April Tucholke Interview

Said | Apr 22 2012

Hola folks! I hope this Sunday finds you happy and inspired. Here at Ink & Angst we’re pleased to bring you an interview with April Tucholke, a Lucky 13er whose book BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA is slated for publication in August 2013!

From her website: I currently live in Bend, Oregon, at the edge of the Deschutes National Forest. I can see the stars, all of them. The air smells like pine, and I hear coyotes howling at night. I dig classic movies, redheaded bullies, big kitchens, and discussing murder at the dinner table.

And here is the description of her book on Goodreads:

Violet’s grandmother had warned her about the Devil, had talked about him often, as though he were a best friend, or an old lover. But she never told Violet that the Devil could be real. She never told Violet that the Devil could be a dark-haired boy in vintage clothes who takes naps in the sun and likes old movies and has a deep sense of vengeance.

River West is the seventeen-year old stranger renting the guesthouse behind the rotting mansion on the sea, where Violet lives. And as eerie, grim things start happening in Violet’s town, she begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling, coffee-loving liar with rascally eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something else? Something…evil?

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love she can’t see straight.

And that’s just how River likes it.

1. If you had walk-on music (a song that plays when you enter a room), what would it be? Why?

Hmmm…probably something dreamy and calming, like that O Brother Where Art Thou Skip James song, Hard Time Killin’ Floor Blues. That song does it for me.

2. How does living near a national forest affect your writing process?

I think it helps the imagination to be near wilderness. My writing seems to improve in direct relation to how detached I am from civilization. Howling coyotes and circling ravens and great horned owls looking down from tall pines—that’s pretty atmospheric.

3. What do you feel is your greatest strength, craft-wise?

I’m concise. I love plot. Plot, plot, plot. I write a good sexy scene. I can get pretty dark.

4. What do you have work harder on to get right?

Initially? It took me a long time to get the rhythm, the cadence, of writing a book. I had to figure what needed to be said, and when, and how long I should take saying it. And then, once I had the melody of writing down, I had to figure out how to change it, and make it my own. I still get bored easily, and want to skip descriptions, etc and just jump from intense bit to scary bit and back again.

5. What draws you to horror and fantasy?

Well, I like a lot of genres—I have a deep soft spot for westerns. Fantasy can be hard to write, because there is so much world building. But that’s the cool thing about, too. Horror—well, Stephen King taught me that if you can scare people, really scare them, they’ll love you forever. So I’m seeking that kind of love, I guess.

6. Your website gives an article from 1954 as the inspiration for BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA. Could you elaborate on how you came upon the article and what about it sparked this story?

This is an awesome question. I stumbled upon this article ( when I lived in Edinburgh, and I just couldn’t get over it. I love it when truth is stranger than fiction. Hundreds of kids stalking a vampire in an old cemetery. How did it begin? Did it trace back to one particularly charismatic liar? Who was that kid? What was he like?

7. Tell us about the genesis of Violet and River.

Yeah, Violet and River. Strange boy comes to town. He’s mysterious. He lies. The MC is a lonely ex-wealthy bookworm missing her grandmother. She’s a goner from the get-go. Violet might be a bit like me. But then, River has some of me in him, too. One or two characters I based on real people, but most are just aspects of myself, I think. Who I want to be, who I don’t want to be, who I actually am.

8. Did you plot out the novel before starting to write or do you like to start without much structure? Or perhaps something in-between?

Other than the kids in the cemetery article, I had nothing. I just jumped in. The WIP I’m working on now has a very basic outline. And that’s working all right, too.

9. Expected publication has listed in August of 2013. At what point in the process are you now?

Just finished my 2nd round of edits. I still have to get copy edits and a cover and ARCs, etc. 2013 feels a million miles away.

10. What was your path to publication like?

Well, I wrote 3 manuscripts in 3 years. Got some editorial attention on the first, none on the second, sold the third. All right ups, deep, deep, downs. I studied writing in college. I never really thought it would go anywhere, though. But it did. So that’s pretty cool.


Kelly Barwick

I'm a born and raised Chicagoan, so mountains that aren't made out of landfills are fascinating to me. I'm a graduate of Columbia College Chicago's Fiction Writing program and am working on my Masters of Arts in Teaching. I write YA stories when I should be sleeping. I'm trying to make "bags under the eyes" a fashion statement.
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16 Responses to “April Tucholke Interview”

  1. FABULOUS interview and I am DYING DYING DYING to read this book! April, you had me at hello on this one.

  2. Hey, thanks, Elle. Ditto, double ditto, on your math whiz, clue-solving Dead Blue book–I’ve always thought that one of the coolest things an author can do is give good mystery. It trumps everything.

  3. Brandy Colbert says:

    Add me to the list of Dying to Read this Book. Great interview, April.

  4. […] longish Interview where I talk about Skip James and […]

  5. That’s a good song choice. (And a good question too). That scene in “Oh Brother Where Art Thou,” where Chris Thomas King is playing “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” by a fire in the countryside late at night — that’s the perfect setting for an April Tucholke story.

  6. April, you floor me. Not only do you give good interview (that sounds vaguely…wrong??), you also wrote a book I cannot wait to read! Thanks for letting us peek into your head today!

  7. I will definitely read this book! I’m intrigued, sure to be hooked.

    April, I love what you said about the wilderness and imagination. I live in the woods and love gazing out my window during work breaks. It totally energizes me and motivates my muse when she’s in a slump seriously amping up my creative thinking when it needs to be amped! I do my best writing when the wind is whispering in the pines and the deer are snacking on the grass. It’s even better if snow falls. Glad to know there’s another wilderness writer out there! :)

    Congratulations on an amazing achievement!

    • Everything I’ve written so far has been set someplace small town or very, very rural. Maybe it would be different if I wrote urban. I started writing this Devil book in a city, actually–Edinburgh, Scotland–but it was easy to get out and into feral Scottish wilderness.

      And yes. Snow. I’ve tried to explain to heat-loving people what I like about it…it’s the quiet, mostly. The deep, mythical silence that follows a snowfall. That kind of quiet is impossible to replicate.

  8. K.A. Barson says:

    Great interview! Can’t wait to read this book.

  9. Emma Pass says:

    AWESOME interview, April. I seriously can’t wait to read this book, and I love love love the names you’ve picked for your characters!

  10. I simply would not vanish entirely your website before recommending we particularly cherished the most common data a person source Link Web Page on your attendees? Is going to be yet again normally to be able to inspect brand new articles

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