February 6, 2015

Book Launch: Shutter by Courtney Alameda

I’ve been a fan of Courtney Alameda for a while. True, Shutter is her first book, but she’s done a lot of excellent blog posts on Scream Queens and elsewhere. I’ve seen her pop up all over the place in the last few months, so I was eager to attend her launch and see if she held up in person.

It was one of the best I’ve been to.

I loved her approach to the launch. She talked about her writing journey and her book, but she also focused a lot of the conversation on aspiring writers. First, she talked about having “Creative Godparents,” or authors who bestow certain things when we read them. For example, she says Crichton gave her a love of monsters; McKinley gave her feminism; Tolkien gave her a land to escape from bullies; McCaffrey introduced her to blended genres.

She gave other examples, but her overall point was that we’re deeply influenced by the things we read, which is why we should read widely and often to improve our own writing. It’s not a new sentiment, but I loved the way she framed the discussion.

I also appreciated her view of horror. She said that all fiction lies to us, but horror explores life in a grittier, more realistic way. It shows us that we can survive terror and monsters, but we can’t avoid the scars that come with them. I think it’s one of the reasons I love horror so much—it’s a chance to explore what humans can overcome and gives us permission not to be the same afterward.

Another concept I found really interesting was her passion for video games and how much they’ve influenced her writing. I’ve never been into video games, but lately I’ve heard several writers talk about how gaming is key to their creative process. Alameda said that she’d written Shutter to read like a video game. She called it a “gateway drug to books.” I loved that image.

I wanted to hate the girl—she didn’t have to query to get an agent, she never got rejected, she is smart and charming and a great writer. Heck, she even rocked a ZOMBIE skirt and stilettos. But, I left her launch feeling like Young Adult and horror were both in incredibly intelligent and capable hands. I can’t wait to read her book.

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