AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Katie Marie

Meghan: Hey, Katie! Welcome to Meghan’s HAUNTED House of Books. It is so nice to have you here today. What is YOUR favorite part of Halloween?

Katie: I love Halloween, it’s really difficult to pick a favorite part! I love so much about the holiday, I love decorating the house, I love the events around Halloween, especially the rise (at least in the UK) of live action events with actors, etc. I love the excuse to eat too much sugar and to dress up.

But if I had to pick a favorite thing, it would be the coziness. I love spending Halloween night curled up on the sofa in some kind of cozy costume (I was a shark last year) with my partner, the lights down low, lots of tasty snacks, the cats curled up dozing and something blood curdling on the TV. The only interruption being the doorbell every so often as we’re invaded by tiny monsters come to partake of our snacks.

Meghan: Do you get scared easily?

Katie: This entirely depends.

I’m unbothered by hyper violence, I very much enjoy a good psychological horror but rarely find them overly frightening but when it comes to certain types of horror, I’m a bit of a wimp. I suppose supernatural horror is most likely to scare me.

So, if you show me people being scary, I’m less likely to be bothered, show me something inhuman and I scare easily.

Meghan: What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen and why?

Katie: I found the movie Paranormal Activity (the first one) terrifying. The idea of something threatening being in the house but you couldn’t perceive it. You couldn’t see, smell or touch it but it could touch you and had malicious intent. Burrrr. The level of vulnerability I felt for the characters really got under my skin.

Meghan: Which horror movie murder did you find the most disturbing?

Katie: The ending of Eden Lake. I was cheering for Jenny and when she got away from the woods and you thought she was out of danger only for that to happen to her… ugh, makes my skin want to crawl off and hide.

Meghan: Is there a horror movie you refused to watch because the commercials scared you too much?

Katie: Can’t say there ever was, the more freaked out I am by a trailer the more likely I’m going to want to see the film.

Meghan: If you got trapped in one scary movie, which would you choose?

Katie: It’s not a movie but I’d choose the Netflix Haunting of Hill House Series. I’d totally fix up a super Haunted House that eats people.

Meghan: If you were stuck as the protagonist in any horror movie, which would you choose?

Katie: I’d be Tree Gelbman from Happy Death Day, hunting a murderer in a ground hog day like scenario. Each day full of new opportunities to kick the villains head in.

Meghan: What is your all-time favorite scary monster or creature of the night?

Katie: Probably a ghost.

I love the mystery element behind most ghost stories, I also feel most afraid when I can’t see or touch the threat but I can see or touch me. Most of my favorite horror films are ghost stories. Ever since I was young and watched the Lady in White a 1988 horror film about the murder of a young girl.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Katie: Decorating the house with all the spooky decorations. I put my decorations up probably a week earlier than I should and even then, it’s only through epic self-control that keeps me waiting that long. I love making my house look like somewhere Winifred, Sarah, and Mary from Hocus Pocus would feel at home.

Meghan: What is your favorite horror or Halloween-themed song?

Katie: It’s a tie between ‘This is Halloween’ from The Nightmare Before Christmas and Thriller by Michel Jackson.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Katie: When I was young my mum used to read to me before I went to bed. Sometimes she would make up stories, sometimes she’d read children books and fairytales to me. Then one day she came into my bedroom with a copy of The Thief of Always by Clive Barker.

It was my first experience of horror and I remember feeling super unsettled but also utterly captivated. I was gutted when the book finished and went on my own little crusade to find horror books that my mum would let me read.

Even now when I occasionally re-read this book, I feel the way I did when I was little.

Meghan: What is the creepiest thing that’s ever happened while you were alone?

Katie: My partner and I were on our first holiday together. We went to Boscastle in Cornwall, an absolutely beautiful village in a glorious part of the country. We stayed in an old fisherman’s cottage down in the harbor. One evening I was upstairs, in the bedroom, faffing about while my partner was downstairs. I heard the tap in the bathroom turn on.

This tap was the kind where to turn the water on you lift a lever and to turn it off you push the lever down. So, it turning itself on was bloody odd. I went and turned it off. I went back into the bedroom and continued my faffing. The tap turned itself back on.

This happened multiple times during the holiday, I’d wake up during the night to the sound of water running. It got to the point where I just left it alone. If spooky ghosts want to wash their hands, who was I to stop them.

Meghan: Which unsolved mystery fascinates you the most?

Katie: Oh, this is an easy one, mass disappearances.

The Roman 9th Legion, Aztalan Indians, Moche Civilization, ghost ships, there’s too many to list. But cases where large numbers of people vanish up in smoke. Usually suddenly.

If you enjoy those kinds of mysteries as well, I would recommend the book and film Phantoms by Dean Koontz, the video game Man of Medan and the very recent film directed by Jordan Peele, Nope.

Meghan: What is the spookiest ghost story that you have ever heard?

Katie: I love Creepy Pasta for this kind of thing. It’s impossible to name just one, but the No Sleep Podcast and Reddit pages are an absolute goldmine for great ghost stories.

Meghan: In a zombie apocalypse, what is your weapon of choice?

Katie: I really struggle with this.

A shotgun would be great but bullets are not infinite. So, some kind of melee weapon, maybe an axe, something heavy and weighted because I’m not particularly strong so if I need something to give weight to my attacks.

The downside with a melee weapon is that I’m also pretty short and I don’t have much in the way of reach.

So, with that in mind, I’d probably go with my car. My car is big, heavy and I can squish things with it with very little effort on my part. If I had unlimited resources I’d trip my car out with window armor, big spikes and junk. I’d probably also have an axe and a shot gun on the passenger seat.

Meghan: Okay, let’s have some fun… Would you rather get bitten by a vampire or a werewolf?
Katie: Vampire. I don’t need fleas on top of everything else. Also, I’m pale and have red hair so I’m used to avoiding the sun.
Meghan: Would you rather fight a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion?
Katie: Zombies, aliens would be smarter than me. Zombies I think I’d be on a more even keel with.
Meghan: Would you rather drink zombie juice or eat dead bodies from the graveyard?
Katie: Grim. I guess eat dead bodies, provided they’ve not been embalmed cause that’s toxic.
Meghan: Would you rather stay at the Poltergeist house or the Amityville house for a week?
Katie: Poltergeist house, it was a great film with a strong sequel. Though I’d get annoyed that the ghosties like moving my furniture. I’m particular about things being tidy.
Meghan: Would you rather chew on a bitter melon with chilies or maggot-infested cheese?
Katie: I’m intolerant of spicy food, it literally makes me sick. Whereas I like cheese, so I guess I’m eating maggots.
Meghan: Would you rather drink from a witch’s cauldron or lick cotton candy made of spider webs?
Katie: I’ll have the witches brew please, hopefully she’s put some kind of adult beverage in there.

Boo-graphy:
Katie Marie is a horror enthusiast and writer from Norfolk, England.

She has been published in several anthologies and magazines, and her Novella, A Man in Winter, was recently released by Brigids Gate Press.

Katie started writing while studying for her Law Degree at Aberystwyth University in the early 2000’s and several years and stories later she received her Masters Degree and published her first novel.

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Arthur, whose life was devastated by the brutal murder of his wife, must come to terms with his diagnosis of dementia. He moves into a new home at a retirement community, and shortly after, has his life turned upside down again when his wife’s ghost visits him and sends him on a quest to find her killer so her spirit can move on. With his family and his doctor concerned that his dementia is advancing, will he be able to solve the murder before his independence is permanently restricted?

A Man in Winter examines the horrors of isolation, dementia, loss, and the ghosts that come back to haunt us.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: J.P. Choquette

Meghan: Hey J.P. Welcome back to our annual Halloween Extravaganza? What is your favorite part of Halloween?

J.P.: I love the dressing up and pretending to be someone else aspect. As a kid, playing dress up and imagining myself in different roles and situations was one of my favorite things to do. And of course, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

J.P.: Decorating the house with my husband and son is always fun. My very favorite part of that is standing down by the end of the driveway when we’ve finished and looking at the lights/decorations. Last year (COVID) we weren’t sure if trick-or-treating would be possible, so we had a big outdoor Halloween party with several families in our neighborhood and my son’s friends and families. It was a blast and I really enjoyed our creative Halloween-themed snacks (puking pumpkin was a hit but maybe not as much as the spider donuts).

Meghan: If Halloween is your favorite holiday (or even second favorite holiday), why?

J.P.: Halloween is toward the top of my list. I just love the idea of everyone connecting with their creative selves—the decorations, costumes, the fun of walking the streets in the dark with kids as they go door-to-door, the movies and books, candles and coziness—there’s a lot to love!

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

J.P.: No superstitions here. 😊

Meghan: What/who is your favorite horror monster or villain?

J.P.: I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula for the first time a few years ago. While I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of vampires and their eerie transformation from person to blood-sucking-villain, this book made the idea so much more real…and frightening. Highly recommend this book—the atmosphere Stoker created was incredible and the writing really beautiful.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

J.P.: I read a scary book by Mary Higgins Clark when I was a teenager about a babysitter who was getting crank calls…and realized they were coming from inside the house. I did a lot of babysitting back then and it was at the back of my mind from that point on! I have heard variations of this as an urban legend but am not sure which came first—the story or the novel.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

J.P.: Ohhhh, I do not like serial killer stories at all.

Meghan: How old were you when you saw your first horror movie? How old were you when you read your first horror book?

J.P.: I saw Child’s Play at a friend’s sleepover party when we were in the third grade. I was terrified. Afterward, my little overactive imagination saw Chuckie everywhere I went—behind the shower curtain, in my closet, under the bed….

My first horror book was Dean Koontz in high school, I think. I can’t remember the title but there was some sort of supernatural monster in it. I love supernatural suspense and the type of horror that causes all the fear and dread without relying on gore.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

J.P.: I think it was the year I made a Bride of Frankenstein costume. I bought a big Marge Simpson-style white wig and spray painted it black (cutting out lightning bolts first to keep the hair underneath white). I made a dress from an old sheet and my husband helped with the makeup. It was fun and I loved the way it looked in the end.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

J.P.: I love Halloween songs! Thriller, Monster Mash, and Purple People Eater–they’re all great. My absolute favorite, though, is Little Red Riding Hood by Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs. Love it!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween candy or treat? What is your most disappointing?

J.P.: I’m a huge chocoholic so anything with chocolate is a yes for me. If it’s paired with peanut butter (Reese’s PB cups or Butterfinger) makes it even better.

Meghan: Thanks for stopping by today, J.P. Before you go, what kind of Halloween books and movies are your go-to?

J.P.: Right now, I’m listening to Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie which I’m really enjoying. Anything gothic-y, dark, atmospheric, preferably set in the deep woods, a crumbling mansion, or a boarding school are my go-to choices for Halloween…and most of the rest of the year, too.


Boo-graphy:
Thriller author, J.P. Choquette, writes atmospheric suspense novels with themes of nature, art, and folklore.

She started writing “books” when she was old enough to hold a crayon. These were held together with staples and left some painful scratches. 

In her career, J.P. has been a vet tech, a Montessori teacher helper, an administrative assistant, a case manager, and a buffet hostess, in no particular order. She’s been writing full-time since 2008. 

When she’s not working, you’ll find her sipping a hot beverage, reading, or in the woods with her family. 

Join her Readers’ Club and get peeks into her writing life, upcoming releases, thriller book recommendations, and other treats for book lovers.

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Green Mountain Trilogy:
Let the Dead Rest, Shadow in the Woods, Dark Circle

Combined for the first time, readers of J.P. Choquette’s Gothic tales of suspense will be riveted by The Green Mountain Trilogy.

In “Let the Dead Rest,” a strange doll makes her appearance in the life of Isabel Joven, an artist living out in the boondocks of Vermont. When strange things begin to happen, Isabel is drawn deeper and deeper into the doll’s frightening past, even as her own world starts to fall apart at the seams.

Readers are calling “Shadow in the Woods,” a “fast-paced, fun thriller,” and remarked that it “hits the accelerator and never lets up on the gas.” In it, two mental health counselors bring a small group of patients for an “ecotherapy” weekend in the wilds of the Vermont mountains. But when the group is forced to take refuge from a storm in a cave, sinister things begin to happen. Six go into the woods, but only three come out.

Sarah Solomon is recovering from a traumatic experience in “Dark Circle,” and moves to northwestern Vermont for a fresh start. But strange things are happening in the gated community where she and her husband live. When Sarah sees the “gray lady” in the woods, she’s unsure if it’s a ghost or a real person. As Sarah digs deeper into the community’s past, she discovers secrets that others want very much to stay buried.

Now available for the first time in a trilogy format, readers can enjoy a collection of Choquette’s most popular supernatural suspense titles. Fans of Ruth Ware, Lisa Unger and Peter Swanson will enjoy Choquette’s atmospheric, chilling tales packed with twists and turns. All three novels are set in rural or small town northwestern Vermont.