About the Book
Framed for the murder of her best friend, a young girl joins a super-secret society of teenage assassins to avoid a lifetime behind bars–and discovers her own true self–in this mesmerizing debut novel.
Seventeen-year-old Signal Deere has raised eyebrows for years as an unhappy Goth misfit from the trailer park. When she’s convicted of her best friend Rose’s brutal murder, she’s designated a Class A–the most dangerous and manipulative criminal profile. To avoid prison, Signal signs on for a secret program for 18-and-under Class As and is whisked off to an abandoned sleep-away camp, where she and seven bunkmates will train as assassins. Yet even in the Teen Killers Club, Signal doesn’t fit in. She’s squeamish around blood. She’s kind and empathetic. And her optimistic attitude is threatening to turn a group of ragtag maniacs into a team of close-knit friends. Maybe that’s because Signal’s not really a killer. She was framed for Rose’s murder and only joined the program to escape, track down Rose’s real killer, and clear her name. But Signal never planned on the sinister technologies that keep the campers confined. She never planned on the mysterious man in the woods determined to pick them off one by one. And she certainly never planned on falling in love. Signal’s strategy is coming apart at the seams as the true killer prepares to strike again in Teen Killers Club.
You guys, this book! Where do I even begin! It was just so dang good and different and crazy and wild and UGH, I LOVED it! I mean, a secret society of teen assassins sounds like something out of my wildest dreams. Or I could say it’s the book version of all of (what my mother would call “weird”) animes and tv shows I love. But regardless, this book is absolute perfection.
What makes this book so good is how gosh darn funny it is! I was cracking up throughout regardless of the rather morbid subject material. It’s one of those books that doesn’t take itself too seriously in all of the best ways. And even though I was having a great time the story still flowed splendidly and made sense. And honestly, what isn’t there to love with this story? Like I said: murderous teenagers. I mean, I think that’s all that needs to be said!
This is one of those wholly immersive books with so many different aspects to love about it. Plus it’s just so witty and sharp and fresh feeling. And honestly, that’s what I’ve been look for lately. I feel like I keep seeing the same stories and fairy tales told over and over that I always get extra excited when I see something new.
About the Author
Born in Connecticut, came out to Los Angeles to work at Tumbleweed kid’s camp, stayed to go to UCLA. I’ve had a million odd jobs and use them to tell stories on screen, in animation, and in books.
Telling stories is what I do to be happy and help make sense of the world.
I hope you have as much fun reading my books as I do writing them.
Q1 – What inspired you to write Teen Killers Club?
The Hare checklist. It’s used to determine the level of psychopathy in convicts. I was listening to a This American Life about it and walking my dog, and I thought, how long before this checklist becomes an algorithm? And BAM! The whole premise popped into my head fully formed. I could see the camp, I could see the characters, it was instantaneous. Luckily my dog had done his business so we raced home and I started the outline.
Q2 – Can you share with us three things about this book that would make anyone pick it up?
If you’ve ever felt absolutely terrified that you would never fit in, or if you like Agatha Christie type mysteries where you CAN solve the mystery but it WILL be tricky, or if you’ve ever wanted to live in a forest cabin with your friends and your crush for a week, then this book was made with love for you.
Q3 – Who in the Teen Killers Club do you most relate to? Which of them is your favorite?
I am very bonded to my main character, Signal. She’s socially anxious misfit and overthinks everything, but she loves her friends and is unendingly loyal. But Erik might be my favorite to write because he always surprises me. And he has the meanest sense of humor.
Q4 – What do we need to know about the members of the Teen Killers Club?
They’re not psychopaths. I’ve seen summaries of the book describing them as sociopaths or psychopaths, but they’re not. Well, one of them is. But not all of them.
Q5 – Could you tell us about the publishing process?
I have absolutely loved the publishing process. My editors at Crooked Lane were very supportive creatively through revisions and hooked me up with the best cover ever, by artist Adams Carvalho. I got to have smart, cool people help me build a dream world, and now we’re about to open the doors for our first visitors! How can that be anything but a pleasure and a privilege.
Q6 – How is your writing process different for books and TV?
TV writing is very social. You spend all day talking with a room of brilliant people and form a consensus. Writing a book is just you and your brain, lucid dreaming. It’s the difference between going to a crowded house party and being alone in your room in the dark listening to moody music. Very different vibes, but both are a good time.
Q7 – What was your favorite part of writing for CW’s Reign?
I wrote one episode for Reign, and it felt like coming home as soon as I stepped into the office. To talk about Elizabeth Tudor like she’s Taylor Swift with people who felt the same way was truly a life highlight.
Q8 – How did you manage the historical facts and mix them with creating an enthralling drama when writing for Reign?
I came in mid-season, so the dramatic plot points were fixed. I was responsible for pitching the Anne Boleyn storyline, which was framed as a dream sequence, so I had a lot of poetic license.
Q9 – What led you to writing books and stories?
As long as I can remember I just liked to be somewhere else in my head. I probably have a vitamin shortage or something.
Q10 – What are three things that you want the world to know about you?
1. Over time our biases calcify into beliefs and prejudices, but I believe when we go back to our teen selves we can reconnect with the emotional clarity and openness we had then and push back against that hardening. Which is why I read and write YA.
2. If I had to choose between the superpowers of invisibility or flying, I would choose flying.
3. That’s probably it honestly.
Q11 – What three books do you think everyone should read at least once in their lifetime?
Locas by Jaime Hernandez. It’s a compendium of 15 years of his Love and Rockets series. I’ve read and re-read it so many times and every time it’s a gut punch.
I’m going to be that bitch and say The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is brilliant, its popularity is completely deserved and its theme of compulsive personal branding gets more relevant every year.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth Speare is one of the best books in the world. Like a lot of the world’s best books you’ll have to go to the kid’s section to get it.
*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*
About the Book
Title: The Summer I Drowned
Author: Taylor Hale
Publisher: Wattpad Books
Release Date: May 26, 2020
Genre: Teens & YA
Price: $10.99 (USD)
Five years after almost drowning, Olivia Cathart returns home to Caldwell Beach determined to face her fears and take some risks—not just by swimming, but by opening her heart. Hoping to rekindle her friendships, she’s excited about a carefree summer with her best friends Keely and Miles. But life in the sleepy town has changed, and no one and nothing is as it seems.
When a series of startling crimes threaten Olivia’s fragile state, she is plunged into a terrifying game of cat and mouse. Her only solace from the chaos is West, Miles’s disowned and ruggedly handsome brother, but even he can’t answer the question on everyone’s minds—is Olivia really in danger or is it simply all in her head?
About the Author
Taylor Hale was born in Southwestern Ontario, and started writing on Wattpad in 2015. When she isn’t writing, she can be found bartending at a live music venue, and thinking up her next idea. The Summer I Drowned is her first novel.
Question: What inspired you to write The Summer I Drowned?
Taylor Hale: Oddly enough, it was the name of a candle – “Sea Glass.” I thought it would make a pretty title for a story set in a beach town, maybe a romance. However, the title of the story evolved as the story itself did!
Q: What struggles did you face when writing this book? How did you go about using details from Olivia’s past to inform her present narrative?
TH: Getting into Olivia’s mental state was definitely a challenge, and a bit of a dark place to be writing from. I wanted to write her as someone who is constantly reminded of her past due to not only her trauma, but her emotional attachments to the people and places in the story. I think both her traumatic memories and her positive memories from Caldwell Beach shape who she is and how she sees the world throughout the story.
Q: In the book, Olivia struggles with trauma and PTSD. What do you hope young readers will take away from the ways Olivia copes with her mental health?
TH: I hope they will feel less alone. I also hope they will see it’s okay to ask for help, or to accept help when it’s offered—it isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength.
Q: How does The Summer I Drowned stand out from other books of the same genre? What do you hope to bring to young adult fiction?
TH: I think THE SUMMER I DROWNED stands out in the sense that it has an element of thriller to it, but is very much a YA Contemporary story that focuses on friendships, relationships, and growing up. I hope to bring fresh and unique stories that someone, somewhere can relate to, even in a small way. More than anything, I hope my stories provide solace to those who need it.
Q: When you started using Wattpad, did you ever anticipate becoming a published author?
TH: Not really, no! I knew nothing about the industry or how people even get published. However, after being on the platform for a while, I quickly realized that writing was my calling.
Q: What advice would you give to young writers who are inspired by your writing?
TH: Writing is a craft that takes time and practice. Allow yourself room to “suck” — everyone starts somewhere. Give it time and patience and be kind to yourself when you feel your writing isn’t quite up to par; you’ll have time to fix things later. Getting words on the page is the most important first step.
About Wattpad Books
Wattpad Books, a division of Wattpad, is the leader in data-backed publishing. Leveraging billions of daily insights from Wattpad’s global community of 70 million book lovers, Wattpad Books combines the best of art and science, using human expertise and Story DNA Machine Learning technology to identify the trends, voices, and stories that are the future of publishing. By elevating the stories of diverse communities around the world, Wattpad Books is creating new space for writers and fans of every genre.
Visit books.wattpad.com for more information.