Monday, February 21, 2022

S.A. Barnes Interview - Dead Silence

Photo Credit: Mila Duboyski

S.A. BARNES works in a high school library by day, recommending reads, talking with students, and removing the occasional forgotten cheese stick as bookmark. Barnes has published numerous novels across different genres under the pen name Stacey Kade. She lives in Illinois with more dogs and books than is advisable and a very patient husband.

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Tor Nightfire (February 8, 2022)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250819997
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250819994


"This story slides and slithers from creepy and atmospheric to skin-crawling, edge-of-your-seat terror." ―T. Kingfisher, author of The Hollow Places

"At the intersection of science fiction and horror, Dead Silence is the ultimate haunted house story." ―Alma Katsu, author of The Deep and The Hunger

“Horror belongs in space.” ―Locus

“Dead Silence gives you the suffocating claustrophobia of 2001: A Space Odyssey mixed with the horrors of Alien. I couldn't stop reading.” ―Mur Lafferty, Hugo Award-Winning author of Six Wakes

"Barnes ably conjures the kind of haunting setting and atmosphere required for this Event Horizon-esque novel, providing an effective sense of immediacy to Claire's frequently shifting and at times tenuous grip on reality. Recommended for fans of claustrophobic space horror." ―Booklist

“I ate this book in one sitting because I was in the mood to be freaked out and it delivered tremendously. Truly un-put-downable in its purest sense.” ―Chloe Gong, #1 New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights

"Creepy and satisfying; I'll be checking under my bed tonight." ―Sarah Pinsker, author of the Nebula Award winning A Song For A New Day

“With a compelling haunted-house-in-space frame, excellent worldbuilding, vivid imagery, biting social commentary, sustained tension, and a storytelling style that seamlessly moves between the mortal danger of the present and Kovalik's unsettling past, this sf-horror blend will resonate loudly with readers.” ―Library Journal

“Dead Silence mixes horror, mystery and sci-fi into a thrill ride sure to shock you out of your reading rut. ...a claustrophobic race against time as the ship’s horrors begin to affect the crew one by one. Dread slowly builds as small, frightening moments inside the Aurora multiply, showcasing Barnes’ patient plotting and steady pacing. This is one of those time-warp books―the ones where you look away from the clock, then look back and it’s suddenly way past your bedtime.” ―BookPage, Starred Review

"The richly realized world that S.A. Barnes creates draws us in, and the relatable characters charm us. The dread mounts to a powerful conclusion." ―David Wellington, author of The Last Astronaut

"Stomach-turning, sinister space horror perfect for fans of Alien and Event Horizon." ―Kendare Blake, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"I've always considered Alien the high mark of sci-fi horror. No longer. Dead Silence leaves it in the dust." ―Lisa ShearinNew York Times bestselling author

"Dead Silence will keep you awake at night....Expertly paced, this novel is full of old ghosts in every way possible, and will haunt you long after the last page." ―Laurie Faria Stolarz, author of Jane Anonymous

"I was turning pages long into the night, and the bags under my eyes are well worth it!" ―Rachel Vincent, New York Times bestselling author of Red Wolf

"Compulsive reading at its best. A sci-fi horror so expertly delivered you'll be peeking through your fingers until the last page!" ―Melissa Landers, author of the Alienated and Starflight series

“Barnes plays nicely on human fears of both madness and of ghosts, carefully blurring the line between science fiction and horror... Those with a taste for blending genres will enjoy this combo.” ―Publishers Weekly

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
When people take the time to write an email, post or tweet to say how much they enjoyed the book. Or when they say they wish they could erase the book from their mind and read it for the first time again. That is the best compliment because that’s exactly how I feel about the books I love in my life.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Storytelling provides escape, entertainment, vicarious thrills and lessons learned. But storytelling is so important for all of us because it makes us feel less alone. When you read a book and connect with a character or a situation with that click of something falling into place, you automatically feel less isolated, less lonely. And I love that!

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book?
That’s a hard question. I don’t have just one favorite. I have lots of all-time favorites, depending on what mood I’m in. But if we’re talking about the single book I’ve reread the most often, it would be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Greatest thing you learned in school.
How to break down large projects into smaller, more manageable pieces and focus only on the parts until you’ve got enough to see the big picture.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I have two ideas I’m currently playing with. The first is another science fiction horror story, this one set on a planet, dealing with the question, “Where is everyone else in the universe?” The other is a more straight-forward horror story about the occasional brutality of middle school girl friendships and how decisions made from impulse and survival can haunt you, literally and figuratively, into adulthood.

In your newest book; DEAD SILENCE, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
It’s set in the near future, about 120 years from now. In space, a communication beacon repair team discovers a strange and outdated distress signal. When they follow it, they find the Aurora, a luxury spaceliner that vanished on its maiden voyage more than twenty years ago. The team decides to claim it as salvage for the financial reward but doing so requires going onboard. And that’s when they learn that the fate of the Aurora’s passengers is strange and not great—to put it mildly—and that they are in danger themselves.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I hope that they’re trying to figure out what’s going on, right alongside Claire, even as they’re wondering if she can be trusted.

What part of Claire did you enjoy writing the most?
Claire has a bit of a dark sense of humor, and that was fun for me.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Thinking about this makes my brain hurt. :D In my head, every book is a parallel universe with no access to travel between. So I can’t even formulate an answer here!

  • 1. Ghost ship…in space.
  • 2. Unreliable narrator
  • 3. Creepy (I hope) descriptions of abandoned luxury a la the Titanic.
  • 4. A touch of romance.
  • 5. Actual ghosts…maybe.
  • 6. A main character depicted with PTSD and anxiety
  • 7. A look at where the privatization of space exploration (billionaires in space) may lead us.
  • 8. One of my favorite lines I’ve ever written: “I have a loose screw. Somewhere.”
  • 9. A terrifying swimming pool that’s like “an invitation to come relax at the mouth of Hell.”
  • 10. If you need a good reminder never to fall asleep with your arm or leg dangling off the bed.
Where did you go on your first airplane ride?
To Illinois, I think. We were living in South Carolina at the time, where my dad was in seminary.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
See the ocean. Feel and hear the power of the waves, like the earth’s heartbeat beneath the sand.

Best date you've ever had?
One night, a couple of years ago, before the pandemic, my husband surprised me by picking me up after the first day of school, and we went to a favorite restaurant (far from home) to celebrate. They have a martini that I love—the Stormy Night—and one of my favorite salads. It was lovely and thoughtful.

What is your favorite restaurant in town and why?
We live in a small town, so not many restaurants here. But my favorite local place is Paisano’s On Broadway Italian Steakhouse in Richmond, IL. They have an amazing Stormy Night martini, and I love their gnocchi!

First Heartbreak?
I had a crush on the same boy from age 9 until 13 (again, very small town). And alas, it was never reciprocated! Lots of angsty diary entries about that.

Favorite things to do alone?
Read. Knit. Work on my miniatures—I’m painfully slow at it, but it takes my full concentration and I love that. Soothes my anxious brain.

Titanic meets The Shining in S.A. Barnes’ Dead Silence, a SF horror novel in which a woman and her crew board a decades-lost luxury cruiser and find the wreckage of a nightmare that hasn't yet ended.


Claire Kovalik is days away from being unemployed—made obsolete—when her beacon repair crew picks up a strange distress signal. With nothing to lose and no desire to return to Earth, Claire and her team decide to investigate.

What they find at the other end of the signal is a shock: the Aurora, a famous luxury space-liner that vanished on its maiden tour of the solar system more than twenty years ago. A salvage claim like this could set Claire and her crew up for life. But a quick trip through the Aurora reveals something isn’t right.

Whispers in the dark. Flickers of movement. Words scrawled in blood. Claire must fight to hold onto her sanity and find out what really happened on the Aurora, before she and her crew meet the same ghastly fate.

You can purchase Dead Silence at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you S.A. BARNES for making this giveaway possible.
3 Winners will receive a Copy of DEAD SILENCE by S.A. Barnes.
1 Winner will receive a $20 Amazon Gift Card
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