When I first happened across the cover and description of In the Hall with the Knife <–add to your goodreads shelves– I geeked out like a fool! I have been quoting Clue since I first saw it in… <shuts up>. When I emailed author, Diana Peterfreund, and she agreed to let me conduct a Q and A with her my mind shot in two completely different directions.
In the Hall with the Knife author Diana Peterfreund
… take the chance and blatantly geek out on her and hope that she took on this project because she is all in on the fandom?
… do I play it cool and see what happens?
Well anyone who has been paying the least bit of attention to anything I’ve written or interviews I’ve done to this point, should know the answer to this question. Although, to be fair, I did start writing a more conservative form of the below.
Then I got about half-way through and said… yeah, no. This makes no sense. This is not the time to toe the line. So I didn’t. And I’m so glad I swung for the fences. And I can only hope you enjoy this geek out fest as much as I did…
In the Hall with the Knife, A Clue Mystery releases 10/8 via Abram Kids/Amulet
1) When I first came across with In the Hall with the Knife I literally yelped. I saw Abrams talk about that you, like me apparently, can quote every the movie. So. I want details. Favorite scene? Line? Character? GO!
I yelped when I first heard about the project! I feel so honored to be given a chance to play with these characters. I love the game and the movie. I used to watch it all the time when I was younger and I had so much fun revisiting it. My brothers and I used to play this game at the pool where we’d pretend to be the singing telegram girl and fall dramatically over (into the pool) after delivering her one line: “I am-your singing telegram–” (POW!)
FYI- This is also my mom’s favorite scene. For those who need a reference point:
I think pretty much any line Madeline Kahn (Mrs. White) delivers is my favorite, but especially <about her second husband>:
I happened the matching memes saved that Ms. Peterfreund chose as her favorites. LOL! And here they are…
And also, this exchange:
If I may add just one?
2) Follow-up! Easter Eggs we might be able to expect in the book from the above (without spoilers of course)?
I did try to work in nods to the screenplay whenever possible. Because the formulation of characters are somewhat different in the modern game (like swapping out Mrs. White for Dr. Orchid), and who my characters are are very different from the ones in the old movie (Miss Scarlet is NOT running a brothel in my YA novel!) obviously, the speaker and the scenario might be very very different. But savvy readers will be able to spot a good half dozen.
What? NO! I didn’t even know about those. I had been told there was an old chapter book series, and I guess also a version of the game that came with VHS clues?
Yes. I’m a complete nerd and used them with a comic book class in one of the high schools I worked with.
4) Ok something more serious- You are very political on Twitter and that can go both ways for anyone public or private. Have you noticed any impact on your work or ability to sustain as a writer? Whether you have or haven’t, would you let it change the way you express yourself on social media?
I don’t think of myself as political on Twitter. Given that I have writer friends who have started entire political movements or published books on explicitly political topics, I feel like I’m just your average everyday citizen trying to navigate in the world.
I just try to be authentic online, who I am as a person online and who I am in my life and who I am in my writing should all match. We live in an age where what someone eats or whether or not they believe in science or even their very existence and access to human rights are “politicized” — in that sort of environment, it’s impossible not to be political.
I live in DC. Politics are not some distant, theoretical argument that happens to someone else. It happens to all of us, all the time, and so sometimes what I’m experiencing is “political.”
5) I’ve seen you mention how New Adult isn’t new (it isn’t- although I might push back that NA is often considered high sexual/light pornography- unfortunately, where it could be YA that is really that grey area between YA and Adult – examples I would give would be Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom, Arc of a Scythe- but this is just for clarification of my opinion take it for what its worth)- My actual question (although feel free to comment on that as well) is: What do you think the greatest challenge to publishing, across all categories and genres, specifically to YA, as well.
New Adult as a category title was invented by two editors from St. Martin’s Press back in 2009 to describe a line of books they thought about publishing (I wrote about it here: http://dianapeterfreund.com/on-new-adult/), then later, circa 2012 or so, co-opted by a group of self-published romance authors to describe their late-teen/college set romances. That kind of coincided with the explosion of the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Gray, which was also about a college girl, and there you go. Perfect storm.
I was writing college set books with sex scenes in them as far back as 2006. At the time, we called them chick lit. What genre or category a book falls into is really just a marketing term, and it can change as the publishing environment changes. If you’re lucky, you hit a trend. If you’re REALLY lucky, you start one.
I think the focus on trends is a detriment to writers and readers, but I also realize publishers have a bottom line to worry about. I’m not really a publishing prognosticator. People have been sounding the death knell for decades. As a writer, I try to do the best work I can and to keep a diverse portfolio so I am not caught flat footed if a trend or genre bubble pops.
6) How far do you think this series will go? What are your overarching goals for it? Themes (if any)?
Well, I signed on for a trilogy, but I love these characters so much, we’ll see! There are some overarching mysteries that carry over from book to book. I’m a huge Veronica Mars fan so I tried to make up mysteries for each book but also a big mystery for the whole series.
I would super love it if Hasbro skinned a game with the Blackbrook students. That would make my career.
To close out the geekiness, I don’t know if everyone could hear Mr. Green’s neurotic and lovable… I DIDN’T DO IT… a staple in my life since… <shuts up>
Mr. Green must, in all his emotional flailing, yelp it (and a good number things) a good dozen times … but in this case, he breaks a table and hits the beat more than once…
Diana Peterfreund is the author of thirteen books for adults and children, including the Secret Society Girl series, the killer unicorns series, and For Darkness Shows the Stars, a post-apocalyptic retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Her most recent series, Omega City, is about a group of children exploring a lost, Cold War-era underground bunker city. She has received starred reviews from Booklist, School Library Journal, and VOYA, been named in Amazon’s Best Books of the Year, and to the Indie Next, Capitol Choices, Lone Star, and Sunshine State Reading Lists. She lives outside of Washington, DC with her family. http://dianapeterfreund.com