Monday, December 1, 2014

Book Blitz: Compulsion (The Heirs of Watson Island #1) by Martina Boone

Publisher: Simon Pulse, Simon Teen
Release Date: 10/28/14
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Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

Compulsion is available anywhere books are sold. Signed copies are available from One More Page Books. You can also order with the special “I have a Compulsion for reading” bookplate from Eight Cousins.

by Martina Boone

In this telephone scene between Barrie and her godfather Mark, who is dying of cancer on the other side of the country, Barrie is trying to keep things light by telling him about her first kiss with Eight. Mark immediately leaps to a conclusion that she refuses to accept, but with time running out, Mark is all too aware of what it’s like to have regrets for the road not taken. 

“Earth to Mark?” Barrie said. “I told you I kissed a boy. Aren’t you going to say anything?” 

“I warned you about falling in love with him, didn’t I? I told you to have a good time. Have a fling, I said. Why don’t you ever listen?” 

Barrie’s lungs deflated. “Who said anything thing about love?” 

“You don’t need to say it. But so we’re clear here: I told you not to fall for him.” 

“And I told you orange was not your color, but you still ordered that Isaac Mizrahi dress. Don’t give me I-told-you-sos.” 

“The dress had bows that tied at the elbows. How was I gonna pass that up?” 

“Easy. You could have moved on to something better.” 

“That’s exactly what I’m saying—” 

“This is a boy, not a dress!” 

“Which only makes him harder to return!” Mark took a deep, long breath that ended in another cough. “All right. Clearly you’ve already fallen for your number boy. So you might as well figure the pain is coming and make sure the crash is worth it.” 

“What do you mean?” Barrie stopped where the path ended and the dock began and turned away so Eight couldn’t see her face. 

“The things I regret at the end of my life aren’t the ones that left me hurt. I regret all the things I never had the courage to do.” 

“You have more courage than anyone I know.” 

“Overcompensating for being scared isn’t the same as being brave, baby girl.”

by Martina Boone

Before I get to the human characters, I have to say that setting is very definitely a character in the HEIRS OF WATSON ISLAND trilogy. Watson Island is loosely based on Edisto Island, and I borrowed from actual Charleston area plantation history to create the three plantations that shaped who the three families became. There was tons of material to work with-I mean, pirate treasure, ancient spirit witches, blood feuds, lonely, demented characters, curses, forbidden romance . . . How could I resist?

My dream cast of plantations would include Boone Hall Plantation, with bits of Magnolia Plantation and Drayton Hall thrown in. For the ruins of Colesworth Place, I’d love to use part of the columns that are all that’s left of the Windsor Plantation in Port Gibson, Mississippi. There is a Windsor Plantation on Edisto Island, too, but it doesn’t have the same level of drama and echoing sadness.
Okay, and now on to the fun part. Human characters.


Barrie first. I’d love to Jennifer Lawrence play Barrie, of course, but basically, I’d like Jennifer Lawrence to play the main character in every movie, so that may not tell you much. I might go with Nicola Peltz.

Eight (Charles Robert Beaufort, VIII)

Liam Hemsworth, I think, although Alex Pettyfer is probably the default here for most readers, and of course I wouldn’t turn him down. 

Barrie’s cousin Cassie.

Rooney Mara. This one’s a no-brainer for me. She could do Scarlett/Vivien Leigh, and I think she’d pull off the various sides of Cassie with the complexity that Cassie needs.

Barrie’s godfather Mark.

Idris Elba. I can picture him ROCKING a pink Chanel suit and heels and shaking his booty and singing along with Whoopie Goldberg in Sister Act doing “Hail Holy Queen.” I wonder if he’d be willing to shave?

Barrie’s Aunt Pru.

Hard to believe that Reese Witherspoon is about the right age, but she is. And she would do a fabulous job.

Eight’s father Seven (Charles Robert Beaufort, VII).

If they cast Patrick Dempsey as Seven, then McDreamy might finally get the girl he missed in Sweet Home Alabama. Maybe. Eventually. By the end of the series—if I decide that Seven is truly good enough for Pru.

Q. Whats your favorite thing about Compulsion?
A. I secretly love Gothic novels. There was a point where Daphne du Maurier's REBECCA and Mary Stewart's AIRS ABOVE THE GROUND were among my favorite novels. I've always adored books with exotically dangerous settings, quirky characters, and elements of mystery and suspense. Since I'm from Prague, one of the most magical, broodingly beautiful cities in the world, the bar for magical locations is set pretty hight. But the South. Ah, there I have all the elements I lovea haunted past, regret, anger, continuing conflict, and questions of morality galore. Southern plantations are the closest thing to moldering abbeys and decaying castles that we have in the United States. I'm grateful to Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl for reminding me of how much I love all the elements they included in BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, because their series got me thinking about the possibilities of Spanish moss and crumbling Southern mansions. My favorite thing about Compulsion, hands down, is the setting and how it shaped (and twisted) the characters and families who live there.

Q: What do you want readers to take away from COMPULSION?
A. That you can pick your family, the people you love. And that you need to do more than just survive your life. You have to go out and live your life.

Q. Is there a one sentence pitch for COMPULSION?
Someone the School Library Journal recently said its a bit Gone with the Wind and a bit Romeo and Juliet with a dose of paranormal all wrapped up in an engrossing mystery. Ill take that! :) Really its a Southern Gothic romance about teens from three South Carolina plantations whose ancestors bargained with an ancient spirit and received two magical gifts and a curse that has passed down through the generations so that the current generations are faced with dangerous situations and family feuds, and have to unravel the mystery of the curse to save themselves.

Q: Can you sum up COMPULSION in one word? 
A: Sure. The title: Compulsion. I think my editor nailed it coming up with that. 

Q: So COMPULSION wasn't the original title?
A: The book has had three titles, and I love them all. My working title was FIRE CARRIER, and when you read the book, you'll get that. My brilliant acquiring editor, Annette Pollert, who edited the book all the way up to copyedits, came up with BEHOLDEN, which everyone loved, and that also suits the book perfectly. But the bottom line is that COMPULSION fits several themes in the book and also conveys a sense of energy that I hope I've achieved in the plot. It's by far my favorite, and it carries through into the rest of the series.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for COMPULSION?
A: I wrote a short story for an anthology that ended up having some of the same characters in it, and I knew I wasn't done with the place or the characters yet. But it wasn't until I dreamed about a ball of fire drifting through the woods and setting a river aflame that I had the anchoring visual for the book. The rest all came from asking why and doing a lot of research and brainstorming, which did include two separate research trips to the Charleston area. 

Q: Why did you want to tell this story?
A: Pirates, ghosts, witches, voodoo, treasure, forbidden love, mystery, murder . . .  Who wouldn't want to tell this story? Seriously, it's the loneliness of the characters, their quest to find each other, and ultimately their ability to save each other or destroy each other. The characters became as real for me as my own family, and I wanted to share them to make them live for other people, too. 

Q. What is the weirdest piece of research you had to do when writing COMPULSION?
A. I researched a LOT of off the wall things for this book: pirates, shipwrecks, ghosts, witches, voodoo, hoodoo, Cherokee witchcraft, slavery, drug running, lost treasures of the Civil War, Confederate privateering, the Red Sea Gold, indigo production, drag queens/drag shows, secret rooms, furniture with hidden drawers, ball lightning . . . The thing that fascinated me the most on a research level was the various forms of magic that were present in the South with the confluence of belief systems brought there by slaves from different regions and religions intersecting with Native American belief systems. I spent a lot of time Googling specific spells and curses and trying to work out how the interpretation of them might have changed over three hundred years.

Q. Were there any scenes that had to be cut that you wish would have stayed in?
A. I honestly cant think of a single scene I cut out fully. There were pieces of scenes that I took out, and the majority of those were ghost scenes. Theres a particular one that I cant share, but I fully intend to make it the foundation of a whole book someday. : )

Q: COMPULSION is part of a trilogy. Did you already have the series written when you submitted the manuscript?
A: I never meant to write a series, but I knew I wasn't done with Watson Island yet, so after I'd written the second draft, I gave both Eight and Cassie little sisters. I intended to let them help me explore the magical aspects of those families in companion novels. When my agent and I were getting ready to submit COMPULSION to publishers, I very quickly wrote synopses for the novels. Just quick sketches. And then I immediately went to work writing the second book to keep from going crazy while I was waiting to see if COMPULSION would sell. We already had a phone call scheduled with a publisher for a Monday, and my agent called me at five o'clock on Thursday night to tell me that Annette, my future editor, wanted to talk to me the next day, and did I have time. Um, does McDonalds sell hamburgers? Also, he said, Annette wanted to know if I would consider making the other two books a series. Sure, I said. Of course. And then I had until ten-thirty the next morning to come up with ideas: plot and character arcs for the series, a plot that was progressive instead of episodic, themes that would carry across the books. All that. So I called my critique partners and begged for brainstorming help. We were all focusing on plot at first, and then when I was just talking things trough, I finally realized what the character progressions had to be. Instead of crying about the loss of what I'd already written in Book Two, I got excited about the series idea instead, and I also realized that I could use what I'd done for Book Two. Just in a different way.

Q:  How did the phone call go?
A: Awesome. I fell in love with Annette. We talked forever, and it went by like it was five minutes.

Q. Did anything change in the story as you were writing COMPULSION?
A. Besides me, you mean? Um. There was a character who was meant to be a very minor character who kind of took over the book. But also there were things that changed in every draft: motivation, or past history, or character, or plot. I got to know my characters better each time, and the more I knew them, the more something changed.  

Q: What was the most surprising part of writing COMPULSION? 
A: How it turned out. People who read my blog, may know that I used to think of myself as a plotter. I wrote outlines. Long outlines. Thirty or forty thousand word outlines. And if someone asked me to write a synopsis of a book, I had to first write the outline  at which point, I eventually realized that I wasn't writing an outline at all; I was writing a first draft. I don't know where I first heard the word, but someone somewhere mentioned doing something they called a discovery draft. Coming across that term was one of the biggest AHA! moments of my life. So yeah. It turns out I'm not a plotter, but I'm also not completely a pantser. I'm a plantser. With COMPULSION, I knew where I was going  I had that draft to use as a roadmap, but things kept changing. I was constantly surprised.

Q: What do you think will shock readers the most in COMPULSION?
A: There are a lot of surprisesI hope. At least I hear from readers that there are surprises. And several of them are meant to be shocking, but they are shocking in different ways. I'd love to hear from readers (privately or at least in a non-spoilery way ) what they think shocked them the most.

Q: What do you want readers to take away from COMPULSION?
A. That you can pick your family, the people you love. And that you need to do more than just survive your life. You have to go out and live your life.

Q: Who is your favorite character in COMPULSION?
A: This is such a mean questionand yes, I know I ask this of other writers when we do interviews for But it is mean. Choosing between characters is like choosing between your children. I'm also going to make a distinction between who is my favorite character and who is my favorite character to write. I think Barrie is my favorite character, because I know things about her that no one else knows yetthings she doesn't even know herself. But it's a close call, because Eight is an amazing guyI'm half in love with him as I write him. And then Mark, and Pru, and Lula, and Cassie. Oh, Cassie. Sigh.

Q: Which character in COMPULSION is the most fun to write?
That one is super easy. Mark. He was meant to be a tiny part of the storyreally, he was originally a ficelle, a character who is really just there to deliver information. But his personality took over my heart.

Q: If you could hang out with one of the characters from COMPULSION, who would you pick?
A: Well, I'm married. And I'm old. Er. Older. So I shouldn't say Eight, right? Okay, yeah. Definitely not Eight. And if we take Eight out of the picture, then I'd have to say Mark, because anyone would have a blast hanging out with Mark.

Q. How would you describe Barrie?
A. Sheltered, feisty, stubborn, compassionate, and courageous.
Imagine growing up with a mother who never went outside and was scared and jealous every time that you were able to leave. The main loving influence in Barries life was her godfather Mark, the ex-drag queen who stepped in to take care of her when she was a baby, and he loved her so much that he stayed to take care of her ever since. But at the beginning of the book, both of those people are yanked away, and Barrie discovers she has a family she never knew about on the other side of the country. Shes been so sheltered she doesnt know how to read people, and she longs for connection so badly that shes prone to making a lot of mistakes about whom to trust. Especially with regard to using the family gift for finding lost things, trusting the wrong people can be deadly.

Q. Where does the name Eight come from? Is that anything like Four? 
A. Nope. Not at all. Family and tradition are big in the South, and thats even more true on Watson Island where the family histories go back three hundred years and the gift is passed down to the oldest child. Eight is short for Charles Robert Beaufort, VIII. His father is Seven, Charles Robert Beaufort, VII. And obviously, that tradition goes back a few years. : ) Eight is tired of feeling more like a number than a person, so when we first meet him, he cant wait to get away from Watson Island. That becomes a big problem once Barrie arrives, because it turns out she literally wont be able to ever leave the island.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Eight?
A: Apart from the fact that hes sexy, swoony, and sweet? Its that hes got a little edge of badass, but hes intensely kind and treats Barrie wellhe may call her out once in a while when she does something reckless, but he lets her make her own mistakes and supports her through them. Im all about alpha males as long as the relationship is equal. Eight makes Barrie stronger and helps her see herself through his eyes, helping her to realize that she is more than she ever thought she could be.

Q: I've heard that readers, especially men, are fascinated by Cassie. Why? 
A: Well, Cassie's kind of Scarlett O'Hara-ish, so I can see that. But I didn't realize just how intrigued men would be by the bad girl edge she has to her. I'm curious to see what people think after Book Two.

Q. What happens in PERSUASION, the second book of the trilogy?
A.  I can't share that yet, but it's kind of epic. And heartbreaking. Really, really heartbreaking and also healing.

Q: Are any of the characters personalities based on you or on people you know? 
A: I'd love to have known Eight when I was young enough to enjoy him, because yum. But also Mark because he's so fierce and so Mark. I'd love to have a best friend like Barrie and an aunt like Pru. In real life, I know people who might have a trait or two that could be similar, that might have sparked a thought, but ultimately, the characters became themselves as they spilled out onto the page. They are nothing like me or anyone I know. Except maybe for Mrs. Pricewho is based on a lovely woman I met while on a research trip. She was so spunky and fun that I've never been able to forget her.

Q: Some of the characters in COMPULSION are a bit extreme. Do you feel like that's realistic?
A: I think that junior high and high school aren't very realistic. They can be horrible, terrible places where people do things to each other than I can't even imagine putting into a book. Schools are all about finding who you are, and that's what books are about. I feel like sometimes writers need to make things a little bigger in a book to give readers the chance to let themselves feel like what's happening is removed from them, even while it is speaking directly to them. I mean, are there going to be Hunger Games in the near future? Man, I hope not. But that doesn't make Katniss' feelings resonate with me any less.

Q: Is there really a Watson Island?
A: In some parallel universe, Watson Island is somewhere near Edisto Island, South Carolina. The plantations are loosely based on plantations I've visited, and I'll admit that Boone Plantation figured heavily into the mix. It's beautiful. If you havent been there, go visit when you get a chance.  

Q. How would you describe Watson Island?

Watson Island is the sort of sleepy, close-knit, gossipy town that most people who have visited the South will recognize, with a bit of a difference. The town is well aware of the magic that surrounds the three founding families, and particularly the plantation at Watsons Landing. They keep the secret. In that way, the book begins like magical realism, but the magic is part of the mystery that Barrie Watson has to uncover when she arrives.

The truly magical place is Watsons Landing. There, the spirit of a Cherokee witch sets the river surrounding the property on fire each night at midnight in a ceremony he has performed for longer than anyone remembers in order to keep the land protected and to keep the yunwi, the mischievous and magical little people confined to the island. As Barrie comes to find out, she is bound to this land, both physically and spiritually, and uncovering what that means and why the island exists is part of what I am having a blast exploring in the course of the trilogy. 

The gifts (and the curse) that belong to the Watsons, Beauforts, and Colesworths, all tie into this magic, but not necessarily for the reasons the families think.  

Q. Watson Island is really a character in the book, did you do that intentionally?
A.  Up to a point, yes. Thats part of Southern Gothic fiction, but I think that it happened very organically because it all had a history and an atmosphere that I saw very clearly. I did try to use that to highlight certain themes and plot elements, but I would have been crazy not to do that.

Q: What was one of your favorite scenes to write? 
I have a lot of favorite scenes, but I love the first beach scene with the turtle nests and that first big jump in the romance between Eight and Barrie. That's followed closely by the fountain scene. And the sandbar scene where Barrie first gets a hint of her strength. And Mark. Any scene with Mark is my favorite. I have a few that I wish I could have put in the book. I may write them someday, just for fun.

Q: What was the hardest scene to write?
There are several scenes that made me cryand I still teared up even when I was reviewing copyedits, despite having been through something like a hundred and forty seven drafts (okay, maybe not quite that many). But yeah, there are a lot of emotional scenes that wrung me out and left me feeling like a strand of overcooked spaghetti. Hands down the hardest scene for me to write was the beginning, though, which is ironic because I founded and still mentor the First Five Pages Workshop, where I (along with some AMAZING authors) help aspiring writers nail the early part of their manuscript. 

My problem with the beginning is that Barrie is literally broken at that point, but the reader doesn't know that. Even Barrie doesn't know it fully. It was so hard trying to find a way to show the reader a girl who would be interesting to read about, a girl who would become strong, while at the same time hinting at her brokennessat the way that she perceives herself before she's found that she is worth loving. Barrie is like a lot of girls who don't recognize the strength and beauty within themselves. 

Q. There's a lot of Southern Gothic fiction hitting the marketplace lately. What sets COMPULSION apart?
A. At its essence, the Southern Gothic fiction I really love is about haunted families and the kind of tradition that passes down from one generation to another whether the next generation wants it or not. It's about haunting settings, quirky characters, and dangerous situations, but it's also about epic love. COMPULSION is about all of that in equal measure, but it's also a coming of age story, a story about finding your place, your family, yourself. There are definitely weird, memorable characters. Someone I really respect once described it as MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL meets ROMEO AND JULIET meets THE SIXTH SENSE. I hope that's kind of different. 

Q: What makes Barrie a character that readers could look up to? 
A: She's vulnerable and clueless about herself the same way that so many girls are clueless, the same way that society sends us signals about not being worthwhile unless we conform to some kind of "ideal image." She's naïve and she falls into the trap of wanting to look for the good in everyone. But she hasn't had a lot of life experience, and her longing to belong makes her willing to put up with too much for the sake of fitting in. At the same time, she's deeply compassionate and she fights against injustice whenever she finds it. She's willing to go to the mat for anyone who is being treated unfairly. She's heroic in that way. And eventually she does find her strength. Or at least she starts to find it in this book.

Q: What appealed to you about creating a character who is compelled in the way Barrie is?
A: We're all, as human beings, locked up in some way. Figuring out how to free ourselves is a huge challenge, and I loved being able to explore that in a literal way that was metaphysical at the same time.

Q: Who was the hardest character to write? 
A: Cassie. Hands down. She's so complicated and influenced by . . . secret, spoilerish things. But I know things that no one else, including Barrie, knows about her. Also we are all seeing Cassie through the filter of Barrie's point of view, so that makes her more elusive and hard to grasp. My original Book Twothe one I put aside when my publisher wanted a series instead of two companion bookswas from Cassie's point of view. That was due to a request from beta readers (okay, male beta readers) who needed more Cassie. My original plan had been to write the companion book from the perspective of Cassie's sister Sydney, but hearing the reader responses, I changed my mind and changed the end of Book One to make it possible to keep Cassie around. Writing from her perspective, even for a little while, made me see her completely differently. But she's still a difficult character to bring to the page. I really want to do a novella from her POV at some point. 

Q: Who or what was the inspiration for the villain in COMPULSION? 
A: There are several "villains" and not all of them are obvious. But none of them really had an inspiration. Except the guy with the skull tattooed on the back of his head. That I know where it came from, but I can't say because . . . um . . . I can't say.

Q: What is something about Barrie that you didn't put in the book/series?
A: She sucked her index and middle fingers until she was seven, but she was living with Lula, so I think that's totally understandable.

Q: If you were going to write a spin-off about one of your characters, who would it be and why?
A: Cassie, because I know why she is how she isand because I know the relationship that's coming to her in Book Two, and the guy is so super hot and wonderful (seriously, possibly my favorite hero EVER) that I want to write the falling in love process from her perspective just so I can feel it with her. 

Q: Which character refused to stick to your script?
A: Mark. He was meant to have a small part in the first couple of chapters, but he kept sticking his size fourteen Louboutins into the book at every opportunity.

Q: What's the best scene you've ever written?
A:  A scene in the companion novel I meant to write from Cassie's point of view. That became the foundation for Persuasion, but seen from Barries point of view its not the same. The original was heartbreaking. I'm hoping to put it into a novella sometime soon.

Q: What scene made you cry while you were writing?
The kitchen scene the first night Barrie is at Watson's Landing. Almost every conversation with Mark. The attic scene with Pru, and some other scenes I can't mention because of spoilers.

Q: What is the core thing in your book? The one thing you would never in a million years have given up no matter how much money someone paid you?
A: Mark and the Fire Carrier. And having Watson's Landing as a character.

Q: If you could pull one thing from your series world to have in real life, what would it be?
A: Watson's Landing. I'd move there in a heartbeat.

Q. There are a lot of things woven together in COMPULSION: Barrie's compulsion and the situation at Watson's Landing, the mystery of Lula's leaving, the romance with Eight, the situation with Mark, and the situation with the Colesworths. Which came first and which do you think is the most important?
Those are all part of the story of Barrie finding herself and her place in the world, which also ties into the romance between her and Eight. Watsons Landing and the mystery of Lula's leaving both came from a short story I did, they came before the rest of the characters. The Fire Carrier came after that, and everything else derives from the origin story I created for the Fire Carrier. Because they're all interconnected, I think they're all important, but ultimately, for me, it's the romance between Barrie and Eight, and the relationship between her and Watson's Landing thats the heart of the story. For me, those things are impossible to separate. I'm eager to hear what readers take away.

Q. Watson Island is an important character in COMPULSION. Did you plan it that way?
A.  There are certain conventions in Gothic fiction, but to be honest, I tried very hard not to think about any of that while I was writing or editing COMPULSION. I just wanted to convey the history that shaped the families and made Barrie, Eight, Cassie, Pru, Seven, and Wyatt who they are all in the book. Because the history creates the story instead of just forming a framework for the story, I think it takes on a deeper meaning. It's certainly fascinatingat least to me. I mean, pirate treasure, ancient spirit witches, blood feuds, lonely, demented characters, curses, forbidden romance . . . How could I resist? 

At the same time, I love having the opportunity to use elements of Watson's Landing, Colesworth Place, Beaufort Hall, and Watson Island itself to underscore Barrie's moods and trace the way she grows and changes. Thats going to be especially true in the subsequent books as well, but the questions of morality that are often a part of Gothic literature are definitely going to be an even bigger part of Books Two and Three. And yet I'm having fun going places where Southern Gothics don't normally go. Give me a rule, and I pretty much have to break it. 

Q: COMPULSION covers a lot of ground, from difficult family situations to the way love can be both harmful and healing. Is that what you set out to write about?
A: When I started writing this story, I knew it was going to be an exploration of love and healing, of the meaning of home and family and obligation. I didn't know how that was going to all come together, and there were times when I couldn't see how I was going to pull the many threads into something coherent. But really, it's just a love story that looks at many different sides of love. If it makes readers feel something, then I've done my job. I hope they feel something. 

Q: There's a moment when the love between Eight and Barrie almost feels a little insta-lovish. But it isn't. Did you worry about that when you were writing?
A: At the moment when Barrie and Eight meet, the reader doesnt fully understand their gifts, so it was a risk leaving that open to the readers interpretation. I like to leave room for the reader, though, so I never spell that out. Once readers understand the gifts, they get it when they think it through. It isnt insta-love at all! And Barrie is very determined not to make the mistake of letting herself believe in love that comes too quickly. The two of them do fall for each other, but they go through a lot together very quickly. And trust me, their story is far from over in the first book.

As far as insta-love in general goes? My husband told me he loved me in the middle of a poker party two weeks after we met. We married less than a year after we met, and we're still married. Love can happen very fast and still be real and lasting. I'm not personally a fan of the kind of insta-love where a character is in danger but the second she sees a hot guy, all she can do is think about how hot he is. Or the kind where one or two super-hot guys fall in love with a heroine who's not only ordinary looking but doesn't really do anything that makes her stand out. Barrie takes action early on, even though she's scared and not used to handling things on her own. She's naïve, so sometimes her decisions aren't the smartest, but you know what? I was making naïve decisions when I was a lot older than Barrie. That's what I love the most about her. She does the best she can at any given time. Her choices sometimes drove me crazy as I was writing, but I had to let them be her choices, based on her background and her character.

Q. Why did you decide to write a Southern Gothic novel?
A.  I love Gothics. There was a point where Daphne du Maurier's REBECCA and Mary Stewart's AIRS ABOVE THE GROUND were among my favorite novels. I've always adored books with exotically dangerous settings, quirky characters, and elements of mystery and suspense. Since I'm from Prague, one of the most magical, broodingly beautiful cities in the world, the settings in the Los Angeles and even D.C. fell short. But the South. Ah, there I have all the elements I lovea haunted past, regret, anger, continuing conflict, and questions of morality galore. Southern plantations are the closest thing to moldering abbeys and decaying castles that we have in the United States. I'm grateful to Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl for reminding me of how much I love all the elements they included in BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, because their series got me thinking about the possibilities of Spanish moss and crumbling Southern mansions.

Q: Whats the coolest part of COMPULSION's journey to publication so far?
Talking to readers about my characters as if they are real. Hearing the excitement in my agent's voice and in my editor's voice when they talk about my characters. That's fabulous, because to me Eight and Barrie and all the others are very real. But also seeing the incredible amount of love and support that everyone at Simon Pulse has given to this book. I'm awed and overwhelmed by that. Ask me what the most humbling and the most inspiring part of COMPULSION's journey has been so far, and my answer will be identical to this one. : )

There was also a moment four days after I got the electronic version of the copyedited pages hot off the press. I noticed a line from a book in my Twitter notifications. I frequently tweet quotes I like from my Tumblr account, but while the quote looked familiar, I didnt remember posting it. The bookstore that tweeted it used hashtag #mynewfavoritequote, though, and I stared at it for like thirty seconds before I realized it was from my book, which I hadn't even realized was out in the world anywhere. That was a jaw-dropping and immeasurably cool moment I will remember forever. (Thank you Sara Hines from Eight Cousins Bookstore!)

Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She fell in love with words and never stopped delighting in them.

She’s the founder of, a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and, a site devoted to encouraging literacy and all this YA Series.

From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, children, and Auggie the wonder dog, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.

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