Welcome to Kicking Back with Kick-butt!
Today we’re chatting with Daka Hermon, the author of
HIDE AND SEEKER
I went up the hill, the hill was muddy, stomped my toe and made it bloody, should I wash it?
Justin knows that something is wrong with his best friend. Zee went missing for a year. And when he came back, he was . . . different. Nobody knows what happened to him. At Zee’s welcome home party, Justin and the neighborhood crew play Hide and Seek. But it goes wrong. Very wrong.
One by one, everyone who plays the game disappears, pulled into a world of nightmares come to life. Justin and his friends realize this horrible place is where Zee had been trapped. All they can do now is hide from the Seeker.
Let’s talk to this fantastic author about her awesome book!
This is Daka. Everyone say, “Hi, Daka!”
Welcome to Kick-Butt Kidlit, Daka! Tell us about yourself!
I was born in Tennessee and spent my childhood huddled under a blanket with a flashlight, reading and writing fantasy stories. I love sweet tea, cupcakes and collecting superhero toys.
What were you doing when you found out there was an offer on your book? (We love these stories here at Kick-butt Kidlit!)
I knew Hide and Seeker was being pitched at an acquisition’s meeting, but I didn’t know the exact date. I was scrolling through my emails and froze when I saw one from my agent. I opened the email and screamed! Then I called my dad and he screamed. I’ll never forget the sound of his happiness.
Aw! That sounds like such an awesome moment!
What was the inspiration behind HIDE AND SEEKER?
Growing up, Hide and Seek was one of my favorite games to play. All the kids in the neighborhood would join in. We’d stay outside until dark playing, then we’d run around catching lightning bugs. It’s one of my best childhood memories.
Speaking as a genuine scaredy-cat, HOW do you write a horror story without scaring the pants off of yourself???
I’m a scaredy-cat, too!! I didn’t set out to write a horror story. I thought I was writing an action-adventure or mystery, but once I started querying agents, more than one told me that I was writing a horror and to go with it, so I did. I’m still surprised I was able to write something so scary.
What were three interesting things you discovered while working on HIDE AND SEEKER?
1) The chant in the book is actually what we said to start our games. I asked my sisters and cousins, who I frequently played with, where it came from and no one knows. It’s a scary mystery.
2) I’m more like the main-character, Justin, than I realized. I have similar fears and anxiety.
3) I’m really fascinated by ice cream trucks. I get a little excited and nervous when I hear the jingles.
No one knows where the chant came from??? That is so spooky, Daka!
If you could transport your characters across book dimensions, which book would you most like them to end up in and why?
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky! I think Justin and Tristan would be great friends and could team-up to save the world.
Now THAT would be an epic crossover. When can we read it? 😀
Why were you drawn to writing middle grade?
In some ways middle school was the best and worst time of my life. I have such vivid memories of friendships and events that happened while I was in middle grade. I think that’s why I’m drawn to writing about middle grade characters and stories. I’m reliving those moments, and maybe sharing a voice I didn’t feel comfortable using then.
Any hints about your next book project?
Well… it may be another horror, which again surprises me.
What has been the most surprising part of your publishing journey?
The amazing support from the book community and other authors. I’ve met so many great people who have inspired and motivated me throughout this journey.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia, This is My America by Kim Johnson and rereading some R.L. Stine Fear Street novels.
What’s your favourite piece of kick-butt advice?
I don’t know if it’s my favorite, but I have a Star Wars sign with Yoda saying, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Right now, that’s motivating me to write.
True, that is.
Thank you so much for joining us, Daka!
Kick-butt Kidlit friends, make sure you check out HIDE AND SEEKER!
It’s on shelves now!
Click here to enter to win a copy of HIDE AND SEEKER!
Contest closes Friday, October 30th at 11:59 pm EST
Thanks for reading!