Sunday, May 10, 2009

Author Interview: Laurie Stolarz

I am so excited to introduce author: Laurie Faria Stolarz! A quick intro: Laurie has written many YA books including: Project 17 (which I reviewed here), Bleed, Deadly Little Secret, and the Blue is for Nightmares series. She grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston.

Laurie has graciously agreed for me to interview her about her book, Project 17.

What inspired you to write Project 17?

I wanted to do a companion book to Bleed, using one of my Bleed characters. Around the time I was thinking up ideas for a new project, the newspapers in my area were flooded with stories surrounding the controversial tear down of Danvers State Hospital, an abandoned mental hospital 30 minutes north of Boston.

Many people were against tearing it down because it's considered an historical landmark, built in 1878. Developers wanted to use the land to build luxury apartments and condos. In the end, it's the developers who won, and two-thirds of the hospital was torn down. People are now living in the new developments.

Growing up, the hospital, which has a very dark history, was finally shut down in 1992 due to budget cuts and overcrowding. Rumored to be haunted, it became a notorious hot spot for break-ins and dares.

Coincidentally, in Bleed, one of my characters, Derik LaPointe, breaks in to the hospital to go exploring. This is how the initial idea for Project 17 sparked. I thought, why not have Derik break in with a group of teens, on the eve of the demolition, to spend the night and film a movie? There are six teens that break in--all with their own motivations and agendas, and what they end up finding is far beyond anything they could ever imagine.

Was the novel based on a true story?

No, it's fiction. But obviously the place is real and I tried to be as true to the setting as possible as I was writing the novel.

Were there any challenges while writing the book?

Once the story idea and sample pages were accepted by the publisher, I started to delve into the research--visiting the hospital, talking to former patients and staff, and reading and viewing everything I could get my hands on concerning the hospital. I got completely haunted by the research, so much so that I started keeping myself awake at night.

I couldn't get it out of my mind, particularly after I visited the place from a writer's perspective--how was I going to write an entire novel that takes place here?

The hospital itself had always been a source of scares growing up, with its Gothic spires and castle-like architecture, but nowhere near as scary as when I started to really get into the individual stories of those connected to the place.

After a while, though, for better or for worse, I started to numb up a bit to everything I was researching, including hours of audio and visual footage. That numbness enabled me to take a step back and write the book.

What did you want readers to discover from your novel?

I like playing with stereotypes, i.e. the popular kids, the jock, the brainiac, etc., etc. I wanted to show people of different stereotypes coming together at this haunted place, all with their own agendas, but in the end we learn how similar they really are - how we all share so many of the same fears. I also wanted to cast light on the level of treatment people endured at some of the former state hospital.

Were the characters based on any real-life people in your life?

No, they were fictitious.

Any advice for future horror writers?

Think about what you find scary and chances are others will find it scary too.

What can your fans be expecting from you next?

Black is for Beginnings, the fifth book in the Blue is for Nightmares series (a graphic novel), will be out in September. Deadly Little Lies, the second book in my new Touch Series (and the sequel to Deadly Little Secret) will be out in November.

Thank you so much Laurie for this awesome interview. I enjoyed reading your answers! Readers: Be sure to check out Laurie's books, you won't be disappointed! :)


  1. Dirty Little Lies...It has a nice ring to it, it just rolls off your tongue:-D
    Nice interview! Laurie is really pretty.

  2. I can't wait to read it...but I still have to read Deadly Little Secret, too! :)

  3. Friendship

    Never have I had a friend like you, a true friend in life.
    You cracked the veneer, you accept me for who I am
    and for who I am not.
    You showed me there is no need to live in disguise
    and so I drop the fear because you are here.
    To hold my hand, to walk me through this foreign land
    Explore a life of truth between you & I
    This is how we grew to this friendship
    I know now, like I never have
    I have you to thank and this is how
    I love you my friend
    My true friend till the end.
    Copyright 2009 By Joseph Anthony Sanchez


Thanks, I love what you have to say!