Stephanie Kuehn is a master at writing mystery thrillers, which will greatly confuse you if you ever have the chance to meet her. She is one of the most lovely humans and we are thrilled to host her today to pass along some of the terror she makes us feel with all of her books. We asked Stephanie what she would write if she could never write another mystery or thriller. Check out her answer below and a mini review!
Things I learned reading When I Am Through with You
- I definitely could not live inside Stephanie’s head with all these characters and scenarios. It’s downright scary LOL.
- If the horror movies of the 90s didn’t teach you, let this book confirm: DO NOT go into the woods with a rag tag group of your peers. Things do not end well.
- It’s not always what it seems but it’s still not good.
- YA thrillers are sometimes more scary than adult thrillers (ahem, check out Little Monsters, Three Truths and a Lie, and The Bakersville Dozen)
- Stephanie Kuehn is an autobuy author for me!
What Genre I’d Write If I Couldn’t Write Another Mystery or Thriller
by Stephanie Kuehn
What a tough question! I love the stories I write and they feel organic to my style and interests. I actually don’t think of them as mysteries or thrillers in a traditional sense. However, I am always trying to craft suspense when I write. In my mind, this is the element that drives a story forward, that keeps you reading. Perhaps tension is the better word, but to me dread is one of the most compelling forms of tension and that’s how I end up writing what I do.
However, I’m intrigued by and enjoy many different types of books. I’ve long been a fan of horror—that’s the dread come to life. As a teen, I read everything from King to Straub to Koontz to McCammon and Simmons, and they definitely formed my understanding of narrative structure and arc. Somehow, though, as I grew into adulthood, I stopped reading as much horror. I guess I came to understand how the real world is genuinely far scarier than anything I could possibly imagine. Maybe this is why my own writing interests have always come from realism. But having recently gotten back into reading horror, I’ve been developing a deeper appreciation for the humanity and the emotions at the core of every story. And because it was such a draw to me during my own adolescence, I think it would be a rewarding challenge to push myself out of my thriller comfort zone and into the creepier, less boundaried world of horror.
Beyond that, I also love humor! I realize the books I write now have very little humor, so maybe that sounds bizarre. But I really love absurdity and the way it can be used to deconstruct social norms and the things we take for granted in our culture. I’m not sure it would suit my voice, but writing some very dark or sardonic type of comedy would be appealing.
No matter what, I am always looking to grow as a writer and to go outside of my comfort zone. While suspense and darkness will probably always be a part of any story I’d want to tell, I’d like to write something in a different genre and find new ways of exploring the themes and conflicts I find compelling.
WHEN I AM THROUGH WITH YOU
by Stephanie Kuehn
Published: August 1st 2017
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
“This isn’t meant to be a confession. Not in any spiritual sense of the word. Yes, I’m in jail at the moment. I imagine I’ll be here for a long time, considering. But I’m not writing this down for absolution and I’m not seeking forgiveness, not even from myself. Because I’m not sorry for what I did to Rose. I’m just not. Not for any of it.”
Ben Gibson is many things, but he’s not sorry and he’s not a liar. He will tell you exactly about what happened on what started as a simple school camping trip in the mountains. About who lived and who died. About who killed and who had the best of intentions. But he’s going to tell you in his own time. Because after what happened on that mountain, time is the one thing he has plenty of.
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