'Waiting On' Wednesday #17: The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude

When I think of horror novels, such a pretty image doesn't come to mind. However, The May Queen Murders is a beauty! Its cover is imbued with a romanticized backwoods feel and is ever so YA -- a heady combination that is going to attract its readers from the moment they first lay eyes on it. The May Queen Murders focuses on friendships, what happens when you grow apart, while bringing in May Queen mythology and the folksy superstitions of the Ozarks all wrapped up in first love, betrayal of friendship and mystery which is why I couldn't resist picking Sarah's brain about the cover and what readers could expect on the inside.




DETAILS:
  • Title: The May Queen Murders
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
  • Publishing date: May 3, 2016
  • Author(s): Sarah Jude
  • Series: Name of Trilogy unknown at this time


What is the favorite part of your book cover? Does anything stand out as particularly metaphoric for the story inside? 
The overall tone and creepiness of the image is my favorite part--it's haunting and has a strange cast to it, like it looks as if it's a much older photo when in actuality, the image is fairly recent. Marcin Nagraba is a very talented Polish artist, and I'm thrilled that his work fit so seamlessly with my book.
As to whether it's metaphorical...it is in that sense of rising up from the depths and feeling isolated and bare. While I won't give away much of the story, I'll say there are woods, a river, and girls wearing floral head wreaths.

Friendships are hard. What do you think makes maintaining friendships difficult in this day and age when technology allows us to keep in touch so much easier?
People's attention spans are short, and it's easy to misinterpret tone in a text message or email. Technology is in itself isolating. You don't have to leave the house or speak with anyone to have pretty much anything you want. Pizza delivery, groceries delivery, tons of e-books...it's all right at your fingertips. And it's fine up to a point--I'm an introvert!--but humans also need some vocal and visual cues to know that what they put out there is properly received. I prefer phone calls to texts because I like hearing people's voices and I have several friends still that I've known since I was a small child, so it is possible to maintain friendships for 20, 30 years, but it takes effort from both people.
The characters in Rowan's Glen have pretty much sworn off technology. They don't think it's bad or anything--but they choose to live simply and sustainably. Such a tight-knit community where you have to talk to your neighbors lends itself to physically present friendships and face-to-face interaction.

What inspired your interest in the May Day celebrations? How did that myth play into Missouri folklore?
I was young when I saw the original version of the film The Wicker Man, which is delightfully trippy and creepy. It features a May Queen and a missing girl and is completely chilling. And of course, I'm a huge fan of Led Zeppelin, and there's a reference to the May Queen in "Stairway to Heaven," which I was determined to master playing on guitar as a teen. May is my second favorite month after October because it is when nature seems to fully wake up from winter's slumber. May Day itself is an interesting holiday born of a pagan rite of spring but, in some places, also took on Christian influences during the religion's spread to the British Isles. They kept the old ways to connect with people. A good many of the old Ozarks backwoods settlements were formed by people coming out of Appalachia, who in turn can trace their ancestry back to England and Scotland. The Ozarks breeds curious customs and superstitions. People looked hard at their natural environment for explanations, deciding what might be coincidence is fact. So why not write about those backwoods and people who not only believe those old wives' tales but actually live them? It's an area ripe with story and mystery.
What a blend of American history, music and religious studies, yeah? It is amazing how much research goes into a novels. Such intriguing topics to bring together a YA murder mystery, I think.

JACKET COPY:

Two girls: one with a secret, one with a promise that she’d uncover it. Welcome to Rowan’s Glen—a place full of old fashioned superstition and secrets. Twenty-five years back, a teenage girl was murdered after being crowned queen at the Glen’s May Day celebration, and outsiders have regarded the isolated farming community with suspicion ever since. But that was before Ivy Templeton was even born. She’s lived in Rowan’s Glen for all of her sixteen years, and feels safe there with the company of her free-spirited cousin Heather, and their friend, Rook, son of the sheriff. Until . . . animals start showing up dead, clearly from unnatural means. Dark omens seem to appear everywhere Ivy goes. And Heather, who used to tell Ivy everything, is sneaking off after dark with a mysterious lover. Ivy worries her cousin could be in danger—especially after Heather is elected queen of the May Day celebration. When Heather goes missing, Ivy must come to terms with the fact that she never knew her beloved cousin—or Rowan’s Glen—as well as she thought she did. Readers looking for horror, romance, and suspense will find it all in this chilling tale that resonates with dark beauty.

AUTHOR LINKS & CREDITS:


Marcin Nagraba: photographer credit

As always thanks to Breaking the Spine for hosting.
cross-posted from Fangirlish

Comments

  1. WHOA. That cover is gorgeous! I'd heard of this one once or twice before, but finally reading the copy has me hooked. (And how cool that you interviewed the author!) Thanks for stopping by my WoW. :)

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    1. Sarah Jude is a really cool person and I am thankful she allowed me the interview over at Fangirlish and that Fangirlish lets me crosspost some of my articles written for them to this site.

      That cover is amazing! Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Man, that sounds like a really fantastic book! Great pick, now I really want to read this book! Thanks for stopping by! Happy reading!

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    1. Such a curious look at backwoods superstitions and while I will no doubt be freaked out, I think the book will be amazing. Thank you for coming here to check out my WoW and get the chance to read it.

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  3. Not my kind of read, but I really hope you enjoy this one. The cover certainly is gorgeous while also giving off that little bit of a scary vibe :)
    Thanks for stopping by.

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    1. I know right? How can it be so pretty but so creepy too. The photographer did a great job with that photograph. Thank you for dropping by here! :)

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  4. Sounds really good. I love books where they pull in folklore or mythology.

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    1. Me too! Folklore and mythology is so expansive and diverse that it allows for such different perspectives and characters that branch out of stereotypes while being inclusive.

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  5. Gorgeous cover, and I love how dark the story sounds. Great interview, too!

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    1. Sarah Jude is so cool. I am thankful she took time to talk to me. It's nice being able to find out more behind the story rather than just having the cover and synopsis for a teaser. Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Hadn't heard of this one before but it sounds great, love books that use local customs and folklore! Great pick & gorgeous cover :)

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    1. Yes, whenever an author pulls from their own areas and childhood, it's fascinating. We forget how quickly America was urbanized and that there are parts of the country still living simply and with superstitions. The cover is gorgeous, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Great pick and awesome interview. The cover is definitely haunting, which makes me want to read the story even more :)

    Happy Wednesday!

    Shane @ Itching for Books

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    1. Haunting is such a good description for this cover and eerie. It has such a vibe that fits the dust jacket text. It's going to be a freaky read which I adore but hate how susceptible I am to being scared. It's a catch-22 that I willingly subject myself to for a good read. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. You got my attention with the references to Missouri folklore, and then you throw out "the May Queen" and "Stairway to Heaven" song (love) so I'm going to hunt this down of Goodreads for sure!

    Thanks, Beth :)

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    1. Oh good! I think it will definitely be one of the books to read next year. Although freaky for sure!

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  9. Sounds really interesting and the cover is definitely eye catching. Great pick!

    Renee' My Wow

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  10. Oh, this one looks really good. I hadn't heard about it, but I'm going to look further. Love the cover. Very atmospheric!

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    1. Me too. I hope you do check it out and get to read it. It sounds and looks amazing. :)

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  11. Ouuu, this sounds creepy! The whole May Queen folklore/mythology stuff is completely new to me, so I'm excited to look more into this! What a pretty cover, too!

    Here's my WoW :)

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    1. So creepy! Hope you check out and get to read it. I think it will be one of the books to read in 2016. :)

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  12. Never heard of this before. What a beautiful book and it sounds great. Thanks for pointing it out!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by!

      Hope you get a chance to check it out and add it to your Goodreads. Sometimes I forget books when they're so far away.

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  13. To be honest, this is not my cup of eat at all. I'm too chicken to read horror novels. Lol. Hope you enjoy it, though!

    Loved the great interview! This is the first time I see an author interview included in a WOW post, so KUDOS to you for doing that!

    Thanks for coming over and commenting on my own WOW post!! : )

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    1. I used to be that way... and still don't read as much horror as others on my friends' list do. However, I think gothic horror doesn't freak me out as much as straight up gory horror. I'm getting better. Glad you liked the interview. Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. The cover is just WOW, I can't believe I haven't heard anything about this book. Thanks of sharing!
    Paulina @ The Little Book Pixie

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    1. Hope you get a chance to add it to your Goodreads account because sometimes I completely blip books if they're too far away and need the reminder. Isn't it so pretty?! Thanks for stopping by!

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  15. Ohh great pick this is the first time I heard about this book and it looks and sounds really intriguing. Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

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    1. So intriguing and creepy! But hey the cover is pretty. :)

      Thanks for stopping by.

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  16. Great cover + great blurb? Definitely a must read! Thanks for sharing and for dropping by my blog ! :)

    Donita @ My Random Book thoughts

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    1. It's an awesome cover, yeah? It's the dustjacket copy. Happy Reading!

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  17. Ooh sounds intriguing. I appreciate the extra benefit of the author's interview, so thanks for that too! My wow is here: www.letsgetbeyondtolerance.blogspot.com

    Best,

    Lauren

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    1. Oh thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. :)

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  18. Whoa! Creepy creepy! It sounds awesome and that cover is gorgeous! It's totally new to me, too. Great pick!

    Michelle @ Michelle's Minions

    My WoW

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    1. So creepy! But I think so... gorgeous cover, yeah?!

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  19. I really love this cover too. Sounds fantastic as well. Love all the YA horror coming out lately!

    Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words

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  20. I love this cover and the description sounds awesome! Great pick!

    Thanks for stopping by My WoW!

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    1. It is so gorgeous, isn't it? Sounds freaky too? Thanks for stopping by.

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