Hey guys! I’m so, so excited to be on the blog tour for To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough (Tor Teen, February 7, 2017)! You can find my review here – I absolutely loved this book! First, here’s the cover and synopsis:
Erin Blake has one of those names. A name that, like Natalee Holloway or Elizabeth Smart, is inextricably linked to a grisly crime. As a toddler, Erin survived for three days alongside the corpse of her murdered mother, and the case—which remains unsolved—fascinated a nation. Her father’s identity unknown, Erin was taken in by her mother’s best friend and has become a relatively normal teen in spite of the looming questions about her past.
Fourteen years later, Erin is once again at the center of a brutal homicide when she finds the body of her biology teacher. When questioned by the police, Erin tells almost the whole truth, but never voices her suspicions that her mother’s killer has struck again in order to protect the casework she’s secretly doing on her own.
Inspired by her uncle, an FBI agent, Erin has ramped up her forensic hobby into a full-blown cold-case investigation. This new murder makes her certain she’s close to the truth, but when all the evidence starts to point the authorities straight to Erin, she turns to her longtime crush (and fellow suspect) Journey Michaels to help her crack the case before it’s too late.
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And now for the interview! Enjoy!
Question: To Catch a Killer sounds BEYOND amazing. What inspired you to write it?
Answer: I LOVE mysteries and I LOVE forensic shows, even before they were labeled forensic shows. Quincy ME, CSI, NCIS, Bones, even Veronica Mars—you name it, I watch it. The idea for To Catch a Killer came during a phone call to a friend of mine who moved to Denver, Colorado. I asked how his kids were doing in their new school. His son, Tyler, was in high school and I was worried about how the change in schools would affect him. He told me that Tyler was extremely happy there and it was largely due to his high school forensics class. I was like …what? Where can I sign up for that? I wrote down: three girls solve mysteries in high school forensics class. And, the idea was born. I was already writing for children’s television and had never seen a show or a book about teens using forensics techniques. I knew in that instant that this idea was MINE!
Question: Catch a Killer was described as being NCIS meets Veronica Mars. Do you think that’s an accurate description?
Answer: Yes, Catch a Killer is definitely a mash-up of Veronica Mars and NCIS because the issues and the stakes in Catch a Killer are very high and very personal to my protagonist, Erin, in the same way they were personal and very high for Veronica. Erin has a detective eye but to prove her case she uses actual forensic procedures which is a lot like Abby Sciuto in NCIS. Erin’s personal story is full of raw, untempered emotion which collides with the cold, hard facts of science.
Question: Do you feel pressure to live up to that description for the sake of fans of those shows?
Answer: I definitely feel the pressure, but also the glory. But I’m such a fan of these shows that I feel like I know what the fans want to see and I’m trying to keep my stories stocked with all of that fun stuff. When I say “the glory” I mean that I’m extremely proud to add my contribution to this genre. In the whole scheme of things I might have written and sold another type of book and that would have been fun. But this book is from my heart. To Catch a Killer is part of ME.
Question: I’m sure you had to Google some pretty interesting things while writing this book! Can you share one (or several) of the craziest things you had to look up?
Answer: Oh boy! My google history is terrifying. We have a joke in my family that if anyone disappears, I will be the prime suspect because I’ve probably googled a million ways to kill someone…dispose of the body…obliterate fingerprints…you name it. One of the craziest things I searched for, though, was googling for “how to create a stain that looks like real blood.”
Question: According to your bio, you’ve written everything from TV scripts to series concepts, comic books, children’s books, business plans and magazine articles. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned, across the board?
Answer: Only one? What I’ve learned from what has really been a life-long writing career is that no matter how accomplished you are, there’s always more to learn. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. And most importantly, always…ALWAYS offer a hand to the writers who are still finding their way. Other writers helped me and I do my best to pay the favor forward.
Question: In your bio, you said, “My transition from film to fiction was harder than I thought it would be.” Can you elaborate?
Answer: I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, but I always thought I’d be a journalist. I believed I didn’t know how to create made up stories, that I needed a true story to work from. While I was in college, I landed a job at an animation studio as a script typist. Truth be told I didn’t type all that well. But I was congenial and got along with the crazy writers. They are the ones who ultimately helped me transition into writing for the studio. In fact, Catch a Killer is dedicated to the man who gave me my first script assignment and who remained a friend for life.
Question: What books do you recommend for readers who love your books and want to read something similar?
Answer: I recommend anything written by April Henry… Gretchen McNeil… or Bill Cameron. They are terrific mystery authors and their books have both inspired me and kept me awake at night.
Question: Are you working on anything new?
Answer: Always! Writers are like sharks. If we stop writing…we die! I am working on a High School Zombie story…a middle grade Valkyrie adventure and a thriller road trip love story. Whew!
About the Author:
Sheryl Scarborough worked as a story writer and series developer in children’s television before receiving her MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College, where she studied under Rita Williams-Garcia, Tom Birdseye, and Susan Fletcher, among others. She currently lives and works in Kalama, Washington. To Catch a Killer is her debut.
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