July 1, 2020: This Week We're Wild About... Chelsea Ichaso

Some might think it odd (worrying?!?) that horror is one of my go-to comfort genres. I blame it on being a young teen in the late nineties. There was the cozy thrill of Buffy on Tuesday nights, The X-Files on Sundays (before streaming when we had to watch things week-to-week and record shows on VHS if we ever wanted to watch them again). My friends and I packed into opening-night movie theater crowds (that would be today's horror, right?) to find out what you did last summer or what was wrong with the faculty.

While the teen horror genre popped on screen back in the day (Scream! The Craft! I Still Know What You Did Last Summer!), it wasn't much of a thing in books. YA fiction wasn't really a thing at all yet. Today there are shelves of teen horror for readers who crave a little thrill and a little escape. I've been excited for Little Creeping Things for months. Even the title is evocative-you can feel the scares crawling up your neck. It's got accidental (?) murder, town bullies, fire, suspense, and creepy messages from a stranger. Curl up in your favorite reading spot and have at it!

- Natalie McCall (Head of Youth Services)

Chelsea IchasoWhat's the title of your upcoming book?

Little Creeping Things.

What book should readers go to for an escape from reality?

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is my favorite fantasy, and one I return to when I want to be swept up into a completely different world.

What book should readers go to when they want to face reality?

I guess it depends on what reality you're facing, but The Girl With All the Gifts by Mike Carey is a haunting read if you're looking for a book about a pandemic.

What was your reading life like before the pandemic?

I read a lot and widely before the pandemic. I love thrillers (adult and young adult), YA fantasy, horror (adult and YA), and middle grade in all genres. Usually, I would read a bit at the end of the day and a lot on weekends.

What has your reading life been like since the pandemic?

I've struggled to read during the pandemic. In the beginning, I had trouble focusing with the kids being home all day and with the constant influx of information regarding the virus. Now it's more about time for me. In addition to my writing, I have three kids to homeschool, and sometimes I'm too worn out at the end of the day to keep my eyes open. I've found that the right book really makes a difference for me now, more than ever. It has to be something that truly feels like a break and a reward from everything.

Why should people read for pleasure? Is that any different now?

There's nothing like the feeling of joining a character on an adventure in a book. I see the excitement when my kids get completely absorbed in a series and keep coming back to me, asking for the next book. You feel it in the disappointment when a series or a book ends. Why are you disappointed? Because you were enjoying the experience (even when the adventure had you terrified or deeply moved). Things are very different now, and very difficult for many, but reading can still provide this enjoyment. There's nothing wrong with diversion during times of crisis; in fact, it can be healthy and necessary.

What do you hope your book gives to readers?

Little Creeping Things Book CoverI hope Little Creeping Things provides a fast-paced, twisty mystery, that readers will enjoy trying to solve alongside the main character, Cassidy.

Should book lovers worry about the future of publishing during the pandemic? If so, how can they help?

Like many industries, publishing has been affected by the pandemic, and is constantly taking steps to evolve with the situation. That said, books are still being acquired and released by publishers. People still need books and can still purchase them. One way book lovers can help is to support local indie bookstores, many of which are struggling to stay afloat. You can buy online or over the phone, and many indies will ship to you or offer curbside pickup.

If you could imagine your dream virtual library, what would it be like?

My dream virtual library would never have holds on any of the books I want! Also, there would be coffee. I'm not sure how that would fit in virtually, but since this is a dream library, there would be gourmet coffee.

Where can readers find you online?

Website: chelseaichaso.com

Twitter: @chelseaichaso

Instagram: @chelseaichaso