Kat Ellis is fast becoming the queen of UK YA horror and next month she returns with her latest novel.
A year after Harrow Lake terrified readers, Wicked Little Deeds looks set to repeat the trick.
We sat down with Ellis to discuss her upcoming novel, her favourite monsters and more…
Could you please tell us a bit about your new book Wicked Little Deeds
Wicked Little Deeds is a young adult horror-thriller set in a small town called Burden Falls — the kind of town where the locals whisper about curses and vengeful ghosts. Ava Thorn has grown up there, and she knows better than to believe the old legends. But when her school nemesis is brutally murdered and Ava becomes the primary suspect, she starts to wonder if the rumours surrounding the town are more fact than fiction.
You are great at creating creepy characters but which fictional monster do you wish you had created?
Thank you — I do love a good monster! I wish I’d been the one to come up with Slenderman. He’s such a strange creation, having sprung from an internet forum in 2009; he feels like an urban legend that’s been around for a lot longer than that. I find the visual of Slenderman completely terrifying: this tall, black-suited creature with tentacles reaching from its back and a completely featureless face. Even the name ‘Slenderman’ is eerie, isn’t it? I think a good, memorable name can be almost as important for a monster as the physical description, and it took me quite a while to come up with the names for mine: Dead-Eyed Sadie (the ghostly mascot of Burden Falls) and Mister Jitters (the monster from my last novel, Harrow Lake). A monster’s name should be something you can whisper furtively.
Which of your minor characters do you think deserves a novel of their own?
Casper and Mateo are teen ghost hunters who feature in Haunted Heartland — a hit online series from the book. If I were going to write more in this setting, I think they could have some creepy adventures going around exposing the most haunted locales.
What is the first piece of fiction you ever remember writing?
There must have been earlier ones than this, but the first short story I remember writing was about a small, ancient creature that wore the skin of a rabbit to avoid human detection. It had lived alone for so long it was driven mad by the sight of its own reflection. I was around 10 when I wrote that, and I strongly suspect I’d been reading The Hobbit.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your writing career to date?
No two people will agree on every word choice or comma. Sometimes you have to let those inky little slugs be wild and free.
Which song would be the perfect soundtrack to Wicked Little Deeds‘ closing scene?
I’ve been slightly obsessed with Chelsea Wolfe while working on Wicked Little Deeds. I love the dark, eerie vibe of her music — it’s exactly what I wanted to capture in this story. Chelsea Wolfe’s recent song ‘Diana’ would be my pick for an end credits track; it has a comics connection as it was inspired by Wonder Woman and my main character Ava wants to be a comic book artist, so that’s kind of perfect.