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Teen Author Interview: Joel Sutherland

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Nicola and I had the pleasure to interview author Joel Sutherland a few weeks back. Mr. Sutherland has written many of the Haunted Canada books, and other horror stories such as Summer’s End. He also told us in his interview about being on Wipeout Canada!

Here are some highlights about his writing process:

What do you think makes a good story? (Follow up: are there some genres you find easier to write than others?)

The most important thing for me is, although I write about monsters, the important thing is to ground the story in reality. I give my characters real-world problems to deal with, in addition to ghosts and monsters. I put a lot of issues in Summer’s End that I also dealt with in high school, for example. I thought back a lot to when I was that age, going through stuff like moving to a new place and wanting to make friends. Essentially, I added storylines to make the story more realistic and believable. I think it’s really important, no matter what genre, to do your world-building but still, ground it in reality. 

Your books fit pretty well into the horror genre, and we were wondering, what authors or books do you draw inspiration from, horror authors or otherwise? 

Stephen King is kind of a given. Also, I’m a big fan of any Canadian horror author, but there aren’t a lot of us, really. We’re all very nice friendly people… Marina Cohen, for example, who’s written The Doll’s Eye. And Adrienne Kress who writes in all kinds of genres… fantasy, contemporary but most recently is writing bendy books for Scholastic that are super creepy. Marty Chan as well, I’m a big fan of. He’s from Calgary, I believe. He just wrote a really creepy book, I believe it’s called Haunted Hospital. He’s a really good writer. Like I said, there aren’t too many of us, some others as well… We’re a small but creepy bunch. 

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Teen Book Review – Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane is a great novel about Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule’s search for Rachel Solando who went missing from Ashecliffe island’s hospital for the criminally insane . It seems that Solando managed to escape from a locked cell completely undetected by some orderlies playing cards and slipped past two guarded checkpoints. Swimming back to land would be out of the question for anyone other than the best swimmers, which makes her disappearance even more intriguing. While Daniels jumps at the chance to solve this case it seems like there might be an ulterior motive behind his enthusiasm. The island is a very interesting setting, as it contains 3 wards in separate buildings and the ever mysterious lighthouse that is quarantined off by heavily armored guards and an electric fence. Daniel begins to doubt the reality of his choice to come to the island as events occur that suggest his life is in danger. Shutter Island is a great novel that will surely take you on a roller coaster of emotions. With great mystery, and an intense horror movie vibe it is sure to get your adrenaline pumping. I would recommend the novel and rate it 10/10

Teen SRC 2020 – The Conference of the Birds by Ransom Riggs

The Conference of the Birds - Riggs, Ransom

The Conference of the Birds starts just where the Map of Days ended. Jacob and his friends left against Miss Peregrine’s wishes in order to save Noor. There he learns from H that there is a prophecy taking shape and it has intertwines Noor into it. Jacob had been given a mission of deliver Noor to V, save Noor, and save the peculiardom. Simple enough right? Except V is the most powerful out of Abe’s former ally and she most definitely doesn’t want to be found also Noor is being hunted which puts their whole group in danger and makes everything harder. Now Jacob has to take a leap towards the Conference of the Birds.

This was really disappointing. All four book before this one I loved, but while reading this one I was basically begging for it to end. In “A Map of Days”, the whole plot was steady and at a good pace, slowly revealing the new side of the peculiar world to the reader. This new book however was a hot mess. I didn’t even like this new story line, as the whole prophecy felt like a waste of time. In the first couple books the character worked hard in defeating the “bad guy” just for the “bad guy” to comeback through a “prophecy”; which is just a list that the wights have to follow. Also in A Map of Days, I enjoyed it as the characters showed hints of growing and developing. They have been through so much, surely Jacob would act and think differently in the new book right? But he didn’t evolve at all and all the characters just felt flat. The whole romance part was flat as well. And so was the whole outline of the story. I would rate it 4/10, I liked the idea of the book, but the details were flat. So in summary, I would have enjoyed the book if only it was executed in a different way.

You can find more of Ransom Riggs’ works here.

Teen SRC 2020 – Such Wicked Intent by Keneth Oppel ( 2nd book of the The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein series)

Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel

Such Wicked Intent - Oppel, Kenneth

In the sequel to “This Dark Endeavor”, Victor, Elizabeth and Henry are trying to transport themselves into a wolf in sheep’s clothing spirit world.be careful of Greeks bearing gifts.After the events of the last book, Konrad Frankenstein is dead. While Elizabeth has lost her fiance and Henry has lost one of his closest friends, the person who lost the most is his twin brother Victor who feels as if he has lost half of himself. Destroyed and completely broken with guilt and grief over the death of his beloved brother and rage over the fact he couldn’t save him, Victor makes a deadly pledge to himself; he will bring Konrad back no matter the cost. However, no mere mortal man can bring a soul back. Or can he? In yet another journey, the trio try to, no, have to bring back the one person they all care and love; again they have to return to the Dark Arts and instead of just dipping their toes in this time, they are required to take a much deeper dive and there are no signs if they will resurface and be sane after this. They will have to travel to places where no living soul has set foot to or ever returned. But as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for. their friendship and bonds will be strained again no matter how deep they bury their true emotions, or intentions. They discover unbelievable powers in the other side, but not everything that glitters is gold. Alchemy and overpowering potions will only lend strengths, but won’t survive against time. Slowly, these each of them will go through their own little nightmares controlled by power, greed, pain, and the urge to just feel alive. Will they be able to focus on their goal or will they stray from the path into the darkness? Will they be able to bring back Konard or will they just worsen his fate? And what is the line between their mission and the pit of obsession and madness?

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Teen SRC 2020 – The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson is a captivating narrative regarding the moral ambiguities of science and the duplicity of human nature. Dr Jekyll is a benevolent, well-respected and brilliant scientist who meddles with the malevolent aspects of science, as he aims to discover and breed his depraved alter ego. He does this through transforming himself into Mr Hyde, a monstrous being who is unable to repent or accept responsibility for any of his heinous actions.

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Teen SRC 2020 – The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells demonstrates the power to transform the human body using advances in scientific achievement. The novel itself is an enthralling and entertaining tale of terror and suspense, and it is a significant Faustian allegory of the dangerous capabilities of unregulated and unbridled scientific endeavours many decide to embark on. The Invisible Man is able to endure as one of the most notable stories in science fiction, in which Griffin, a brilliant and progidouous scientist uncovers the secret to achieving invisibility, but his grandiose ambitions and the power he unleashes causes him to spiral into intrigue, madness, and murder.

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Teen SRC 2020 – Five Nights at Freddy’s: Fazbear Frights #2 by Scott Cawthon

Amazon.com: Fetch (Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights #2)  (9781338576023): Cawthon, Scott, West, Carly Anne, Waggener, Andrea: Books

Five Nights at Freddy’s: Fazbear Frights #2 by Scott Cawthon (Audiobook linked)

Fazbear Frights is a book series about Five Nights at Freddy’s or FNaF for short. The books have short horror stories linking back to the FNaf restaurant and the chain of murdered kids. At the end of the book, there will also be a mini story that talks about the stitch wraith.

As I learned, you absolutely shouldn’t read this at night because some stories tend to be scary. The book was pretty entertaining overall, but most of the stories ended in cliffhangers.

Teen SRC 2020 – Five Nights at Freddy’s: Fazbear Frights #1 by Scott Cawthon

Amazon.com: Into the Pit (Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights #1)  (9781338576016): Scholastic, Cawthon, Scott, Cooper, Elley: Books

Five Nights at Freddy’s: Fazbear Frights #1 by Scott Cawthon (E-book linked)

This book is filled with 3 and a sixth of a story. There are three horror stories, then a sixth of a story regarding the stitch wraith, a monster with a dark and empty robotic face under a hooded robe. The stories are about Freddy’s Pizzeria, a haunted restaurant with animatronics stuffed with dead children.

The stories are very scary, and unless you don’t have nightmares, never read this in the dark.

Teen SRC 2020 – The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks

The Bunker Diary

The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks is a book about a group of people who were dumped into a bunker by a man who kidnapped others. The first person to go in was our protagonist, Linus. He kept a diary for every day and its events. Eventually, more people came down and they tried to escape and not die.

This book has a lot of suspense and mystery. I like this book a lot because it shows what humans can become when deprived of freedom.

Teen SRC 2019 – Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

‘Anna Dressed in Blood’ is a YA book about a ghost slayer and a murdered girl which came back as a ghost seeking for vengeance.

The protagonist, Cas Lockwood, is an eighteen-year-old (seemingly normal) guy with an unhealthy obsession for hunting down the ghost that killed his father when he was only a child. He is never affected by his decisions on which ghosts to kill, but that was before he met Anna. At first glance, he treats Anna as an average evil ghost. After (many) unsuccessful attempts to kill her, he starts to warm up to Anna, and eventually develops romantic feelings towards her.

However, this is a horror story after all. While Anna internally fights with an evil version of herself, she kills many more people (unwillingly) and raises suspicion around the town.

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