Supervision is a YA Paranormal that just released a couple days ago. I wanted to do a guest post with Alison as part of this tour because her book centers around a creepy house. Growing up, my sister and I convinced ourselves this house on our street was haunted. Granted, it didn’t even look like a haunted house, but we would sprint past it in our asphalt stained feet just the same.
In high school, a couple of my friends visited the local haunted house and came back with some pretty wild stories of chairs moving across the room on their own. Doors closing, lights flickering–the whole thing.
Needless to say, I have a soft spot for house-stories :D
Also, the artistic part of me admires the watercolor nature of the banner and cover. I totally want to hang this above my bed. Or on my inspiration board next to my desk and easel. Despite the creepy nature of the book.
They are giving away three ebook copies of Supervision and 2x original graffiti art prints based on the book (which ends April 30th). How cool is that? I want book graffiti.
If you want to follow the rest of the tour, you can find the schedule here.Something is wrong with Esmé.
Kicked out of school in New York, she’s sent to live with her grandmother in a small Appalachian town. But something is wrong with the grandmother Ez hasn’t seen for years; she leaves at midnight, carrying a big black bag. Something is wrong with her grandmother’s house, a decrepit mansion full of stray cats, stairs that lead to nowhere, beds that unmake themselves. Something is wrong in the town where a kid disappears every year, where a whistle sounds at night but no train arrives.
And something is wrong with the cute and friendly neighbor Ez’s age with black curls and ice-blue eyes: He’s dead.
And here’s Alison!:
SUPERVISION was inspired by a very old, very strange house—but not one in my family.
Several years ago I answered an ad for a free piano. The people who were giving the instrument away lived in a huge, ruined mansion down a back road in a very small townnear my home. The house looked completely out of place: three stories tall (with a ballroom and marble fireplaces inside) on top of a hill in nowhere Ohio.
Later I learned it had probably been the home of one of the nearby coal mine owners orlocal iron “industrialists” but the house had fallen into disrepair over the years. The people who rented it were moving—and getting rid of that piano, which, yes, I did take and still play today—because their utility bills were so high, trying to heat that behemoth of a house.
I would find excuses to drive past the house, an hour out of my way. I even looked into renting or buying it, but I could never find a listing. There was no way I could have afforded the heating bills, either, anyway. I just couldn’t figure out why the house was calling to me.
And then I started writing a book called SUPERVISION…
Once I had the central place for my novel (collapsing house, weird additions, rotting barn), I started thinking more about the people. Who would live in such a forgotten house? Who might be sent there as punishment? What were the stories of all its many rooms?
Did something bad happen there?
And happen again? And happen again?
I did think of my grandmothers’ houses when I wrote SUPERVISION, although the book is not specifically set there. Both my parents grew up on small farms in Indiana, and I have many wonderful memories of the farmhouses.
I thought of my maternal grandmother when it came to scenes in SUPERVISION set around the kitchen table. That’s where everyone in my mother’s family—and it’s a large family of six kids—would gather to tell stories, get together for meals, and then stay and stay and talk and talk… That definitely influenced several scenes in SUPERVISION where the main characters regroup. After traumatic events, fights and encounters with the supernatural, they go to—where else?—the grandmother’s kitchen table.
I thought of my paternal grandmother when it came to the outdoor scenes in SUPERVISION. That is the landscape of my dad’s childhood: wild fields and overgrown forests. My grandparents had a whole herd of cats that would come around after dinner— barn cats, strays, feral creatures. My grandfather would fed them table scraps from a tin pie pan. I remember him rattling the pan to get them to come.
My paternal grandparents also used to take me to a rural gas station where the owners would give me sweet tart suckers and let me play with their manx cats, a bred that is tailless. Manxes play a large part in SUPERVISION (I thought they were magic and cool even then).
Family and ancestors are very important to SUPERVISION. The novel is about, in part, an inherited secret. Like most secrets, it’s better if it’s told. It’s better if it’s shared, and if you have family around to help you. I’m lucky in that, while not always understanding what I’m doing or why I’m on this weird artistic path, my family has always supported my work.
My main character Esme Wong gets that support too. Though it takes her and her family and her rather strange friends some time to come together, they eventually do: around the kitchen table at her grandmother’s house.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Alison!
Also the author of three books of poetry: WAIT (University of Wisconsin Press, 2011), OHIO VIOLENCE (University of North Texas Press, 2009), and LOT OF MY SISTER (Kent State University Press, 2001), she has worked as an actor, an artist’s model, a high school teacher, and a professor. She holds a Ph.D. in English from Ohio University, and is an avid urban explorer.