To celebrate No Way Out releasing in just under a week (August 29!! YAY!), we asked author Dan Poblocki and editor Erin Black to talk a little bit about what it was like to create Larkspur House. Check it out below and let us know what you think!
Erin: So you did it – a whole series! It’s such a big accomplishment, finishing something after more than two and a half years, right? What was the most fun part about writing a series…and what was the most challenging?
Dan: The whole project has been a blast, but the most fun part of writing this series was seeing how the characters changed throughout the three books, for better and for worse. I loved coming to the end and discovering how they'd surprised me. Certain characters did not end up (either emotionally or physically) where I expected.
The biggest challenge was building a huge world (and history) for the hauntings and then being consistent with the rules and the numerous characters.
And same question to you – most fun and most challenging?
E: I love getting to stay with the same group of characters for more than just one book, especially a bigger group like in Shadow House. It’s so fun as a reader to really watch them grow and change over the course of multiple books, and also as an editor to get to talk with you about how we show that happening.
The biggest challenge was working on the books and the app at once, and keeping track of all the characters, information, and history of Shadow House. The team would start working on the app after the book was done (so we started laying out the story for the second part of the app after you and I had finished with the second book), so there’s a lot of info about what happened when and to whom to keep track of!
What was your favorite scene to write? (semi-spoiler alert for Shadow House Book 3 ahead in white ink)
D: MINI SPOILER: The big moment at the end of No Way Out between the twins. In the midst of all the wild happenings, I loved creating a quiet, meaningful interaction for them. It was so satisfying for me.
And same question for you.
E: Oh my goodness, that was one of my favorite scenes! But I have another as well.
The scene that I’d been waiting to read I think since we had the first series outline was when the kids finally reach the wall at the edge of the Shadow House property – and what they see on the other side. It was so creepy and surreal, and even though I knew it was coming, the way you wrote it was so great!
Which character is most or least like you?
D: Strangely, I hadn't realized until just now how very much I put myself into each of the five main characters. It's like Poppy, Azumi, Dylan, Dash, and Marcus embody different aspects of myself. I think I relate most to Dash though. He has to overcome a lot of fear and anxiety stemming from events of his past. It feels weird to admit it, but I had to learn how to deal with this too!
Which scene do you think is the scariest?
E: Another spoiler alert! My favorite scene, in white ink:
So there’s a scene in one of the books where the kids are being chased…by a whole herd of snarling little girls, their mouths full of jagged shards of glass instead of teeth. What a nightmare!
What did you think when you first saw the app?
D: I fell on the floor and died from excitement. (editor’s note: Dan is alive and well, I promise!)
Which cover is your favorite?
E: No! I love them all, I can’t choose!
(But that foil on the third book – so good!)
If you could be in any fictional haunted house (besides Shadow House), it would be:
D: Without a doubt, the Haunted Mansion. If I could, I'd move in immediately. Today, even. I know I'd be besties with the lady whose head is in the crystal ball and the scaredy-dog who is out in the garden with the caretaker.
I know you say you scare easily, but do you think you could survive a haunted house now that you know all about Shadow House?
E: Sure, if you were designing it! I know the rules about how Shadow House works, so I think I could handle it. (Maybe.)
There were some pretty creepy things that happened to me while working on Shadow House, so maybe I’ve built up a little tolerance for being scared. But it’s one thing for something spooky to happen at home or in the woods, and something else entirely to be trapped inside a haunted house.
So what’s next?
D: I still love being the architect of spooky stories, and I’m looking forward to writing a new novel that doesn’t have anything to do with Shadow House, which is coming up in 2019. And who knows, maybe Shadow House isn’t done with me just yet…
Hope you enjoyed hearing from Dan and Erin!! And if you haven't checked out the app yet, definitely do -- it's SO cool! See you next week for No Way Out!!!
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