Hi friends! It’s time for another chat with an author, yay!!
In case you missed it, “A Talk With” is a brand new feature here on Drizzle & Hurricane Books, where I will invite young adult book authors to chat with me about their upcoming books, share their writing tips and tricks and more!
Today, I’m really happy to chat with the wonderful Erin A. Craig about her spooky, atmospheric debut novel, House of Salt and Sorrows! We’re talking about inspirations, pinterest, sharing recommendations and more so keep on reading!
1. House of Salt and Sorrows is your debut novel: what has been life like, ever since your book deal has been announced? What surprised you the most about being a debut author?
Everyday life has been pretty much the same—there are diapers to change and dinners to make—but it’s broken up by the most delicious emails that I want to shout from the rooftops but usually have to keep secret for months on end. I’m very grateful my family doesn’t mind my squealing!
I’ve been so surprised by the amount of love and support HOSAS has gotten from Delacorte. Before all of this, I had some rough notion that a book was bought and worked on with the author and editor and then it just… was a book. When I had my marketing call—where we went through the plans and details of all the months leading up to the launch date—there were so many department heads to meet! It was so inspiring and reassuring to know what an amazing team HOSAS has, tirelessly working towards this creepy little story’s success. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people cheering for the book. I wish I could send everyone fairy shoes. They definitely have earned them!
2. What were your inspirations to write House of Salt and Sorrows? Any tales, movies, books and stories you’ve read that made this particular story what it is? Any trips down the Pinterest hole to get aesthetics, atmospheric inspirations?
HOSAS started out very differently—I’d intended to write a retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Annabel Lee,’ starting and stopping it so many times. I loved the concept but when it came time to actually start writing it, I never could seem to make it work. I stumbled across some old photos from my sister’s Girl Scout troop production of ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses.’ My mom was the troop leader and wrangled me into playing the Soldier. We toured to local libraries and retirement centers. When I saw the pictures, memories of helping making glitter covered trees and my mom sewing all those tulle skirts came rushing back to me and I suddenly knew what my story needed. I wanted to keep and honor the dark, gothic twists I’d set out to write, but infuse it with a delicious and shimmering fairy tale.
So many of my favorite movies helped shape the brooding atmosphere but none more than The Others. Whenever I would get stuck or start to lose my spooky mojo, I’d rewatch scenes from it. I’d imagine myself into those dimly lit corridors and work my way through whatever problems I was struggling with.
I LOVE Pinterest! It helps me so much to decide on world building details and really solidifying what I want the atmosphere of a book to feel like. Here is the board I created for HOSAS:
3. If you had to pick a couple of songs that represent well the atmosphere of House of Salt and Sorrows overall… which ones would you pick?
- “Thistles and Weeds” by Mumford and Sons
- Anything from THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE’s soundtrack
- “Perfect” Ed Sheeran
4. Do you think you’d like to write even spookier books later on? (Or are there any projects in the works you can tell us about?) Do you think you’d like to try out another genre, or did you already? 🙂
Absolutely! I’ve got so many creepy, mysterious ideas I can’t wait to further explore. I’m working on a new YA standalone right now that I can’t really talk about just yet but it’s got some moments that have given even me shivers down my spine! Most of my plot bunnies are dark fantasy but I would someday love to try my hand at a contemporary novel. I’ve got half a plot for one that’s been kicking around my head for a while—just need to figure out the ending!
1. Can you recommend one (okay, maybe two or three, I couldn’t pick just one!) you’ve read recently that you adore and would recommend to everyone?
YES! I absolutely loved Katharine McGee’s AMERICAN ROYALS (out 9.3.2019). I will swoon over any book with a royal romance and her reimagining of America with a monarchy MADE my summer! I really, really enjoyed Riley Sager’s LOCK EVERY DOOR. I always end up devouring his books and this one was no exception. It reads like a modern ROSEMARY’S BABY and was so much fun! And Kim Liggett’s THE GRACE YEAR has haunted me ever since I finished reading the ARC. (out 10.8.19) It’s beautiful and terrifying and really sinks into your subconscious. I can’t say enough good things about it!
2. You’re stuck on a deserted island after a boat accident, but you managed to save three items before the boat drowned. What are these three items you saved first and why?
- Definitely one of those water sanitizer pump things. (I’m veeeeery savvy in all technical outdoor survival lingo!) Aside from the whole needing water to live, I’m always carrying around a big tumbler of water with me and even the thought of wandering around an island without it is making my tongue feel all furry and dry!
- A flare gun with lots of refills—I do not plan on being on this island for long!
- A journal with pen—this adventure needs to be documented somehow!
3. Can you share one line of House of Salt and Sorrows with us?
“We are born of the Salt, we live by the Salt, and to the Salt we return.”
Thank you so, SO much for chatting with me today, Erin, it was such a pleasure to have you on the blog! Friends, keep on reading to find out more about House of Salt and Sorrows!
📖 More about House of Salt and Sorrows
Find & Order House of Salt and Sorrows.
In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.
Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.
Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?
When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.
📖 More about the author, Erin A. Craig
Erin A. Craig has always loved telling stories.
After getting her B.F.A. from the University of Michigan, in Theatre Design and Production, she stage managed tragic operas with hunchbacks, séances, and murderous clowns, then decided she wanted to write books that were just as spooky.
An avid reader, a decent quilter, rabid basketball fan, and collector of typewriters, Erin makes her home in Memphis, TN with her husband and daughter.
HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS (Delacorte Press) is her debut novel.
She is represented by Sarah Landis at Sterling Lord Literistic.
Find Erin A. Craig on:
Do you want to read House of Salt and Sorrows? Did you read it already?
What are some really atmospheric books you’ve read lately? I’d love to hear from you in comments!