Fraidy Hole, a new thriller by debut author Staci Andrea
Author Interview + Book & Author Info + Author Pet Corner!
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The mind is a curious thing. It allows us to reach back into our memory banks and retrieve emotions, thoughts, smells, and feelings that can act as filler for our sometimes empty lives, warming the spaces in our hearts that are sometimes left void and broken. It can also completely drop memories, forcing us to forget the painful chapters so that we are able to cut ties and move on.
What happens though, when the lines are blurred… when reality and the nightmares of your past collide? Can the mind make sense of it all? Can the brain and heart sort out the drama and the subtext? What happens to the soul when the mind cracks, even just a little?
Fraidy Hole, the fictional dark suspense thriller that centers around a grandfather trying to save his granddaughter from herself, plays upon exactly that line of questioning.
Told from a Grandfather’s perspective, Fraidy Hole follows the unconventional life of his Granddaughter, Arlo, as she navigates the pitfalls of adolescence into adulthood, paired with the unfortunate events that unfold while she is being influenced by an unusual leader into her darkness, her best friend, Bast. Together, they are torn between hiding in and trying to escape the Fraidy Hole.
To purchase Fraidy Hole, click on any of the following links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, Bookshop.org, Black Rose Writing, Walmart & Tantor Media (Audiobook)
Interview with Staci Andrea Author of Fraidy Hole
Fraidy Hole centers on a grandfather’s observations of his granddaughter’s life. That’s a fascinating set-up. How did that come about?
I was very close to my grandfather while growing up and when we lost him recently to Covid after he had a tough and long drawn-out battle with Alzheimer’s, the memories sat heavily on my heart and I found myself both comforted and amazed at the small fractures of time that he would be able to piece together and the stories that he would tell about myself, my sister and my cousins, before slipping away once again into darkness and unfamiliarity.
It felt amazing to know that somehow, through all of the dementia and Alzheimer’s, he still held us close somehow deep inside of his mind.
My main character in Fraidy Hole, Bobo, was the perfect amalgamation of both of my grandfathers, their wit and charm, their mannerisms. It was a cathartic experience to try and view the world through their eyes, the worries that they must have held for all of their children and grandchildren.
Fraidy Hole is an intriguing title. Tell us what that means to you and how it represents the novel:
Interestingly enough, when I was researching the town that I had chosen for this story, Freedom, Oklahoma, an article had popped up referring to local storms and how people had managed to escape them while hiding in their “fraidyholes”, which, I found out were partially below ground storm shelters, something that I would think of as a root cellar.
As my story began to take shape, I realized what a perfect word it was. To hide in something while riding out the storm, waiting for the light to break through the darkness, what a perfect comparison to not only Alzheimer’s and dementia, but also so many other forms of mental issues and mental illness.
My aunt was a manic-depressive schizophrenic patient, and when her medication would need to be adjusted again, we would watch her start to slip away and become someone else altogether. Talking to her later, she explained it as though she was hiding away somewhere, waiting for the light to come. I guess some stories we are just destined to tell without knowing it at the time.
Fraidy Hole came out in November, anything surprising about launching your debut? How has your experience been?
I think that one major surprise was that readers have no idea how crucial leaving reviews are for a book’s success. I am so appreciative of all of my supporters and grateful that the reviews are starting to roll in.
I was also shocked as to how popular audio formats are! I felt blessed to have Fraidy Hole contracted for audio beneath Tanto Audio and narrated by the fabulous Hana Lass, and the feedback on that has been just exciting!
Now for the dark side of publishing. I knew that I would need to have thick skin to make it in the world of writing, because it’s an artform and people have different tastes and no filters when voicing their opinions. I was ready for that. What I hadn’t prepared for were the baseless personal attacks from people I don’t know, spammers, if you will, and even a handful of other authors.
There will always be people in the world who like to make things difficult and to see you fail.
Tell us about the little lakeside town in Iowa where you live. How does that place inform you as a writer?
I was actually born in the area that I live in now, Clear Lake, Iowa. We moved around a lot when I was a kid, my parents ended up working for Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a while, before moving to Minnesota, and when they retired and moved back home, we followed.
It’s been fun raising my daughters in the safety of the small town where I spent all of my summers growing up. I have a slightly skewed perspective than a lot of people who live here, because I got out, I lived in big cities for a good chunk of my life, so I am not as sheltered as some are who have never left. That bodes well for me because I am able to see different viewpoints, walk down different paths and let all of the “what if” scenarios play out.
Although my daughters got tired of the whole town knowing their every move while growing up, it kept them safe. What I have learned as a writer living in a small town, is that every cookie cutter perfect family in every fence lined perfect little house is closely guarding secrets that they don’t want the world to know. These secrets are where my stories lift off…
What can we find you doing when you aren’t penning psychological thrillers?
Oh, my goodness! I am with my family on our pontoon out on the little lake, just hanging out in the summer, or hanging around estate sales looking for my next haunted find that will inspire me to write my next story. Although, I am a brand-new grandma (I prefer to be called Nonna… Ha-ha!), and I try to spend as much time as I can now with that perfect little soul.
(Side note and PSA about the pontoon: Memorial Day weekend last summer, I was climbing down through the open rounded gate on the side of our pontoon and my hand slid between the side of the gate and the rounded railing, severing off my pinky finger on my right hand. Yes, I am right-handed! They tried to reattach it and it didn’t work, and I just had my fourth surgery to remove all of the bone down towards my wrist. The pontoon industry saves between 6-8 cents per bend instead of turning them at a 90-degree angle and has known about this defect since 2010! There is a finger pinch guard that is less than twenty dollars on Amazon or your boating stores to save your fingers, so if you know anyone with rounded gates on their pontoons, please spread the word! Rant over.)
That’s awful! I’m so sorry to hear about this accident, but thank you for the PSA!
What are you working on now?
I just finished approving the cover for my next thriller, Lake Laps, that is scheduled for release in early 2024, approving edits of my third release, Beneath Her Lies, which is slated to be released this spring, and in contract negotiations for my fourth thriller, Thrive: Ghosts in the Glades. I have just started formulating the story for my fifth twisted story as well.
Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers:
Write what you enjoy writing and know that you will never make everyone happy.
Enter those writing contests! I am sure that the main reason my first publisher even looked my way was because of writing contests, and readers do take notice of the little seals that go on your book covers.
Also, find your tribe! There are some really great writers in this world, and we are excited to hype up each other’s work and cheer for each other’s successes. The more noise we make together, we can raise our books up to be noticed and stand out in the giant sea of authors.
Great advice! I wish you luck on all your future titles. Come back and visit with me and my readers again soon!
Author Pet Corner!
Meet Tapanga, our six-year-old chonky monkey of a cat and her sidekick, the queen of hearts, almost fourteen-year-old Pomeranian, Stellaluna, AKA the great bug hunter, AKA Bug.
They are the rulers of my universe.
Staci Andrea — Author of Fraidy Hole
A former dental assistant, ordained pastor, and public health worker, Staci entered the twisted world of suspense and thriller writing amidst her self-proclaimed midlife crisis, with her debut novel, Fraidy Hole, which was named as an honorable mention in the Hollywood Book Festival in 2023, as well as a Literary Titan 5-Star Gold award winner the same year.
Life itself has been a thrill ride for her over the past two years. What had begun as a way to dig herself out of a dark spot in life with journalling, turned into a reignited passion to tell stories, with Staci’s main goal being to rip back the curtains of the cookie cutter perfect family down the street and expose the secrets that everyone is trying to hide.
Aside from her debut release, Fraidy Hole, she also has another stand-alone twisted thriller slated to release in early 2024, Lake Laps, as well as a third, Beneath Her Lies, slated for a spring/summer 2024 release date, and a fourth, Thrive: Ghosts in the Glades, following closely behind.
To learn more about Staci, click any of the following links: Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter/X & YouTube
Elena Hartwell/Elena Taylor
Header image from Pixabay