Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Review of Girls & Monsters and Interview with the author Anne Michaud

Author: Anne Michaud
Publication Date: April 30th 2013
Source: eARC provided by the publisher via Net Galley for review

This dark but uplifting collection of five Young Adult novellas includes:

Death Song: Liz is in love with Joe, but the monster of the lake has other plans for them.

Black Dog: Scarlet is engaged in a struggle for her sanity, but according to the voice in her head, she may be too late.

A Blue Story: When Katherine's beloved dog goes missing, she fears her strange new neighbor might be involved.

Dust Bunnies: Christiane faces her childhood arachnophobia and ends up confronting even greater fears in this test of sisterhood.

We Left at Night: Brooke and her family must abandon their home and their lives to make it out of a disease-plagued town overrun by zombies.

Girls & Monsters is for everyone who has ever been brave enough to confront their childhood fears...and lived to tell about it

*I Hereby Award This Book 5 Wings!*

This anthology is comprised of 5 very different short stories about girls and their various monsters. I've decided to give this book an overall review rather than separately for each story because they are too short to try and sum up in a few sentences that won't spoil them for you the reader. I will, however, insert my Goodreads status updates...

Death Song: "Death Song was a good, dark and atmospheric tale about a killer mermaid. Would be nice to see this turned into a longer story!"

Black Dog: "Black Dog: A nerve-wracking, nail-biting, chilling story of a girl who self harms. It made the hairs on the back if my neck stand on end!"

A Blue Story:  "Just read A Blue Story; sad story about neighbourhood pets going missing. Katherine's dog, Sweet Sally, being the latest one in a long line. Bittersweet ending!"

Dust Bunnies: "Just finished Dust Bunnies; Fact - I HATE spiders. But this story, though it involved a giant spider, was intriguing, funny and would make an awesome full length novel."

We Left At Night: "Just finished We Left At Night. Best book in the anthology. I love zombies and Anne Michaud writes them well!"

The truth be known, I enjoyed every book but the 3 that really stood out for me were Death Song , Dust Bunnies and We Left At Night. I would love them to be turned into full-length novels. They were just so spooky and atmospheric. 
Having never read anything by Anne Michaud, I am pleased to learn that she has a very smooth style of writing. Each novelette is something you can really sink your teeth into. They are all fast-paced page-turners.
I could have finished the entire book in one sitting if it weren't for the fact that I started reading it so late at night. However, I found that once I sat down the next morning, I could not tear my eyes away from the pages.
The fact is, all of the stories are about young girls and their various monsters. In Death Song, it's a killer mermaid, Black dog is pretty self explanatory, the monster is a black dog. A Blue Story isn't a monster you might find under your bed, rather someone who is pet-napping neighbourhood pets. Dust Bunnies isn't what it says on the tin, rather it's a large spider by the name of Bunny. The last book, We Left At Night is about zombies.

I liked each one of them in turn for various reasons and because of my enjoyment of them all, I felt the anthology warranted a 5 wing rating.

I think if I had to pick a favourite, it would be We Left At Night. I like zombies, and luckily for me, Anne Michaud writes them well. It was the kind of story that had you teetering on the edge of your seat, biting your fingernails, and waiting for that moment when it all comes crashing down around the main characters ears; all typical horror movie style reactions. For me, this is why it was the most enjoyable story. I love a good nail-biting session.

I am very pleased to have been able to read this book ahead of it's release and so I am very grateful to both the publisher and to Net Galley for supplying me with the eARC.

Most of all, I am thankful for Anne Michaud getting in touch and asking me if I wanted to review her book. I am lucky enough to be putting together an interview with her too.

I hope you will all be purchasing your copy on April 30th. Feel free to come back and tell me what you think of it.

For now, here's the interview...

Firstly, I would like to ask you some background details, if that’s okay?

Name: Anne Michaud
Age: 25 forever
D.O.B: February 14th
Place of Birth: Montreal
Place of Residence: Tiny town on the south shore of Montreal
Marital Status: single lady
Children?: never!!
Favourite Food & Drink: white wine, pasta and cheese
Favourite Holiday Destination: somewhere by the raging sea
Favourite Music: The Cure, and 90s industrial, 80s goth, old folk, something with dark soul, too.
Favourite Book: L'écume des jours, Boris Vian
Favourite Author: Neil Gaiman
Favourite Quote(s): “The more I see of the world, the less inclined I am to think well of it.”
Elizabeth Bennett, Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

How old were you when you decided you wanted to be an author? 
After my master's degree in screenwriting, on a set shooting my third short film, I realized I preferred the writing part of the process instead of dealing with neurotics and their problems. I've never looked back from it.

Who inspired you to become an author? 
No one, really. I just wrote down stories and shaped them into something I would like to read myself.

What kind of books do you like to read? 
Mostly young adult, but with a very dark edge. Don't give me frills and romance, I want action and despair with a good twist.

What made you decide to write the things you do? 
Everyone says 'write what you love', so I just do.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would you most like to be? 
I'm pretty good at interior design, so for sure I'd be telling people what to do with their homes. This and something in psychology, I think  -to mold minds. Mouahahaha!

What inspired the anthology ‘Girls & Monsters’? 
I had a bunch of short stories passed by anthologies and magazines, so I've edited and worked them into novellas, strengthening their weaker parts and making them darker. Then I noticed two major themes in my stories: girls and monsters, so I had found my title, too.

What was the inspiration behind each novella in the anthology? 
Death Song started with a dream where a creepy creature visited me in a bathroom, so I started from there; Black Dog is reminiscent of my first time living in London, arriving in a foreign city and staying at a youth hostel; A Blue Story was written for an anthology that never saw the day; Dust Bunnies was inspired by Lullaby by The Cure and is also an homage to Christiane F., a young Berliner prostituting herself for heroin; And the first act of We Left at Night was another dream I had, which left a deep impression on me.

Have you always wanted to write horror books?
Not horror per say, more like any good story with a super dark edge – that's my kind of thing. Any genre, but uber dark.

Do you see yourself writing in any other genres in the future? 
I already am, finishing another collection of novellas with a soft sci-fi theme and editing a literary war drama. I'd never stop myself at any genre – writing is like eating: you need different types of food to taste new things.

What was the first thing you wrote? Was it also the first thing you got published?
Yes, actually! Visitors was my first short story that got accepted in the first magazine I sent it to! This is where I got the publishing bug, really.

Are you a full-time author or do you have a ‘day-job’? 
Well, I'm not 'there' yet, so yes, I do transcription from home, which saves me loads of wasted commute time to write, instead.

If you’re not an author full-time, is that your goal, to become one? Or are you happy to have a job and write at the same time? 
Oh no, I really want to write full-time. It is my number one goal, and has been for a while.

How do you like to spend your days?
I write a little, go walk Poe (my rescue Japanese spaniel), eat, work the day job, write, eat, read, go to bed. My life is pretty simple, which suits me just fine.

Do you listen to music when you write (and if so what kind?) or do you find it a distraction?
I cannot write without music!! Actually, I choose the music depending on the mood I try to create in my story. Ironically, although The Cure has been with me every step of my life, I cannot write listening to them. Too beautiful, too breathtaking, I lose track of my thoughts when I listen to them.
* I love The Cure myself - Lullaby and Love Song have o be 2 of my faves*

What other books have you got in the pipelines?
Is there anything you can share with us about a current ‘work in progress’? Well, Girls & Aliens is almost done, my French novella about Hiroshima is going on the slate, next. Then, it's Girls & Ghosts and in the fall, Killer Girl, my YA thriller.

What do you think the future holds for you?
I hope more books. Always more books.

Which do you aspire to most: a huge book deal, a movie or TV series made from your books or something entirely different?
A movie, but something done with little money and a lot of heart – you know the type of project actors don't get their usual fee because they believe in the story so much? That kinda thing.

If a series was to be made for TV around ‘Girls & Monsters’, who would you like to see playing the characters (in an ideal world where we all get exactly what we want)
Wow, that's a toughie. I'm in awe of Jennifer Lawrence (I mean, have you seen Winter's Bone??!!), so she could play any of the girls and I'd be happy with it. Oh, and Gary Oldman – put him somewhere, anywhere. I just love him so.
*I so love Gary Oldman, I mean come on, Sirius Black? Phwoar*
Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to answer my questions! It’s great to get to know more about you.

Author Bio:

She who likes dark things never grew up. She never stopped listening to gothic, industrial and alternative bands like when she was fifteen. She always loved to read horror and dystopia and fantasy, where doom and gloom drip from the pages.

She, who was supposed to make films, decided to write short stories, novelettes and novels instead. She, who’s had her films listed on festival programs, has been printed in a dozen anthologies and magazines since.

She who likes dark things prefers night to day, rain to sun, and reading to anything else.

She tweets @annecmichaud

Giveaway!! Softcover copy + The Monster Collection Skellies, 5 pieces handcrafted by the author: <a href="http://www.darkfuse.com/contact/view.php?id=10891" title="GIRLS & MONSTERS Giveaway">GIRLS & MONSTERS Giveaway</a>

** Giveaway link for people on Wordpress: http://www.darkfuse.com/contact/view.php?id=10891"

The winner will be announced during the LIVE CHAT on release day, April 30th at 9PM east http://www.darkfuse.com/events.html

Thank you for coming by for my review. I hope to see you all here again soon!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for that review, Keren ♥♥♥ and for being part of my Girls & Monsters Blog Tour!!!


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