It’s 2016 and Dead, Buried, and Back! magazine is looking forward to another exciting year of book reviews and author interviews. Today we’re bringing you an interview with Chandler Baker, author of Teen Frankenstein. Her novel will be released next week on Jan. 12th, and is available on Amazon. Teen Frankenstein is the first novel in her High School Horror series.
DB&B: Chandler, of all the genres out there why choose horror?
Chandler: I’m a scaredy-cat by nature. I can’t walk to my car in an empty
parking lot without thinking that it’s at least 90% certain a serial killer will hunt me down right then and there.
Writing horror allows me to unleash all the ‘worst case scenarios’ rolling around in my head. Plus, I found that I much prefer writing gory bits to kissy ones.
DB&B: I understand you have a love/hate relationship with horror. Have you ever read a horror thriller that really creeped you out?
Chandler: I’m reading WINTER PEOPLE right now by Jennifer McMahon and it’s utterly
DB&B: Teen Frankenstein was a thrill to read. I’m looking forward to the series which I’m sure will do very well. How time consuming was it to write Teen Frankenstein considering you have another career?
Chandler: Thanks and I’m so pleased you enjoyed it! Yes, I work as a lawyer as
well as a writer and the two careers certainly require a bit of a balancing act. Anyone that tells you
writing a novel is not a painstaking, all consuming endeavor is either (a) lying or (b) a cyborg. I can remember very distinctly pulling two all-nighters in a row to complete revisions on Teen Frankenstein. In total, I spent about a year working on the book, in the mornings before work, during free lunches,and in the evenings when I got home.
DB&B: YA horror has been a hot topic for the last several years.
There are dozens of well known YA authors and TV shows like Teen Wolf, the Vampire Diaries, and The Originals to name a few, that cater to the teen horror.
Do you think teens have a preference or fascination toward a particular monster/creature when it comes to literature? And what drives them to read horror?
Chandler: I think teens’ and adults’ favorite monsters are ever changing,
but if I see a trendit’s that people like a little sex appeal in their monsters. The lure of the dangerous. The devil next door. The idea that evil can be tempting.
In terms of what drives teens to horror,probably a few things. One, it’s the first time in their lives that they’re really grappling with their own mortality and the reality of fatal consequences. Two, as we get a little older, we start seeking out adrenaline rushes in more obvious ways. When you’re tiny, it’s a teacup ride at Magic Kingdom, but when you get to the teenage years, you’re ready for diversions that get your blood pumping a bit more.
Horror is a great outlet—freaky, fun, but a safe way to get your thrills.
DB&B: Writing can be a full- time commitment when you factor in the drafts, re-writes, deadlines and so on. Do you take this into consideration before starting a novel?
Chandler: Absolutely. I’m a total commitment-phobe when it comes to deciding whether I’m going
to write a book. You know the saying, when you know you know? Just like falling in
love, I have to wait for that feeling. I’ll play with ideas, I’ll like them, I’ll think they are
really great books, but I have to want to spend a year or 2 working on a project, reading it
over and over again. That takes something special. The idea for Teen Frankenstein rolled
around in my head for a bit while I toyed with another premise. But when I realized that the
protagonist (Tor) is the one who actually kills the teenage boy who then becomes her
creation, that’s when it clicked into place and I got “the feeling.” I knew I had to write it no
matter the time commitment involved.
DB&B: You have a talent for writing great YA. Do you have any non YA projects in the works?
Chandler: Maybe, I don’t know, yes…ok, yes, I do, but it’s super secret
and early stages. All I can say is that it’s adult and it’s creepy.
DB&B: Let’s dive into your ghost writing past. What kind of stories did you like to write?
Chandler : I wrote installments in a few young adult and middle grade series. All were fiction,all novels. It was fun to get to work on books for the younger ages, which at the time was out of my comfort zone. Come to think of it all the books that I worked on had a“horror-esque” element as well!
DB&B : Since you write YA, do you have advice for aspiring teens who would like to choose writing as a career?
Chandler : Read as much as you possibly can. Writing is one of the only careers
I know that you can truly almost learn by osmosis. I have a rule that I never feel guilty for time that I spend reading because that’s a part of the job, too.
Other than that, understand that you can write a book with only a short time commitment a day, even, say, 15 minutes. If you’re consistent, you’ll be surprised what you’ve finished in 3 months, 6 months, a year. A book can be written 500 words, 100 words or even 1 word at a time. It can’t get finished 0 words at a time.
DB&B: Final question. Zombies. The horror genre loves zombies. They’re everywhere.
Is this a topic you’d ever considering writing about?
Chandler: I would love to. There are so many great zombie novels out there—I remember
reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan and thinking how fresh it was because of the lyrical, literary voice.
So, I think that’s what I’d need—a fresh angle, to bring something new to the genre. In the meantime, I’m happy to have gotten to write about the undead with Teen Frankenstein.
DB&B: Chandler, thanks for taking the time to speak with us today. I really enjoyed it. Best wishes for your future releases and we look forward to speaking with you again.
Chandler: Thanks so much for having me!
Chandler Baker got her start ghostwriting novels for teens and tweens, including installments in a book series that has sold more than 1 million copies. She grew up in Florida, went to college at the University of Pennsylvania and studied law at the University of Texas. She now lives in Austin with her husband. Although she loves spinning tales with a touch of horror, she is a much bigger scaredy-cat than her stories would lead you to believe.
You can find Chandler as the books contributor on the YouTube channel Weird Girls.