Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The Scarry Inn: Shirley McCann

KINDLE 2.99~PPRBK 11.63 Prime
Introducing: Shirley McCann has been writing for over twenty years. Her short fiction has appeared in various publications over the years, including Woman’s World, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and The Forensic Examiner, as well as many confession magazines.

 ~~REVIEW for The Scarry Inn
The Scarry Inn by Shirley McCann is a YA/New Adult Horror Story about a group of four teenagers driving to Flagstaff, Arizona for their Christmas break from school. Their car breaks down and leaves them stranded in a small town called Frighton on Christmas Eve, in the middle of a blizzard. The only lodging available is a new motel, called The Scarry Inn, named after the owners, Dick and Thelma Scarry. The inn isn’t open for business yet, but Dick’s sister Madge is sure he will let the teenagers stay. Sure enough, the kids are able to rent two rooms, one for the girls and one for the two boys. But when terrifying things start happening, the kids think Dick and Thelma are playing jokes on them as a publicity stunt for their new inn—until Kara gets murdered, that is. While the book isn’t exactly graphic, it is pretty scary, and not something I would recommend for young YA. But for older YA, new adult, and even adult, it’s an exciting, chilling, and well-written tale that will keep you glued to the edge of your seat. ~ Regan Murphy, Reviewer.

Let’s Get Started:

Q: Shirley, I’ve just read The Scarry Inn and enjoyed it.  Tell us a little about the story from your intimate/writer’s POV. How did you get the plot idea? What triggered it?
A:  The trigger came from a time when my husband and I were stranded in a small town called Ashfork, Arizona. We were on our way to Missouri from California, and our car broke down. Good thing is that nothing weird or scary happened. Just a rundown motel was the only thing we could find. We finally rented a car and made it to Missouri. But you, know the writers mind…


Q: There are so many great characters involved. I loved the friendly helper (Madge) who arranged for the teens to stay at the Inn—which isn’t quite ready for opening day, btw. She went home to make chocolate for her husband and left them there! If you had to pick one character, who did you like the best?
A: Probably Heidi. Although she was fighting for her life, she learned a huge lesson. You have to take what you get in life and keep moving forward. Dwelling in the past and what once was can stop you from enjoying the life you have.

Q: On the other hand, if you were a murderer and had your choice of what kind of personality you might kill, what would that person’s traits be?
A: Ooh. What an evil question? I think I’d kill all the skinny people in the world because they make me look fat. These people would constantly be shoving food into their mouths with nothing happening to their bodies. I’d probably have to stalk them awhile to make sure it was just their good metabolism that allowed them to eat. If they’re purging, I’d let them live. That’s horrific enough. And even exercising and dieting would be enough to let them live. It’s those good metabolism people that would have to die.

Q: The Inn serves a horrible dinner to the teens. What would you expect for a pre-opening holiday meal?
A: Well, considering the inn wasn’t open yet, and the owners weren’t expecting guests, I probably would have expected sandwiches. But if it were operational, I’d expect a nice soup or salad, followed by a plate of salmon, asparagus and baked potato. And a roll. And my choice of coffee or tea.

Q: Speaking of teens, The Scarry Inn is labeled as a Young Adult (YA) book. Many of life’s problems are included: divorce, the usual teen problems, etc. (BTW, I loved how you described the parents’ worrying when the teens went off the grid.) Why did you choose this market?
A: I’ve been a YA fan all my life. I read a lot of YA. I think a lot of adults still read YA. Look at the popularity of Hunger Games and Divergent. Even Maze Runner. It’s not just teenagers that are seeing these movies. There’s a lot of old folks like me too.

Q: Which is your favorite holiday and why? You’re not going to kill characters on Valentine’s Day, are you?
A: Hmm. Hadn’t thought of that. But certainly not at the Scarry Inn. I’m not doing a holiday theme with The Scarry Inn. But Christmas is my favorite holiday. And like I said earlier, my husband and I were stranded on the Christmas holiday, so writing about that seemed appropriate at the time.

Q: While traveling, have you ever experienced staying somewhere you really didn’t like?
A: Oh yeah. Definitely Ashfork, Arizona. The motel wasn’t well insulated, so it was cold, but the one thing I thought most interesting was that despite the cold weather, there were ants crawling along the doorframe. I HATE bugs of any kind. Creeped me out. Other than that, I don’t get to travel much. Pretty much a homebody these days.

Q: All these teens needed to top off the absence of phones and cells, a horrible hostess, was an Alfred Hitchcock movie—which I think Scarry Inn would make a great movie, btw. But what is your special pick for a scary movie and why?
A: I’d LOVE to see The Scarry Inn on the big screen. Send producers my way. But my favorite scary movie is an old one called, I Saw What You Did. It’s about a couple of teenagers who call random people and tell them they know who they are and they know what they did. One guy they called had just killed his wife. I can’t remember how he finds them – I’d love to see it again- but it is one scary movie.

Q: The Scarry Inn stuck-travelers were served iced tea on a freezing day. What would you drink during a blizzard? Or any day?
A: Hot tea, hot Chai tea, hot chocolate.  But I’d still have an iced tea too. Can’t beat good tea. But no coffee for me. Hate the stuff.

Q: Okay, this is where I ask the really deep questions, like favorite hobbies, favorite author, favorite way to pamper yourself?
A: Reading is my hobby. I devour books. I also like to crochet, although I don’t find much time anymore. Mary Higgins Clark is my favorite author. YA author is Lois Duncan, who wrote such classics as I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Killing Mr. Griffin.
Pamper Myself? You kidding? I’m still trying to figure out time to do that. I’d love a massage once a month, but can’t even find time to have my hair done, so probably not gonna happen. These days, pampering includes a pair of pajamas, cup of green tea, a huge bowl of popcorn and a good book.

Q: Deeper yet. If you were to choose a color of polish for your pedicure, would it be blood red, or would that remind you too much of the murders you commit on paper? What shade would you choose and why?
A: I’d love red. It’s my favorite color, but I think it chips too easily. Pink is usually my choice. It’s serene. But I like the idea of red for my book signings. Will have to get that done this week.

Q: When you write, do you have favorite music or absolute quiet? What is your writing schedule?
A:No schedule at all, unless I can make myself get up really early on my days off. I get up at four when I work (which isn’t much, by the way), so sometimes I like to sleep later. I have a paraplegic husband and babysit three grandkids during the week. I grab whatever time I can. BUT, IF I can get up early, I have a thunderstorm CD that I love. (CAIT'S NOTE: This is one of the reason I admire Shirley so much. Writers deal with life issues and if you're meant to write, you will, through almost everything. Almost.:))

Q: ANONYMOUSLY YOURS is also popular now. You mix characters well in it, too. This cast of THE SCARRY INN characters is large, each with a special background and relationships, i.e. the worrying parents, the conflicted daughter, the remarried father, a teen who feels unloved, the truck driver and the pregnant wife, etc. You seem comfortable bringing all the lives together. Is that a result of having your own very busy life?
A: It’s possible. But I think everyone has busy lives in one way or another. I think as writers we probably do include some of ourselves into our writing.

Q: Can you tell us more about your intended series, The Scarry Inn as the first? Also, tell us more about anything else you’re writing?
A: The Scarry Inn will include six books in the series. The first one sets it up. The second book, which I hope to finish soon, will include a murder mystery weekend. Except the murder won’t be fake. Of course a few of the characters will also be in the next book. I’d tell you who, but it would let those who haven’t read it yet know who they shouldn’t suspect in the first book. You’ll just have to read the next one to find out.

Q: Would you like to give a special shout-out or thank-yous to those influencing you or your writing?
A: My family has always been supportive. My sisters, brothers, and my mom have rooted me on from the beginning. My immediate family has never read a thing I’ve written. The writers groups, Sleuths’ Ink and Ozark Romance Authors are great for writers because we get a lot of support and push from them. And, of course, there is Cait London, who is quite the PUSHER of writers, herself.

Be sure to check out THE SCARRY INN and more of Shirley's writing: Anonymously Yours, Got Time? 13 Solve It Yourself Mysteries, A Collection-13 Short Mysteries, and The Necklace-A Middle Grade Mystery.


!!!Keep up with Shirley by visiting her Website/Blog and Social Media:  Facebook and Twitter.

From Cait: As a longtime friend, I've found Shirley to be always cheerful, positive and truly enjoyable company all the way around. But I'm sure Shirley would love to hear from you, so please comment or share with the icons below this post. Let's hear it for Shirley McCann!


Cait said...

Welcome, Shirley! Love to have you here. Can you tell us more about The Scarry Inn booksignings and this 6 book series?

Shirley said...

I'll be doing a book signing on April 11th at Hebrews Coffee on Republic Road from 2:30 - 4:30.

There are five rooms for rent at The Scarry Inn, so each of those rooms will end up with a dead body. The rooms will be named The Morgue, The Coffin, etc.

Cait said...

I heard you have contests ongoing for Scarry. Did you want to mention them?

Ronnie Allen said...

Awesome interview, ladies. I love reading about authors who are so driven, even life's problems don't get in the way. I've had my share of those, too.

Lisa Medley said...

Fantastic interview! The Scarry Inn is in my TBR pile!

T. Sue VerSteeg said...

Congrats on the new release! Great interview. :)

Brenda Brinkley said...

Congratulations, Shirley. I am hoping to be at your book signing. I don't have the book yet I know it has to be good.

Shirley said...

Thanks Ronnie. I'm sure we all have our problems in life. Maybe that's why we're writers. There's a lot to write about.

Shirley said...

I hope you like it, Lisa. You are one busy woman. Always love reading your posts.

Shirley said...

Tanks Sue. I enjoyed your book as well.

Shirley said...

I hope you can make it, Brenda. Haven't seen you in awhile. I don't make OWLS much anymore.

Shirley said...

BTW, I forgot to mention this, but I'm offering a $30 Amazon gift card to someone IF I reach 30 reviews by the end of April. So if you've already got the book, please leave a review. It might be worth your while.

Cait said...

Re: What Shirley said about leaving a review. Please do, it helps the author, and you don't need to do a full review, only a couple of lines, i.e. I loved the characters in Scarry Inn. Enjoy this author. Very simple does the trick as the blurb really does it all. :)

Tierney James said...

Terrific interview. Loved the comment killing the skinny people. Guess I'm safe. Didn't realize this was the first in a series. More to look forward to!

Tierney James said...

Terrific interview. Loved the comment killing the skinny people. Guess I'm safe. Didn't realize this was the first in a series. More to look forward to!

Shirley said...

Cute, Tierney. And, yes. It's series. Now I've GOTTA GET BUSY.

Barbara Bettis said...

Sorry I'm late, but I wanted to say how much I enjoyed the interview, ladies. The book sounds terrific, Shirley. I'm looking forward to reading it. I wish I were going to be in town for the booksigning! Have a terrific time.