Half in Love with Death
by Emily Ross
Publisher: Merit Press
Release Date: December 18th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
It's the era of peace and love in the 1960s, but nothing is peaceful in Caroline's life. Since her beautiful older sister disappeared, fifteen-year-old Caroline might as well have disappeared too. She's invisible to her parents, who can't stop blaming each other. The police keep following up on leads even Caroline knows are foolish. The only one who seems to care about her is Tony, her sister's older boyfriend, who soothes Caroline's desperate heart every time he turns his magical blue eyes on her.
Tony is convinced that the answer to Jess's disappearance is in California, the land of endless summer, among the runaways and flower children. Come with me, Tony says to Caroline, and we'll find her together. Tony is so loving, and all he cares about is bringing Jess home. And so Caroline follows, and closes a door behind her that may never open again.
Inspired by the disturbing case of Charles Schmid, ‘the Pied Piper of Tucson’, Half in Love with Death is a heartfelt thriller that never lets up.
Hello Emily! We are super excited to host you in our FFBC.
I have so many it’s hard to choose, but Mystic River by Dennis Lehane is one of my all time favorites. It’s so sad and dark with such moving and unforgettable characters. And it’s also a tight page turning mystery.
Favorite TV show?
Mad Men. I’m really bummed that the series ended.
It’s a tie between Edward Scissorhands and Silver Linings Playbook.
Your Favorite Song?
The Water (Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling)
Mac and cheese, preferably with Buffalo Chicken.
Who is your perfect fictional boyfriend?
I hate to admit this but it’s Heathcliff, even though I also kind of hate him.
“To hell with tomorrow. To hell with all problems and barriers. Nothing matters but the Spectacular Now.” ― Tim Tharp, The Spectacular Now
What do you find yourself “Fangirling” over?
Kit Harrington. Jon Snow can’t be dead!
If you could meet one author, dead or alive, who would it be?
I would love to meet F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby was one of the first books that made me realize I wanted to me a writer. Something about Fitzgerald’s lyrical style makes me want to put words on a page, and I bet he was a really cool dude.
What authors are auto-buys for you?
I’ll buy anything by Gillian Flynn or Tana French.
For those who have read not the book yet, can you tell us a little about Half In Love With Death?
Half in Love with Death is a young adult thriller that takes place in Tucson in 1965. It’s the time of peace and love, but nothing is peaceful in fifteen-year-old Caroline's life. Since her beautiful older sister Jess disappeared, Caroline might as well have disappeared too. She's invisible to her parents, who can't stop blaming each other. The police keep following up on foolish leads and assume Jess is a runaway. The only person who pays any attention to her is Jess’s boyfriend Tony. Every time she turns around, he’s looking at her with startling blue eyes, telling her how they can find Jess together, how anything is possible if you believe it.
Tony is convinced that the answer to Jess's disappearance is in California, the land of endless summer, among the runaways and flower children. Come with me, Tony says to Caroline, and we'll find her together. Tony is so loving, and all he cares about is bringing Jess home. And so Caroline follows, and by the time she learns the difference between truth and illusion, it may be too late.
Half in Love with Death is inspired by the case of Charles Schmid, ‘the Pied Piper of Tucson’.
If you could describe Caroline in 5 words, what would they be?
Intelligent, curious, romantic, lovely, idealistic
Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write?
I really liked writing the scene where Caroline is in the car with Tony and Debbie Frank for the first time. Debbie’s snarky dialogue with Tony in this scene came very easily. I just had to step back and let her talk. And I had fun with Caroline as she sort of fumbles with her notes and tries to be a detective.
What was more difficult to write, the historical aspects or the mystery?
The mystery was much harder for me than the historical aspects. I had fun researching sixties references and looking at fashion and listening to the music from that era. But figuring out the mystery, planting clues, and figuring out the ending was a challenge. In fact I resisted working out the ending for a long time, and until I did that I couldn’t really make the mystery work. After I finally wrote the end, I had to go back to plant clues and to make sure all the threads hung together. It’s not the ideal way to write a mystery, and the next time I write one I will do more planning up front.
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Emily Ross's YA mystery/thriller HALF IN LOVE WITH DEATH is forthcoming from Merit Press(12/2015). She received a 2014 MCC Artist Fellowship finalist award for fiction, and is a graduate of Grub Street's Novel Incubator program. When not writing she works as a web developer and is the mother of two millennials. Find out more at http://www.emilyrosswrites.com/ or https://twitter.com/emilyross816.