Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Kyrie McCauley Interview - All the Dead Lie Down

Photo Credit: Brittany Frisch Photography

Kyrie McCauley spent her childhood climbing trees in dresses and reading books during class. She is the author of If These Wings Could Fly, recipient of the 2021 William C. Morris Award.
Kyrie holds a Master of Science in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania, and has worked in advocacy and development for non-profit organizations. She lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her family, three cats, and a dog that eats books and is never sorry.

Can you tell us when you started ALL THE DEAD LIE DOWN, how that came about? 
So many of my stories begin with a flash of an image in my mind. Something really compelling, or something that really pulls at my curiosity. We go to Maine every year—we have family there, and we stay in a little cottage right on the coast and dig up clams and play in the tidepools all day. It’s such a beautiful place. But I remember holding a clam and wondering what if there was something terrible inside. Something unexpected. Once I started down that path of imagining what it could be and why it would be there, I was led to All the Dead Lie Down.

What were your inspirations for the character development? 
I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life, and for a long time I avoided the genre of horror because it felt like my mind was already there, playing worst-case scenario for every character I encountered. But with Marin, I chose to lean into that feeling. What if you were always worried, and suddenly you were dropped into a horror setting? How do you learn to trust your instincts? Marin doesn’t know she’s in a scary story, and it let me explore her anxiety in such an interesting way. So much of what we fear is what we imagine in our heads, and Marin has to learn to trust herself at Lovelace House in a way she never has before.

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why? 
There is a chapter in All the Dead Lie Down that features a zombie dog. It’s sort of the opposite of worrying about whether a beloved pet in a story dies—what if a beloved pet comes back. This was a really gross and fun chapter to write, and I hope readers enjoy it.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
I live in a small house filled with animals, so there are plenty of distractions. I have three black cats and a dog that all really like to be right next to me all the time, or walk across my keyboard, or scratch at my door, or fall asleep on me when my laptop is out of reach. They are terrible distractions, so of course I love them endlessly and am constantly plotting to adopt more.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing? 
Make bad art. Seriously. I convinced myself for so long to not write because I thought every word had to be perfect or it meant I had no talent. I didn’t understand that messy, terrible attempts are part of it, too. I didn’t understand the importance of learning the craft by writing and revising and writing more to grow as a writer. So, my advice is always to make bad art. Make it and learn from it and then make more of it.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from ALL THE DEAD LIE DOWN
I’ve realized lately that so many of my favorite quotes from All the Dead Lie Down are either dialogue—which will mean so much more in their given context and once the reader knows the character—or they are ridden with spoilers. So, answering this was tough! But I’ve got two quotes that were from two of the earliest scenes that I wrote, and I’m so glad they made it through the revisions.

First up is the opening paragraph of the book. I love it because it was my own introduction to Lovelace House, too. I wrote this while I was still sorting out the setting, and this paragraph was when I knew I was on the right track for the kind of story I wanted to tell. Also, there are some little hints in here that come up later in the story.

“The mourning dove’s bittersweet call was cut short, strangled into a silence that was even more unnerving than the birdsong itself. It was the first sign that all was not well at Lovelace House, and like most early signs of sickness, it was subtle. Easy to miss.”

The second one is from about three-quarters of the way through the book, and it’s from my main character Marin’s point of view, talking about Evie, whom she is falling in love with. I use scent a great deal in this novel, so that bit was important for me to get right.

“There was one last scent. It was the one that clung to Evie always, like a perfume worn a day ago that lingers. The smell of death. Of decay. Of unholy resurrection. No matter how she tried, Evie couldn’t wash it all away. It was part of her.”

Best date you've ever had? 
One time in high school I was finishing reading a book before I was going to be picked up for a date. I had no idea the book was heading towards tragedy—and my date walked in to find me just falling to pieces over the ending, like fully sobbing. I was crying so hard I couldn’t speak. When I finally calmed down and he figured out what was wrong, we laughed about it, and he canceled our date night plans and took me to the bookstore to find a new book to read since I had finished mine. We’re about to celebrate 20 years together.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? 
I am usually woken by my oldest cat, Samson. He likes to scratch at my arm and pluck at the blankets to wake me up because he wants his breakfast. If I ignore him, he goes to wake up my kids, so he’s really got a system down. That means the first thing I think most mornings is “This cat is lucky I love him so dearly.”

What is one unique thing you are afraid of? 
Okay, trust me, I know it’s absurd—but I absolutely cannot handle sloths. They really creep me out. Did you know that their long claws are extensions of their finger bones, protruding through their skin? Yuck. And their ears? Take a second to look up sloth ears. They look like little human ears! *Shudders* Nope, no thank you. I’d rather face the zombie dog in All the Dead Lie Down.

What were you doing the last time you really had a good laugh? 
I recently spent time with my mom, my grandmother, and my sister at the beach. I honestly can’t remember what we were laughing so hard about—we were laughing together the entire week, telling family stories and playing board games like Pictionary even though none of us can draw to save our lives. One night I laughed so hard my nose began to bleed! You’d think that might have ended our night, but it only made us laugh harder.

The Haunting of Bly Manor meets House of Salt and Sorrows in award-winning author Kyrie McCauley’s contemporary YA gothic romance about a dark family lineage, the ghosts of grief, and the lines we’ll cross for love.

The Sleeping House was very much awake . . .

Days after a tragedy leaves Marin Blythe alone in the world, she receives a surprising invitation from Alice Lovelace—an acclaimed horror writer and childhood friend of Marin’s mother. Alice offers her a nanny position at Lovelace House, the family’s coastal Maine estate.

Marin accepts and soon finds herself minding Alice’s peculiar girls. Thea buries her dolls one by one, hosting a series of funerals, while Wren does everything in her power to drive Marin away. Then Alice’s eldest daughter returns home unexpectedly. Evie Hallowell is every bit as strange as her younger sisters, and yet Marin is quickly drawn in by Evie’s compelling behavior and ethereal grace.

But as Marin settles in, she can’t escape the anxiety that follows her like a shadow. Dead birds appear in Marin’s room. The children’s pranks escalate. Something dangerous lurks in the woods, leaving mutilated animals in its wake. All is not well at Lovelace House, and Marin must unravel its secrets before they consume her.

You can purchase All the Dead Lie Down at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KYRIE MCCAULEY for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of All the Dead Lie Down by Kyrie McCauley.