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I’m Kat, an author from North Wales, and I write young adult thrillers/horror. My latest is Wicked Little Deeds/Burden Falls, and it tells the story of Ava, who gets tangled up in a series of gruesome murders in her small town where superstitions about witchcraft and vengeful ghosts are rife. You can find out more about my books and where to buy them here.

If you missed last month's newsletter, you can catch up here.

Pictured: Posing with Harrow Lake on a recent visit to Waterstones in York. 
Halloween is upon us! And yes, that means it's a busy month in terms of events and stuff, but it also means I have a bone fide excuse (not that I've ever needed one) to binge alllll the horror books, films and TV. And no doubt there will be some Halloween makeup going on at some point, so keep an eye out for that on socials ;-) Here's one of my favourite looks from last year:
Dragon, innit.
What’s coming for you…
 
In this newsletter, you will find:
  • my latest book news and events 
  • an interview with Aislinn O'Loughlin, author of Big Bad Me, and a GIVEAWAY!
  • what’s on my radar: books, TV, movies, music
Latest book news & events
Last week I got to take part in No Limits Festival, where I was on a panel with 4 wonderful authors: Andreina Cordani, Melissa Welliver, Sita Brahmachari and Julia Tuffs. A panel of student readers interviewed us, and they were a fantastic group with lots of excellent questions!
Andreina, me, Melissa, Julia & Sita
(Thanks to Melissa for letting me pinch her photo!)

On my way there, I visited York for the first time, and - very much inspired by Rosie Talbot's Sixteen Souls - went on a ghost tour of the city, led by none other than Mad Alice. I had no idea so many famous people had died horribly in York!

I also went to the Jorvik Viking Centre, where I got to experience all the sights, sounds and smells of an ancient Viking settlement. There was even a genuine fossilised Viking turd in the museum exhibit. The photo really doesn't do it justice; it was so big it would've made a decent spare head for Thor's hammer. 

My next online event will be an Instagram live chat with Dawn Kurtagich and our special guest Amy McCaw, who'll be joining us to talk about her new book, Mina and the Slayers, and what we'll all be reading and watching this spooky season. Join us at 8pm on Thursday 13 October; Dawn will be hosting from her account.
 

After that, at 4pm ET on 20 October, I'll be doing an interview with New York Public Library which you can register to watch FREE right here
 

Then at 7pm on 30 October, I'll be joining the Tales Point Horror Book Club movie chat about the brand new Hocus Pocus 2 movie live on Instagram, which I'm really excited about! Follow @talespointhorrorbookclub so you don't miss it. 
 
Interview with Aislinn O'Loughlinn & GIVEAWAY!

I was lucky enough to read Big Bad Me early, and it's honestly the perfect read for Buffy fans, paranormal fans, or just readers who love a good time, basically!

About Aislinn

Aislinn O’Loughlin grew up in Dublin, Ireland on a diet of fairy tales and horror stories – often at the same time (her biggest fear was the Big Bad Wolf escaping his story to eat her).

After writing several books in her teens, Aislinn worked as a storyteller and creative-writing teacher before moving to Toronto, where she sometimes took her kids to daycare in a sled (yes, really)! These days, she lives in Waterford with her scientist husband, three brilliant children and two evil genius cats. The Big Bad Wolf is welcome any time.

You can follow Aislinn on Twitter, Instagram, and find her on TikTok @aislinn_oloughlin_writes. All her other links can be found on her Linktree
 

About Big Bad Me

‘I’ve got two claws, Katie. Two giant, evil, freaking Freddy Krueger monster things. I am not calm.’

Evie Wilder is living a very normal life. Except for the fact that her mum has gone missing, she’s just found out she’s a werewolf, she and her sister have to go into hiding from supernatural beings, and there’s not a single
helpful vampire slayer to be found.

With the help of Kevin, the dorky-hot teenage manager of the guesthouse where Evie and Kate go to lie low, Evie begins to learn to harness her wolfish abilities. But there’s something a bit odd about Kevin that Evie can’t quite put her finger on.

Meanwhile, reports of animal attacks are increasing, local teenagers have started to go missing, and Evie is about to find herself at the centre of a supernatural showdown.


You can find links to buy the book online from various retailers here.

GIVEAWAY!
 
Want to win a copy of Big Bad Me? (Of course you do.) Simply email katelliswrites@gmail.com with 'BIG BAD ME GIVEAWAY' in the subject line by 5pm on Thursday, 20 October, and I'll draw a random winner to receive their copy in time for Halloween! UK & Ireland addresses only this time, thank you.

Kat: I loved the sister-dynamic at the heart of Big Bad Me, as well as the humour, romance and supernatural shenanigans — it all gave me such Buffy vibes. Was this something you were consciously aiming for with the story? How did it evolve?

Aislinn: Thank you! I’m a huge Buffy fan – the first seeds of Big Bad Me actually came from a dream I had after binging some very Oz-centric episodes. In the dream, I discovered I’d been born a werewolf, but my family had hidden it until I got too dangerous and had to leave home.

I played with the concept for years, but never seriously planned on writing it until I found myself homesick after moving to Canada - and this quippy teen-wolf character popped into my head, demanding to be written. Being homesick, I couldn’t just banish her from her family (like in my dream). So I gave her a big brother, Jack, and sent them in search of their missing Dad.

The end result was more Supernatural than Buffy with its male-heavy cast and lots of Dean Winchester-esque swagger from Jack. It was fun to write, but didn’t quite work the way I wanted. So, reluctantly, I shelved it.

It was only while watching the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot, with all these STEM-girls kicking paranormal ass, that I realised my own ‘girl power’ story was severely lacking in actual girls (and accidentally reinforced negative tropes about girls and science). I was writing something else at the time, but couldn’t stop thinking about pulling a Ghostbusters with Big Bad Me, stripping it to the bone and rebooting: bigger, badder and girlier, with extra STEM smarts. That’s when everything clicked!

As a love story between two fiercely devoted sisters – each telling their own perspective as they lie, fight and go behind each others' backs “to protect” their sister -  Big Bad Me finally made sense. The new dynamic was less Winchester brothers, more Buffy-and-Dawn-meets-Anna-and-Elsa. It’s hard to imagine it was ever anything else now, especially as it all started with too much Buffy!
 
Kat: The story is set in a small town called Brightside in Canada — what inspired the setting?

Aislinn: Pretty much every setting in Big Bad Me is based on real-life places from my Canada days. Jolt coffeeshop - where Evie meets the Hot Woodcutter - is really the Second Cup where I used to write. The Wilders' house, with its secret basement lab, is where my husband & I rented our first apartment (minus the lab, I think). And Brightside is based on a town called Erin, where I spent Thanksgivings with my friend.

Erin was my first experience of a proper, picturesque North American town, and I loved it! There was an annual Fall Fair, cute coffee shops and nearby ‘farmhouses’ which were basically mansions (the one where I stayed shows up at the end of Big Bad Me, quite dramatically). It snows earlier in Erin than Toronto, and gets darker faster. At night, you can hear coyotes howling - so it’s very pretty but spooky. Depending on my mood, it either felt like Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls or Stephen King’s Derry, Maine. I couldn’t resist adding monsters!
 
Kat: Of all the fantastic characters in the book, I think Kevin was my favourite. Who was yours? And of the 2 sisters’ points of view, which was your favourite to write?

Aislinn: Oh, that’s a tough one! Evie was my first love, she’s the reason I wrote the story. But Kevin and Kate have lived in my heart a long time too. I couldn’t choose a favourite character - but Evie’s chapters were definitely more fun to write. She’s discovering super-powers, getting tummy butterflies, and awkward-flirting with a cute boy. Poor Kate’s mostly stressed, exhausted and pining over her crush, Zoe. As a Mom of young kids, I relate more to Kate, but Evie was a fun escape. Who doesn’t want superpowers?

Kat: If you had to choose, would you rather spend forever as a werewolf or a vampire? Or some other supernatural creature?

Aislinn: Maybe an Evie-style werewolf, channelling the superpowers? Though I am an on-off vegan, so possibly something a less murder-y. A witch? My parents are total hippies so I grew up with a house full of of interesting crystals and stuff (basically how I imagine Felix’s family home in Big Bad Me) so I don’t think magic’s a huge stretch. Could I glamour the whole house to look like I’ve tidied?

Kat: What’s next for you?

Aislinn: I’m working on a couple of things right now: there’s a MG spy-romp, and another paranormal YA. I don’t want to say too much about either, they’re still in progress – but I’m having a lot of fun with both. Aside from book stuff, October will be an absolute whirlwind in our house. Not only is it Halloween (my favourite holiday, obviously) it’s my husband’s AND youngest daughter’s birthdays. So there’ll be lots of celebrating, and no doubt a request for some super-elaborate cake from my daughter, who watches too much Nailed It! and has very misguided ideas of what I’m capable of. Might try to convince her she wants a werewolf this year, though.

 
On my radar
Books – I finished Waking the Witch by Rachel Burge this month, and loved this Welsh-folklore-inspired modern fantasy about a girl coming into her powers and reconnecting with the mother who gave her up as a baby. Great spooky reading if you're looking for something witchy! I'm currently listening to the audiobook of Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran (continuing the fantasy binge I started a few months ago) and I'm really loving this book so far - courtly intrigue, backstabbing, forbidden romance... it's got everything I want. And I'm partway through a book which comes out in February: Someone Is Watching You by Tess James-Mackey, which is about 2 sisters who break into an abandoned prison on a dare, but when one sister goes missing, it looks like maybe the prison wasn't so abandoned after all... Definitely one to watch out for in the new year! 
I have a giant, towering to-be-read pile at the moment, but these are two books I'll definitely be picking up this month: The Gathering Dark, which is a collection of folk-horror short stories by various brilliant YA authors, and With Fire in Their Blood - a simmering supernatural romance set in a crumbling Italian city. Both sound like exactly my kind of thing, so I'm excited to dive in.
TV & Movies – I watched Hocus Pocus 2 pretty much as soon as it released, and was a little nervous it wouldn't live up to the first movie... but it DOES. I absolutely loved it, and know I'll be watching it again (probably several times) before Halloween, and can't wait to talk about it during the IG live chat on 30 October. 

Music – I've been listening to lots of new music this month, including some new releases by old faves, and my first recommendation is one of these (and actually perfect for Halloween) - Scared Together by Silversun Pickups. I'm also bingeing several songs by Canadian duo Cleopatrick, and The Drake is my favourite track so far. Check 'em out, I hope you like them!
In next month’s newsletter look out for a brand new author interview, some nonsense about my birthday, as well as lots more bookish news and events.

'Til then… Happy Halloween!
 
Kat x
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