We are so excited to have Gretchen McNeil be a part of our Author Spotlight here at Step Into Fiction. Both Jessica and I are big fans of hers! Not only are her books fantastic (and creepy) but she is one of the nicest people to meet in person. Not to mention, she has a killer memory! She might not remember your name but she'll remember you from meeting her a year prior! It's amazing and puts us in awe of her greatness. If you're scratching your head wondering who Gretchen McNeil is (for shame), here's her books that are already published: Possess , Ten  & 3:59 . She is currently working on her next book Get Even which is due out later this year with it's sequel, Get Dirty, in 2015.
Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, writer and clown. Her YA horror POSSESS about a teen exorcist debuted with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins in 2011. Her follow up TEN – YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer – was a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, a Romantic Times Top Pick, a Booklist Top Ten Horror Fiction for Youth, and was nominated for "Best Young Adult Contemporary Novel of 2012" by Romantic Times. Gretchen's 2013 release is 3:59, a sci-fi doppelganger horror about two girls who are the same girl in parallel dimensions who decide to switch places.
In 2014, Gretchen debuts her first series, Don't Get Mad (pitched as "John Hughes with a body count") about four very different girls who form a secret society where they get revenge on bullies and mean girls at their elite prep school. The Don't Get Mad series begins Fall 2014 with GET EVEN, followed by the sequel GET DIRTY in 2015, also with Balzer + Bray. Gretchen also contributed an essay to the Dear Teen Me anthology from Zest Books.
Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4's Code Monkeys and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. Gretchen blogs with The Enchanted Inkpot and is a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels. She is repped by Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown, Ltd.
Have you always wanted to be an author?
Actually, no. I was always a performer and my first career goal was to be a professional opera singer. After years of training and struggling to make a living, I sadly had to give up that dream. Soon after, I began to write.
Your books usually have a horror theme or a scary element to them, what is about this genre that appeals to you?
Probably nostalgia. I loved reading scary books when I was a teen. You know, the kind that make you convinced that a killer is hiding in your closet and if you just sleep with the lights on all night, you'll keep him at bay? Exactly. So when I began writing YA, I was drawn toward the kinds of books I wanted to read when I was a teen.
You recently were married, if you could give your pre engaged self advice for your wedding day, what would you tell her?
Well, thankfully this was my second wedding-go-round (I'm divorced), so I had the opportunity to give myself advice AND act on it! The main goal for our wedding was fun. We wanted to have fun and we wanted all of our friends and family to have fun. I'm fairly certain we achieved that goal.
Who would be your doppelganger?
I've been told by multiple people that I both look like and sound like Melissa Joan Hart.
What is the first book you remember reading?
THERE'S A MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK, by Grover the Monster
You used to be one of the YA Rebels, what do you miss about being Monday?
I miss the YARebels terribly! I loved being able to talk to fans directly. But the time commitment go to be too much and I had to step aside. *sniff*
If you could change the ending to any book, which would you choose and why?
Well, let's just say the final body count in TEN is not what I wrote in the first draft. :)
What is one question that you wish fans would ask you at signings?
I'm not sure there's one I wish they'd ask, but there's one I wish they WOULDN'T ask: "Can you sing for us?" OMG PUT ME ON THE SPOT, PEOPLE!!!!
Do redheads have more fun?
Hot dogs or Hamburgers? Hot dogs
E-Reader or Physical book? BOOK
Reading or Writing? Reading
Hugs or Kisses? Big sloppy tongue kisses!!!
Thank you SO MUCH to Gretchen for taking the time to answer our question and just being bad-ass. We are so happy to have you here on the site!
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