This month for our August Debut Author Spotlight, we're spotlighting debut author Alexandra Sirowy and her upcoming novel, The Creeping, which will be released later this month. Alexandra was also kind enough to answer some questions, share an excerpt, and give away a signed copy of her book with some other fun stuff!
About Alexandra Sirowy
Alexandra lives in a small town in Northern California. Although it's fringed by forests and foothills like the town of Savage in THE CREEPING, it doesn’t have as many secrets (she thinks) or as dark of a history (fingers crossed). In addition to writing fiction, she loves traveling (Istanbul is her favorite), trees, lighthouses, seven layer cakes (who doesn’t?), running at dusk, music (the kind that makes your chest swell), and risky adventures. THE CREEPING is her debut novel. To learn more, visit her at alexandrasirowy.com and follow @AlexandraSirowy.
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About The Creeping
Title: The Creeping
Author: Alexandra Sirowy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 18th, 2015
Hardcover, 400 Pages
Summary: Twelve years ago Stella and Jeanie vanished while picking strawberries. Stella returned minutes later, with no memory of what happened. Jeanie was never seen or heard from again. Now Stella is seventeen, and she's over it. She's the lucky one who survived, and sure, the case is still cloaked in mystery—and it's her small town's ugly legacy—but Stella is focused on the coming summer. She's got a great best friend, a hookup with an irresistibly crooked smile, and two months of beach days stretching out before her. Then along comes a corpse, a little girl who washes up in an ancient cemetery after a mudslide, and who has red hair just like Jeanie did. Suddenly memories of that haunting day begin to return, and when Stella discovers that other red-headed girls have gone missing as well, she begins to suspect that something sinister is at work. And before the summer ends, Stella will learn the hard way that if you hunt for monsters, you will find them.
You can find The Creeping on:
Our Interview With Alexandra!
First of all, what is The Creeping about?
Jeanie and Stella went into the woods to pick strawberries when they were six.
Stella came back. Jeanie never did. Now, eleven years later, seventeen-year-old Stella has no memory of the day Jeanie vanished. Stella’s the lucky one. Sure there are those in her small town crisscrossed with forest that look at her with a question in their eyes, but Stella has three best friends, a gorgeous crush, and a summer full of cove days stretching out before her. But then, on the anniversary of Jeanie’s death, at a lakeside bonfire, the fresh corpse of a little girl is found, one with eerie similarities to six-year-old Jeanie. And Stella begins recovering flashes of that day in the woods. With the help of her devil-may-care best friend, Zoey, and her once-childhood-friend, Sam, the boy who was her first kiss, Stella follows the clues down a path of small town secrets, ancient evils, and recovered memories. As Stella begins to uncover the truth about the day Jeanie vanished, she discovers disappearances going back generations. Stella thinks remembering what happened to Jeanie will save her. It won’t. She used to know better than to believe in what slinks through the shadows. Not anymore. And before the summer is over, Stella will learn that if you hunt for monsters, you’ll find them.
Why do you think readers will enjoy The Creeping? What makes it special?
While the thrills and chills are so fun and spooky, it’s the friendship between Stella and her fiery and outrageous best friend, Zoey, that makes this book stand out. These girls redefine loyalty. Not to mention Stella’s friendships with the other two girls, Michaela and Cole, that are a huge part of the novel. I love reading books with well-developed and deep girl friendships, and when I was setting out to tell a story of my own, the friendship element was a must. There’s also the complicated friendship between Stella and her childhood friend, Sam. Stella gave Sam up in the seventh grade (no spoilers so I won’t say why…), but when she needs him he’s there, hiking into the forest, braving whatever darkness might be at work in Savage. And although Jeanie is gone, missing for eleven years before the start of the book, her presence is felt throughout the pages. Stella wrestles with not remembering her, knowing that she loved her, and the guilt that she couldn’t save her. The Creeping is about friendship as much as betrayal and good as much as it’s about evil. I think in this way, it’s so much more than a summertime thriller.
How does it feel to be a new author? What's scary about it? What's great?
What’s scary for me is that people are reading my book. I mean, obviously I set out on this publishing journey so that people would read my book and I’m so grateful that it’s happening, but it’s a frightening thing to reveal your work for public consumption. I care what readers think and hope they end up loving some of my characters and loving to loath others as much as I do. At some point, though, (at this point for me) I think you just have to put it out there and be optimistic enough to refocus on the next project. Ha, so this is really going to seem confusing because what’s great about being a new author is the exact thing that scares me – that people are reading my book! It’s mind-blowing that there are readers out there who are spending hours of their life on what I wrote. I’m thrilled to be able to share my story with them.
What do you think about the relationship between the blogging community and authors?
I think it’s vital. Just as entertainment and arts journalists are necessary to review and spread the word about films, authors need bloggers to reach the online community.
What's been your best experience as a new author so far?
It is the best feeling in the world when a reader tells you that they spent all night reading your book, like physically could not put it down – such a rush! Or even hearing that a reader wants to read your book and has been looking forward to it for months. I’m so grateful for those moments.
What's been your worst experience?
I don’t know that I’ve had any bad experiences, which makes me feel tremendously lucky.
What's your advice to fellow debut authors?
Well, first and foremost congrats to all other debut authors! I think my biggest/only advice is to keep writing. Love of storytelling is why I do this and although it’s easy to get distracted, especially close to your book’s release, it helps me to remind myself of how it feels when I’m lost in a manuscript.
Lastly, will The Creeping have a sequel? If not, do you plan on writing anything else in the future?The Creeping was written with the intention that it would be a standalone book. Currently I do not have any plans to write a sequel. I’ve been focusing on my second YA Thriller that will be out from Simon & Schuster BFYR Summer of 2016. It’s called A Crooked Likeness and I’ll be sharing more about the plot and its cover sometime this fall. I will leave you with a little three word hint, though….blood, love, murder.
Thanks so much for interviewing me, Book Bratz!!
An Exclusive Excerpt of The Creeping
The following excerpt of The Creeping was hand-selected by author Alexandra Sirowy and cannot be found anywhere else! That's right, everyone - you're reading an exclusive excerpt of The Creeping that you won't find on any blog tour posts!
I should have left well enough alone, but I got curious last year. The same detectives who were assigned my case eleven years ago come by every September. Detectives Shane and Berry go through the same routine with me. First we exchange hi-how-are-yous, because at this point they’ve watched me grow up. Then the same old questions: Have you remembered anything new? Seen any faces that look familiar? Dreamed about that day? Recovered any memories from the years before? The answer is always no. It doesn’t even faze them anymore.
Sure they were hopeful the first few years, eagerly leaning forward, notepads at the ready; now they’re resigned. Haunted, even—if I’m being all touchy-feely about it—with their dead stares. They don’t bat an eyelash when I have nothing new for them. It’s almost a relief that the whole thing can just be left so far behind us it’s ancient history.
But last September I screwed up. I let curiosity get the better of me. I wanted to read the case file from that day. Burly and gray-haired Detective Berry had launched into a rant about moving on and talking candidly with my parents, but Shane, who was only a twentysomething newbie when Jeanie was taken, gave me an infinitesimal nod when Berry bent to stow his notepad in his briefcase.
Two days later, when I reached my car in the school parking lot, Detective Tim Shane was there waiting for me. His dress shirt was rumpled and hastily tucked into his jeans, mustard stains dappled his collar, and a badge hung loosely from his belt. In the sunlight the creases carving up his forehead and eyes had the look of thin and crinkled pastry, like his skin was the buttery top layer of a croissant.
“Don’t make me regret this, okay?” he said, slipping me a manila envelope.
“And don’t let your folks know I gave it to you.”
I tried to squeeze out a thank-you, but my hand shook so badly taking the envelope that we both fell silent. “You have a right to know,” he muttered. I held on to that envelope, unopened, for five days. I don’t know why it took me so long to muster the guts. I knew the cops didn’t have a lot of evidence. There were only statements taken from me and Mrs. Talcott. No neighbors who shared the private drive were home that day, and no one reported seeing anything suspicious for days before or after. It was as though Jeanie had disintegrated. Or like she’d never existed in the first place.
I finally gathered the nerve on a Friday night when Dad was working late in Minneapolis. Mom left us when I was twelve, so I didn’t have to worry about her. I told Zoey I was sick so I wouldn’t be expected to make the rounds to weekend parties, and barricaded myself in my room.
At first I was crushed that there wasn’t anything I didn’t know about in the file. Every detail had been plastered on local and national newspaper front pages. I crumpled up the twenty pages, pissed that I’d been so stupid, until a yellow carbon copy slipped from the envelope. It was the transcript of my interview the day of Jeanie’s disappearance. There in my cramped bedroom, wedged between my antique dresser and the wall, I read with mounting terror what I repeated 255 times during the course of my hour-long interview with Berry and Shane. It’s the only thing I told the cops until I lapsed into a silence that lasted a week.
Alexandra Sirowy was awesome enough to help us host a giveaway! In honor of The Creeping's release this month, One (1) Winner Will Receive One (1) Signed Copy of THE CREEPING + A Bookmark + Packages of The Creeping Characters' Favorite Candies!
We'd like to extend another huge thank you to author Alexandra Sirowy for helping us host this giveaway, providing us with a super-exclusive excerpt of The Creeping, and allowing us to host her as our August Debut Author Spotlight! :-)