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Horror, writing music and no promises: A Q&A with Derek Landy


‘Desolation’ is the second book in the devilishly fun ‘Demon Road’ trilogy and we just had to ask Derek Landy a few questions about the series!

1. Describe the plot of your ‘Demon Road’ series in the length of a tweet. A teenage girl embarks on a supernatural road trip around America, pursued by her demonic parents.

2. What attracts you the most to the horror genre? I grew up loving horror, in whatever shape I encountered it. Horror is the most extreme of genres, meaning you can push your characters to their absolute limit and then sit back and watch them surprise you.

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3. ‘Demon Road’ was full of horror stories you might hear around a campfire. Did you do a lot of research into American urban legends? Not urban legends as such, but the entire trilogy is a love letter to the horror genre — particularly American horror. Every awful situation Amber stumbles into is inspired by a book or a movie or a TV show that, in their own way, has defined the genre over the years.

4. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, can you name 3 songs that influenced ‘Demon Road’ the most? Generally, no. Sometimes I listen to soundtracks, but that’s it. However, for ‘Demon Road’ I’ve made an exception, and I have two songs that pretty much define the series in my head. The first is “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake, and the second is “Blood on my Name” by The Brothers Bright. This is a song suggested by a reader, a song I’d never heard before but which goes so well with ‘Desolation’ that they could walk hand in hand.

5. Amber’s demonic alter ego has been described as more conventionally attractive and yet a bit of a monster. Can you tell us a little more about her, and Amber’s relationship with this side of herself? When Amber changes, she goes from a normal girl — kinda short, kinda overweight, kinda average — to a 6 foot tall, majestic, red-skinned demon, beautiful beyond measure. The problem with this, apart from the horns and the fangs, is that she’s more liable to hurt people. So basically, Amber finally gets to be flawlessly beautiful and magnificently strong, but the downside is that she loses a bit of herself in the process. It’s just another way to torture the character, to challenge her, to giver her something to battle against. When I was a teenager, I’d have loved to have looked better than I did. But how far would I have gone to achieve this?

6. What can we look forward to in ‘Desolation’? The first book was a road trip — the second one they find somewhere safe to lay low. Only, of course, it isn’t safe. Not even a little bit. So you have more killers to look forward to, more monsters, more psychos and more murderous family drama. Everything you could ever want, in fact.

7. Please tell us you’re not killing off anybody we love. We can’t go through that again. I cannot promise that. Ever.

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Written by Sophie Waters

Sophie is the Head of Commercial at Maximum Pop! Having studied English Lit and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, she came to MP! to satisfy her passion for books. Sophie is a diehard Hufflepuff and feminist. She’s also a huge cat lover, and can often be found rocking her socks off at a gig.

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