Coming in 2024: THE KEEPER OF THE KEY

It’s not an official deal until it appears in PM!

OK, that thing I said in a previous entry about having better publishing luck in odd-numbered years? I was kinda joking, but now I’m starting to think there might be something to that. 

I’ve been sitting on this news since mid-February, so I am thrilled to announce my YA horror novel THE KEEPER OF THE KEY, which I’ve been workshopping and revising and shopping around for years, will finally be getting its day in the sun with Parliament House Press. It’s a pretty significant departure in tone and style from Tidepool and The Shadow Dancers of Brixton Hill. For starters, it’s actually set in the present day. I’ve been pitching it as Bluebeard x The Haunting of Hill House. 

Have a summary:

Sixteen-year-old Rachel isn’t exactly thrilled when her mother announces they’re going to live with Mom’s boyfriend Geoff in Morgan House, an old, run-down mansion. The best thing about Rachel’s new hometown is Nick, a guy she knows is worth keeping when he takes her to a cemetery on their first date. 

Geoff’s got a mile-long list of annoying house rules, and Rachel’s baffled by his insistence that she stay out of the basement. But something in Morgan House plays by its own rules. Night after night, an unknown force pulls Rachel down to that forbidden basement to show her terrifying visions of a man in shadows murdering women. If Rachel won’t heed the warnings of the dead and see things as they really are, she’ll become part of Morgan House forever.

(Trust me that if you think you know what’s going to happen in the book just from reading the description…you don’t. What fun would that be?) 

Let me tell you: I fought hard for this novel. I wrote the first draft during Camp NaNoWriMo in April 2018: while Tidepool was still going through its post-Pitch Wars agent search. KotK has been to several different workshops. 

Oh, and a well-known writer leading one workshop group told me nobody would ever publish this book because the premise was unoriginal and overdone. (I’m not naming him. He knows what he did.) 

That just made me determined to prove him wrong. A man in the same writing workshop told me “I have to know what happens next!” And a New York Times bestselling author who read an early version of the manuscript told me she’d stayed up until two in the morning to get to the end and find out what happened. So I persisted, believing there had to be an agent or an editor out there who would respond to the book the way she did. 

I’m so excited to be working with Parliament House again, as I think they did a stellar job with Tidepool. Malorie Nilson had wonderful ideas and a lot of enthusiasm for the book (and for horror in general) when I spoke to her, and I can’t wait to get to work so you can read this story and meet these characters. I’ve been living with them for a long time. At this point, Parliament House is planning on a Fall 2024 release to capitalize on spooky season. I’ll include more information as soon as I have it. 

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