I’m pleased to welcome Mary G Thompson to talk about her new YA thriller with Chicken House, Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee. I was so impressed by this book – It was completely unputdownable. It’s out now, so be sure to look out for it if you’re a fan of the genre!
Kate Ormand: Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee had me glued to its pages. Can you tell us a little about your experience writing the book?
Mary G Thompson: This was a new thing for me because all of my previous books were fantasy, and this was also my first time writing what could be described as a thriller or a mystery. I knew it was working when I started getting that feeling that the book was sort of writing itself. I knew from the beginning what had just happened to Amy, which isn’t revealed until the end of the book, and then the rest of the story felt inevitable. It’s a great feeling to have and one I hope to recapture for future books!
KO: Can you give us a breakdown of how the cover fits the story?
MGT: My first image of Amy was of her getting off of the bus while carrying the doll. Later, we learn that the kidnapper used dolls to represent Amy and Dee and is generally obsessed with his idea of the girls as less than human. Yet, Amy carries the doll with love because it represents the cousin she’s left behind. Amy’s feelings about the dolls and whether or not they represent Dee and herself are a major source of growth for the character. She has to come to terms with her own human imperfections if she wants to embrace the humanity the kidnapper wanted to take away.
KO: Fans of which books/tv shows would you recommend Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee to?
MGT: This book is probably for people who like their books gritty and realistic, and for a people who like a bit of a mystery. If you like survival stories, you will like this!
KO: It’s definitely a book that sticks with you long after finishing. What do you hope readers will take away from the story?
MGT: This story is all about survival. Amy learns that not only is it okay to survive, it is good. None of us should be ashamed of taking care of ourselves and those we love even if we can’t be perfect. It is okay to suffer after experiencing a trauma, and there’s no shame in the process of recovery. Most of us, thankfully, will never experience something like this, but we all will have to choose how to take care of ourselves at some point. We all have to forgive ourselves for not being able to control everything. But it is possible to stay true to ourselves and survive even in the most difficult circumstances.
KO: And to wrap up can we end with a quote from Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee?
MGT: From page 54:‘Never get in the car. That’s what they tell you. Once you get in the car, you’re dead. They used to teach us that at school. How you shouldn’t talk to strangers. How if a car drives up alongside you, you turn and walk in the other direction. But whoever taught us that never had someone threatening their best friend with a knife.
I could have run away.
And then my mom would never have gone through this. And my parents would still be together. And Jay would only hate me the normal way a brother hates a sister, and he would secretly love me.’