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Interview with Lisa Orchard, author of the Super Spy Series
YA Promo Central is happy to welcome Lisa Orchard to the blog! She’s here to answer some questions and to share some information about her new books, The Super Spies and the High School Bomber and The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer. If this sounds like something that you would be interested in, please use the buy links at the bottom of the post to pick up a copy of each.
YAPC: Tell us about your new release.
Lisa: “The Super Spies and the High School Bomber” is the second book in the Super Spies series and it’s a doozy! It’s the story of four teens whose lives collide with suspected terrorists in the wake of a tragic bombing. My beta readers really liked it. The first book in the series is “The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer”.
YAPC: How would you describe yourself?
Lisa: Hmmm… I would say that I’m a stay at home mom that loves to write. I have two boys ages 7 and 6 (birthday this month ). They keep me hopping! I love being able to volunteer in their classrooms and go on their field trips. Before I had kids, I worked in the insurance industry for thirteen years, pining to express my creative side.
YAPC: What’s your guilty pleasure?
Lisa: I would say it’s chocolate! And now that experts are saying there are anti-oxidants in it. I tell everyone that I eat it for health reasons!
YAPC: Who are your cheerleaders?
Lisa: I would have to say my writing group and my family. My kids were so excited when I received my first cover, and they’re always coming up with new ideas for my titles. When my first book, “The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer”, came out my first grader went to school and told his class that he wanted to be a published author like his mom! Yeah, I got a little teary eyed!
YAPC: Why did you choose the genre you write in?
Lisa: I chose the mystery/thriller genre because I loved mysteries as a kid and I still do. I love stories that make me think and I’m always trying to figure out who the bad guy is! I wanted to bring that same sense of joy and anticipation to our young readers of today.
YAPC: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Lisa: I’m a pantser! I tried to be a plotter but it bogs down my writing process. I love putting my characters in situations and seeing how they respond. Being a pantser works great for me!
YAPC: Where do you get your inspiration?
Lisa: I got my inspiration for my first story from some of my own teen exploits. Yes, that’s right! I wanted to be a detective, but I didn’t investigate a murder. One summer my friends and I investigated an act of vandalism and that was one of my most favorite times in my life. And I’m hoping that by writing about that time it generates the same joy and anticipation that I felt when I was that age.
The inspiration for my second story came from actual events, the Columbine Massacre of 1999. I was so upset when this happened that I thought I should write a story and show how these horrific events can occur. By doing this, I hope to bring awareness to everyone who reads my book.
YAPC: Which genres do you prefer to read?
Lisa: I love mysteries and thrillers. I also love human drama stories like the books Sue Monk Kidd writes.
YAPC: How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?
Lisa: I think communication between my readers and myself is vital. I do reply to their messages and I read their reviews! If you would like to contact me you can find me on the following social media sites.
YAPC: If you could visit any place in the world or a place created by a book, where would you visit?
Lisa: I would visit the world that was created in the movie Avatar! I loved that movie and thought the world they lived in was quite magical.
YAPC: What projects are you working on right now, would you mind sharing them with us?
Lisa: I’m working on the third Super Spies novel and a coming of age Young adult book. I can’t wait to share them with my readers.
About the Author: Lisa Orchard grew up loving books. She was hooked on mysteries by the fifth grade and even wrote a few of her own. She knew she wanted to be a writer even then. “The Super Spies and the High School Bomber” is the second book in the “Super Spies” series. Her first book was published in March of 2012 and it has received rave reviews.
After graduating from Central Michigan University with a Marketing Degree she spent many years in the insurance industry, pining to express her creative side. The decision to stay home with her children gave her the opportunity to follow her dream and become a writer. She currently resides inRockford Michigan with her husband, Steve, and two wonderful boys. Currently, she’s working on the third novel that stars the same quirky teens. When she’s not writing she enjoys spending time with her family, running, hiking, and reading.
This book opens in a small town in Michigan where Sarah and her sister Lacey are now living with their Aunt and Uncle. Still reeling from the fact her parents have disappeared, Sarah starts the school year with her new friend Jackie Jenkins. When Sarah learns the school has been bombed, she’s filled with dread. Uncle Walt is a teacher, and he was in the school when the bomb exploded. Taking matters into her own hands, Sarah decides to search for him. The rest of the Super Spies are right behind her. When a fireman chases them away from the school, Sarah becomes suspicious. She decides to investigate. The FBI arrives on the scene. Sarah realizes this bombing could have even bigger implications. Searching for the bombers, Sarah is introduced to the world of terrorism. She fears that the bombing and her parents’ disappearance are connected and terrorists are involved. To make matters worse, the bombers are determined to finish the job. Can the Super Spies find the bombers before it’s too late?
* * * * *
This book opens in a small town in Michigan where fifteen-year-old Sarah Cole is stuck spending the summer at her Aunt and Uncle’s with her sister, Lacey. She’s not happy with the situation until she befriends a girl named Jackie. The three girls stumble upon the ruthless murder of a reclusive neighborhood woman. One of the officers investigating the crime believes the girls are responsible for her death. Fearing that this officer will frame them for the murder, the girls organize their own detective squad. They become the Super Spies and start their own fact-finding mission. The Super Spies can’t understand why anyone would want to murder the “Cat Lady” until they start digging into her past and discover a horrible crime that happened thirty years ago. They uncover a connection between the two crimes and attempt to bring this information to the police, only to be reprimanded for meddling in the inquest. Not only are the girls upset by the admonition, but they also struggle with the fact that their exuberant investigating could provide a legal loophole allowing the killer to go free. To make matters worse, the police don’t even believe them. Frustrated by this turn of events, the Super Spies realize it’s up to them to snare the Cat Lady killer, or die trying…
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Excerpt from “The High School Bomber”
A whoosh of roiling hot air lifted Sarah Cole and flung her against the kitchen wall like a fumbled football. At the same time, the windows burst into millions of pieces, showering everything with tiny shards of glass. Sarah crumpled to the floor, still clutching the phone. She lay there stunned, unable to inhale or exhale.
“Sarah! Sarah!” her younger sister, Lacey, screamed from the bathroom, where she’d been drying her hair.
The ringing in her ears was so intense, Sarah could barely hear her. Groaning, she opened her eyes and saw only red through her right one. Dread rippled through her body.
“Sarah! Sarah!” Lacey cried again.
Sarah dropped the phone, and put her hand up to her eye. She fingered the area gently before pulling her hand away. Blood.
“Lacey,” she croaked, unable to manage more than that.
“Sarah! Where are you?”
“The kitchen,” Sarah said, finally able to breathe. She blinked her eyes twice and her vision cleared. Relief flooded her body and she wilted against the floor.
“Holy Moley!” Lacey shrieked.
Sarah jumped at the sound of her voice. She didn’t realize Lacey had come up the stairs and into the kitchen. The ringing in her ears was almost gone.
“No kidding,” Sarah said, covering her right eye with her hand and glaring at Lacey with her uncovered one. She brushed her shoulder length blonde hair away from her face and gasped at the blood running down her arm.
“We’ve got to get you to the hospital!” Lacey screamed in a voice edged with hysteria.
“Stop freaking out!” Sarah gave Lacey the old one-eyed glare again.
“Sarah, there’s blood everywhere,” her sister whimpered as she wrung her hands. She gazed around her. “What happened? Did our furnace blow up or something?”
“I don’t think so.” Sarah shook her head, dust particles and slivers of glass cascaded to the floor. She furrowed her brow and absentmindedly brushed off her clothes. “I think something exploded outside. Help me up.”
Lacey held out her hand to Sarah and pulled her into a sitting position.
Blinking, Sarah gazed around the kitchen. On most days it was a sunny room with pineapple wallpaper and pine cabinets. It was the most popular room in the house—everyone congregated there during the holidays.
Sarah blinked again. Dust floated through the air and glass littered the yellow linoleum floor. She groaned and turned her attention to her arm.
As she examined the blood running down it, another wave of panic flooded through her body. Sarah’s legs wobbled when she stood and she stumbled as she reached for a kitchen towel that lay on the counter. She used it to blot her eye. When she pulled the towel away, she was shocked to see the amount of blood that had soaked into it. Sarah gulped, trying to swallow her fear as beads of sweat broke out on her forehead.
With unsteady feet, Sarah stumbled into the hall where a mirror hung.
She was afraid to look. Taking some deep breaths, she stared into the cracked mirror and noticed a cut in her eyebrow. The amount of blood that seeped from the cut was enormous compared to its small size.
Lacey walked past Sarah on her way to the den. The crunch of glass under her sister’s feet caught Sarah’s attention, and she sighed.
Thank goodness we had our shoes on. A wave of relief washed over her body and she exhaled another deep sigh. The girls had been getting ready for school when the windows exploded and covered everything with glass.
“Sarah, come here! You’ve got to see this!” Lacey yelled.
Sarah whirled around and spotted her sister walking from the den—her eyes were round and full of shock.
“I think all the windows have been smashed. Come and look.”
Holding the towel against her cut, Sarah followed her into the den. “Holy crap!”
She gazed into the room. Shards of glass covered the furniture and the floor. The sun streamed through the window, shining on the jagged bits embedded in the carpet. It appeared as if tiny diamonds were buried within the fibers.
“What in the world happened?”
Sarah shook her head. “I have no idea.”
The shrill ring of the phone made Sarah jump. She dashed back to the kitchen and found the phone where she had dropped it earlier.
“Yeah, it’s me.” Jackie’s voice eased some of the tension in Sarah’s body. Jackie Jenkins was her best friend. They had met when Sarah and her sister moved in with their aunt and uncle three months earlier.
Sarah glanced down at her legs and for the first time saw tiny nicks where she had been hit by flying glass. She bent down and examined the cuts further. They were not deep, and were already clotting.
“All of our windows exploded! Do you know what’s going on?” Sarah asked.
“There was an explosion at the high school.”
“There was an explosion?”
“How do you know? Was it a bomb?” Sarah brushed her hair away from her face and watched as more dust cascaded to the floor.
“I heard it on the police scanner.”
“Was it a bomb?” Sarah asked again.
“They don’t know, but what else causes an explosion?” Jackie said with a voice edged with apprehension.
“Crap,” Sarah gasped, as the energy seemed to drain from her body, replaced with heavy dread. Sagging against the kitchen wall, she clutched the phone as if it were a lifeline. “Uncle Walt.” She choked, and then turned toward Lacey and stared.
“Sarah? Are you there? Are you all right?” Jackie yelled from the phone.
“Sarah?” Lacey’s lip quivered.
Tears welled in Sarah’s eyes as she spoke to Lacey. “There’s been an explosion at the high school.”
“What? No way!” Lacey shook her head and swung away.
“Sarah, I’m coming over!” Jackie screamed.
Sarah nodded numbly as she watched Lacey. Her sister’s breathing was labored and her face turned pale.
“I feel like I’m going to faint.” Lacey’s knees buckled and she reached for the kitchen chair.
“Put your head between your knees!” Sarah dropped the phone, grabbed Lacey and helped her to the floor. She gently pushed Lacey’s head down between her knees. Her sister’s face and knees disappeared behind the curtain of her long blonde hair.
“Now, take deep breaths.”
Lacey inhaled deeply and let her breath out slowly. The two girls sat like that for a few minutes, Sarah holding her sister’s head down and Lacey breathing.
“Thanks. You can let go now.” Lacey raised her head and smiled at Sarah.
Sarah nodded and peered into her sister’s green eyes that were so much like her own. “Better?”
“Yeah.” Lacey let out a long shudder. She sat back on the floor. “I’m not ready to get up yet.”
“Jackie’s coming over.” Sarah picked up the phone and pushed buttons with a shaky hand.
“Who’re you calling?” Lacey whimpered.
“Uncle Walt’s cell.”
Sarah listened to the phone ring, as her stomach tightened into a knot. “It went right into voicemail.” She gulped as the enormity of the situation hit her. Fear ate away at her self-control and her stomach clenched tighter. Taking some deep breaths, she wondered what she should do next. Without a doubt, Sarah knew that Lacey was going to lose it at any moment, and someone needed to take charge. “We have to call Aunt June.” The quiver in her voice betrayed the fear she tried to hide.
“I hope he’s okay,” Lacey whimpered and then sobbed as she sagged against the cabinets. Rocking back and forth, she tried to calm herself.
“I’m sure he wasn’t near the explosion.” Sarah cast a sideways glance toward her sister, hoping to reassure Lacey, but her words rang false in her own ears.
“He went to school early today,” Lacey whimpered as she rocked. She rubbed her hands together as if they were cold.
Sarah dialed her aunt’s office and waited for Beatrice, the receptionist, to answer. Pacing, she chewed on her nail. What was taking Bea so long? While Sarah waited, the wails of police sirens and the blare of fire truck horns filled the air as they rushed past. Panic gnawed at her gut. She fought to keep it at bay and won for the moment.
Beatrice answered the phone and informed Sarah that her aunt was with a patient.
“Bea, this is an emergency.” Sarah’s voice cracked. “I really need to talk to her.”
“I’m sorry Sarah. I didn’t recognize your voice. Just a second. I’ll interrupt her session.”
Sarah waited on hold, listening to the elevator music filtering through the phone. She paced and chewed her nails. “Let’s go in the den.”
Lacey, still wobbly from her near faint, stood and clung to Sarah, as Sarah guided her into the den.
“Turn the TV on and see if there’s anything on the news,” Sarah instructed.
She paced back and forth while her sister stumbled toward the TV. Lacey walked hunched over and slow. With a trembling hand, she finally pushed the power button on the television.
Stifling an irritated sigh, Sarah peered at the TV and caught a glimpse of a scroll at the bottom of the screen. It said Harrisburg High School and Jr. High School closed today due to faculty meeting. Please stay away from the High School. There has been an explosion and emergency personnel need to be able to get to the scene.
Sarah stifled a growl of frustration. That’s it? That’s all they’re going to tell us? She continued her pacing, growing more agitated by the minute.
Sarah chewed on her lip as frantic thoughts ran through her mind. It was her first day at her new school and it explodes? What is going on?
Her aunt’s voice came through the phone. “Sarah? What’s wrong?”
Sarah let out a strangled sob. The sound of concern in her aunt’s voice was enough for her to lose control of her emotions. “It’s Uncle Walt. There’s been an explosion at the high school and all of our windows exploded!” Sarah sobbed. Her best efforts to keep it together were unsuccessful.
“An explosion? What kind of explosion?”
“I don’t know,” Sarah cried. “I just know there was some kind of explosion.”
A low moan escaped her aunt’s lips. “Oh, no. Walt!”