inner strength that taught me so much over the course of the novel. I’m grateful to her and for her example to me.
YABC:Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel. Always the novel.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
The middle of the book has an action sequence that involves Laura using a medieval set of bow and arrows to draw the book’s monsters away while Tuck fixes a train. The plan fails, and everything goes very, very awry. I believe it’s the best action scene I’ve written to date.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
All a writer controls in this industry are her words. Make ‘em good and let ‘em go.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
It’s subtle, but I love the sound wave moving under the title. The word pitch has multiple meanings in the book, so I’m glad the cover designer visualized the sound aspect on the cover.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2018?
Quite a few, but the three I’m really lusting after are Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, Dread Nation by Justina Ireland, and The Lost Crow Conspiracy by Rosalyn Eves.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2017?
Like many readers, I loved Angie Thomas’ novel, The Hate U Give. Not only was the story fantastic, but Angie handled a lot of painful, sensitive topics with power and grace. I’ll never forget the conversation the main character, Starr, has with her police officer uncle in a fro-yo shop after her childhood friend was murdered by one of his fellow officers; the way in which Angie made Starr and her Uncle Carlos foils for one another was brilliant.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m currently finishing up Seven Deadly Shadows with Valynne Maetani now (HarperTeen, Spring 2019), and I’m absolutely thrilled with the way the book is turning out! The novel is a YA fantasy retelling of the Japanese classic film Seven Samurai, and is about a young Shinto priestess who must save her home from an ancient evil by recruiting seven Japanese death gods.
I’ve also got another solo project in the works called Hollowgate . . . but I’m keeping the plot under wraps for now. ::evil cackle::
YABC: Is there anything that you would like to add?
Porgs seem like a good addition to just about anything.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
There’s a scene at the beginning of Pitch Dark that touches on issues of consent and abuse, and I had to unearth some painful memories in order render that scene properly.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Probably Tuck, but only because I could tell he was using humor to hide from his depression and loneliness on the page, and that was heartbreaking to write through.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Revising. Hands-down. Drafting is laborious for me as a quasi-pantser, because the first draft of a book often feels so shallow and insignificant. For me, the real thrill in writing is watching the work deepen and expand through revision, until the characters “wake up” on the page and take hold of their own agency. In revision, I come to understand consciously what my unconscious mind was trying to do or say with a work—and that’s incredibly satisfying.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
I’m far from a creative genius, but I’m capable of working on 3-4 projects at once. If I’m editing one book, I’m generally writing another while researching a third. While I may not be the fastest of writers, I’m lucky to have a potent creative well to draw from and a hundred stories I want to tell.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
There are too many to name, but right now I donate monthly to the ALCU and Planned Parenthood. I’m also proud of the work that Ellen Oh and the great people at We Need Diverse Books have done, and am thrilled with the impact they have had on the kidlit industry as a whole. I’ve only been working as an author in publishing for five years, but they have absolutely changed this world for the better.
By: Courtney Alameda
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: February 20th, 2018
Three winners will receive a copy of Pitch Dark (Courtney Alameda) ~ US Only ~
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
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I want to read a number of books by Courtney Alameda; thanks for the opportunity to win this book & get started on that goal! --Kara S