Amity by Micol Ostow
Connor's family moves to Amity to escape shady business deals. Ten years later, Gwen's family moves to Amity for a fresh start after she's recovered from a psychotic break.
But something is not right about this secluded house. Connor's nights are plagued with gore-filled dreams of demons and destruction. Dreams he kind of likes. Gwen has lurid visions of corpses that aren't there and bleeding blisters that disappear in the blink of an eye. She knows Amity is evil and she must get her family out, but who would ever believe her?
Amity isn't just a house. She is a living force, bent on manipulating her inhabitants to her twisted will. She will use Connor and Gwen to bring about a bloody end as she's done before. As she'll do again.
The book will be out in stores on August 26. And courtesy of Egmont USA, I have a signed hardcover copy of Amity to give away. The contest is open to US/Canada residents and all you have to do is just leave a comment on this post by next Sunday, Sept 24 at 9pm EST. Here's an interview with Micol Ostow:
It was coming time to pitch the second book for my contract with Egmont, and my first novel with them, family, had been a big departure for me tonally (it was much darker than my earlier work). So it felt important to me to try to write something that would serve as a companion to family, that the two might create their own little sub-genre. I was kicking around a few ideas but late one night, happened to come across the original “Amityville Horror” movie on tv (it was around Halloween). Something clicked in my head as I realized that I’ve always wanted to try my hand at pure horror – and what better subject than that classic trope, the haunted house? The original Amityville Horror story, too, fit nicely alongside family (based on the Manson family murders of 1969) as the inspiration for the movie came from a true crime.
Once that seed of an idea was planted, it was just a case of finding the right angle for a YA novel. I went back and forth as to whose story it would be – the boy who’d killed his family? His girlfriend? The sister who’d been killed? The house itself? I realized I really wanted to tell two sides of the same experience, which is how Connor and Gwen’s voices were born.
2) I've noticed that this book and your previous book for Egmont (Family) have been much darker than earlier novels of yours. What caused this transition? Do you still want to write lighter fare as well and move back and forth between the two? What are you currently working on?
I was finishing up my MFA in writing for children, and my then advisor suggested that since I’d already met all of my course requirements, I should try my hand at writing something “just for the heck of it.” I’ve been extremely blessed as a writer in that I came into publishing through the back door (as an editor) and therefore never had to write a whole novel on spec. So the idea of just sitting down to write without a contract or a deadline was completely novel and oddly liberating. The oddest thing about it, though, was what came out: two strange, dark short stories that would become the basis of family.
That said, I definitely go back and forth with what I like to read and write. I have a paranormal YA mystery coming out in 2015, but in the meantime, I’m working on a new, very young chapter book series about a seven-year-old girl in a traveling circus. I’m pretty lucky that my agent and editors (and readers!) allow me to be so diverse.
3) What is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s)? Or, if you don't like those, what is your favorite food to snack on while writing or as a reward for writing?
I don’t have one particular favorite flavor but I love the jelly belly sours. Although I always eat them too quickly and basically burn all my taste buds off.
I love sweets: candy, chocolate, pastries... but believe it or not, I don’t eat while I’m writing. I tend to work in concentrated bursts and trying to maneuver between Red Vines and the keyboard means I can’t really concentrate on either. Usually I save candy binges for after a good writing session, usually in front of some DVR’d reality tv, or a streaming horror movie.
4) What are you currently reading, or are about to start? Any books you're excited for?
My fellow Egmont author, Jessica Verday, has a horror novel out this fall called Of Monsters and Madness which looks amazing! Also Nova Ren Suma’s The Walls Around Us, which we have to wait until spring to read. Boo.
In the meantime, I’m keeping busy with Adele Griffin’s The Unfinished life of Addison Stone, and Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng.
Check out the next stops on the tour- Monday, August 18 will be at Actin' Up with Books and Tuesday, August 19 will be at A Dream Wihin A Dream.
Micol Ostow has written dozens of books for children, tweens, and teens, but Amity is her first foray into horror. I turns out, writing a ghost story is almost more terrifying than reading one. (In a good way.) Her novel family was called a “Favorite Book of 2011” by Liz Burns at School Library Journal, and her illustrated novel, So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother), was a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Teens.
In her spare time, Ostow blogs with the National Book Award-winning literacy initiative readergirlz.com. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, her (utterly fearless) daughter, and a finicky French bulldog named Bridget Jones. Visit her online at www.micolostow.com or follow her on Twitter @micolz.