Author: Courtney Alameda
Pub. Date: February 20, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Set against a future of marauding space scavengers and deadly aliens who kill with sound, here is a frightening, fast-paced YA adventure from the author of the acclaimed horror novel, Shutter.
Tuck has been in stasis on the USS John Muir, a ship that houses Earth’s most valued artifacts—its natural resources. Parks and mountains are preserved in space.
Laura belongs to a shipraiding family, who are funded by a group used to getting what they want. And they want what’s on the Muir.
Tuck and Laura didn’t bargain on working together or battling mutant aliens who use sound to kill. But their plan is the only hope for their crews, their families, and themselves.
In space, nobody can hear you scream...but on the John Muir, the screams are the last thing you'll hear.
Characters always come to me first. Long before I knew what PITCH DARK wanted to be, I saw Laura walking into the pitch darkness of a busted ship, scared and alone. In general, I start with the human element of a novel, and let the world develop itself around it naturally.
With that said, PITCH DARK was in development for almost three years. The book on the shelf looks nothing like the initial draft of the novel, in which Laura and Tuck were in opposite places. Originally, the book was more FIREFLY-esque, in which space scavengers were combing the galaxy for salvage; but the novel quickly diverted away from that path on its own accord.
2. You've written several other YA horror novels. Is there a reason you chose that genre?
I was drawn to horror as a kid for multiple reasons, the first of which was because I saw more women being included in the genre than in any other. And these women often weren’t the sidekicks or sex objects, they were the stars. I loved Ripley’s toughness (ALIEN) and Dana Scully’s skepticism (X-FILES); the brilliance of Clarice Starling (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS), and the moxie of Claire Redfield (RESIDENT EVIL). These women gave me someone to look up to, as women weren’t featured as heroes in many other genre projects at that time. Women in horror were strong survivors, and they showed me that I could survive the difficult things I faced in life, too.
Secondly, I have always had an affinity for monsters. I often joke that I choose my projects “based on how cool I can make the monsters,” and that’s probably truer than I’d like to admit. Monsters appear in all types of genre fiction—horror, fantasy, and science fiction—but I always loved the monsters in horror best.
3. What's your favorite book and/or author?
It’s so difficult to choose just one, because I love different authors for different reasons! But if the number of books owned is any indication, there are more Neil Gaiman books on my shelves than any other author’s.
4. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
There are two things aspiring authors need to figure out before they pursue publication: who you are as a writer, and how you work as a writer. Both will require most aspiring authors to write hundreds of thousands, if not millions of words before they are ready for publication.
Figuring out who you are as a writer means developing your voice. Figuring out how you work as a writer means understanding your writing process. Are you a plotter or pantser? How many drafts you generally need to write before a book feels “done” to you? Can you self-edit your own work? Take and apply criticism? Murder your darlings? Come to the keyboard on the good days and the bad?
Having a deep understanding of your process before publication will save you from a lot of headaches post-publication.
5. What's up next for you?
I’m currently finishing up Seven Deadly Shadows with Valynne Maetani now (HarperTeen, Spring 2019), and I’m absolutely thrilled with the way the book is turning out! The novel is a YA fantasy retelling of the Japanese classic film Seven Samurai, and is about a young Shinto priestess who must save her home from an ancient evil by recruiting seven Japanese death gods.
I’ve also got another solo project in the works called Hollowgate (Feiwel & Friends, Fall 2019), which will be about competitive gaming, #metoo, and the coolest monster I’ve ever had step out of my imagination.
A veteran bookseller and librarian, Courtney Alameda now spends her days writing thriller and horror novels. Her debut novel, SHUTTER, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award and hailed as a "standout in the genre" by School Library Journal. Her forthcoming novels include the science fiction/horror mashup, PITCH DARK (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends 2018), and SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS, an urban fantasy set in Japan. (Co-authored with Valynne Maetani. HarperTeen 2018).
Courtney holds a degree in English literature with an emphasis in creative writing. She is represented by John M. Cusick of Folio Literary. A northern California native, she now resides in Utah with her husband, a legion of books, and a tiny five-pound cat with a giant personality.
Member HWA, SFWA, SCBWI; and SDCC Creative Professional.
(3) winners will receive a signed finished copy of PITCH DARK & pin with a quote that’s important to the story - US Only!
Ends on March 6th at Midnight EST!
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