Lately I was lucky enough to read both of Erik Therme's latest books, and even luckier, he let me ask him a few questions about himself, his writing, and the books! Here is the first in a two part review and interview series. Find the second one on Mortom here.
In Resthaven, a group of young girls venture to an abandoned nursing home to explore and do a scavenger hunt, but the place ends up not being as empty as they thought. Once they find they are locked inside, the real hunt begins—for a way out and for a way to stay alive.
The mission is doomed from the start: none of the girls really get along, from haughty, dominant, mean girl Jamie who is obviously in control; to mild-mannered, nervous Anna, who just wants Jamie to like her; to silent and closed-off Wren; to flighty, friendly, easy-going Sidney; and finally, to our protagonist Kaylee, who’d prefer to be anywhere but here and has a tendency to stick her foot in her mouth and alienate people.
The perfect storm, really.
The teen dialogue is fast-paced and not too overwhelming. While not always true to life—teens aren't that witty, are they?—I found it extremely fun to read and it was an interesting peek into these girls' internal lives. It reminded me of a heightened reality sort of dialogue, like that of the film Heathers.
The interactions between the girls is the reader's first point of contact, immediately hitting you and drawing you into the story. From there, you are just on board for the duration—keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times, please.
By the time we make it to this creepy, abandoned retirement home, all the personalities are established, but also some sad back-stories and some obvious self-doubt that is boiling just beneath the surface. Ah, to be a teenager.
It only gets more interesting from there, as though unlocking the front door also unlocks something in the girls and unleashes a torrent of emotions, secrets, and insecurities.
They fight, they split up—every horror fan is screaming NO! NO! NO!—and the adventure, or the horror, truly begins.
I really can't say much more without giving away some juicy plot twists! I hope that is enough to spark your curious appetite.
While the book is mostly about young teen characters, I wouldn’t necessarily say it is strictly for a YA audience. It would probably resonate well with kids that age, though I won’t presume! As far as adult fiction goes, I found it a perfectly engaging, speedy read.
And now, for a special interview with the author, Erik Therme!
Shelf Stalker: What are you currently reading?
Erik Therme: I just finished Serenity (Craig A. Hart), which is a fast, fun read that leaves you buzzing for more. I’m currently reading The Broken Ones (Sarah A. Denzil), which is just as excellent as her first novel, Saving April.
SS: Can you choose three favorite authors? Why those authors?
ET: Stephen King has always been at the top of my list, as I basically learned to write by reading his work. I’m also a big fan of Gillian Flynn, who creates the most amazing (albeit dark) characters that you love/hate to root for. Last, but certainly not least, is Joshua Gaylord, who has written one of my favorite books of all time: The Reapers Are the Angels. His prose is borderline poetry, and I would happily read this man’s grocery list if he published it. Yeah, he’s that good.
SS: I think it’s probably a fantasy for all of us crime buffs or amateur ghost sleuths: a neat abandoned building that we could skulk around in the dark. What made you want to write this story?
ET: I have two teenage daughters, and I wanted to write something they could relate to. I’m also a big fan of scary movies, and it was a ton of fun to employ a creepy, abandoned building as a backdrop for the story.
SS: How long did it take you to write this book? Was this the first book you ever wrote? What made you want to become a writer?
ET: I’m not a very prolific writer, and it easily takes me two years to finish a novel. I began writing stories when I was in my teens, and—to date—I’ve completed four novels with a fifth one in the works.
SS: The dialogue for the girls is so fun—fast-paced, witty, and enjoyable. It is really the aspect that draws you into the story. How did you discover their voices?
ET: Fortunately, I had heavy inspiration: Kaylee is based on my 17-year-old (who was 15 when I started the book), and Anna, Wren, and Sid are loose composites of her friends. Jamie, I’m happy to say, is not based on anyone that we know.
SS: What was your experience like publishing this book?
ET: Unique, to say the least. Resthaven wasn’t a good fit for my primary publisher (Thomas & Mercer), so I entered the book into the Kindle Scout program. Scout is basically a “contest” where authors upload their manuscripts to a website, and from there, readers vote on whether or not they believe the book “deserves” to be published. Thirty days later, the Scout team makes a decision, and Resthaven was fortunate enough to earn a publishing contract.
SS: And finally, are you working on anything new currently?
ET: My third novel, Roam, is going through the editing process and will be released in February 2017. The story follows a young man who believes he’s being haunted by his dead father, and the only way he can redeem himself is by “saving” someone else. It’s a very character-driven story and very different from Mortom and Resthaven. Readers can follow me on Amazon to be notified when the book is released.
Get your copies of Resthaven and Mortom
Find out more about the author, Erik Therme
Website Facebook Amazon Twitter
Assistant editor, amateur photdographer, bibliophile, and occasional sleuth.