Monday, October 3, 2022

Erica Waters Interview - The Restless Dark

Photo Content from Erica Waters

Erica Waters grew up in the pine woods of rural Florida, though she now resides in Nashville, Tennessee. She has a Master’s degree in English and works as a university writing tutor. She writes dark fantasy and horror set in the South. Her most recent novel, The River Has Teeth, won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel and was also an Indie Next pick and a Kirkus Best Young Adult Book of 2021. Erica’s other works include Ghost Wood Song and her forthcoming novel, The Restless Dark. She is also a contributor to the bestselling folk horror anthology The Gathering Dark.

Greatest thing you learned at school.
To love reading and writing— that set the course for the rest of my life.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I always wanted to write and considered myself a writer, but I didn’t get serious about it until after my dad died, when I was in my 20s. He died young, before he was able to fulfill his dreams. I realized that life was short and if I wanted to fulfill the thing that felt most true to me—being a writer— then I had to stop wasting time and actually do it. It took two years to finish my first book. That one didn’t get published and never will, but it set me on the journey I’m on now.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
My all-time favorite book is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I’ve read it so many times and yet on each new read, I’m captivated all over again by Jane Eyre, gloomy Thornfield, and that awful and entertaining Rochester.

Another favorite (way outside my genre) is The Waves by Virginia Woolf. I actually have a tattoo of the last line of the book. I wrote my Master’s thesis about The Waves and re-read it every few years because it’s absolutely gorgeous and like no other book I’ve ever read. It’s like if you mashed up a novel, a play, and poetry all together to create a brand new medium.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Seeing my name on a book cover for the first time—I don’t think anything else I experience will feel that powerful. I just kept staring at it, as well as at my picture in the back, stunned that this physical object had sprung from my mind and experiences.

Can you tell us when you started THE RESTLESS DARK, how that came about?
During the very early days of the pandemic, right at the moment everyone started panicking and buying up all the toilet paper, I was staying in a cabin near Cloudland Canyon in north Georgia. I visited the canyon in the early morning and it was filled with fog, eerie and unsettling. I told my spouse I thought it would make good hunting grounds for a serial killer. From there, The Restless Dark was born. (I went back to the canyon the next day and it was beautiful and sunny and not at all scary. It’s lucky I happened to visit during the foggy conditions or I might never have written this book.)

Meet the Characters
I’ll share a little about my three main characters, as well as a quote from each of them that displays their personalities.

LUCY — 17 years old, queer, a softball player and aspiring naturalist; she was nearly the Cloudkiss Killer’s final victim and has returned to Cloudkiss Canyon to get closure and lay her awful memories to rest
“Fuck you and the fucked-up podcast you rode to fame on.”

CAROLINA — 17 years old, bi, an artist and bookworm; she’s a big fan of the Human Beasties podcast hosting the contest but worries she has more in common with the killers than she ought to
“The human heart is darkness and chaos . . . Even the most buttoned-up, law-abiding citizen has badness inside him.”

MAGGIE — 19 years old, sapphic, a psychology student and musician; she’s at the contest to study the true crime subculture in hopes of publishing an important paper that will get her into grad school
“But some people are too withdrawn to just observe. You have to coax them out. Get them to share what they like to keep hidden.”

What is the first job you have had?
My first job where I got a real paycheck was as a cashier at Zaxby’s (a fast casual chicken restaurant). I was terrible at it and they fired me after only three weeks. I was so temperamentally unsuited for that job that I couldn’t even be mad at them for firing me and went back to eat there a few days later.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
How badly I want a cup of tea

What is your most memorable travel experience?
During my study abroad semester in England, I spent a weekend in Dublin. I traveled to Howth with my roommates. We climbed the clifftop trails and looked out on the sparkling sea. The sun was starting to go down and I thought I saw wild horses running in the yellow gorse. I’m still not sure whether they were there or not. It was the first time I experienced the “call of the void” or l'appel du vide—that inexplicable urge we sometimes feel to leap from high places. I was surrounded by the most beauty I’d ever encountered and yet was thinking of jumping into the sea? I know now that the call of the void is a normal human experience with a scientific explanation, and that it is an affirmation of your desire to live, but in that moment, it was deeply unsettling. I thought about that travel experience a lot while I was writing The Restless Dark.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
Whatever book I’m reading at the moment—the plot and characters tend to get tangled up in my dreams.

Most horrifying dream you have ever had?
I dream constantly about alligators. I usually have to get across a marsh or river that’s filled with them. The funny thing is that I’m not actually that scared of alligators—I grew up fishing in a boat right next to them, even swimming in lakes where they were present. But in my dreams, they are always terrifying. However, one has never caught me. I always wake up in time.

Enter Cloudkiss Canyon at your own risk.

The Cloudkiss Killer is dead. Now a true-crime podcast is hosting a contest to find his bones.

Lucy was almost the serial killer’s final victim. Carolina is a true-crime fan who fears her own rage. Maggie is a psychology student with a little too much to hide.

All of them are looking for answers, for a new identity, for a place to bury their secrets.

But there are more than bones hiding in the shadows…sometimes the darkness inside is more frightening than anything the dead leave behind.

Perfect for fans of Sadie and Wilder Girls, this newest novel from Erica Waters follows three girls at a true-crime contest to find the bones of a lost killer—even as a mysterious force pulls at the contestants’ darkest desires.

You can purchase The Restless Dark at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ERICA WATERS for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Restless Dark by Erica Waters.


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