Today we are very excited to share an interview with Author Eva V. Gibson (Frightmares)
Meet the Author: Eva V. Gibson
Eva V. Gibson is the author of Together We Caught Fire and Where Secrets Lie. A bookworm since early childhood, she has routinely gravitated to the dark and gritty, reading, then writing, stories with grim themes and flawed, complicated characters. She lives in Northern Virginia with her family, and spends most of her time brooding, baking, creating, and parenting, awaiting the day her kids read her books with equal parts excitement and trepidation.
About the Book: Frightmares
In a Florida tourist trap, a summer acting job turns into a real-life horror show when a cast member turns up dead—then disappears. This nail-biting story is perfect for fans of Fear Street!
Dave is spending his final summer before college working at Frightmares House of Horrors, a struggling haunted house attraction held together by malfunctioning killer clown mannequins, a cheap replica Annabelle doll, and a lot of improvising. After a particularly disastrous shift ends in an employee walkout, Dave reluctantly takes over a role for his friend, however, he makes a horrifying discovery—a real dead body, hidden on set. But when Dave returns with help, the body is gone. Though the killer covered their tracks, Dave realizes they must know what he saw. Could he be their next target?
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I wanted to write a story in which nothing was as it seemed on the surface—not the characters; not the setting; not the job or the town or the mystery itself. I grew up in Florida, land of theme parks and tourist attractions, and I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of the seedy underbelly—the ghoul behind the mask. The idea of a place like Frightmares trying to project this perfectly staged, magical, spooky experience, but having the same headaches and workplace drama as any other job, while the characters have to force themselves to perform through their struggles without breaking the fourth wall or ruining the experience. I was heavily involved in drama club and community theatre in my teens; the sheer number of things that can go absolutely sideways onstage and still go unnoticed by the audience never failed to amaze me, so I wanted to see how far I could take that concept. What if that extra dead body in the house of horrors wasn’t actually part of the show—and what if no one noticed? The story grew its own wings from there, and I regret nothing.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I love them all, but I think Josie is my favorite. She’s tough, dramatic, abrasive, and has no trouble making herself heard, but she’s also protective and nurturing. She’s unpredictable, in a wonderful way, and was a lot of fun to write.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
My novels almost always come first, since titles are so often changed during the publishing process, but I actually sold FRIGHTMARES on proposal, and the title ended up sticking. So, in this case, my placeholder title actually came first!
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love how it’s so simple, yet so eye-catching—the stark background, the gray shadows cut through with those few bright slashes of red. That menacing clown, just peeking up over the rim of its box, like “hello, there.” It’s so dark and eerie, and totally captures the feeling of being watched that haunts Dave throughout the book.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2022?
I’M THE GIRL, by Courtney Summers. I’ve never met a Courtney Summers book I didn’t love.
YABC: What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?
I came dangerously close to an existential crisis while reading THE LAST HOUSE ON NEEDLESS STREET, by Catriona Ward. It’s an absolutely excruciating read, in the best way—it’s grisly, and tragic, and heartbreaking, and terrifying, with some of the best twists and resolutions I’ve ever read. Just a horrifyingly brilliant book. On the YA side, one recent favorite is IN THE WILD LIGHT, by Jeff Zentner. His books are so consistently beautiful and real. I also loved THE AGATHAS, by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson. That was a tremendously fun read, by two of my favorite authors.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
I have a much easier time writing dialogue and angsty, emotional narration than I do action scenes—so of course this book has, like, eighty thousand fight scenes, and chase scenes, and tiny hints that are crucial to the setup, payoff, and foreshadowing. There’s one scene in particular that spans most of an entire building, and it was a real challenge to keep the physical details coherent and accurate, without ruining the pacing or breaking the narrative. I think it took me literal days to get it right, but I’m happy with the payoff, so the struggle it was worth it!
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
I spent a lot of time dealing with what I call Seth Issues in this one. It was rough, at first, to sympathize with such an insufferable personality, but that challenge is what I love most about writing flawed, complicated characters. The process of chipping away at that surface and revealing his vulnerabilities made his presence in each scene so much more impactful, and I ended up having a lot of fun with his story arc.
YABC: What is the main message or lesson you would like your reader to remember from this book?
It’s easy to reduce a person to their image, but everyone has something—a story, or a secret, maybe an insecurity—they hide from the world. You never know what goes on behind the scenes.
YABC: What advice do you have for new writers?
Read what inspires you, as often as you can. Don’t let a rejection or a bad review or a negative critique stop you from moving forward. Write, above all, for the love of writing, but if you plan to break into publishing, do your research and develop your process to give you the best chance at reaching your goals. There’s no One True Way to write—every author has their own process that plays to their strengths and allows them to produce their best work. Find yours and write the stories you love in the way that works best for you.
Author: Eva V. Gibson
Release Date: July 5, 2022