Welcome to Halloween Week 2015! Over the course of the week, you will hear from guest authors, bloggers, and your very own Book Smugglers about all things Halloween–including reviews of horror novels and films, essays on the genre, and any number of spooky topics in between.
Continuing with this year’s Halloween Week, here is our spot on the YA Horror Thrills and Chills blog tour!
Halloween is on the horizon, and for many of us that means binge watching and reading all the scary stories that we can get our hands on! To help you get in the mood (i.e. terrified) we asked young adult thriller and YA horror authors Rin Chupeco, Natalie Richards, Patty Blount, and Allan Stratton to share their favorite scary story or legend!
- Rin Chupeco (The Suffering)
- Natalie Richards (My Secret to Tell)
- Patty Blount (Nothing Left to Burn)
- Allan Stratton (The Dogs)
I love this Japanese urban legend called the kuchisake-onna, or the slit-mouthed woman. She’d accost travelers while wearing a flu mask and ask them if she was pretty. She would then lift the mask to reveal a jagged slit across her face in place of a mouth, and repeat the question. Answer her either way, and she’ll still kill you. It’s designed so that you always lose, but there’s a correct answer, too: tell her that you don’t know if she’s pretty, or that you need time to think about it, and then make your escape while she puzzles this out.
Well, there are ghost stories and there are ghost books, you know? And frankly, there are like eleventy billion different ghost books that are amazing, so I’m not going to go there because that list is long and lovely. But if you’re looking for one in the YA realm, I’d start with Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.
Now, if we’re talking ghost stories, I’ll talk about the one that creeped me out to no end because it happened to someone I know. And there were no weird rattling chains or hooks scraping across car doors involved.
A family friend was working under his car, changing the oil or…oh, heck, I don’t know what he was doing. I couldn’t tell a timing belt from a spark plug. It doesn’t matter. He was under the car wrenching away when he heard his mom yelling for him in the house. And he was ignoring her at first, and screaming back at her to wait a minute, because he was eyebrows deep in car guts and super focused, but she kept yelling. Finally, he rolled out from under the car, totally annoyed with her. He jumped up to yell at her and it hit him out of nowhere: His mom had passed away a year ago. Somehow in his focus it had slipped his mind that she couldn’t possibly be calling for him. And then while he was standing there, feeling both stupid and heartsick, his car fell off the jack and slammed into the driveway. It would have crushed him, no question. That one still gives me goosebumps.
I adored Anna Dressed in Blood. I’m a big fan of the TV show Supernatural and Cas, the main character in Anna, reminded me of that show. Anna is a ghost but most people believe she’s just an urban legend. But Cas is a ghost hunter; he knows the stories are real and decides to stop Anna. He ends up becoming her friend.
I have a lot of favorite ghost stories, but I’ll choose “The Big Sarahs,” because it’s the one I believed when I was little, it’s unique, and it’s true.
In my earliest years, my mother and I lived on my grandparents’ farm. Down the road was an abandoned one-room schoolhouse. One day Grampa showed me a black-and-white class picture. There were maybe forty kids ranging in age from five to fourteen.
Three girls stood out. They were tall, broad-shouldered, and dressed in black. Their eyes stared through me.
I pointed. “Who were they?”
“The Big Sarahs. They were called that because their mother’s name was Sarah.”
Grampa told me that the Big Sarahs’ father had drunk himself to death. In order to eat, the Sarahs tramped the country roads at night, knocking on farm doors. They never said a word when you answered. They just stood outside, staring straight ahead. People gave them food, and they moved on.
When they were teenagers, two of the Big Sarahs became pregnant and disappeared. Their mother died. The last of the Big Sarahs wasn’t seen for a while. They finally found her in the barn. She’d hanged herself from a rafter.
Alone in their rooms, kids like me hear knocking in the middle of the night. Their mothers and grandparents tell them it’s just the wind rattling the shutters or banging the door.
For more YA Horror, enter this RAFFLECOPTER LINK TO #THRILLS&CHILLS Prize Pack featuring titles from Rin Chupeco, Natalie Richards, Patty Blount, and Allan Stratton (giveaway ran by Sourcebooks Fire):