When you read The Fall, you enter Madeline Usher’s mind.
Madeline Usher is mad, she’s confused, she’s prone to fits, her entire life is
a centered around the struggle to make sense of what’s going on around her,
both in the house of Usher and in her head. From first draft, my goal in the
Fall is for the reader to feel off-balanced, to experience life as Madeline
Don’t expect her story to be an easy read. If you feel
confused, then you’ve felt a little, a fraction, of what Madeline experiences.
The story is told in bursts of memory. Madeline is in the
coffin. Her life is flashing before her eyes. In each scene there is a memory
trigger, so in one scene there might be a mention of the pocket watch, in the
next, whether it goes forward in time or back, if the pocket watch is the
trigger, it will be in the next scene, the connection between that scene and
the next might be a room, or a person, a comment, or another object, but each
scene is connected in Madeline’s mind.
Each age does proceed chronologically, so once you read
something in Madeline’s 9th year, you will not read something that
happened previously when she was 9 years old. I have a very detailed calendar,
which includes each year of the story, and when WITHIN that year the events
take place, to be sure that the time of year details (leaves falling, spring,
etc) is correct. I also have a chronological and color coded version of the
book to be sure that every event happens chronologically, even though their
introduction (in the book version) may not be chronological. In reading the book the reader should be off balance, things should be
odd, and later you realize where they came from or what significance they have.
If you try to impose logic on Madeline’s world, you may end
up as frustrated as she is. There are rules to Madeline’s world, but she
doesn’t fully understand them, so it’s possible the reader won’t understand,
either. The book was very carefully planned and organized, over several years,
and dozens of drafts. That doesn’t mean that all readers will
like it, or even that they should, every reader is different and comes to each
book with different expectations and desires.
Oh, and one last thing, there are no chapters in The Fall.
There are scenes, and each one is numbered and starts with Madeline’s age. I’m
sorry that Kindle and other e-readers choose to label the scenes as chapters,
but that isn’t something I have any control over. J
Book Birthday Party!
Just so everyone knows, I'll be celebrating the Fall's birthday at North Bullitt High School's library on November 6, at 6:30 pm.
There will be cake and punch, and books!
Hope to see you there!
Here's the Facebook event posting
1. I really appreciate everyone who buys my books, it's such an odd thing, that people are buying something that I enjoyed writing so much, honestly it can be completely humbling (and then sometimes you get reminded that this is a business and publishers do invest in writers, so if people buy books, one becomes more successful (if I could I'd send a free copy of the Fall to everyone, but that's not possible. Still, I can send some free bookmarks, so I'm going to do that!).
2. If you would like a bookmark; I'd appreciate it if you could comment here on the blog with a favorite passage from the book, or tweet at me with favorite passage from the book. Then send your name and address- to firstname.lastname@example.org If you would like a bookmark for a friend or a set for a book club, please let me know!
3. Don't worry if this takes you awhile, I'm going to be crazy-busy for the next few weeks, so I'll be collecting names, addressing envelopes, and then visiting the post office about once a week. So, if it takes you awhile to read and have a favorite passage, that's okay!
4. International- the prices on international shipping really add up. I'll send out the first 20 who request. After that, I'll see what I can do.
Two Starred Reviews and Book Trailer, oh my!
I almost can't believe it. Tomorrow, October 7, 2014, The Fall, which is in many ways the book of my heart, the book I wasn't sure would ever be read by readers, will be available for purchase.
And I have so many things to celebrate. First, The Fall has received two starred reviews, one from Kirkus, and one from School Library Journal! (see below)
I'd also like to share the book trailer, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dm72wUfIOyc
please watch, comment, share with any readers who you think would enjoy the book!
A girl struggles to fight the haunted family house that binds her to it in this reimagining of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher." Madeline and her brother, Roderick, come from a long line of Ushers cursed to live and die within the haunted walls of the House of Usher. Beloved by the house itself, Madeline can sense its feelings and for a long while trusts it to protect her. However, just like her mother before her, Madeline begins suffering fits. The house will do anything to keep her from leaving. And with her brother away at school and only sinister doctors remaining for company, Madeline must plot to escape before the house has its way with her, keeping her trapped forever. Griffin creates a thick, murky atmosphere within the walls of the House of Usher from the start, layering in chilling details as Madeline's situation becomes ever more dire. Though only appearing intermittently, Roderick and her parents all cast long shadows, and the house is populated with compelling characters among the ghosts of Ushers past. Readers will be swept away immediately by the eerie setting, but it's Madeline's fighting will to survive that will keep them turning pages late into the night. A standout take on the classic haunted-house tale replete with surprises around every shadowy corner. (Fantasy. 14-18)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Griffin offers an alternative take on Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher." Instead of assuming the viewpoint of an outsider, as in the source material, readers get into the mind of Madeline Usher—the girl buried alive in the original tale. The author uses flashbacks to flesh out the missing details and provide backstory. This is an engrossing, creepy tale of a haunted house and its inhabitants. For those who aren't familiar with Poe's short story, this title will inspire them to run to the shelves to find it and see what happens or what is different. Those who are already familiar with it will enjoy this different point of view and ending. Altogether, the narrative's even pacing and thorough character development will keep teens engaged. The updated, supernatural spin will have savvy and reluctant readers hooked. An interesting addition to the "twisted tales" genre, for librarians looking for back doors to lead teens into the classics. Fans of the author's Masque of the Red Death (HarperCollins, 2012) will especially appreciate this title.—
A heads up that I'll be doing a signing at the B&N on Hurstbourne on October 25 with Katie McGarry, Kellie Creagh and Colette Ballard.
And Next week will begin the blog tour for the Fall
So, here are the Fall of the House of Usher Trivia questions. Will email winners tomorrow!
What sort of body of water (lake, stream, inlet- none of these are the answer, just examples!) stands before the house, creating an illusion that there are two unsettlingly horrible houses as the House of Usher is reflected.
The answer is- A tarn.
The tarn plays a fairly significant part in The Fall, as well…
As the narrator of Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, enters the house, he meets an unsavory seeming character on the stairs. What is the profession of this cunning fellow?
The answer is- A physician (or doctor)
The doctor(s) are also a large part of The Fall, and a big part of Madeline's life.
What season of year did Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher take place?
The answer is- autumn (or fall :))
To what body part does the narrator of Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher compare the windows at the front of the house?
The answer is - eyes
In Poe's story, what fact does the narrator only learn upon the burial of Madeline Usher?
The answer is- that they were twins.
At the end of Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, the narrator is reading a story to calm Roderick. What is the name of that story?
The answer is- The Mad Tryst