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Thursday, October 25, 2018

What Makes My Heart Beat Faster by Marina Cohen - Guest Post & Giveaway

About Marina Cohen

In case you missed it, my name is Marina Cohen, and I’m the author of several horror and fantasy books for kids and teens including THE INN BETWEEN, THE DOLL’S EYE, and coming soon, A BOX OF BONES.

I grew up in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, where I spent far too much time daydreaming, staring off into space, and asking myself what if… 

Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved a good ghost story. I especially enjoyed hearing true stories, like the one about a relative who visited a fortune teller resulting in dire consequences, or about mysterious dreams that were more like premonitions.

In elementary school, one of my favorite authors was Edgar Allen Poe. I absolutely loved The Tell-Tale Heart and The Pit and the Pendulum and aspired to write similar stories. I was also fascinated with various mythologies, which has heavily influenced my writing.

I have a B.A, B.Ed., and a Master’s Degree in French Literature. Prior to becoming a teacher and a writer, I had a number of jobs. I worked in a library, a grocery store, at a dance studio, and in a hotel. I also worked for Air Canada in both Canada and Germany.

I’m still drawn to the fantastical, the bizarre, and all things creepy, so when I’m not busy parenting, teaching French, writing, or doing various writing presentations, you can find me curled up with a good book that has me shivering, shuddering and clamoring for the lights. Or possibly playing with my creepy dolls…


Books by Marina Cohen
What makes my heart beat faster 
Guest post by Marina Cohen

As a writer of creepy things I’m often asked what scares me. The simple answer is: nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true. Allow me to explain.

I grew up in a generation where we went places by ourselves at a fairly young age. My older brother went grocery shopping for my mother, crossing a main street, when he was only six. We walked to school, quite a distance, by the first grade on our own. We played outside all over the neighborhood until it got dark and the streetlights came on. These were different times for sure.

There was also a difference in what we watched in theatres and on TV. Content was chaste but very frightening. I was seven years old when the above-mentioned brother (only two years older than me) took me to see The Towering Inferno, which effected me profoundly. (I will never live in a high rise.) I was ten when I watched The Amityville Horror with my best friend who was the same age. (I still look for those red eyes in every dark window.) And I was eleven when we ventured out for (and probably snuck into) John Carpenter’s PG13 classic, Halloween. I watched all sorts of old Vincent Price movies on TV with ghosts and vampires and plenty of gore. I adored monster films like Godzilla vs. Mothra and sci-fi horror flicks like The Blob. And it’s true I was scared, but it was a happy scared. I knew it wasn’t real. I wasn’t about to be turned into a wax mannequin or be attacked by a knife-wielding-hockey-masked villain or become consumed by a gelatinous radioactive blob that escaped a tin can. At least, I hoped not. So I enjoyed the thrill of being scared and sought it in movies and of course in books.

Speaking of books, times have changed in the literary world as well. When I was young there weren’t all the awesomely creepy YA novels we have today—in fact, there wasn’t even a YA designation. So those of us craving bookish shivers had to turn to adult authors like Stephen King, Anne Rice, Edgar Allan Poe, and H.P. Lovecraft to serve up the goose bumps. (Yes, sadly, I predate R.L. Stine’s creepy MG works as well!) It’s not surprising then, when I say not much makes my heart beat faster. But not much doesn’t mean nothing.

So now we come to it. What makes my pulse quicken and my heart pound (aside from the evening news) is a wonderfully creepy, twisted plot that grips me so tight I can barely breathe, keeps me worrying and guessing until the end, and looking over my shoulder long after the last page has been turned. I love limited descriptions of terrifying entities so that much is left to my own imagination. I love a setting that appears superficially mundane but has one small peculiar difference that makes it deeply unsettling. I love characters that make me wonder as to their true allegiance and motivations. That is what makes my heart beat quicker. Ah yes—and things that go bump in the night.


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of The Inn Between by Marina Cohen.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. Your books sound perfect for both my granddaughter and grandson

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed reading THE DOLL’S EYE and I strongly suspect that all your novels are just as good. :-)

  3. Great guest post. I love a wonderfully creepy, twisted plot too.

  4. fab post, love this kind of novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat!!

  5. Can't wait to read this love the cover.

  6. Great guest post, thank you for sharing!

  7. I know what you mean by "happy scared". Different times for me too.

  8. the cover is gorgeous. You writers make our lives better with your stories and we will love you forever for that.

  9. This sounds so good! And the cover! At first I thought this was a Fantasy book. I love it.

  10. I agree with Marina, I love a twisted plot which keeps me guessing until the end.

  11. My absolute favourite type of book. Always got the paperback ghost story collections when i was a little girl as christmas/birthday gifts

  12. Thanks for the great prize and competition. Good luck everyone!

  13. I could relate your childhood, mine was filled with creepy movies, horror stories, scary radio stories, ghost tales, haunted houses and spooky spots along way back home in the dark. Even one activity as boyscout was exploring around the graveyard! At that time neighbourhoods was safe though. Interesting books and beautiful covers.