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Review by Suze
Cassie and Laney are best friends. Laney is an amateur ghost hunter and Cassie spends many nights at the cemetery with her waiting for a ghost to appear. She can hear whispering in the trees and knows something is there when she sees a strange light, but what is it? A night at the local carnival changes everything. Laney starts hanging out with older guys, people Cassie doesn't trust. They make her feel afraid and something isn't right about them, every time Cassie sees them they've subtly adjusted their looks. Cassie hopes the creepy men will leave town, however, when the carnival is over they are still there.
Cassie's other best friend, Ryan, is the only person who makes her feel safe. While Laney is being pulled into something that makes Cassie's skin crawl she seeks comfort with Ryan. Things are getting worse when people Cassie knows are being killed. There aren't any leads and Cassie has a lot of useful information to give to the police, but they don't take her seriously. Cassie might lose everything she holds dear. She fears for Laney's life, will she be able to get her friend back and save her or is it too late for Laney?
Cassie is a sweet girl. She cares about her friends, she's always looking out for them and she tries to keep them safe. When terrifying things start happening in her hometown she can see, feel and hear the danger, but she can't keep it away from the people she loves. Both Cassie and Ryan are generous and kind people and I kept hoping they wouldn't get in trouble. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out if they'd survive the frightening situation they're in. Laney seems to be at the center of it and she keeps pulling away from Cassie more and more. She's adventurous and a little bit self-centered and I kept hoping she wouldn't drag Cassie into whatever is happening to her. This kept me on the edge of my seat and I absolutely loved that.
Of The Trees is a fantastic creepy story. I liked how uneasy E.M. Fitch made me feel while I was reading her story. Something isn't right, but it isn't clear what it is and that gave me the chills. I had a lot of questions while reading the story and couldn't wait to find out more details about what's happening in Cassie's town. Being in a dark forest is incredibly spooky, especially when evil is lurking in the shadows. E.M. Fitch's vivid descriptions of the danger Cassie is in are fantastic and they genuinely spooked me. I loved this amazing eerie story.
If you love books about terrifying humanlike creatures that are lurking in the shadows and are about to come to the surface to wreak havoc, Of The Trees is an excellent choice.
About E.M. Fitch
E. M. Fitch is an author who loves scary stories, chocolate, and tall trees. When not dreaming up new ways to torture characters she is usually corralling her four children, or thinking of ways to tire them out so she can get an hour of peace at night. She lives in Connecticut, surrounded by chaos, which she manages (somewhat successfully) with her husband, Marc.
1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Sure! I’m an author, obviously. I love quirky, creepy, and strange things, whether they be movies, television shows, books, or podcasts. I’m a wife, and I’m the mother to four quirky little kids. I live in the small town that I grew up in, though I went away for college and a quick burst of life following that. I love tall trees, coffee, quiet time, and adventures. My favorite places to visit are those with history: haunted hotels, historic battlefields, origins of fascinating stories. Take me to those places; and if I can’t get there in person, then take me by story.
2. What makes your heart beat faster?
Oh, so many things! Crazy adventures, for one. I’ve been skydiving twice and I definitely recommend it! I jumped in a cage in the waters surrounding the Farrallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco looking for some Great White Sharks - none showed up that day, at least not close enough for me to see through that murky water; but just being there, getting tossed about as “live bait” in the shark cage was enough to make my heart pound.
Gentler things make my heart beat faster, as well. I love to be in the woods, hiking and exploring. The ocean is another favorite place of mine. A great book excites me, as well as deep conversation with a cherished loved one.
3. Which horror monster do you fear the most?
Freddy Kruger. He counts as a classic horror monster, right? Not only was he a terrible man in his living days, he can haunt your dreams. Not being able to go to sleep? That’s a true, living nightmare!
4. If the zombie apocalypse would happen today, what would you do?
Grab my hatchet, all my spare weapons (including this beautiful knife and scabbard my husband bought me one anniversary), and hike it into the woods. I’d have to head south, that’d just be logical, the winter would be too cold to survive where I live. My ideal would be to find myself a secluded island to wait out the apocalypse on. Oh, and I’d get my loved ones… did I mention that? See? I'm kind of a loner at times, or at least, I’d like to be.
5. What's your favorite horror movie?
My favorite classic is The Nightmare on Elm Street, but there are several that scare me to death! The Exorcist is another classic that will go down as scariest movie ever for a long, long time. I was also incredibly jumpy during Insidious, which is terrifying. And I love the campy horror feel to Scream, an instant classic in both fun and scares. Oh, and speaking of fun horror, The Cabin in the Woods, because Joss Whedon is amazing and that movie was the most fun I had had in the theaters since I was a teen and not actually watching the movies I went to.
6. What's your worst nightmare?
Forced socialization? Okay, so don’t laugh at me! But I have no good answer for this, and I know it. It’s similar to ‘What’s your biggest fear?’ and I have no good answer to that either. Most things people seem to be afraid of are related to dying… and I understand it, sorta, but also I kinda don’t understand, because we all die, right? Of course. So I try to focus more on growing to my fullest, learning as much as I can, and becoming a better person.
But forced socialization is close to my biggest, living nightmare. Any of my good friends would tell you that. It’s kind of a running joke in my circle: Oh, no, Erin! Did you have to make a new friend today, how awful for you! They tease, and I laugh, but seriously, yes - it is my worst nightmare!
7. If your book was made into a movie, who would play the lead characters and why?
I want Saoirse Ronan in the role of Laney! I think she is an amazing actress with a terrific range. As for my point-of-view lead, Cassie? I’m not entirely sure. A redhead. Possibly an unknown? Aidan would have to be dark and delicious. Someone with a look like KJ Apa. Corey is another mysterious, yet serious, guy. Tyler Blackburn would be perfect in this role.
8. What inspired you to write horror stories?
Inspiration comes from the funniest places. You know, at first, I hadn’t realized I was writing horror. That sounds ridiculous. But my first novels, my zombie books, I affectionately call them, they’re part zombie, part apocalypse, part coming-of-age. The main theme in all my books is growth, I want my characters to grow up on page, to learn something. So at first, I wasn’t focused on the horror, I was focused on the growth. And when I went to market the book, I got stopped short: what was my genre? This is a terrible and backwards way to fall into a genre, I fully admit. But it’s the honest truth of my journey. My husband looked at me kind of funny and said, “Honey, you’re writing about zombies. Weren’t you aiming for horror?”
Duh! Stupid me. Yes, all along, I really was writing horror. So I fell into it, in a way. What inspires me to stay there? Horror is fun! I love the spooks, the history behind the stories, the research into demonology, fairies, legends. The background to our ancestors’ fear is deliciously intriguing. The sense of fear itself — that heart pounding, jumpy, tingling-in-your-gut excitement — that draws me back each time. I like to scare, to unsettle. And I love to be scared and feel unsettled. It’s a primal reaction, and we face our fears each time we dip in. The more you face your fears, the less afraid you become. The more you research the source and cause of fear, the more you master. You come to master not only fear, but large parts of yourself. So, it comes back to growth, my growth, the growth of my characters, and hopefully a smidgen of personal growth in my readers. Horror makes the world a better place. (And I bet you weren’t expecting that as an answer!)
9. What do you like the most about the horror genre?
I feel I answered a lot of that above! Haha, I should have read all the questions before I started answering. I’m tempted to cut and paste. But no, here it is: I love horror because it holds up a mirror to the basest of human reactions, it challenges us to stare them in the face. If you accept the challenge, you then have a choice: remain afraid, or take steps to grow. Aim for bravery, read and learn, take chances and go experience things! Horror shows us ourselves, and it dares us to be better.
10. What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m not going anywhere! So expect to see a lot from me. I have the sequel to my recently released Of The Trees, which is entitled At Woods Edge, currently in the editing phrase. No release date yet announced, but that’s coming soon! I have a collection of short stories that will be out in time for Halloween that feature goblins, ghosts, and ghouls. I have a Dark Fantasy entitled Monsters It Hides that I’m so excited about! That’s being edited currently, and I will be seeking representation. If anyone wants updates, you can find out more about me and my work on my website, www.emfitch.com. There’s a newsletter you can subscribe to (I don’t bombard, I promise! You’ll get notifications when my work comes out, or if I have something out for free - I love to give things away when I can). And, of course, you can find me as E.M. Fitch on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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