Monday, October 11, 2021

Guest Post with Alexandrea Weis - Have You Seen Me?

Photo Content from Alexandrea Weis

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, PhD, is a multi-award-winning author, screenwriter, advanced practice registered nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable.

A member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers Association, Weis writes supernatural, horror, mystery, and thrillers. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans where she is a permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and rescues orphaned and injured animals.


Publisher ‏ : ‎ Vesuvian Books (August 17, 2021)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 260 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1645480755
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1645480754

Praise for HAVE YOU SEEN ME?

"Every five or ten years you'll read a book that'll grip you from start to end and you'll find you're up at 3am in the morning bewitched by the plot, the characters, and the setting. Have You Seen Me? is one such book, the pace is frenetic, urgent, and comes across as vividly telegenic. It takes a truly talented and masterful author to craft a novel which creates a three-dimensional drama inside your mind. Alexandrea Weis is one of the most talented authors around, she straddles several genres, and in a short time her novels are destined to stand along with authors such as Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, Joyce Carol Oates, and Jeffery Deaver." The Strand Magazine

"With atmosphere, mercurial threats, and intrigue, Alexandrea Weis excels in probing the psychological undertones of the prep school and a new teacher's return to her past. She also does a fine job of evolving the plot that connects students and teachers to an unpredictable truth. As school and local history are revealed by the determined team, readers receive an eerie feel of inevitable disaster much in the manner of the classic film 'Picnic at Hanging Rock'. The buildup that leads to the truth about the killer's identity makes for a fine story that will reach from young adult to adult audiences with a winning exploration of prep school pressures, politics, and the special interests that lead to murder. Very nicely done." D. Donovan, Senior Editor, Midwest Book Review

"Riveting, fast paced thriller wrapped up in a mystery. Is history repeating itself or is it a coincidence? Alexandrea Weis slowly peels away layer after layer to reveal the truth. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it even if you don't usually read thrillers." Erin E. Forys, Barnes and Noble, Williamsburg, VA

"Alexandrea Weis addresses cultural issues such as class systems, race, and bullying all the while providing chilling and spooky imagery that is sure to have all readers begging the question: "Who will be next?" A thrilling spine-tingling novel Have You Seen Me? had my heart racing on every page." Tanya Roberts @bookswihtanya, CER at Indigo Books, Qu├ębec Canada

"A fast-paced thriller that will engage readers with great characters and a chilling mystery! I was sucked in and fully invested in finding the killer!!" Gretchen Hall, Barnes and Noble, Houston, TX

"A dark, complex tale of psychological suspense that will captivate and thrill readers, especially those who love slashers!" Monique Snyman, Bram Stoker Awards Nominee

"...capably written with a vibrant setting that feels lived-in and starts off with an intriguing mystery ... that leads to a shocking revelation." IndieReader

1. Waverly Prep is based on an actual school.

Many readers have asked where I got the concept for Waverly—a school located on a former plantation where the headmaster lives in the renovated antebellum home. I went to such a school outside of New Orleans. St. Martin’s Episcopal sits on an old horse plantation, and the beautiful Greek revival home at the front of the property is where the headmaster still lives today. The old barn became our cafeteria, and lush oaks grace the grounds, along with a few creepy ghost stories. My alma mater may not be a boarding school, and was thankfully free of a crazed killer, but it profoundly influenced my creation of Waverly Prep.

2. The Chitimacha Tribe is an important part of the Franklin, Louisiana area.
The Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana is the only tribe in the state to still occupy a portion of their aboriginal homeland. Unlike western areas of the United States where most tales about Indigenous peoples originate, the history of Louisiana encompasses a varied culture of Spanish and French influences where the Chitimacha traded and thrived before Thomas Jefferson purchased the area for the United States in 1803. They still own hundreds of acres along Bayou Teche and Grand Lake and currently maintain a reservation adjacent to the town of Charenton, not Franklin, Louisiana. You can’t set any story in St. Mary Parish without addressing the Chitimacha. Their influence, their legends, and their blood are ingrained in the land. With all the settlers in the Louisiana delta, from French, Spanish, Cajun, and the slaves coming from Africa, they intermixed with outsiders going back until 1528 when the first Europeans visited the area. With such a long history of trade and associations with travelers from all backgrounds, it’s not surprising the Chitimacha intermarried and became part of the mixed-race population, which is a vital part of Louisiana. Though they suffered injustices as Indigenous peoples did in the US, the history of southeast Louisiana is not that of the western portion of this country. The Indigenous peoples of Louisiana were widely accepted and admired as skilled traders and shrewd negotiators by many civic leaders, generals, and even one famous pirate. Many Creoles are descended from the Indigenous peoples who lived along the shores of Louisiana waterways. In the last several decades the Chitimacha Tribe has excelled. Not mentioning the Chitimacha in a book set in this area to satisfy those who know nothing about our state’s past would be a travesty. Some people have shown concern about how the Chitimacha are referenced. My manager reached out to a member of the Tribe who kindly answered several questions, including how they prefer to be addressed. After all, Indigenous peoples are not one group without separate identities. “Native peoples often have individual preferences on how they would like to be addressed. When talking about Native groups or people, use the terminology the members of the community use to describe themselves collectively.” 

3. The Battle of Irish Bend was an actual Civil War event.
The Battle of Irish Bend, or Nerson’s Woods, in the town of Franklin played a significant role in Louisiana’s participation in the Civil War. The Union Army captured major waterways in the area, beginning with the Mississippi River at New Orleans early in the conflict. Several battles fought in the state occurred along rivers vital for trade. The Bayou Teche was no exception and became a crossing point for the Union into western Louisiana. The battle became integral to the area of Franklin and had to be included in the story. The lore of Nerson’s Woods and the stories of Confederate soldiers reputed to haunt the area seemed a perfect fit for the creepy grounds of Waverly. The battle also satisfied my love of history and why I try to include snippets in every tale I pen.

4. There’s a reason for Aubrey’s lack of experience.
Aubrey’s lack of experience as a teacher plays a pivotal role in this story. She does not have an extensive background in teaching when she arrives at Waverly Prep. Does she know her students are manipulating her? Of course. But she's still savvy about how to maintain control. Let me explain. I taught nursing in a university setting for several years and know how students like to manipulate teachers. Still, Aubrey had a different motive for forming her investigation team—she wanted to help the students cope with the loss of their friend. I had firsthand experience with this when I taught right after the 9/11 attacks. My students could not settle down and kept asking questions about the attacks on the twin towers. Instead of fighting against the grain and sticking to the curriculum, which other older professors did, I let my students have the entire class to vent their fear and frustration. I wanted to help them just as Aubrey wanted to help her students. That is my motivation for Aubrey’s character and where allowing her students to participate in this experiment originated. I went through it with my class, and I found letting students sometimes take the reins isn’t detrimental but can be enlightening for all.

5. Bayou Teche is an historically significant river.
You already know about the role the Bayou Teche played in the Civil War and its use as a trading route by the Chitimacha. Still, another historical figure is famous for making his runs up and down this Spanish moss-laden river. Jean Lafitte, pirate extraordinaire, privateer, and hero of the Battle of New Orleans, often had secret dealings along Bayou Teche. It's even rumored he buried much of his vast treasure along the soggy banks. His ghost is said to walk the river's shores, and many ghost hunters and treasure seekers comb the snake like waterway to uncover his gold doubloons. He used the river as an escape route from New Iberia and was friendly with the Chitimacha. With such a colorful past, and traveled by so many fascinating characters, Bayou Teche becomes an integral part of Have You Seen Me? You can’t write about the Franklin area without paying homage to a river that had so much to do with the city’s thrilling history.

6. Franklin is a town in St. Mary Parish.
Yes, Franklin, just like Bayou Teche, is a real place. The small town is the seat of St. Mary Parish, and the remote location outside city limits was a perfect place to set the creepy grounds of Waverly Prep. The area is dotted with plantation homes along Bayou Teche. The river played a role in the transportation of sugar cane grown in the area to major ports. Many of the mansions are still standing and give Franklin a unique architectural flavor. The role that the cruel act of slavery played in this area cannot be emphasized enough, and many of these former sites of horror have become memorials to the people who worked the land until the end of the Civil War.

7. The killings in this story are medically accurate.
I’ve been an advanced practice nurse for many years. Research is also an essential part of being a medical professional, and I’ve used my skills to bring to life the most terrifying and exciting ways to end a character. This is especially true in Have You Seen Me?, where I found unique and fiendish ways to murder the students of Waverly Prep.

8. The deaths in the book reflect the interests of the victims.
Did you pick up this little tidbit? The murders have a lot of things in common with the victims. From a love of the library to ending up in a maneater trap, the deaths let everyone know that the killer is watching. The psycho roaming Waverly Prep finds a way to make those horrid ends reflect the students' obsessions, adding to the creep factor. Sometimes murdering characters can be as fun as writing them.

9. This was written in the vein of 90s slashers.
To all those who are looking for crime fiction and sleuth-like mystery in Have You Seen Me? I didn't write the book with either of those genres in mind. This is an ode to the slasher films that dominated the 90s. I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scream, and Urban Legend were tales that kept us shoveling popcorn and waiting for the next blood-curdling scream. I wanted to recreate that tension and fun with this story. If you’re looking for a crime drama or a mystery in the vein of Agatha Christie, you might be disappointed. But if you want a throwback to stories that kept you up at night waiting for the killer to strike, The Waverly Prep Series might be perfect for you.

10. The book is in the hands of a major Hollywood talent agency.
APA Agency in Los Angeles read Have You Seen Me? and reached out to my manager. They’re currently working to find the right production company to adapt for film/TV. I’m excited to see where that goes.

I hope you will check out the next installment of the Waverly Prep Series, Things That Won’t Stay Buried. Aubrey will be back with more mischief, murder, and Mason.

Lindsey Gillett is missing.

And she’s not the first girl at Waverly High to vanish without a trace.

To help cope with the tragedy, new history teacher Aubrey LaRoux organizes a student investigation team. But when the project’s key members start turning up dead across campus, Aubrey suspects there’s more going on than anyone is willing to admit.

The murdered students all had something in common with Lindsey. They shared a secret. And what they uncovered could threaten the future of the historic school.

At Waverly High, someone wants to keep the past buried—and you don’t want to get in their way.

You can purchase Have You Seen Me? at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ALEXANDREA WEIS for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive HAVE YOU SEEN ME? Storytellers BOX.
Winner will receive a $20 Amazon Gift Card
OCTOBER 12th TUESDAY Movies, Shows, & Books REVIEW
OCTOBER 13th WEDNESDAY Twirling Book Princess EXCERPT
OCTOBER 15th FRIDAY Living in a Bookworld EXCERPT

OCTOBER 20th WEDNESDAY Reading Adventures of a Book Dragon REVIEW
OCTOBER 21st THURSDAY Coffee and Wander Book Reviews REVIEW
OCTOBER 22nd FRIDAY My Fictional Oasis REVIEW


Post a Comment