When we talk about murders that freaked a nation out, especially ones that entire legends are built around — Lizzie Borden tops many lists. A daughter who took an axe to her parents. That’s some freaky behavior and what’s scarier is it has never really been explained.
Of course, there’s theories but since going back in time just isn’t possible, people can come up with their own stories by way of explanation. Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie are doing just that with their new book: SWEET MADNESS.
First up, let them talk about just how their perspective of Lizzie was shaped.
Why Lizzie Borden? Which of you became interested in the legend and what kind of research did you both do for the SWEET MADNESS?
Well, Trisha lives on the East coast where the legend of the Borden murders is widely well known, so it naturally became the next subject matter for us to pursue! Plus, we’ve got a fascination with the dark, demented and creepy…and the legend of Lizzie Borden is all three ☺
So I’m new to your work, but always curious about how authors find their writing partners. The creative process can be brutal and some people isolate themselves, but how do you two work together? How did you know that a writing partnership would be possible between you two?
We were originally critique partners for each other and one day, simply decided it would be fun to attempt to write a book together. It was just for fun, and we honestly never intended it to be a serious attempt at a young adult novel. But given that we have similar work ethics and writing styles, it actually ended up being a good project and we queried it, which landed us representation.
Did you always plan on being YA Scream Queens, writing scary stories, or did you happen upon it? Anything in your childhood have a lasting affect on you or scared you so much that you still have memories of it now that freak you out?
Lindsay: I love the horror genre and nothing will change that, but I do also write contemporary young adult and if I’m so lucky as to have the opportunity, I plan to continue doing both. I grew up loving scary stories and movies, and still remember the first book I read (I was probably in third or fourth grade) that scared the crap out of me! It was called the Dollhouse Murders and was written by Betsy Ren Wright. Holy cow did it scare me, but in a delicious way. Pretty sure Ms. Wright cemented my love of things that slither in the shadows and go bump in the night ☺
Favorite Famous Historical Figure and Why?
Lindsay: Nicolas Flamel. I’ve always been fascinated with the story behind this man and with movies like As Above So Below out there, it’s only stoking my interest.
Trisha: Currently, I have an unnatural fascination with Elizabeth Bathory. It is not her torturous hobbies that fascinate me—although they do make for some interesting reading—rather the purported reasoning behind her acts. Sorting myth from fact and trying to figure out who she really was and whether the political climate of 16th Century Hungary played a hand in the charges brought against her seems to occupy every spare minute of my time lately!
Favorite Horror Flick?
Lindsay: It may be cheesy, but I still love the entire Scream series.
Trisha: Blair Witch Project
Horror Maven Inspiration?
Lindsay: My inspiration is easily Stephen King. I grew up reading his stuff and truthfully, his ability to weave psychologically dark stories is just mind blowing and inspiring.
Trisha: Shirley Jackson
Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street?
Lindsay: Friday the 13th!
Trisha: Nightmare on Elm Street
R. L. Stine, Christopher Pike or Lois Duncan and why?
Lindsay: I gotta go with R.L. Stine on this one because again, I grew up reading him and he’s got the magic!
Trisha: Lois Duncan, and not because I don’t love the other two, but rather because I grew on up Lois Duncan. I still have vivid memories of fourteen-year-old me curled up on the couch with DAUGHTERS OF EVE.
SNEAK PEEK EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT:
I purposely took a roundabout way to Corky Row, making several unnecessary turns that did nothing more than loop me back to Second Street. But no matter how many times I changed direction, the sturdy and purposeful click of boots against pavement followed me. It wasn’t until I rounded the corner to Liam’s street that I gave in to my nervous discontent and hazarded a peek over my shoulder. It wouldn’t be the first time Lizzie had followed me, but usually she made her presence known by calling of my name.
The street behind me was nearly empty—a few beggar children and some maids hurrying to and from work—but no plainly-dressed woman of stature. No Lizzie.A flare of apprehension quickened my steps. I sought out an alleyway to duck into and concealed myself in the darkness until whoever was following me passed. I knew it was ridiculous. I’d told myself half a dozen times I was being overly suspicious, that my guilt about lying to Lizzie in the first place was getting the better of me. But no logical explanation, no amount of self-condemnation could stop the way I felt. It was that sensation of eyes on you when there shouldn’t be that made me believe I wasn’t alone.
I stepped behind an abandoned fruit cart, crouched down, and watched as a shadow appeared at the mouth of the alley. Lizzie. She paused, her eyes skittering across the darkened corridor as if debating whether I was foolish enough to risk my welfare with the vagrants who called these rat-infested passageways home. With a brisk nod of her head, she walked away, probably assuming I had more sense.
I counted to fifty, then eased my way out from behind the cart, slowly making my way back out to the cobblestone street. Half-hidden in the shadows, I scanned first to my left and then to my right, but she wasn’t there. It was as if she had vanished, as if her appearance at the end of the alleyway was nothing more than my conscience-stricken imagination chastising me for lying. But unlike Lizzie, I wasn’t prone to fits of fugue. I didn’t subscribe to the belief that the voices that plagued her were whispered from beyond, were . . . the voices of those drawn into the Borden curse.
What I saw and the uneasiness I felt were real. I was being followed, silently stalked by my own friend. And she was still there, carefully hidden out of sight. Lizzie wouldn’t sulk back home and occupy her time by reading her father’s mail or pawing through her stepmother’s belongings. No, she’d circle these streets until she found me.
Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty one.