AUTHOR: Kay LaLone
BOOK TITLE: Family Secret
GENRE: YA, Mystery
PUBLISHER: MuseItUp Publishing
Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time? I am a part-time writer. I try to get up early in the morning and write.
When and why did you begin writing? I was writing at a young age. But sixteen years ago I took a writing course and started taking my writing more serious.
What inspired you to write your first book? I think family inspired me to write my first book Ghostly Clues.
What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing? I also love going to auctions and buy. Now that I have a big collection of antiques and stuff, I sell on ebay and flea markets.
What are your thoughts about promotion? It is hard work promoting books.
What was the toughest criticism given to you? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you did in your next novel? The toughest criticism I got was from my critique groups when I was writing my first book. The biggest compliment I got was from my mother-in-law. She told me after reading the first chapter she cried. It is nice to know my writing can put that kind of emotion in my readers. Yes. I think the criticism and the compliments make me a better writer.
What are your current projects? My current writing project is working on book 2 of Family Secret. Also revising another manuscript, Mysterious Visions.
What was the hardest part of writing your book? Finding the time to write. All the revisions I went through to get the book where it is today.
Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process? I like to free write and see where my imagination will take me. Once I get a rough draft done I’ll read through it and develop an outline.
What comes first: the plot or characters? Characters come first.
How did you decide how your characters should look? After writing the rough draft, I’ll do a character sketch to get to know my characters better.
Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children’s literature? Write. Write. Write. Read. Read. Read. Kind of helps to be around children and see how they interact with each other.
Tell us about Family Secret.
On the road to solving his mother’s murder, sixteen-year-old Thomas Patrick Henry discovers a secret his father has kept from him for years. Tom thought Dad’s secret put him in danger, Mom’s secret is far worse. Magic. Witches. Ancient Book of Spells. Magical Amulet. Ghosts. Demons. Tom never thought these things existed until he is face to face with them. There is nothing else to do but destroy the demons before someone else Tom love dies. He already lost his mom and a close friend because this secret was kept from him. No one else will die. No one else will be possessed. Tom faces his demons. A mother’s love gives Tom the strength to slay his demons.
What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun? Am I connecting with these characters? When I finish reading a book, I like to feel like I just met a friend.
Describe your writing space. The kitchen table.
Where can fans find you?
Where did the idea for Family Secret come from?
Ideas for stories can come from many places. I’ve had ideas come from dreams, daydreaming, and things my family might do.
Family Secret is not based on a secret from my past or from my family. The idea for Family Secret came from a picture I saw for a writing class. The writing assignment was to look at a picture and develop a story from it. In the picture were a train and a boy and girl.
I asked the question, What if? What if this boy was running away from something? What if he felt like he wasn’t wanted? What if a secret was being kept from him? Asking what if gets the imagination flowing. Over the years (it took fifteen years before Family Secret became published) I just let my imagination run wild and soon it developed into the book it is today.
“Ow.” Tom yanked the chain and dragged the burning amulet from under his shirt. Even the chain was warm, but there was no way he was going to take the stupid thing off. He let it drop to his chest and rest warmly on the top of his shirt as he stared at the demon.
“It’s not your grandfather,” Tom whispered. Anger rolled around inside him because of what this thing did to Sarah.
The dark figure stepped out of the shadows causing the boys to take two steps back. The demon looked like a man dressed in thunderous storm-like clouds from head to toe. Even his face was black and the eyes a dimly puke-yellow that churned Tom’s stomach. He felt Rob’s heavy breathing just inches behind him, but it didn’t stop a chill from shimmering up his spine like fingernails on a chalkboard.
“I know who you are.” Tom tried to sound confident even though his voice shook with fear. He swallowed hard. “What do you want?”
The demon raised a shadowy arm and then his stormy cloud-like body started to swirl like a mini tornado. In a gust of black smoke, the demon shot up into the air and zipped right over Tom and Rob’s heads. The boys ducked and laid flat on the wet grass, afraid the demon would consume them.
Tom turned his head to see the black smoke head toward Mr. Watson’s house. Tom got to his feet while Rob remained on the ground. The black smoke swarmed over the house and then drifted back down. It slithered around the house like a snake looking for a place to sneak in, circling several times before seeping through the crack in the window and disappearing inside.
Rob scrambled to his feet. “That thing is inside my grandfather’s house.” His voice was high-pitched in fear. “My…” He glanced toward the empty driveway. Then he sighed. “Mom must still be at the hospital.”
Tom touched Rob’s arm to prevent him from doing something crazy. He didn’t want another one of his friends to get hurt by this thing.
“We need to do something, but I don’t know what.” Tom glanced over to the tents in Granddad’s backyard, hoping Matt or Granddad would come running to save the day. But there was no movement over there.
Inside the house, Jake growled and then started to bark wildly. Before Tom could stop him, Rob dashed upon the back porch and flung the backdoor open. Jake continued his wild barking as if protecting Rob and the house. If only the dog could save the day, but Tom feared nothing would save them.
A cracking noise caught Tom’s attention, and he turned his head toward what he assumed was Mr. Watson’s bedroom window. The glass appeared pitch black at first, and then a face appeared. The same puke-yellow eyes stared at Tom and gave him an evil grin.