Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Seeking by Marlena Frank - Book Tour + Giveaway

The Seeking
by Marlena Frank
Genre: YA Horror Dystopian

Beware the Gray People

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the town of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the Exalted Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day.
When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game to be played every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a deadly cost. What they will discover is far worse.

What inspired you to write this book?

I had a nightmare about one of the scenes in the novel. It was incredibly real and I when I woke up I jotted it all down in a journal I keep by the bed. I was inside of Dahlia’s head in the dream, understanding everything that was happening around me and terrified of what was to come. I can’t say too much more without spoiling things, but I worked hard to convey the adrenaline I felt in the dream onto the page.


What can we expect from you in the future?

I have the final book in my Stolen trilogy coming out March 23, 2021, titled Chosen. I’m working on finalizing edits for that book. After that, I plan to write a full-length sequel to my now out-of-print novella, The She-Wolf of Kanta. It was very popular with folks who got to read it, so I’m excited to expand on the story.

I also have another YA horror novel I’m working on featuring some weird creatures a family encounter while on vacation to a cabin. I’m also planning to do a trilogy for a Snow White retelling where I tell the story from both the perspective of Snow and the evil queen.


Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in The Seeking?

Carra is a tough city to live in. Each year they have The Seeking, which means the children of the Exalted Family must hide or fear being captured or killed by the townspeople. Whoever gets any of them wins The Seeking, and then their family goes on to become the new Exalted Family. This constant practice of pitting people against one another means that they’re too focused on bringing down each other rather than focusing on the real threats. The people are making the best with what they have, but they don’t have much control over their lives.


How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?

We grow dahlias outside of our home and I’m always amazed at how big they get during the summer, and then die back completely when it gets cold. They get so big they almost look like bushes. I really liked using the flower for Dahlia’s name because I feel like she has a big heart and can love so much when given the right opportunities, but then when things get dangerous she withdraws inward and has trouble sometimes connecting with people.


What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I love writing about monsters, especially ones that don’t have any explanation. I love stories set in creepy woods and I really just enjoy dystopian worlds. I think The Seeking is kind of a mixture of many story pieces that I love and that comes across in the book.


Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?

Dahlia is the middle child of the Priest family, and the only daughter. Since her family is the Exalted family, she has to help with political procedures. She is also haunted by nightmares of the Gray People, the strange protectors of Carra who can sometimes be seen watching from the woods outside of the Boundary Line.


How did you come up with the title of your first novel?

I struggled with the title for Stolen. I’m notoriously bad at figuring out titles, and it took me a while to realize I needed to do research on what other authors titled their YA fantasy books so I could figure out one for my book. Titles I decided against included such winners as The Treehouse and Madam Cloom’s Garden.

Ultimately I chose Stolen because it got at the lore common in fairy tales of creatures like changelings and the fae. It gets at the concept of being stolen away into the fairy world without me having to come out and say all of that in the title. I liked the subtlety and simplicity of it, especially compared with the other terrible titles I had made up for it!


Who designed your book covers?

Shayne Leighton with The Parliament House Press designed the cover for The Seeking! She also designed the covers for each book in the Stolen trilogy, and they are absolutely gorgeous. Shayne has an incredible eye and I’m always blown away by what she comes up with!


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

If anything, I might think about making a sequel for it. I find that tends to be something people ask me to do a lot when I write one-shots just because they don’t want the world or the characters to end. The only problem is that I have so many other books and worlds and characters I want to create too. It is an endless author struggle haha.


Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

I’ve had many people call The Seeking a thriller novel, and I can totally see that in retrospect. It’s constantly moving and the situation is constantly changing. I think it has some of the best pacing of any of my novels, and I learned a lot writing it. I hope to write more books that have this thriller aspect to them, high energy but with a horror twist.


If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

I don’t have anyone specifically in mind for my novels. Mostly I would want someone unknown or not well known to play Dahlia because I think she has a range of personality and emotions that would really allow a new actress to excel.


Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

I know The Seeking is fast-paced and intense but it’s also great to savor. Each scene is carefully crafted and I purposely build layers into my novels that I hope come out upon reading it.


How did you come up with name of this book?

The Seeking event in the book takes place on Halloween, and I liked the idea of a take on hide-and-seek. Halloween is all about disguising yourself so that evil spirits can’t recognize you. It’s also about trusting your neighbors when you visit them going door to door trick-or-treating. But with The Seeking, it’s designed to split the townspeople apart, to have them constantly holding grudges and trying to trick each other into gaining power. Even the power that they get isn’t that great, but when they’re always looking up at the Exalted House on the hill, it reminds them of what they don’t have. It plants the seeds of jealousy.


What is your favorite part of this book and why?

I love the focus on family in The Seeking. I love the banter between the siblings, the way that Dahlia and her brothers each have very different personalities. I like that despite Dahlia having a girlfriend, the focus of the novel is really on family. She wants to protect her family as much as possible. Even when her family makes mistakes.


If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

I’d like to spend time with Dahlia. I’d love to see the places she likes to visit away from town and join her for a meal at Mr. Eddington’s. I think it would be wonderful to hear the kinds of cases she’s had to help with or what all she’s seen as part of the Exalted Family.


Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

All of the characters in The Seeking are from my imagination. I don’t really base any of them off of real people. I will say that I was also the middle child in my family, so I purposefully have Dahlia pulled in various directions from her siblings which is pretty realistic. However none of the characters are based on people in real life.


Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

I have a general idea of where the story beats need to land, but I generally let the characters drive the story. The benefit of that is that the characters are more grounded and more real in my opinion.


Have you written any other books that are not published?

Yes, I have! I wrote a YA horror novel featuring a girl dealing with shape-shifting skeletons tentatively titled Suzie’s Nightmare. It needs some major work though so for the moment it lives on my hard drive until I feel like I can tackle it again. I channeled my childhood a bunch with that novel, and while some scenes are fantastic others are just terrible. It’s the first original book I wrote, but maybe one day I’ll pick it up and rework it again!


If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?

Pine, apple, and cinnamon.


What did you edit out of this book?

I tend to underwrite my first drafts, so I tend to need to add more words as I edit rather than remove scenes. I think I had one scene for The Seeking where Dahlia talks more about the Gray People and what she heard about them as a child, but I end up sprinkling that throughout the book instead of dumping it in a single scene.


Is there a writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?

Oh gosh, too many! Stephen King would be incredible to talk to just to know how he creates his monsters and his characters. I’d love to sit down with Cherie Priest and figure out where she gets ideas for her novels. Also I’d love to ask Susanna Clarke to tell me all about her historical knowledge of faeries and magic.


Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?'-type tidbits about the author, the book or the writing process of the book.

So fun fact! I used the MyNoise app to create soundscapes for the world when I was writing The Seeking. My favorite sound generator included: Autumn Walk, Sled Dogs, and Dark Forest. I love that app because the sounds are randomized and make wonderful background noise for me to create a mood for my novels.

Marlena Frank has always been fascinated with monsters, and now gets to write about them. She has been writing horror and fantasy short stories since 2010 and has had her work published in a number of anthologies, from Heroic Fantasy Quarterly to The Sirens Call.
Her YA Dark Fantasy novella, The She-Wolf of Kanta, was released in April 2018 from Aurelia Leo. Her debut novel, Stolen, came out January 2019 from The Parliament House Press, and on release day became an Amazon Bestseller in a YA category. When she isn’t thinking up strange tales, she’s an active member in the Atlanta cosplay community and the Atlanta chapter of the Horror Writers Association. Her novel Stolen hit Amazon's bestseller status on release day, reaching #34 in the Fairy Tales, Folk Tales & Myths for Children category on Amazon on release day.

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$10 Amazon giftcard, The Seeking bookmark, The Seeking sticker

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