Hi everyone and welcome to my tour stop for Burden Falls by Kat Ellis hosted through TBR and Beyond Tours. I’m excited to share my exclusive Q&A with the Kat about her latest, creepy novel.
You can check out the full schedule for the tour here.
About the BookBurden Falls by Kat Ellis
Published by Dial Books Pages: 304
Riverdale meets Stephen King in the terrifying new thriller from the author of Harrow Lake.
The town of Burden Falls drips with superstition, from rumors of its cursed waterfall to Dead-Eyed Sadie, the disturbing specter who haunts it. Ava Thorn grew up right beside the falls, and since a horrific accident killed her parents a year ago, she's been plagued by nightmares in which Sadie comes calling—nightmares so chilling, Ava feels as if she’ll never wake up. But when someone close to Ava is brutally murdered and she’s the primary suspect, she begins to wonder if the stories might be more than legends—and if the ghost haunting her dreams might be terrifyingly real. Whatever secrets Burden Falls is hiding, there's a killer on the loose . . . with a vendetta against the Thorns.
About the Author
Kat is a young adult author from North Wales. Her novels HARROW LAKE, BLACKFIN SKY, BREAKER, and PURGE are available now in the UK and US, and her novella THE TWINS OF BLACKFIN features in the collection THREE STRIKES from Firefly Press. Her next novel, BURDEN FALLS, will be published in Summer 2021 by Penguin Random House .
Kat studied English with Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, then spent several years working in local government communications and IT.
When she’s not writing, Kat can usually adventure in ruined castles and cemeteries, taking photos of weird and creepy things to inspire her writing.
You can follow Kat on twitter @el_kat, on instagram @katelliswrites, or visit her website: katelliswrites.com or facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KatEllisWrites.
1- For those who haven’t read it, what is Burden Falls about and what was the inspiration behind the story?
Burden Falls is about 17-year-old Ava Thorn, who’s dealing with the aftermath of a horrific car crash as well as having to leave her family home in the middle of senior year… then dead bodies start turning up around town. The victims seem like they may have been murdered by Dead-Eyed Sadie, the ghost who allegedly haunts the local waterfall. Ava is sceptical about all the local superstitions — especially the ones about Dead-Eyed Sadie — but when the police target Ava as a suspect, she starts to question whether there might be something to the rumors after all.
The first seed of the idea for the story of Burden Falls came to me when I was out walking at Dyserth Waterfall, near where I live in North Wales. It’s the type of place with all kinds of local superstitions attached to it, and I started to wonder what it would be like to walk past it at night and see a ghostly figure standing on the bridge.
2- The novel has a very strong sense of place. Was the town of Burden Falls based on a town you have lived in or visited?
I’m glad the town of Burden Falls feels like it might be somewhere real! The setting is one of the first things that comes to me when I’m planning a story, and although I tend not to base a whole town on anywhere that actually exists, I like to transplant little things from other places into them — like the waterfall in Burden Falls, and Thorn Manor, which I imagine looking something like Bodrhyddan Hall in Rhuddlan, North Wales. (It’s this place, in case you’d like a visual: https://www.bodrhyddan.co.uk/.)
3- What is your favorite scene from the novel? Was there any scenes that creeped you out to write?
There’s a scene where Ava is crawling through a narrow tunnel and thinks she can see something coming for her in the dark, and I really enjoyed writing that! I’ve noticed I tend to have at least one scene in all my stories where the main character is trapped in a confined space — I think this is because tight spaces freak me out so much. Yet I still enjoy writing these kinds of scenes… There’s something wrong with me, isn’t there?
4- Have you always loved horror? What introduced you to the genre and what are some of your favorite books and movies?
I’ve been watching horror movies since I was way too young. The first I can remember was an 80s horror-comedy called Ghoulies, which includes a scene where someone’s using the toilet and one of the slimy little creatures creeps up from the sewer and bites him on the backside. I was scared to use the bathroom at night for a while after watching that! It didn’t put me off watching more and more horror movies, though. Some of my favorites are The Babadook, Aliens, IT, and The Descent. Horror books I’ve loved include And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Good Girls Die First by Kathryn Foxfield (out in the US this fall), and the graphic novel Uzumaki by Junji Ito, which even gets a shout-out in Burden Falls.
5- Burden Falls seems to be inspired by a lot of urban legends. What is the most interesting thing you learned while researching for the novel?
I love creepy urban legends like Slender Man, Mothman, Bloody Mary etc, and I love making up my own even more! One interesting thing — it’s more of a superstition than an urban legend, I guess — I learned about while researching for this book is that Black-Eyed Susans (the flowers) are believed to symbolize justice; in an early draft of Burden Falls I had a scene where these flowers bloomed along the waterfall out of season, as an ominous warning of things to come. The scene ended up not being right for the story, but ‘Black-Eyed Susan’ was definitely the starting point for naming Dead-Eyed Sadie.
6- What are some forthcoming horror novels that you can’t wait to read or see other people enjoy?
Some I’m most excited for are The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass which just came out and is about a teen psychic who gets haunted by the ghost of a school shooter; The Collectors by Lorien Lawrence, which is the second in the middle grade Night Watch series and comes out at the end of August, and Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain (also out later this month) which sounds perfectly creepy and is set in a town full of psychics.
7- What do you hope readers will take away from Burden Falls?
I hope that they will enjoy the chills and the mystery, and won’t lose too much sleep over Dead-Eyed Sadie!
Thanks so much for interviewing me ?
What About You?
Have you read Burden Falls? Do you have questions for Kat? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!