Today it is my pleasure to feature author and podcaster of the series: THE BOOKSHOP AT THE END OF THE INTERNET, STACEY HORAN with her new YA paranormal book SYCAMORE LANE.
Sycamore Lane was my first published novel. It was the first book I completely “pantsed,” and it was never meant to be a book. I began the story as a simple writing exercise to clear my head and get the creative juices flowing. I was struggling with edits for another book, and I needed a break. So, I decided to write a short story, no more than a couple of pages. I never intended it to be read, nor did I know anything about the story except the vague jumping-off point. When two pages turned into ten, and ten pages turned into fifty, I realized I might have a whole book in the works. I did no outlining or advanced planning for the book. I did not know the ending until I wrote it. In fact, I was never sure from one day to the next whether the story would continue to reveal itself to me. I kept writing, but it required a leap of faith every day.
The idea for that original short story came from a conversation at a neighbor’s Christmas party. Six months prior to that party, my husband and I moved into a house in Westchester, NY that we bought from a couple with strong ties to the neighborhood. The couple made an appearance at the Christmas party, and we began chatting with them. We told them how much we were enjoying the house and thanked them for the note they left for us when we moved in. The couple looked confused, so we explained that we were referring to the note written in chalk across the full length of a blackboard wall in the upstairs bedroom. The bedroom, it turns out, had belonged to their two young sons. The couple had no idea what we were talking about and assured us that neither they nor their sons left any note on the blackboard wall. The note had read, “Happy Moving Day!”
When I sat down to write my short story, I began with the idea that someone had to have written that note on the blackboard wall. What if it had been a ghost? What if the house was haunted and a ghost tried to communicate with me by writing notes on the blackboard wall in the upstairs bedroom? That was all I knew about the story when I began writing.
The house in the book is the house we lived in, and our street (although not called Sycamore Lane) was lined with sycamore trees. The neighborhood, the school and the town in the book were all very similar to those real-life locations where we lived. However, our house was not haunted, at least as far as I am aware, so the ghost is straight out of my imagination. When I talk about Sycamore Lane, I always mention that the ghost is not the scariest thing in the book. The truly scary thing (no spoilers!) is also (mostly) made up. The inspiration for the scary thing did not come from our house or neighborhood. It came from my own childhood, but the version in the book is so much worse than anything I experienced in real life…thankfully.
Sycamore Lane was my first paranormal novel. In all of my books, I tend to write about things that scare me. The scary things in Sycamore Lane are pretty obvious, such as ghosts. They are things that might scare a lot of people. In some of my other books, however, the scary things may scare only me. I continue to write about scary things because I hope that doing so might make these things less frightening. It might be working, but I confess that my fear of ghosts has not completely faded.
Stacey Horan is an award-winning author of young adult novels. Her works include Sycamore Lane, Inland and The Elixir Vitae Adventures series. Stacey also hosts a podcast called The Bookshop at the End of the Internet, which is dedicated to helping book lovers discover new authors. Visit Stacey at www.staceyhoran.com or on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook: @staceyleehoran.
Blurb: Sycamore Lane
In this young adult novel, fourteen-year old Tallulah White has just moved into a new house on Sycamore Lane. Being the new kid on the block has its perils, but living in this house could get her killed. In addition to the usual “new kid” issues, Tallulah is having trouble knowing whom to trust. Is Maisie, her classmate who lives down the street, really as nice as she appears? And what about Anastasia and the notes she writes on the blackboard wall in the guest bedroom? Is it wise to believe her, considering she is a ghost? One thing Tallulah does know for certain is that she is running out of time. She must discover the truth and save herself before she suffers the same fate as the other children who lived on Sycamore Lane.
Some strange and deadly things are going on at 19 Sycamore Lane. A chilling, creepy page-turner that will keep you reading to find out what happens next. Evil lurks behind smiles, and friendship, in the form of a ghost, might be the answer to fighting that evil. (Darlene Beck Jacobson)
Kept Me Guessing…Loved it! I finished the book in two days. Sycamore Lane is the perfect book for anyone looking for a thrilling mystery. (Tiffany, Amazon reviewer)
For the Young Fans of Ghost Stories…This fast-paced novel will please the younger spectrum of Stephen King’s fans. (Evelyne Holingue, Amazon reviewer)