Connect with the Author
About the Book
Ripped from her mother's arms by police at the age of eleven, Max was made an orphan before she knew what was happening. Most of Max's childhood memories are of a small, dirty apartment in which she watched her mother try to put a stop to her drug addiction and then relapse right back, over and over. So when she's put in the care of her wealthy aunt and uncle in the suburbs outside New York City, she's not sure how to feel. However, Max's older cousins put her in her place rather quickly with their tricks and tormenting.
Max continues on through her days feeling all too much like a ghost until she finally makes a friend in the back of the school library. On the outside, Sasha is everything Max isn't. She's outgoing, confident, and colorful. Yet as the two spend time together, they quickly find that they are more alike than they ever would have thought. Max and Sasha keep each other strong, but when their relationship is tested by frustrating situations and horrific secrets, Max can't help but feel hopeless.
Nearly ten years later, Max finds herself lost and alone once more as she is struggling her way out of a toxic relationship, dealing with a dead-end waitress job, and facing the holidays with her mother's family. In her desperation, Max falls into the arms of a married man from which she simultaneously drowns in guilt and relishes the deliciousness of revenge. Max knows she's probably hit her lowest low and she doesn't know how to get out. Just when she thinks things can't get any crazier, Max is faced with a ghost she thought she would never see again.
The holidays leave a bloody mess on Max's aunt's dinner table, chaos and love dance through Max's every waking moment, and hope is just out of reach. Will reconnecting with Sasha be Max's downfall? Can she stay away from the married man that helps her escape reality? Or will she self-destruct and find herself at death's door for a second time? Whatever comes next, Max realizes that good or bad, anything is possible.
Keep reading for an interview with the author:
Why did you decide to be a writer?
Well, I didn't so much as decide to be a writer as realized I just was one. I've been writing for as long as I can remember, which was about first grade. We had frequent writing projects in which we would write a little story and draw pictures to go with it. So, I guess that's where it all started.
Do you have a "day job"?
I do. I'm an office assistant. I do a lot of data entry and background checks. It's not the most thrilling job, but the people I work with are great.
What genres do you write?
Oh man, so many! Psychological horror, general fiction, LGBTQ, supernatural thriller, poetry, children's, and I've even self-published a non-fiction book about the modern practices of witchcraft. I'm kind of all over the board.
Is there a genre that you've been wanting to experiment with?
I definitely want to do more writing for children's books. I'm currently working on a collaboration with artist Alexzandir DeBaun to create a kid's adventure series which he's going to illustrate. So far all of our concepts are coming together really smoothly and we're having fun with it. And that's what brought my attention to the children's genre. It's fun and whimsical, which is unlike what I usually write. All of my work has humor and great sarcasm, but not much whimsy. I think working on this project will help me relax more and have some more fun.
What inspires you to write?
Everything. Things I've experienced, things people close to me have experienced, dreams and nightmares that I have. Sometimes I'll get inspired by a movie or a video game, but often my work is inspired by what I observe in the day to day, outside of myself as well as inside.
How often do you write?
I try to write a little every day. It helps with work because we have mandatory twenty-minute breaks in the morning and afternoon as well as an hour lunch. I try to use that time to write, but if it's a stressful workday and I need to detox with a coffee run or watching some YouTube Let's Plays, then I may not get to it that day. Sometimes, I'll go months without writing. That time is hard and I'm usually pretty hard on myself for it, but if I'm not feeling it, even after trying to make myself do it a few times, I won't force myself to do it. Then it's a task, it's an obligation, and for me, that's not what writing should be. It's not my taxes. It's my escape.
If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?
Max. For sure. She's had it hard in her life, but she's so resilient. Even when she feels weak and stupid, she's still pulling through and staying true to herself. That and she had the courage to drop everything for a possibility, multiple times. I'd like to think I have that kind of courage, but I haven't been faced with those kinds of big, life-changing decisions yet.
What is the oddest thing you've ever researched for one of your books?
What types of pharmaceuticals can make you have more lucid dreams? That one was for my psychological horror novel. I found some answers but ended up also using my imagination to make up some.
What is the most difficult thing you've ever researched?
What types of anti-depressants you can try to overdose on, but won't. This one is for my next general fiction novel. Suicide and mental illness are tough subjects, but they need to be addressed more so that those who are suffering can feel heard, understood, and that they can seek out any help they may need.
What book has most influenced you?
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - this book resonated strongly with me, it helped me feel like I wasn't crazy, that I wasn't the only person who felt similarly. That's what I want to do with writing. My goal is to create something that other people can connect with and for a moment feel not so alone in what can often be a very lonely world. That's what The Bell Jar did for me. Thanks, Sylvia.
Do you feel the support of family and friends is helpful to you as an author?
Absolutely. I am very fortunate that I have so many friends and family that are as supportive as they are. They may not always read my work, but when I'm doubting myself and my work they encourage me to keep going. I love and appreciate them all.
What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?
"I cried." Haha, it seems horrible, I know! But when you write a scene that causes someone to feel that much emotion, you know you've done a good job.
What is your writing process?
This is probably super taboo...but I don't really have one? I just go with it when it hits me and try to get it flowing when I'm not totally feeling it. Sometimes I'll listen to music that I feel goes with the novel and have a glass of wine to help loosen the tension from the day and weaken those brain barriers to get the creativity flowing. Sometimes I'll sit at a cafe and write or just in my cubicle at work. I just kind of do it, though. It just sort of happens, like dreaming.
What are you working on now?
Currently, I'm working on three separate projects. One is my psychological horror novel that explores nightmares and the subconscious. Another is a general fiction novel that starts off with a girl finding out just how crazy life can get when a stranger climbs through her window just as she's ready to give up on everything. And the other one is the children's adventure series that I'm working on with artist Alexzandir DeBaun. Obviously, I don't have much of a social life haha.
Do you have any advice for other authors?
Never stop writing.