Twisted Pines follows Abe as he takes a job at a summer camp where children are going missing under mysterious circumstances. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?
Having worked at a camp during my summers in college, I understand the pressure that comes with looking after children. Parents entrust you to ensure their children’s safety; and so the thought of having a child completely vanish is a nightmarish one to say the least. Although I never personally had a camper go missing, I hoped to tap into this anxiety to give the story a pervasive sense of tension.
I felt that the story did a great job of keeping things consistently ominous and otherworldly. What themes did you want to capture while writing this book?
I’m drawn to the theme of an unknown force that lurks out of sight, and yet pulls very tangible strings – wreaking all sorts of havoc. I also like the theme of helplessness, of paralysis in particular – the vulnerability that comes with being a guinea pig, subjected to the whims of others.
Abe is an interesting and well developed character. What were some ideas that you pursued during his character development?
In my life I’ve known many camp counselors, as well as many film students. And although Abe’s character is not based on any one person, I’ve pulled traits from real-life characters that I’ve come to know over the years. I’ve also been acquainted with people whose parents have had run-ins with the law, and had a chance to see how the delinquent actions of one’s parents can affect the attitudes and behaviors of their children. On a personal level, I can related to Abe’s desire to tell an engrossing story.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next book also falls within the realm of sci-fi. I’m a fan of genre mash-ups, and so my follow-up will be a contemporary sci-fi thriller. No idea just yet as to when that one will be come available. So I better get back to typing…
Where have all the children gone? At rustic summer camp Mendocino Pastures, that’s the question on everyone’s mind. First one, then two, then three campers vanish – only to reappear a short while later with no recollection of the missing time. The disappearances raise questions about the children’s safety, not to mention the camp’s time-honored reputation.
When Abe, a freshman camp counselor from UCLA film school, stumbles upon a ghoulish-looking humanoid roaming the coast, he suspects this creature may play a role in the children’s unsettling disappearances. Armed with camera, journal, and a thirst for the truth, Abe sets out to pry the lid off the uncanny mystery shrouded among the camp’s TWISTED PINES.
Twisted Pines is an intriguing tale that utilizes elements from multiple genres to produce a unique effect on the reader. Mixing science fiction, thriller, mystery and action, this story unfolds in a mostly linear fashion while offering up a healthy dose of surprise twists and turns.
The plot of Twisted Pines centers around the experiences of a first-year film school student named Abe. After completing his first year at UCLA, he decides that taking a job as a summer camp counselor is a better option than going back to his hometown to spend the summer with his mother. Being a film student, he is on the lookout for a story and a story worth telling is certainly what he finds. The big question is, however, who will be the ones to hear his tale?
The narration provided by the protagonist helps the reader identify with him, the setting, and characters he becomes acquainted with at the summer camp, Mendocino Pines, as well as the premise that the story is built upon. Readers can easily relate with the well-crafted characters, plot and setting, as a result. As a perfect complement to the natural feel that the story provides, there is an ominous, otherworldly force intertwined with the protagonist’s story that provides most of the entertainment value of Twisted Pines.
The only small issue I had was that I felt like there was a lack of sensory cues in descriptions. I felt that there was a lot of ‘telling’ instead of ‘showing’, mostly because we’re in the ‘inner voice’ of the protagonist.
Otherwise, Lane Baker has crafted a wonderfully interesting story that is definitely worth a read. Written for young adults, Baker uses aspects of classic thrillers along with science fiction to craft a unique story. For readers who like to be surprised at the end of a novel as well as those who like a vivid storytelling style, Twisted Pines could very well be right up their isle.
Pages: 220 | ASIN: B07VCC2GRB
Slippery Things follows Larissa as she tries to navigate high school when she starts having nightmares of blood sucking aliens and can’t tell if they are real or not. How did the idea for this novel develop and how did it change as you were writing?
I love monsters, so of course I knew I had to write a book about them. Also, I’ve always found the concept of alien abduction beyond unsettling. And while I certainly don’t believe extra-terrestrials are visiting planet Earth, I wondered if the idea of creatures venturing from another dimension might make for a creepy tale.
The biggest change in the novel’s development was the point of view. Originally written in first person, I ultimately rewrote the entire book in third person. Two early readers of the the first draft suggested that if written in first person, the reader may not feel as urgent a sense of jeopardy for the main character.
Larissa is a typical teenage girl dealing with a cheating boyfriend and a self absorbed best friend. What were some characteristics that you tried to capture while writing all three of these characters?
For Larissa, it’s anger and disappointment. These emotions spring from a feeling of being trapped. Luckily, her sense of humor will help get her through the day. As for the others, I believe it’s typical for high schoolers to feel that the world revolves around them. Perhaps it’s difficult for young people to see just how deeply their behavior can affect others around them.
Slippery Things gives a unique twist to the science fiction genre. What was your approach to writing an alien abduction/invasion story while to keep it entertaining?
My personal interest in this story has always lived more with the main character than with the plot. That said, I was born with a dark sensibility. I thought about what I personally find creepy and tried to exploit that.
As far as entertainment goes, my favorite scene in genre films tends to be the point where “all hell breaks loose.” A goal of mine was to emulate this moment by building to a chaotic chase scene towards the end of the book.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
My next book doesn’t have a title yet, but you can expect another young adult sci-fi novel entering the universe down the road. There will be a couple of similar themes, but an entirely new setting and diverse cast of characters. And although creepiness will certainly be on the menu, I’m working towards an overall shift in tone.
Jaded high school Junior and detention hall regular Larissa Locke has a recurring dream in which creatures sneak into her bedroom at night to perform experiments and extract her blood. Tiny scars on her arm suggest that perhaps she isn’t just dreaming. But wait! If she’s really the victim of blood-sucking alien intruders, then why is her bedroom window still locked each morning?
Posted in Interviews
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Slippery Things by Lane Baker is a short novel about the things that go bump in the night, alien invasions, and a fight to save humanity. Larissa Locke is your typical teenager that has an attitude and objects to parents and other authority figures. Her mom is in a mental hospital, her little brother is “Mr. Perfect” her boyfriend cheats on her, and her best friend is too wrapped up in her own love life to see what is going on anymore. While she comes across as a trouble maker she soon turns out to be the only one that understands what is lurking in their small town and she alone must figure out how to save everyone.
The novel starts out with Larissa explaining why she filled the head cheerleader’s locker with manure. While this is interesting and sets up some of the teen drama for the characters, it set’s the tone and pace for the rest of the novel which is fun and engaging. The story takes place in a small town where everyone knows everyone. The general feel is one of your small town high school where the kids form cliques and stereotypes are the norm. Overall a very relatable setting for any reader.
The first night Larissa she wakes up thinking she is dreaming that aliens are performing tests on her. You get the standard amber light filled room, fuzzy feelings and mysterious instruments. The night time encounters continue and they start talking to Larissa. There are four of them that she has named Dark Eyes, Scarface, Curly Locks, and Sunspots. These aliens claim to be harvesting her blood to cure a disease in their world. At first she is okay but realized they are taking more blood and more often and when she tried to avoid them they went after her brother Carter and father Gary. At this point Larissa’s only thoughts are to protect her family and start sending the aliens to other homes. After one victim ends up in the hospital Larissa decides she needs to stop them. This begins the battle.
Larissa makes a trip to the hospital to visit her mom. She finds out her mom is there because of these aliens and everyone thinking she is crazy. She also gives Larissa a tip to help fight them off. From here we get Larissa planning out her attack on the aliens and her capture by them. She is taken to their world where she must escape and save her own family and town.
Aside from teen banter with cheerleaders and the cheating boyfriend stories, the overall plot of this novel is entertaining. It takes the alien abduction story in a different direction and has a few surprises for the reader. This is a great quick read for anyone looking for a quirky young adult novel in the science fiction genre.
Pages: 156 | ASIN: B00WOXCYYQ
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