Monday, September 8, 2014

[Blog Tour: Feral by Holly Schindler... Interview]

I'm excited to be a part of the blog tour for Feral by Holly Schindler. The book was fast paced and fun and filled with plenty of squirmy moments. If you'd like to see my review of the novel click: HERE! And now for more info and a music based interview question!

Author: Holly Schindler
Series: None
Pages: 432
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Thriller
Date Published: August 26th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Buy It: Amazon and B&N


The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know.

It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened.

But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….

Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.
My One Question Interview With Holly Schindler:
Since FERAL is a psychological “thriller,” which character / characters would be embodied by Michael Jackson?

I have to start out by saying I love this question’s imaginative out-of-the-box-ness. I’m also a child of the ‘80s—THRILLER was actually the second album I ever bought, right after Cyndi Lauper’s SHE’S SO UNUSUAL, so this is also right up my alley. (As a side-note, Halloween is actually my favorite holiday, and I used to dress up like Cyndi Lauper to go trick or treating…usually with my brother, who was often dressed as a Transformer. You just don’t get more ‘80s than that…)

At the beginning of the “Thriller” video (which I remember watching on Nick Rocks when I was little), Michael Jackson tells a young girl, “I’m not like other guys,” and transforms into a werecat. He also, at various points throughout the video, transforms into a zombie.

So I’d have to say there’s actually a connection between Michael and Claire, the main character of FERAL. Claire’s not like other girls. She’s been beaten nearly to death—she’s had the kind of terrifying experiences very few other girls ever have. And it’s changed her—but not in quite as overt a way as Jackson changes in his video. Claire’s been changed on the inside.

Serena, the dead girl who actually opens FERAL, is also somewhat like Michael Jackson’s character in “Thriller”—more literally than Claire, actually. At a certain point in the book, Claire watches the spirit of Serena fall into an old feral cat (I see a similarity there to Jackson’s werecat transformation). Later on, it becomes clear that Serena wants out of the feral. She doesn’t want to be an old cat; she wants to be a seventeen-year-old girl and live in her own house and write for the school paper and go to dances…the way she’ll be able to do all those things is if she gets inside CLAIRE’S body…

The question then becomes: How does Claire protect herself from the horror of another spirit taking over her body? And why is it that she sees spirits moving about in the town fog, when no one else does? How can she make it through her father’s sabbatical—and exist in the town of Peculiar—without being torn to shreds all over again?


FERAL falls squarely into the realm of the classic psychological thriller. While the book features mystery, horror, and paranormal elements, the emphasis is on the “psychological” rather than thriller / action. The novel features a Hitchcockian pace and focus on character development (here, we’re exploring the inner workings of the main character, Claire Cain). Essentially, every aspect of FERAL is used to explore Claire’s inner workings—that even includes the wintry Ozarks setting. The water metaphor is employed frequently in psychological thrillers to represent the subconscious, and here is incorporated in the form of a brutal ice storm (that represents Claire’s “frozen” inner state). The attempt to untangle what is real from what is unreal (another frequently-used aspect of the psychological thriller) also begins to highlight the extent to which Claire was hurt in that Chicago alley. Even the explanation of the odd occurrences in the town of Peculiar offers an exploration into and portrait of Claire’s psyche. Ultimately, FERAL is a book about recovering from violence—that’s not just a lengthy or hard process; it’s a terrifying process, too. The classic psychological thriller allowed me to explore that frightening process in detail. 

About Holly:

 Holly Schindler is the author of the critically acclaimed A BLUE SO DARK (Booklist starred review, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year silver medal recipient, IPPY Awards gold medal recipient) as well as PLAYING HURT (both YAs)

Her debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, also released in ’14, and became a favorite of teachers and librarians, who used the book as a read-aloud. Kirkus Reviews called THE JUNCTION “...a heartwarming and uplifting story...[that] shines...with vibrant themes of community, self-empowerment and artistic vision delivered with a satisfying verve.”

FERAL is Schindler’s third YA and first psychological thriller. Publishers Weekly gave FERAL a starred review, stating, “Opening with back-to-back scenes of exquisitely imagined yet very real horror, Schindler’s third YA novel hearkens to the uncompromising demands of her debut, A BLUE SO DARK…This time, the focus is on women’s voices and the consequences they suffer for speaking…This is a story about reclaiming and healing, a process that is scary, imperfect, and carries no guarantees.”

Schindler encourages readers to get in touch. Booksellers, teen librarians, and teachers can also contact her directly regarding Skype visits. She can be reached at hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com, and can also be found at,, @holly_schindler,, and

Enter here for your chance to win a signed copy of Feral! The giveaway lasts until September 17th!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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