Monday, August 6, 2018

Amelinda Bérubé Author Interview

Photo Content from Amelinda Bérubé

I write about ghosts and monsters and other things that go bump in the night. My books tend to include a liberal sprinkling of weird Canadiana and the occasional zombie metaphor.

I am an eternal fangirl for YA and SFF, but any book that makes me laugh, makes me cry, or creeps me out will have my heart forever. My very favorites tend to have a thinky, supernatural flavor and don't explain too much.

In my other lives I'm a public service editor, a mother of two, and a passionate gardener. I live in Ottawa, Canada, in a perpetual whirlwind of unfinished projects and cat hair.


Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Calgary, Alberta – between the Rocky Mountains and the open prairie. Home is Ottawa, Ontario, where my family moved when I was 13 and where I’ve set both my upcoming books.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing?
Cultivate bloody-minded, stubborn optimism and a community that will help you sustain it. Listen to feedback. And always be writing the next thing.

What were your inspirations for the character development?
Marianne, the main character in The Dark Beneath the Ice, emerged partly from the premise – like, what kind of person attracts this kind of ghost? – but she also incorporates a lot of my own emotional landscape; I also used invisibility as a coping mechanism for a long time. Writing her involved staring down some old anxieties, hurts, and anger I hadn’t fully acknowledged.

Rhiannon – or Ron, as she prefers – combines a few influences; she’s partly a more stable, skeptical Nancy from The Craft, and partly an homage to a dear friend of mine whose high school exploits included smoking and slamming a loser who spat on her against a locker bank. Developing Ron, I thought, “hmm, I need this person to be a little badass,” and my friend was a natural model.

In your new book; THE DARK BENEATH THE ICE, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
The Dark Beneath the Ice combines poltergeists and possession with a splash of ballet and awful fairy tales. Marianne, once a promising dancer, is plagued by strange events in the wake of her parents’ sudden separation: things around her are breaking or flying through the air, and strange gaps appear in her memory. Either she’s losing her grip on reality, or something unnatural is after her…and she’s not sure which possibility is scarier.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Probably reading reviews from people who clearly got it – who understood, emotionally, what I was trying to do with the story. It’s a vulnerable, scary thing to put a little bit of your heart on the page, but nothing makes you feel more seen than when people respond to it.

What part of Marianne did you enjoy writing the most?
This is going to sound weird, but probably her anxiety. It was bizarrely cathartic.

What book would you recommend for others to read?

Ooh, just one? Well, anybody who enjoys the drippingly atmospheric brand of spooky should definitely check out Shea Earnshaw’s The Wicked Deep, which involves witches and perfume and gorgeous scenery and is just plain delicious.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
My next book, coming out in August 2019, is called Here There Are Monsters; it involves spooky woods, monsters made from sticks and bones, a missing sister, and secrets forced into the open. I can’t wait to terrify everyone with it! I’m also chipping away at what I hope will be a third book, which has to do with being haunted by the radio.

What book are you reading now?
I just finished Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X, which I adored. I loved seeing Xiomara finding her voice and carving out her own place in the world through poetry; I loved the way she fought her way to an uneasy peace with her mother; I loved her boyfriend’s obvious respect and admiration for her. It was a gorgeous, hopeful book full of kick-ass poetry and I’d recommend it to anyone.

Do you believe in ghosts?
Like Ron, I suspend my disbelief. I’ve never encountered any, but the world is a cooler, spookier place with ghosts in it.

If I came to your house and looked in your closet/attic/basement, what’s the one thing that would surprise me the most?
The steel-toed boots, maybe? I spent a year in a carpentry course, once upon a time, and the boots have proven endlessly useful in projects around the house and yard (and also just as winter boots – nothing keeps the cold and wet out like footwear that was meant for working outside all day!)

Last Halloween Costume you wore and when?
Oh man, I don’t even remember – I haven’t dressed up in forever. Too much else to do! I have long-standing plans to convert the hoop skirt I wore under my wedding dress into a dalek costume, though. One of these years!

Most horrifying dream you have ever had?
I had a dream once about getting stuck in repeating loops of waking up and then everything turning nightmarish. When I woke up for real, for a good few minutes I literally could not tell whether or not I was still dreaming and whether the loop was going to happen again. I write a lot about losing that boundary, but having it actually happen to you is truly terrifying. (I knew I was really awake when I thought “okay, I have to remember this for future story purposes.”)

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?

I can certainly think of a few times I wish I had. This is something I’m trying to get better at. In the current climate, it’s more important than ever.

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
Ask about getting back on medication waaaaaayyyyy earlier. Like, ten or fifteen years earlier. I think it would have made some scary times a lot easier.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
Well, I try not to think about writing, because that way lies hopeless insomnia!

Given that setting is always where I start a story, I pick this one:

  • Newfoundland. I have got to get over there sometime in the dead of winter.
  • Saskatchewan. You might say boring; I say beautiful and secretive.
  • The Badlands in Alberta. They cry out to be the setting of a weird western.
  • A certain house in Ottawa I saw once in high school and have never been able to find again; it was totally haunted.
  • The Winchester Mystery House. It is genuinely creepy in a really unique way.
  • Centralia, Pennsylvania. I am not at all surprised this ghost town inspired Silent Hill.
  • The century-old ghost town in Quebec somewhere that was put up for sale in its entirety.
  • The Laurentians, north of Montreal. The ubiquitous saints in the place names give the landscape an oddly haunted feel.
  • The gorgeous (and totally haunted) manor house in a small town outside of Ottawa where I spent a weekend for a writing retreat.
  • The Ploutonion at Hierapolis – Roman ruins that include an archway leading to a chamber full of carbon dioxide where animals left as sacrifices would suffocate and die without anyone laying a hand on them.

Something is wrong with Marianne.

It's not just that her parents have split up, or that life hasn't been the same since she quit dancing. Or even that her mother has checked herself into the hospital.

She's losing time. Doing things she would never do. And objects around her seem to break whenever she comes close.

Something is after her. But a first attempt at an exorcism calls down the full force of the thing's rage. It demands Marianne give back what she stole. And Marianne must uncover the truth that lies beneath it all before the nightmare can take what it think it's owed, leaving Marianne trapped in the darkness of the other side.


"Fun frights and a well-constructed's Black Swan meets Carrie. " Kirkus

"The book's haunting, waterlogged atmosphere and Marianne's psychological turmoil will build an effective and growing sense of dread in readers...hand this novel to those who enjoy spooky, psychological books with strong themes of self-discovery." School Library Journal

"The vivid descriptions make the tension real. Fans of thrillers will enjoy Marianne's struggles." School Library Connection
You can purchase The Wishing World at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Winner will receive a Copy of The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé..


  1. Scariest dream I ever had was a blue whale chasing me.

  2. Do nightmare count because I have them every night and the scare the heck out of me.

  3. If I ever have a dream it will be scary and all my dreams basically have same plot line which is losing my loved ones to some kind of tragedy

  4. My worse one keeps happening: falling off a cliff and feeling shaky after that nightmare.