Guest Blogger: Laurie Faria Stolarz
I’m so excited to announce the release of DEADLY LITTLE VOICES, the fourth book in the Touch series (Disney/Hyperion Books for Children).
Inspiration for the Touch series:
Following the success of my BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES series, in which my main character is plagued and then empowered by her premonitions, I wanted to continue working in the supernatural/paranormal genre. I tinkered a little bit with the genre in PROJECT 17(Hyperion 2007), where my main character breaks into an abandoned mental institution that’s rumored to be haunted, but I wanted to pursue it further, in another series, experimenting with the idea that we all have our own inner senses and intuition, and how with work we can tap into those senses and make them stronger. I started researching different types of supernatural powers and discovered the power of psychometry (the ability to sense things through touch). The concept fascinated me, and so I wanted to bring it out in a character, showing how sometimes even the most extraordinary powers can also be a curse. What I found particularly interesting in my research—which consisted of books, online articles, interviews, and a workshop I attended—was that people who claim to have the power experience the effects of it very differently. For example, some are able to touch an object and picture where it’s been, who owns it, something pertaining to its past or future. Meanwhile, others claim to smell specific scents, taste particular flavors, or hear certain sounds or voices pertaining to the object upon touching it.
Additionally, I wanted to write a story where the main character has to struggle with the idea of falling in love with someone who could potentially be dangerous. I tinkered with this concept in the first three books of my BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARESseries [BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES (Llewellyn 2003), WHITE IS FOR MAGIC (Llewellyn 2004), and SILVER IS FOR SECRETS (Llewellyn 2005), as well as in BLEED (Hyperion 2006)]. In BLEED, in particular, there’s a young male character who was convicted for the murder of his girlfriend. His next relationship consists of pen pal letters he exchanges with a young girl while he’s in prison. Without giving too much away, the relationship is briefly pursued once he is released, but I wanted to bring this concept to another level.
DEADLY LITTLE VOICES
Camelia Hammond thought her powers of psychometry gave her only the ability to sense the future through touch. But now she’s started to hear voices. Cruel voices. Berating her, telling her how ugly she is, that she has no talent, and that she’d be better off dead. Camelia is terrified for her mental stability, especially since her deranged aunt with a suicidal history, has just moved into the house. As if all of that weren’t torturing enough, Camelia’s ex-boyfriend, Ben, for whom she still harbors feelings and who has similar psychometric abilities, has started seeing someone else. Even her closest friends, Kimmie and Wes, are unsure how to handle her erratic behavior.
With the line between reality and dream consistently blurred, Camelia turns to pottery to get a grip on her emotions. She begins sculpting a figure skater, only to receive frightening premonitions that someone’s in danger. But who is the intended victim? And how can Camelia help that person when she’s on the brink of losing her own sanity?
From DEADLY LITTLE VOICES:
“You’re just one big fat joke,” the voice hisses.
I cover my ears, but the insults keep coming.
“Just do it,” a voice whispers. It’s followed by more voices, of different people. They talk over each other and mingle together, producing one clear cut message – that I’m a waste of a life.
I rock back and forth, trying to remain in control. I smother my ears with the sheet. Press my forehead against my knees. Pound my heels into the floor, bracing myself for what comes next.
Meanwhile, there’s a drilling sensation inside my head; it pushes through the bones of my skull, and makes me think that I’m going crazy.
“Please,” I whisper. More tears sting my eyes. I shake my head, wondering if maybe I’m already dead, if maybe the voices are part of hell.
Check out the series’ book trailers:
Praise for the TOUCH series:
Texas Tayshas List, 2010 (DLS)
Children’s Book Council’s 2010 & 2011 Teen Choice Book of the Year Nominee
Reluctant Reader Quick Pick Nominees, 2010 & 2011, American Library Association
Teens@Random, Favorite Book of 2009 (DLS)
Gold Star Award, TeensReadToo.com, 2009 (DLL)
“…lively first-person narrative…. CW-worthy dialogue, quirky secondary characters, romance and suspense: a winning combination”—KIRKUS REVIEWS
“An engaging, eerie tale about the darker side of relationships – when it becomes a matter of life and death to know who your friends are.”—KLIATT
“The book was full of shocking surprises and revelations, earning the book five stars. This is a must-read for fans of romance, suspense, and mystery because it won’t disappoint.”—TEENS READ TOO (DLL)
“Laurie Faria Stolarz is a master creator of suspense and romance.”—TEENREADS.COM
For the release of DEADLY LITTLE VOICES, in keeping with TOUCH series tradition, I’m launching my annual “winner-gets-to-have-a-minor-character-named-after-him/her” contest! The grand prize winner will get to have a minor character in DEADLY LITTLE LESSONS, the fifth and final book in the TOUCHseries named after him or her. Other prizes include autographed book copies and the opportunity to have original work appear on my web site, Facebook, and Twitter pages. OFFICIAL RULES and GUIDELINES for this contest are on my website, under NEWS. ALL ENTRANTS MUST SIGN A RELEASE FORM, DOWNLOADABLE HERE .
The first time I did this contest, for the release of DEADLY LITTLE SECRET, entrants had to create a playlist that corresponded with the novel. I did a repeat of this contest for DEADLY LITTLE LIES (the second book). For the third book, entrants staged a scene from the novel and then took a snapshot of it.
For the release of DEADLY LITTLE VOICES, I’m inviting readers to send me their “Touch” love (Touch-series-inspired photos, poems, song lyrics, artwork, journal-pieces, creative recipes, letters, or other writings that convey what they’ve enjoyed most about the Touch series or what the Touch series has meant to them). The winner will get to have a minor character in DEADLY LITTLE LESSONS, the fifth book in the series, named after them. For contest guidelines, go here.
FUN BOOK-RELATED STUFF: How to bring your psychometric senses to fruition
Written by Camelia Hammond, main character, TOUCH series by Laurie Faria Stolarz
1. Make yourself comfortable in a place that feels “sacred” to you. For some it’s outside, surrounded by nature; for others it’s a favorite chair or surrounded by candles; for me, it’s wherever I’m doing pottery.
2. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breath, letting go of any stray or nervous thoughts.
3. Now, take an object in your hand. A good idea is to have someone give you something they’ve owned for a long time, i.e. a favorite bracelet or a set of keys.
4. Close your eyes again and concentrate on this object. Be aware of any thoughts or feelings that come about as a result of holding this object. Talk those ideas through, even if they seem silly or insignificant, but never make information up.
Remember, this takes practice and a bit of experimenting. The goal is to begin tuning in to your own inner awareness and your ability of perception. What often works for me is asking a question aloud, and then sculpting out the answer, using my power of touch in a creative and organic way.
For more about Camelia, go here.
Laurie Faria Stolarz is the author of DEADLY LITTLE SECRET, DEADLY LITTLE LIES, DEADLY LITTLE GAMES, DEADLY LITTLE VOICES, PROJECT 17, and BLEED, as well as the bestselling BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES series. Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Stolarz attended Merrimack College and received an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston. For more information, please visit her Web site.
Laurie’s Guilty Pleasures
Favorite snack: Popcorn with soy butter and lemon/pepper seasoning.
Touristy Trip: Paris.
Fashion addiction (at the moment): artfully torn jeans, tall boots, pretty scarves, and Michael Stars tees.
Dessert: Dark chocolate in almost any form—the darker the better.
Fast food: French fries at least once every few months (with lots of ketchup).
Beauty Binge: Aveda haircare products, which includes indulging in high-and/or-low-lights every eight weeks. Also, Caudalie skincare, Ineke perfume (Field Notes from Paris), Revitalash mascara, and Buxom Lips from Bare Escentuals.
Late-Night TV: Real Housewives of (wherever), Mad Fashion, Fashion Hunters.
Chick Flick: Never Been Kissed, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Juno, Green Card, Once, The Devil Wears Prada, Bridget Jones Diary, Thelma & Louise, Mean Girls, Moonstruck, Clueless, Under the Tuscan Sun, and anything with John Cusack.
Nightlife: Pilates in front of the TV (a regular occurrence), answering e-mail (also regular), and dinner and/or a movie out with friends (happens far too rarely).
Cheap Thrill: Window-shopping, tabloid magazines, buying a new lip gloss, a tall cup of coffee from Peet’s or Starbucks.
Ultimate Splurge: G2O Day Spa for a massage.
Other Random Info:
Favorite Quote: Perseverance is key.
Favorite cuisine: Indian food – onion chutney, curried vegetables, and kashmir bread. I also love cheeseless pizza from Bertucci’s.
Interests: Vegetarian cooking, holistic nutrition, aromatherapy.
Favorite Music: Adele, Fergie, James Blunt, Gavin Rossdale, Tori Amos, Sting, Sarah MacLachlin, Gwen Stefani, Black-eyed Peas.
Hobbies: Walking, napping, cooking, shopping, interior decorating.
Laurie’s Advice for Aspiring Writers:
My biggest advice is to persevere. There are many talented writers who give up after 5, 10, or even 100 rejection letters. Be open to learning and to getting better in your craft. If more than one person criticizes the same point in your work—i.e. your main character whines too much—chances are you need to look at that point again. Never pay reading fees while trying to get published. Do your homework. Know to whom you’re sending your query letter, who their clients are, what their track record is, and what they’re looking for. Every letter should be personalized and reflect that you’ve done your research. And, lastly, consider joining a writers group. There’s nothing better than being in a group of like-minded writers who can help inspire and cheer you on, and who provide constructive feedback that helps to strengthen your work.
Win Copies of Laurie’s Books:
To win a copy of BLEED and BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES, leave a comment on this post before Tuesday December 13th, 2011. No need to leave an e-mail address within your comment. I will have it from when you enter your info to comment.