Of the Trees
By: E.M. Fitch
Publication Date: February 28th, 2017
Cassie and Laney fancy themselves amateur ghost hunters. When a carnival comes to town, Cassie embraces the chance to try something new.
Carnival workers watch the girls with a collective gaze that ignites in Laney a dark and dangerous fascination, leaving Cassie unnerved.
It’s not just their age or the unsettling way they stare. There is something in the shifting of their skin and the way their features seem to change in the shadows.
Cassie can’t shake this sickening feeling that there’s more to the carnival than meets the eye.
When townspeople suddenly start dying and bloody warnings appear around town, Cassie is lured into a nightmare where trees whisper and strange, shape-shifting men haunt the backwoods she once hunted for ghosts with her best friend.
Then Laney goes missing, and only Cassie can get her back. But the creatures of the trees aren’t simply going to hand Laney over to Cassie without getting something in return.
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If you emptied out your purse, wallet, desk drawer, pockets, backpack, beach bag, saddle bag, or fanny pack, what would we find?
My purse. Hmm… it’s a big bag that I bought specifically so I could fit my laptop and at least two books in there with room to spare for a water bottle and candy (there’s always candy). So that’s what you’d find. That along with an assortment of pens, lip balm, hair ties, loose change, ear buds, phone charger, laptop charger, and possibly a random toy that one of my kids shoved in there. Actually, my kids toss things in my purse all the time. Once I found a toy car, an open pack of fruit snacks, and a golf ball.
What is your writing process? Are you a plotter or a panster?
Totally. I tried for the longest time to be a plotter, and I’d start off with such great intentions; but my characters and their plans always got the best of me. Maybe I’m a softie, but I usually let my characters have their way.
What is your number one writing tip?
Just one? Okay. Don’t stop. Write whenever you feel the itch, write about whatever strikes your fancy. Don’t worry about what’s in just now, don’t worry about making that first novel just perfect. Write the next book, and the next, and the next. Keep moving, keeping writing, and at some point along the way, show your work to someone else.
Describe your book in 5 words or less
Evil forest creatures seduce girls.
A book goes through a lot of different versions and rounds of editing before it’s complete. What are some “fun facts” or behind the scenes info you can share about the characters from your book or the world you created for it that may or may not have made it to the final draft of the book?
I know the big question that everyone will have at the end of Of The Trees is: “So, what were they?” The novel won’t answer that for you. You won’t really know the origin of the evil creatures that are lurking in the forest, though clues are left throughout. The sequel will tell you, but not until the end. Even then, it’s only a bare mention. I do this all on purpose, though. I wanted there to be an air of mystery. Because if these things truly happened, if your friend got sucked into the world of the forest, or people you knew were danced to death in a trance-like state deep in the woods, no matter what name someone could give to it – that would be mysterious, and insane, and there would be an air of disbelief. So it’s not so much knowing that vampires, or ghosts, or (whisper it) fairies exist in the world, it’s knowing that there are deeper mysteries. And sometimes those mysteries can be dangerous.
I can also tell you that I have complete timelines, backstories, and character histories that span ages (especially for the creatures of the trees). Some fun facts: Corey and Aiden are older than anyone in the story even remotely imagines – they were born before this century and the last. But they are still younger than the elders of the forest, those other Fae who were born before time had been recorded.
And lastly, here’s a fun fact: the peanut butter pie recipe I talk about in Of The Trees absolutely exists; and I absolutely added a ridiculous amount of salt because my best friend at the time read the directions out loud and messed that part up. We still argue to this day whose fault that was, and my mother still laughs when she remembers us spitting out that disgusting pie in the kitchen sink.
Do you have a special story behind your inspiration for the book?
Not one particular story, more a twisting of inspirations. The cemetery that Cassie and Laney hang out in was modeled off a haunted cemetery that my friends and I used to frequent when I was a teen. (And no, we never met the ghostly Green Lady who supposedly haunted the place.) So between remembered ghost stories, Irish folktales of the Fae, my own Irish lineage, and my desire to tell a story that centered around a true, living and breathing, fighting-but-loving-each-other-anyway friendship – Of The Trees was born.
Who was your favorite character to write and who gave you the most trouble?
Laney was my favorite character to write in this novel. She is direct, snarky, selfish. Maybe it’s because of all those things, but Laney is bluntly honest. Her viewpoint was a fun and easy way for me to navigate through my created world. My most challenging character was probably Ryan. He’s a toughie because I didn’t want him to be a cookie-cutter boyfriend type, but at the same time we don’t get to be inside his head in the way we’re allowed into Cassie and Laney’s. I wanted him to be authentic, a character with a heartbeat, and so my struggle was showing this through Cassie. This was especially difficult because, for a large part of this book, poor Cassie doesn’t quite understand what Ryan’s thinking.
If you could ask a character of your choice from OF THE TREES one question what would it be?
Aiden! I would love to just chat away with Aiden. But my question would be: When the trees whisper back, what do they say?
What scene from the book are you most proud of (because of how you handled the atmosphere, characters, dialogue, etc)?
Laney’s transformation scene. It’s hard to explain without going into detail here, but this particular scene – I just couldn’t wait to write it! In fact, it’s one of the first scenes I wrote when drafting this novel. This scene doesn’t happen until the last half of the book, so I had written my first couple chapters and then just knew I wanted to add this element in. I jumped way ahead, wrote it out in one sitting, and barely touched it in the edits because I loved it so much.
I also love this quiet, little moment I wrote between Cassie and another friend, Rebecca, in a girls’ bathroom. You’ll know it when you see it. I’m proud of this moment, because, to me, it’s one of the most authentic moments in the book.
Is there a scene that you had difficulty with and just had to “power through” to finish the book?
One of the most troublesome scenes for me was the after party in the woods when Cassie first starts to hear the terrifying voices of the forest. I tweaked it over and over again to get it just where I wanted it to be. Part of what made that tough was my own fear of hearing voices. Honestly, that made writing this entire book difficult, but this scene in particular challenged me in that sense. People who experience hallucinations and manage them on a daily basis have my utmost respect, I can’t begin to imagine how hard that must be, and yet thousands of people do this on a daily basis, getting on with their life, and finding ways to cope and ignore those voices. In this book, and in this scene in particular, I had to put myself in that position, imagine the intensity of whispered words that get caught in your brain, words you feel you can’t get away from. That made this scene difficult to nail down.
What are the top five things we should know as a reader before starting OF THE TREES? (about the main character, their love interest, the antagonist, their world/home town, etc)
- Fairies exist, but they are not the sparkly beings you think they are.
- No matter how much they bicker, Cassie and Laney truly do love each other.
- Cassie not-so-secretly wishes her other best friend, Ryan, would just grab her up and kiss her already.
- Hallucinations are terrifying, and at some point, Cassie is going to question whether or not she is truly going mad.
- You will not have all the answers when you finish this book.
What is next for you? What are you currently working on?
I have the sequel to Of The Trees, entitled Darkness Cannot Hide Her, completed and ready for edits. I have another YA novel entitled The Monsters Within that is also complete, and for which I will be seeking representation. I’m currently writing a YA ghost story that hasn’t yet earned its title, and just for fun, I’m writing and publishing as many short stories as I can.
E.M. Fitch is an author who loves scary stories, chocolate, and tall trees. When not dreaming up new ways to torture characters, she is usually corralling her four children or thinking of ways to tire them out so she can get an hour of peace at night. She lives in Connecticut, surrounded by chaos, which she manages (somewhat successfully) with her husband, Marc.
Find the author:
2/27/2017- Lisa’s Loves(Books of Course)– Interview
2/27/2017- Never Too Many To Read– Review
2/27/2017- Julie Reece– Excerpt
2/28/2017- Tales of the Ravenous Reader– Guest Post
2/28/2017- Book Review Becca– Review
3/1/2017- Two Chicks on Books– Interview
3/1/2017- Omg Books and More Books– Review
3/2/2017- Always & Forever Fangirling– Excerpt
3/2/2017- Bookaholic Banter– Review
3/3/2017- Rockin’ Book Reviews– Guest Post
3/3/2017- Quantum– Review
3/6/2017- LILbooKlovers– Interview
3/6/2017- Don’t Judge, Read– Review
3/7/2017- The Book Adventures of Annelise Lestrange– Excerpt
3/7/2017- Book Lovers Life– Review
3/8/2017- Hidden Worlds Books– Guest Post
3/8/2017- Book-Keeping– Review
3/9/2017- Bibliobibuli YA– Interview
3/9/2017- StephanieCassidyBlog– Review
3/10/2017- So Few Books– Interview
3/10/2017- I am not a bookworm!– Review
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