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       ~Cryer's Cross

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The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on... until Kendall's boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace. Now the town is in a panic.

Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects Nico and Tiffany: they both sat at the same desk. She knows it's crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, dreaming of Nico and wondering if maybe she, too, will disappear...and whether that would be so bad. Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. Can he possibly be alive somewhere? Where is he? And how can Kendall help him? The only person who believes her is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating...and attractive.

As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into Nico's mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly—and deadly—local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.


When did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?

In fourth grade, when a story I wrote won me the chance to spend a day with local authors.

How did you come up with the idea/concept for Cryer's Cross?

I had a dream about a desk – people who sat in it disappeared.

Kendall is a teen dealing with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and the fact that her boyfriend is missing. She is a unique character that is easy to love and root for. What influenced you when you created her?

I like imperfect characters, especially ones that have many challenges to overcome. I think it makes them stronger. My daughter was also a major influence – she has OCD and has been a real hero because of it.

Was there anything that you found particularly challenging in writing Cryer's Cross?

Any time an inanimate object has a ‘voice’ is a challenge for a writer. I loved that particular challenge, though. It keeps the job interesting!

The story is set in a small community (population 212) where news travels fast and there are very few secrets. Did you ever spend any time in a town that is that small?

Not any significant amount of time, no. I’ve passed through them, though. There’s a town near where I live that has six residents.

Did you do any research for Cryer's Cross? If so, what did you find?

Absolutely. I did research on soccer, on Montana, on potatoes and farming, and on reform schools…you’ll find out why I had to research those things once you read the book. J

Who was your favourite character to write and why?

I love Jacián. He has a good reason for being the way he is in the book, and I loved writing his arc. I also love Hector, Jacián’s grandfather. And Kendall, of course.

How would you describe Cryer's Cross in 5 words or less?

Creepy paranormal with a love story. Oops, that’s six.

What would you like readers to take away from this book?

My main goal is to entertain. I want readers to escape into a different world for a while and just enjoy it.

What are you reading right now? Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?

I’m constantly reading YA of all kinds, from realistic to fantasy to paranormal. I loved Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. And I like memoirs too. Influences – Roald Dahl, Madeleine L’Engle, C. S. Lewis.

Can you tell us three interesting or surprising facts about you?

My favorite food is avocados. I do most things left-handed but can play all sports left or right. I worked in a children’s bookstore when I was 17 and became the resident expert on YA because I read everything.

Was there a specific reason you were drawn to writing YA novels?

I think young adults are the most interesting people on the planet. So much happens during the teen years, and everyone can relate. I didn’t set out to write about teens, it just happened.

What is your next project? Can you share a little bit about it with us?

My next series is called THE UNWANTEDS. Book 1 comes out this September. It’s a dystopian fantasy for middle grade and up, about a society where strength and intelligence is rewarded, and creativity is outlawed. Every year, the 13-year-olds are sorted into categories. The strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the creative, artistic Unwanteds get sent to their deaths. The book follows twin boys, Alex and Aaron Stowe, as they await their fate.

In light of my blog name Open Book Empty Cup, what is your favourite book (if you had to choose just one) and your favourite beverage (hot or cold)?

Beverage – Diet Coke
Book – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

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