Author: Lisette Brodey
Published: October 7th, 2013
Publisher: Saberlee Books
Word Count: 72,700
Genre: YA Paranormal
Content Warning: Mild sexual content and non-gratuitous profanity
Recommended Age: 14+
In Mystekal, a small, dying town in the Southern California desert, only 75 students attend the old, sometimes creepy high school dubbed “Mystical High,” where strange things have been known to happen. Jessie Dalworth and Jinxsy Patterson are juniors and lifelong best friends. At home, Jessie deals with the pain of an absentee mother who has abandoned the family for the lure of Hollywood; Jinxsy contends with a 17th “birthday present” she never wanted or expected.
Meanwhile, at school, the unexplained activity begins to escalate when Jinxsy keeps seeing a long-haired guy in the hallway checking her out. Jessie can’t see him, but her younger brother, River, can.
Then, in English class, a stapler mysteriously flies off teacher Eve Carrow’s desk, hitting a student in the face who has just mouthed off to her. The beloved teacher is in the unenviable position of having her brute of a father as principal, so she hates sending any student to his office. As Principal Ernest Carrow begins to terrorize Eve and others more openly, something or someone unseen decides that it’s payback time.
School is getting stranger, and Jinxsy and Jessie are faced with mind-boggling changes in their home lives that complicate everything. When a string of shocking events expose explosive secrets, decades-long mysteries are finally revealed.
Eve looked sternly at the class loudmouth. “Mr. Vega, I can only surmise by your comments that you would prefer to lead the class into this exercise. By all means, why don’t you go first?”
Santino looked angry. “Listen, Ms. Carrow. I think it was really a stupid assignment. I mean, Harper Lee already wrote the character. There’s no point in us rewriting the dude. Sorry, didn’t do it and I’m not gonna do it. Any questions?”
As Santino’s words fell on the shocked class and the disrespected teacher, a gust of desert wind rushed through the open window, blew a small stapler off Eve Carrow’s desk, and sent it flying through the air before it landed sharply on Santino’s mouth.
“What the —?” Santino wiped the blood from his mouth.
As the class focused on the freak accident, Eve looked out the window and noticed that it was a very still day. The sagebrush was not moving. There was not even the faintest trace of wind.
About the Author:
Lisette Brodey was born and raised in Pennsylvania. After high school, she moved to New York City where she attended Pace University and studied drama. After ten years in New York, several of them working in the radio industry, she moved to Los Angeles, where she held various positions at Paramount Studios in Hollywood and CBS Studio Center in Studio City, CA.
Back on the East Coast, she worked for many years as a freelance writer, specializing in PR and the entertainment industry. In 2010, she returned permanently to the Los Angeles area.
Her first-published book, CROOKED MOON (General Fiction) was published in both the trade paperback and Kindle editions in 2008. Her first-written, second-published book, SQUALOR, NEW MEXICO (Young Adult/General Fiction) was published in the Kindle and trade paperback versions in 2009.
Her third novel, MOLLY HACKER IS TOO PICKY!, a romantic comedy, was published December 1, 2011. The author blogged as her character, Molly Hacker, for over a year. All blogs can be found at www.mollyhacker.com.
In January 2013, the author edited and published a book of her mother’s poetry (written 50 years earlier) called MY WAY TO ANYWHERE by Jean Lisette Brodey.
Lisette’s fourth novel, MYSTICAL HIGH, is the first book in her YA Paranormal Desert Series trilogy.
Interview: The Writing Life
What do you find the easiest to write: the beginning, middle or end? Why?
The end is easiest. The middle is the hardest. Usually. I love to write exciting endings. I live for the moment when I’ve written most of the book, and it’s then time to “bring it home.” In my YA novel, Squalor, New Mexico, there was so much cool stuff happening that I wrote the last five chapters in one sitting. It was like being on a wild ride. When I finished writing Mystical High, I wrote about 5K words in one day. I also recall a marathon writing session as I was finishing Molly Hacker Is Too Picky!
Tell us about your process for naming your characters.
Yes, my characters need to have names before I can write them. We all have different perceptions of names based on real-life people we have known. I will spend as long as it takes to come up with a character’s name. In Squalor, New Mexico, the heroine’s father is Ted McKendrick. He was originally Nick McKendrick. Very shortly after I began writing the story, he said to me, “Why in the world did you call me Nick? I’m Ted. If you don’t stop, I won’t be able to let you tell my story.”
In my novel Crooked Moon, I needed a last name for an entire family. It had to be right. I looked through several lists and couldn’t find the right one. After about a week of searching, I woke up one morning with the name in my head. I had dreamed it, and it’s one I have no recollection of ever hearing before: Cavalese.
Do you outline first or take an idea and run blindly?
I never run blindly. Conversations may run blindly but not the entire plot. I start with a general outline that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. My novels are in different genres, but the one thing they have in common is that there are always multiple story arcs that tie together in the end. In order to do this effectively, I must know where I’m going from the first page. I don’t, however, outline meticulously. I leave lots of room for surprises…and I get them, too!
Do you write a book sequentially, from beginning to end? Or do you sometimes write scenes out of order?
Short answer: Yes. No.
Long answer: I never write scenes out of order. As mentioned in my previous answer, I first construct a general outline. As the novel progresses, I usually plan the next few scenes that lie ahead. Like many authors, I write my novels as if I were also a reader. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.
Let’s say two characters are together and they make a shocking discovery that is a big twist in the story. Although I may be eager to write this major scene, it’s not going to work as well if I haven’t already written the scenes that precede it. Who knows? Something may have been said to change everything in the big twist scene. Perhaps the scene is no longer necessary, but another one is needed to replace it. I need to have written everything in chronological order to be credible.
Do your characters sometimes surprise you with their behavior? Or do you always have complete control?
Some of the most interesting things have happened when I let go of the reins.
Do you edit as you write? Or do you write an entire rough draft before doing any edits?
Yup. I have to edit. I am compelled to edit. I don’t like rough drafts. I really don’t like moving on to the next chapter until I have done my very best work. However, if at any point a wonderful story is flowing as fast as I can write it (or faster), I will certainly get all of that down before I worry about edits. I’m not crazy—just a bit compulsive. When I finish writing a novel, I like to have a manuscript that is more in need of polishing than restructuring.
When and how did you discover your passion for fiction writing?
As soon as I learned how to write, it was there.
Do you set your books in real locations or do you make them up?
If I’m writing about a big city, I use real ones. If I’m writing about small towns or suburbs outside a big city, I always fictionalize them. My characters are hybrids of my imagination and of people I’ve known and observed. Fictionalizing smaller towns is more comfortable for me.
If you could bring any one of your characters to life, which would you choose and why?
In my new novel, Mystical High, I’d love to bring 14-year-old River Dalworth to life. He’s a smart, quirky, eccentric kid and he really makes me laugh. I love the way he says what is on his mind before anyone can tell him it’s inappropriate. (They do, but it’s always too late.) He’s been so much fun to write that I can’t let him go. He’s going to be a main character in the second book of The Desert Series—just a few years older.
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
• $35 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
• Print copy of Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! (US only)
• Print copy of Squalor, New Mexico (US only)
• Print copy of Mystical High (US only)
• Tote bag (US and CAN only)
Tour Schedule for Mystical High by Lisette Brodey:
- November 11th – Laurie @ Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews (Interview)
- November 12th – Victoria @ Victoria’s Pages of Romance (Spotlight)
- November 12th – Darcia @ A Word Please (Interview)
- November 13th – Anila @ A Writer’s Dark Corner (Book Review)
- November 14th – Mei @ Book Reviews (Spotlight)
- November 15th – Keira @ Keira’s Corner (Interview)
- November 18th – Jessica @ Jess’s Book Blog (Spotlight)
- November 19th – Sabrina @ Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace (Book Review/Guest Post)
- November 20th – Jennifer @ Officially Jennifer (Spotlight)
- November 20th – Kay @ Kay’s Novel Nook (Book Review)
- November 21st – Autumn @ Fallen Over Book Reviews (Spotlight)
- November 22nd – CCAM @ Mythical Books (Guest Post)
- November 25th – Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts (Spotlight)
- November 26th – Jude @ One More Chapter (Book Review)
- November 27th – Dafeenah @ Indie Designz (Spotlight)
- November 28th – Rania @ Urania’s Distractions (Guest Post)
- November 29th – Deborah @ Written by Deb (Book Review/Interview)
- December 2nd – Lisa & Sarah @ Girls with Books (Book Review)
- December 3rd – Brenda @ Daily Mayo (Book Review)
- December 4th – Jaidis @ Juniper Grove (Interview)
- December 4th – Marissa @ Musings of a Fantasy Writer’s Life (Book Review)
- December 5th – Tanya @ Tanya’s Book Nook (Book Review)
- December 6th – Brenda @ Daily Mayo (Interview)