Dark Water by Chynna Laird (YA Author Interview and Giveaway)
August 30, 2012 in Book Club Possibility, High School Teachers, Journal Writing, Laird Chynna, Young Adult Novels Tags: high school teachers, journal writing, NaNoWriMo, teen books, young adult paranormal novels
Today, I welcome my colleague and fellow WOW! team member, Chynna Laird, with her YA paranormal-suspense novel, Dark Water. Chynna has written a creepy, suspenseful book that also touches on some serious issues contemporary children/teens are dealing with such as a parent at war, PTSD, and death of a loved one. Chynna also has a copy to giveaway, so leave a comment for your chance to win! It’s YA, remember–and I know how many of us adults also love YA!
Margo: Welcome, Chynna, to Read These Books and Use Them. I am so thrilled to host you today and your first YA book, Dark Water. Can you tell us a little about your book?
Chynna: Thanks for having me here, Margo. Yes! Dark Water is a young adult suspense/paranormal. It’s about a sixteen-year old girl trying to solve the mystery of her mother’s disappearance. The deeper she digs, the bigger the mystery seems to get. Here’s the book cover synopsis:
“Some answers are found far beneath the surface…”
Sixteen-year-old Freesia Worth has a mystery to solve—the disappearance of her mother at their family lake house. Her traumatized sister Sage hasn’t said a word ever since that day.
After almost a year, Detective Barry Cuaco has found nothing but frustrating dead ends. Soon he’ll have to let the case go. But Freesia isn’t making it easy for him. She needs answers. Now.
With the help of her secret crush, Rick, and a mysterious Goth girl named Mizu, Freesia learns about an ancient Native legend and a man known as the Watcher of the Lake.
Will Freesia finally uncover the truth? Or will the lake keep its secrets far beneath the dark water?
Margo: Spooky! I hope that Freesia can uncover the truth. (Winks) I read on your website that this was your NaNoWriMo [National Novel Writing Month in November] project in 2011. Tell us a little about the process of Dark Water going from a NaNoWriMo project to a published book.
Chynna: Just before NaNoWriMo, I had this really creepy dream about an old Native man and a ghost he was trying to help. When I got up, I googled Native water legends, and my story came to me. I was so excited about this project, I actually finished it before NaNo was over! After that, I spent a couple of weeks editing and polishing it, then sent it to a publisher I knew who handles several books in the suspense/paranormal genre (Imajin Books). And then Dark Water was born!
Margo:How cool is that! Just goes to show you why we should listen to our dreams! If you had to compare your book to others on the market right now, where would it fit? How is it similar and different from these?
Chynna: I’d have to say that Dark Water is very similar to the works of Chris Grabenstein, Sharon Sala, and Charlotte Blackwell. They all have a wonderful talent of weaving creepiness and fun into their storylines. Dark Water is a bit different in that I also mix in the issues I think that need to be talked about more. Of course, authors have to be very careful when doing this because younger readers do NOT like being preached to. When you write about these issues, you need to make sure that it is at their level and non-preachy. So I hope that I accomplished that. I think I did…
Margo: Great, then let me ask: What are some themes you are exploring in this book?
Chynna: There are several issues I touch on in Dark Water. First, the main character, Freesia, is part of a military family. Her father was killed in a mission in Afghanistan. Another theme I touch on is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Freesia’s younger sister, Sage, lives with it, and I give a sense of what it’s like to live with a sibling who has this disorder. I also touch on mental health issues, specifically Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Before she disappeared, Freesia’s mother was a clinical psychologist who worked with children and families coping with this very difficult disorder. Finally, I touch on how young people deal with the very painful situation of parental loss.
I love to educate and stimulate conversation about these issues by weaving the information within a good story. That’s the best way to digest it, I think.
Margo: I couldn’t agree with you more! That’s the entire reason for my blog. How could teachers or parents use Dark Water? Are there certain discussion points that would naturally occur after reading it?
Chynna: I think there would be several discussion points after reading it. Young people may have questions, for example, about what SPD or PTSD is. Teachers can open the discussion to researching and learning about these disorders, how it affects individuals, and what they can do to help raise awareness. Caregivers can use the book to teach tolerance as well as to connect with their children by encouraging questions or concerns. That’s the first step to understanding. =)
Margo: So true! Are you working on any more YA books? I know you’ve written a variety of books—a memoir, a parenting book, a children’s book, and more.
Chynna: Yes I am, actually. I am working on one project that is a YA contemporary (tentatively called Just Shut Up and Drive), a potential action/immortal series as well as a special surprise. ;D
Margo: That sounds great! Maybe one of these days I’ll find a publisher for my YA, and then we can be YA authors together! Anything else you’d like to add about writing for YA and your book, Dark Water?
Chynna: The only thing I’d like to add is that anyone wanting to write in this genre, or already is, should just do it. Research the genre, talk to young people reading these books, and put out the best you can do.
Margo: Chynna, thank you for your time and encouraging words.
Readers, don’t forget to leave a comment by Sunday September 2 for your chance to win!