Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?
Spinechillers: Hair-Raising Tales, is a collection of short stories for tweens to teens. It includes classic ghosts, a monster or two, urban legends and a couple of quirky stories that spring from a childhood spent watching Twilight Zone and reading scary comic books.
I have written more than 120 books including educational, nonfiction, biography, and fiction for all age ranges. My absolute favorite, though, is scary fiction for middle grade to YA readers. My first major series was Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs (Price, Stern, Sloan). Spinechillers is in the tradition of those stories but for a new generation.
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I won my first school writing contest in third grade and my first city sponsored contest at age eleven. I actually got into a little trouble when I was a kid for telling scary stories that frightened my friends.
I will read anything by Neil Gaiman, Holly Black or Ransom Riggs.
Ray Bradbury, George Orwell and Roald Dahl are among my favorite masters. I love Bradbury’s accessible writing style and, of course, he was the master when it came to short stories. I had the opportunity to hear him speak once. He was just as wonderful in person. One of my favorite quotes of his is, “We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
When I write I usually sit at my dining room table. I have an actual home office with a desk, but my dogs prefer the main room and I like to work with them close by. I begin my day with meditation even before my first cup of coffee. I have a wonderful husband, two dogs, a bird, a host of fish, and a garden. They get first dibs on my attention after my practice. I start my reading and research mid-morning then spend two or three hours writing. My dogs take me out for walks a couple of times a day and I use that time to brainstorm. I usually write for another hour or so at the end of the day.
The advice I give to working writers is finish what you start. I have several manuscripts that are sitting in a file folder because I didn’t push through when I hit a weak spot. Once that happens I start second-guessing and lose momentum. A prolific writer I respect told me to get the story on paper even if it isn’t exactly what I had in mind, then go back and get it right.
The advice I always give to young writers is to take every opportunity you can to travel, meet new people, learn about new cultures and try new things. Life experience is a wonderful muse.
The House on Beech Street
Jason stepped inside. The air within was tainted with an odor that made him gag.
“What is that smell?” he asked, putting his hand to his face.
“What smell?” Mike responded. Thomas just shrugged his shoulders.
“Do you know the story of the Carlson’s?” The woman didn’t wait for an answer before she continued. “They were a typical family. The little girl, Anisa, took ballet lessons. The boy, Junior, played baseball. Some people said he had the talent to go far as an athlete … that is … if he’d lived.”
The group entered the kitchen. The table was set for five as if the family would be sitting down for breakfast any minute. Jason noticed a pitcher’s mitt on one of the chairs.
“He was a lefty,” he said to no one in particular.
“Mr. Carlson’s mother slept in the spare room. She was an invalid and needed a lot of care. Mr. Carlson and his wife had quarreled about it that fateful morning and he’d left early. When he came home he found his wife in that very chair.” She pointed to the one at the end of the table. “He’d brought her flowers and wanted to apologize. It took him a few moments to realize she was dead. It seems she had taken a handful of sleeping pills with her tea. The police found the rest of the family in the basement along with a cracked, bloody baseball bat.”
“What happened to the dad?” Mike asked.
“They found him two days later hanging from the tree in the backyard. He’d left a note that said he wasn’t alone in the house. The neighbors claimed they heard noises late at night … screaming. You’ll notice that the houses on both sides are now empty. No one wants to live near this place.” She paused and looked in the direction of the front entrance. “Sometimes I can’t wait to leave.”
Motioning for the boys to follow, the woman moved from the kitchen into a dimly lit hallway. She opened the first door on the left. “This was the grandmother’s room.” Jason was hit with a wave of a smell like rotting fish.
-Excerpt from Spine Chillers, by Q.L. Pearce
Copyright © Glass Apple Press 2016.
Copyright © Glass Apple Press 2016.
Pearce is the author of more than 120 books for young readers, from picture books
to YA, as well as film tie-in books for the Fox animated film Titan AE and the
Universal animated series Land Before Time. Red Bird Sings: The Story of
Zitkala Sa (Carolrhoda Books, with co-author and illustrator, Gina
Capaldi), received several awards including a Carter G. Woodson Book Award gold
medal from NCSS and a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award gold medal. Her fiction
includes the popular middle grade series, Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs (Price,
Stern, Sloan). Q believes strongly in the value of scary books for young
readers. When asked what credentials she has which qualify her as an expert in
this area she replies, "I was a child once. That was very scary."
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Q.-L.-Pearce/e/B001H9RTXO/