Interview with Editor T.S. Ferguson!

Today on the Scream Queens, we’ve invited Harlequin Teen editor T.S. Ferguson to answer some inquiring mind questions.  And because he’s a great guy, he obliged!

So, T.S.  Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Hi everyone. My name is T.S. and I’m a fan of horror. hi T.S. By day I’m an editor at Harlequin TEEN where I acquire fiction for teen girls across a wide spectrum of genres (we’re not just romance, despite what most people think). By night I feed my addiction to Netflix, play video games and do anything I can to avoid turning my light out and letting the things I love to read about creep in and eat me

With an attitude like that, you’d fit right in at one of the Scream Queen slumber parties!  So how did you first get hooked on horror?

I’m not sure who I should give credit to. Maybe my mother, who permanently scarred me by making me watch Pet Sematary with her at the age of 11. The creators of the TV show Eerie, Indiana get some of the credit too. But it was probably R.L. Stine who cemented my love of scary things when I started reading the Fear Street Cheerleaders in middle school. I made it a point read every single Fear Street book after that and never looked back.

Everyone has their monster – that one creature that terrifies them when things go bump in the night.  What’s yours?  And why? 

Ghosts, and I think the reason is because they can hurt you but you can’t hurt them. They can see you, but you can’t see them. Zombies, werewolves, serial killers…I’ve convinced myself I could fight back. But when some creepy chick with stringy hair crawls out of your TV, or suddenly appears in your bathroom mirror, you’re screwed!

There’s a lot of talk about horror being the “Next Big Thing” for YA. What are your thoughts on this?

I think horror is an evergreen that has always been around. We’re always going to be intrigued by the things that terrify us. Darren Shan, for example, has been doing his thing (quite successfully) for years and before him were the legends, R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike. But I definitely see a horror renaissance happening in the YA industry, with more and more scary books being sold (both horror and horror-adjacent, like dark paranormal and thrillers), and amazing horror authors who are already out there like Gretchen McNeil doing what they do best. For my part, I’ve been trying to do what I can to lead that charge. I’m not sure if horror will be the next “vampires” or “dystopian” but I think it’s definitely having it’s moment in the market right now and I’m both excited and in serious need of a night light.

Last question, T.S., and thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us.  Are you working on any super-exciting horror projects right now?

I am, yes! I’ve been putting the call out for good horror since I started at Harlequin TEEN in early 2012 and, as you know, am still bitter about losing your debut novel, MARY, at auction (Hyperion, I’ve got my eye on you!). But I am extremely excited to have recently bought a book that is very close to my heart, DAUGHTERS UNTO DEVILS by Amy Lukavics. The book is a psychological horror set on the prairies in the 1800s and is absolutely terrifying. The main character spends most of the book not sure whether she’s going mad, or if the land her family has moved to is in fact tainted by an evil presence. There are moments that genuinely gave me goosebumps and made it hard for me to fall asleep at night (as you can probably tell from the rest of this interview, that’s my gauge for whether something is truly frightening). Amy Lukavics is a wonderful author whose writing immediately pulled me in the first time I read her book. She’s also incredibly brave and doesn’t shy away from the truly horrific. There are some amazing grotesque scenes amidst the terror, and those are some of my favorite scenes in the book (I won’t spoil it for you). We have the book currently scheduled to come out October 2015, just in time for Halloween.

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