So today's my stop on the Weeping blog tour. Today, I've got a review of this amazing book and an author interview with O'Dell Hutchison. Continue reading to find out more!
Twenty years ago, Catherine Whitley was the victim of a horrible crime. Betrayed by her friends, including the boy she loved, she was left to die when the Rock Harbor Opera House caught fire, taking a disturbing secret with her to her grave.
Seventeen-year-old Heath Ingram was driving the night his Jeep careened off the road, killing three of his closest friends. Once a popular, outgoing athlete, Heath now suffers from severe depression and crippling anxiety. His parents decide to send him to stay with his uncle in Rock Harbor, Oregon for the summer, praying that by getting away he will be able to put this awful tragedy behind him.
When Heath starts working at the newly renovated Rock Harbor Opera House, he meets Molly, a young dancer who awakens in him a desire to start over and move on. But, when he begins having visions of a half-burned girl in a white dress, he starts to think he may be slipping even further over the edge.
As the apparent hauntings become more intense, Heath begins to fear for his safety. With the help of his friend Josie, Heath discovers an unsettling secret that ties the mysterious girl to both their families. When two of their friends die unexpectedly, Josie and Heath realize that something, or someone, is after the children of those who wronged Catherine, and they are next.
So I received an eARC of this book as part of blog tour- and I am so grateful for the chance to have read this book early. The Weeping, to put it bluntly, was one hell of a book!
The ending. I didn't want the book to end, okay? I was hooked on the story, and I couldn't stop reading. But the ending- the last line, specifically- left me hanging. I needed more! To be honest, I thought that Heath had died at first! The ending should have been developed a little bit more, and not just that abruptly.
The characters. O'Dell developed the characters perfectly. We are given a background on Heath, and I could easily connect with the rest of characters. Their emotions, their thoughts, their actions- they are all explained perfectly.
The mystery. It's been a long time since I've read a mystery that good. To be honest, I did not suspect the bad guy at all! I completely made the wrong judgement, and I only knew the culprit at the last few chapters when everything was revealed. I was kept guessing until the very end.
The plot. You guys- the plot was amazing. It was complex, it was filled with jaw dropping revelations and twists and turns up to the very end. It felt so real- and I loved every moment of this book.
This book deserves nothing less than 5 stars. It was a gritty, raw, and an emotional read. It was more than just your average paranormal read- it was deeper than that, exploring deep family secrets, deadly betrayals, and hidden lies. It managed to be both a light yet complex read filled with fun scenes and terrifying moments. I deeply recommend this to fans of paranormal and mystery books- this is going to be unlike any other in those genres, trust me.
O'Dell answers my nosy questions!
So O'Dell, what gave you the idea to write The Weeping, and more specifically, why a ghost story?
The idea came from a few things that happened to me while working at a local theatre. I LOVE ghost stories, especially when they involve a tragic ghost (like Catherine). I love being freaked out, even though I’m a huge wuss and get scared easily. I’m glad I live alone, because I did manage to freak myself out quite a few times while writing this book, and I would probably be dealing with an embarrassing YouTube video right now if I had a roommate.
While writing The Weeping, were there any particular difficult moments or situations that you went through that almost made you stop writing?
There were difficult moments, but none that made me want to give up. I’m very goal oriented, so when I set out to start something I have to finish. There were several times when I wrote myself into a corner and had no idea how I was going to get myself out, but I worked through it.
The Weeping had a set of truly amazing and unforgettable characters. Were they based on anyone you knew in real life? Or did you just write about their personalities based on your own imagination?
I think in a way, a lot of them are loosely based on my friends. I can’t necessarily say that any of them were based solely on one specific person, but there are definitely traits in all of them that I recognize in several of my friends.
What made you decide to write a book? Can you tell us a little about your road to publication?
I’ve always loved to write. When I was young, I used to make up stories and plays all the time. Writing classes were always my favorite. I’d always hoped to write a book, but kept putting it off. Finally, one day, I just sat down and did it. My first was a self-published YA contemporary titled “All About Daisy”. I wrote it and published it in three months - huge mistake. It wasn’t ready. I’ve since pulled it and I hope to go back and rework it and maybe put it back out there someday. I’ve learned so much about myself since then and my writing has improved immensely.
Why did you decide on the title 'The Weeping'? Yes, I know it does hold something of significance in the story, but why choose that particular phrase?
When I was toying around with the idea of writing the novel, I really didn’t have a clear idea of what the story was going to be. I knew Heath and what he was going through, and I knew he would find himself in a haunted theatre, but I didn’t know my ghost. One night, after a long rehearsal for a musical I was directing, I came home and started writing about a fire, and suddenly Catherine came to me. The last two words of the first chapter are “She wept.” and that is when I came up with the title.
I loved the twist at the end of The Weeping! Did you always know who the bad guy would be, or did you just "go with the flow" and just, you know, let it be?
I have to admit that it surprised me, too! I’d written a couple of different versions of the story, but I wasn’t happy with them. In one version one of the characters was possessed by Catherine and in another version Heath was just going further and further over the edge. That version was much more psycho, and quite honestly, I hated it. I sat down and pulled out all the strong parts of the story and left out what I hated and then did a really in-depth character analysis to figure out each characters motivations and it just hit me. Once I figured out that piece, everything else just fell into place.
Why did you decide to end The Weeping like that? Why didn't you write more about the aftermath of the last scene?
Originally, there was another chapter that ended the book, but it just wasn’t working. It felt as if I was just trying to stretch the story out. I realized that it felt that way because the story was already finished. Every good ghost story ends with a little mystery, and I realized I wasn’t doing the book justice by tying everything up. I’ve gotten very mixed feelings about the ending. Some love it, some hate it, but it definitely leaves you wanting more, which is great.
Being a debut novelist, I'm curious as to how you reacted when you found out The Weeping was gonna be published. Care to share with us your reaction? Come on, we've probably heard worse! :)
I hate to disappoint, but my road to publication wasn’t really that exciting. I’d gone through the standard querying process for an agent, but none of them panned out. I got a lot of great feedback, but a lot of them turned me down because they had already signed something similar, or their paranormal quota had been reached. I was about to shelve the book when a friend who works with a new Indie publishing company asked if I would be willing to let them publish “The Weeping”. Their other book had fallen through and they were looking for a kick-off novel and felt mine was perfect. I thought about it a while and decided I may as well go for it. It’s a great way to get my writing out there. I had worked too hard on it to just file it away.
What were the hardest parts in writing your first novel?
I think my biggest issue is just finding the time to write I work a full-time job, as well as work part-time at a theatre, so I keep myself very busy.
And lastly... Say you're walking down a street... And the next thing you know, someone thrusts The Weeping into your face, and excitedly asks you to sign it. How would you react, if you know, this (theoretically) would happen? *whistles innocently* :D
I would love it if that were to happen. It would seriously make my day!
Thanks for having me!
And thank you for answering all my questions! Seriously guys, this book is one debut that you should NOT miss. Check it out now, so that I can say "I told you so!" when you love it! :)
Jen @ Midnight Book Thief
Have you read this book already? Share your thoughts on this debut novel!
Care to Share? Tweet