Interview with YA mystery author Emily Ross

author Emily Ross is here today
to chat with me about her new novel, Half
in Love with Death
Emily Ross received a 2014 Massachusetts Cultural Council
finalist award in fiction for Half in
Love with Death
. She is an editor and contributor at She
works as a software developer, and loves dark mysteries and anything noir. She
lives in Quincy Massachusetts with her husband and her elusive cat, Beau.
Welcome, Emily. Please tell us about
your current release.
Half in Love with Death is a young adult mystery/thriller for
readers of all ages.

It’s the era of peace and love in the 1960s, but nothing is
peaceful in Caroline’s life. Since her beautiful older sister Jess disappeared,
fifteen-year-old Caroline might as well have disappeared too. She’s invisible
to her parents, who can’t stop blaming each other. The police keep following up
on leads even Caroline knows are foolish. The only one who seems to care about
her is Tony, her sister’s older boyfriend, who soothes Caroline’s desperate
heart every time he turns his magical blue eyes on her.
Tony is convinced that the answer to Jess’s disappearance is
in California, the land of endless summer, among the runaways and flower
children. Come with me, Tony says to Caroline, and we’ll find her together.
Tony is so loving, and all he cares about is bringing Jess home. And so
Caroline follows, and closes a door behind her that may never open again, in a
heartfelt thriller that never lets up.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was having trouble coming up with a plot for my novel,
when my sister suggested I base it on a true crime, and not just any true
crime. She confided in me that when she was twelve, she’d been obsessed with
the disturbing case of serial killer, Charles Schmid, ‘the Pied Piper of
Tucson.’ I did some research on this chilling case from 1965, and it
became the inspiration for Half in Love with Death.
Excerpt from Half in Love with Death:
The night Jess left us, I sat on the front step twirling my little brother Dicky’s top round and round. As I sent it spinning
down the walk- way and the black circles
blurred into gray, I wanted to believe the stripes were really disappearing, that it was magic, but I knew it was an optical illusion. I was drawn to things that
were not what they appeared to be. Sometimes
I thought everything
was an illusion.

I wiped the back of my neck, damp with sweat. It was getting late, but not a bit cooler. Darkness
was erasing the green from the grass, the blue from the
The palm trees that lined our street looked like
black cutouts. The
swing sets were
still. There were
no more shouts of “olly olly
oxen free.” The younger
kids who’d been playing hide and seek had all gone inside.

The time of day right after
dinner sometimes made me lonely,
but that August night I had something to look forward
to. I was going to the drive-in with Jess and her boyfriend, Tony. 
My sister was seventeen, two years older
than me, and
she was in love with Tony. I couldn’t wait for him to show up, take her hand and then mine as he turned to my dad and said,
“I’ll bring your
two princesses
home before midnight,
Mr. Galvin. Promise.”
All the girls loved Tony, but
he belonged to Jess, and when he took
my hand I couldn’t help but feel he also belonged to me.

squinted at the distant place where the road met the desert, willing his
gold car to appear.
What exciting story are you working on
I’m working
on a young adult mystery that involves dance teams, murder, and the city of
When did you first consider yourself a
I first
felt like a writer in third grade when doing a free writing assignment on the
topic, What the Waves Tell Me. I ended up being completely carried away by the words.
It was a wondrous feeling. After that I didn’t officially think of myself as a
‘writer’, but I was a writer, and have been writing ever since. It’s something
I have to do to feel like a complete person.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I have a full time job. I work in IT as a web developer. That doesn’t leave me
a lot of time to write, but it forces me to make good use of the time I have. I
do most of my writing early in the morning before work, or very late at night,
and on the weekends. So just about every minute of my free time is spent
writing, and yes that means I have no life.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I get my
best plot ideas when I’m walking or at the gym or between 3 and 4 in the
morning. It’s pretty inconvenient, but whenever I get ideas, I write them down
as notes in my iPhone. As a result, I now actually feel more creative on the iPhone
than on my computer. Maybe someday I’ll write an entire novel on my iPhone…
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
I was torn
between wanting to a ballerina or a pathologist. Neither of those dreams came
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
I love
connecting with readers and other writers. If you want to connect with me
please check out my web site, and share your thoughts.
Thanks for being here today, Emily!

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