Oct 19, 2012

Don't Look Behind the Bookshelf: Day 2

Dont Look Behind the Bookshelf
What are you doing here? Do you not see the letters in huge red script?! It told you not to look behind here--and you did. Now you have no choice but to pry your eyes open and be exposed to yet another day of Don't Look Behind the Bookshelf. (You can see the first day's interview here.) Today's author's most recent novel has a "A shocking, spine-tingling ending proves that ghost stories never go out of style," according to Kirkus. Will her interview send tingles down your spine? There's only one way to find out--read on with...

Jeannine Garsee
Trick or treat? 

Truth or dare? 

Best Halloween creature?
I have to say vampires, but they have to be real vampires, like Salem’s Lot…not glittery guys who fly through trees. Now Kiefer Sutherland in The Lost Boys? AWESOME!
What’s the worst and best candy to get on Halloween?
Worst: Candy corn. SERIOUSLY! What IS that stuff? And Dum Dum suckers. And those nasty Mary Janes that pull out your fillings. Ugh, ugh, ugh. I can do without the peppermint patties and Jolly Ranchers, too. 
Best: Anything chocolate with nuts, Mounds or Almond Joys, or my all-time favorite: Twizzlers!

What’s your most memorable Halloween costume?
My most embarrassing one was wearing a sheet, plus a pillowcase over my head. I wasn’t sure if I was a ghost or a member of the KKK. Either way, it was awful. Once I dressed up like a punk rocker and looked absolutely awesome! The best costume I did was that of a witch, complete with green-goopy face and a glued-on nose. I had zits for a week after that.
Best movie to watch for Halloween? Best book to read?
Any scary Stephen King movie is great for Halloween. As you might have guessed, Salem’s Lot is my favorite, but The Shining is a close second. Then, of course, there’s The Exorcist… I’d also recommend these same books, along with Carrie.
What scares you?
Haunted mazes. They terrify me, but I LOVE them. Every time I go through one, I swear I’ll never do it again—and then the following year I’m right back at the same place.

[Beauty and the Bookshelf adds: If you'd like to play a terrifyingly "fun" maze game, click here!]

If you could be any Halloween creature who would you be and why?
I’d be a ghost. I’d love to stalk people, unseen, and see their reactions when I mess with them!

Do you have a real-life experience Halloween story?  
I worked in an old nursing home once that was supposedly haunted by the woman who founded it. Originally she’d insisted the nursing home be for female residents only, but after her death they started admitting male residents as well, though everyone agreed the founder would have considered this an abomination. Sometimes we’d hear footsteps when no one was up walking. Doors would open and close with no one around. Once, one very old lady with end-stage Alzheimers—she could barely walk and only babbled nonsense—suddenly looked one of the nurses in the eye and said, clear as a bell: “Look what they’ve done to my home.” After that, she never spoke clearly again. We were convinced the spirit of the founder possessed her for that moment. 

If you could go back in time and rewrite the legend of a fictional (or nonfictional) monster/creature, which would you choose and why?
I’d let the witch in Hansel and Gretel eat the kids. Seriously—they were BRATS!
How do you celebrate Halloween?
If I’m not working, I like to sit and watch scary movies with my family and totally pig out on junk. I also hit the haunted houses that week. 

In about 140 characters or less, please write a Halloween story.
Icy fingers pinch the back of your neck, her cold, foul breath blows through wisps of your hair…yet when you gasp and jerk away, you see no one. But she’s there.

It’s Friday the 13th, you’re home alone, and it’s dark. Simultaneously, the phone rings and you hear somebody upstairs. What do you do?
Yell to my dog: “SIC ‘EM!” and see what happens.

If you were in a horror movie with a classic killer what would you do to survive?
I would NOT walk around with the lights off, for one thing.

Using the letters of UNQUIET, please describe yourself.
Easily amused

What is The Unquiet about? What do you think makes it Halloween-esque?
It’s about a ghost who haunts a school, and everyone except Rinn, the main character, is affected by her in terrible ways. It’s Rinn’s job to find out why she’s not affected, and she suspects it has something to do with her bipolar disorder. The good part of the story takes place in October/November, with a Halloween scene and a séance included; that, along with a killer ghost on the loose, makes it a perfect story for the Halloween season.

What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on a YA thriller—it’s still in the very early stages, so I’m not quite sure where it’s going—and, as always, I have several other ideas brewing, too. J

Jeannine Garsee has been telling stories since before she could write. "I was addicted to the Sunday funnies," she says, "and my dad worked in a book-binding factory. He'd bring home a slew of paper every week, and I'd draw scenes on every page. Later, when I learned to write, I'd add the captions--and then the captions just grew longer and longer till I didn't have any room left for the pictures."Jeannine, known as "Jen" to her friends, works as a psych nurse in a busy inner-city hospital. Born and raised in Ohio, she lives with her family in a southwest suburb of Cleveland.

The interview may be over, but you can still learn more about Jeannine Garsee! Go to her website, blog, Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook! And don't forget to check out her novel that's perfect for Halloween, The Unquiet.

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publishing Date: July 17, 2012
Pages: 338

Sixteen-year-old Rinn Jacobs has secrets: One, she’s bipolar. Two, she killed her grandmother. 

After a suicide attempt, and now her parents' separation, Rinn and her mom move from California to the rural Ohio town where her mother grew up. Back on her medications and hoping to stay well, Rinn settles into her new home, undaunted by the fact that the previous owner hanged herself in Rinn's bedroom. At school, her classmates believe the school pool is haunted by Annaliese, a girl who drowned there. But when a reckless séance goes awry, and terrible things start happening to her new friends—yet not to her—Rinn is determined to find out why she can’t be "touched" by Annaliese...or if Annaliese even exists. 

With the help of Nate Brenner, the hunky “farmer boy” she’s rapidly falling for, Rinn devises a dangerous plan to uncover the truth. Soon reality and fantasy meld into one, till Rinn finds it nearly impossible to tell the difference. When a malevolent force threatens the lives of everyone she cares about--not to mention her own--she can't help wondering: who should she really be afraid of?

Annaliese? Or herself?

Return to Beauty and the Bookshelf tomorrow (and through the 31st) for more of Don't Look Behind the Bookshelf!


  1. Hi Jen! Love your books and The Unquiet is hands down THE BEST! Also delighted that you share my aversion to candy corn (blech) and love for Almond Joy and Mounds :) Not that I am surprised.
    Great post and great questions by our inimitable hostess :) Thanks for sharing Halloween with us all.

  2. Great interview! So glad to finally find someone else who isn't a fan of candy corn. (That stuff is just...yuck!) I miss real vampires, too--they're more fun when they're scary instead of sparkly! Also, your story about the old nursing home gave me chills... *shudders*


I've been having s-to-the-pam issues, and I wasn't thrilled with Disqus, so sorry about the CAPTCHA!