Light as a Feather was originally titled “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board.”
For quite a while, I had been wanting to write a horror story that featured the power of female friendship and how far a young woman might go to save the lives of her friends. One day when I was thinking about playing this paranormal game at a birthday party in middle school, it hit me: the game was a perfect starting point for a story about girls who do something stupid (play a game) and then must figure out how to break a curse that threatens to kill them all. It’s the ultimate coming-of-age story: undo what you’ve done, or face death.
There are a lot of elements from my own life that made their way into this YA series. The town where I lived in high school, which had just barely 5,000 residents when I lived there, served as the basis for the fictional town of Willow, Wisconsin. It was the kind of town from which most residents didn’t travel far for college, and most of those who did returned home immediately after graduation. Everyone in that town has known everyone since kindergarten, which generates an odd sort of camaraderie (Diablo Cody grew up there, too)! Other elements of Willow were brought in from Door County, Wisconsin, where I spent summers and went apple-picking during Oktoberfest as a kid.
The characters of Trey and Mischa were based loosely on two of my beloved friends from high school. I had wanted to craft Mischa as a character who already had a great deal of discipline and physical strength, not only to emphasize her powerlessness against Violet’s curse but to also make her a formidable villain if the tables were ever turned in her favor.
McKenna is a character who was forced to understand grief at a very young age, and has been carrying the burden of survivor’s guilt for a long time. When she realizes that Violet has condemned her friends to death, she recognizes the possibility of saving them as a way to shed that guilt and move on with her own life. While writing the first book and thinking about McKenna’s motivation, I kept returning to the lyrics of Hole’s song from the 1990’s, Asking For It: “If you live through this with me, and I swear that I would die for you.”
And of course, some of McKenna’s personal journey was inspired by my dad, who joined a local ghost hunting club after retiring from his 40+ year as an engineer (true story)!
Light as a Feather was published by Simon Pulse in October, 2018.
Cold as Marble is being released by Simon Pulse in October, 2019.
And Silent as the Grave will be hitting shelves in October, 2020.