Published by Entangled Teen
Genre: YA Fantasy / paranormal
All Lo Campbell wants is to be a normal teenager—to go to one high school, live in one place, and have one real friend. Instead, she travels the country with her mother, chasing the unknown, the “what else” that’s out there…
Until one day, the “what else” chases back.
Determined to rescue her mom from whatever supernatural being took her, Lo will need more help than a badly dressed demon obsessed with country music. She’s going to need a Tracker—and lucky for her, she finds one. Shaw is strong, good-looking, possibly available, and utterly infuriating. Sure, he may have secrets, and his help costs more than a brand-new car, but she’ll have to deal with him if she wants to find her mother—and get her home alive.
About the Author:
Katie McElhenney was born in Philadelphia into a big family of curious kids and patient adults. A voracious reader and unapologetic daydreamer, she knew she wanted to become a writer someday. With the support of an amazing family, great friends, and some truly spectacular teachers she has written short stories, poems, and novels. A solar-powered human, she now lives in Los Angeles and uses the great weather for year-round trips to the beach and long runs (where the best inspiration happens). Find out more about her at katiemcelhenney.com
And her social media accounts are:
Facebook: Katie McElhenney
a road trip snack pack
Can you tell us about your book, The Things They’ve Taken, in 45 words or less?
After her mother is taken by a powerful demon, Lo must navigate the dangerous supernatural world to get her back. She hires Shaw, a Tracker as gorgeous as he is infuriating, to guide her on the quest to rescue her mother before she’s lost forever.
What was your favorite scene to write?
This is a hard one. I think any scene with Rashkur is an instant favorite of mine. He says all the things polite people would never say (which is no problem for him since he is really a demon masquerading as a human). His affected southern charm is full of “darlins’” and “bless your hearts” but when the claws come out (and the teeth and the scales…) you better take your sweet tea and run.
What was the hardest scene to edit out?
I originally had Lo meeting some sprites in a waterhole in western PA. These sprites were in the form of two old guys with bushy white beards and stomach paunches who hung around dispensing advice to whomever swam by. This was hard to cut because it was based on an actual experience I had a few years back. In that case the old guys weren’t sprites, but some friends on an annual motorcycle trek across the US they’ve done every year for the last fifty. They’d just popped by the waterhole to cool off before getting back on the road. So while I kept the setting (and the advice they gave), I had to nix the soggy sages.
Lo travels to a lot of different places in this book. What different states/areas/etc might pop up in this book?
I’ve had the good fortune of living in many different places across America. I wanted to highlight some of those places in this book. On Lo’s road trip quest so far she finds herself in Louisville, KY, Williamsport, PA, Philadelphia, PA, and Wildwood, NJ. Though she may go from blue grass to beach, the supernatural world is always there, lurking in the shadows.
Is there humor mixed into The Things They’ve Taken?
Absolutely! Lo is a quick-witted, snarky girl who has a sardonic view of the world. And believe me, she has plenty to comment on from a rhinestone- hat wearing demon to a creepy teenage necromancer who seems more interested in winning Lo’s heart than enchanting a dead one to beat.
What are some problems that supernaturals might experience on a road trip?
There are plenty of creatures whose biggest problem would be boredom. Why drive tediously slow in a metal box on wheels when you can jump a portal to another dimension? For those supernaturals who can take human form though, I think a road trip would be no problem at all. They’d probably enjoy taking in the sights and sampling the local flavor (which may or may not be human in nature). So the next time you’re at a truck stop, you might want to keep an eye on the guy ahead of you in line buying Cheetos and Mountain Dew. He may be purchasing snacks now but you may be his next meal…
Is this a standalone or part of a series?
Lo’s road trip is far from over! While some problems have been resolved by the end of the book, others have only just begun. Lo still has her work cut out for her and a lot more of the country to see—which may or may not be my excuse to take more road trips of my own, you know, for inspiration;-)
What else are you currently working on?
I have several projects currently in the works. I am actively writing the next book in the Lo series as well as a separate historical fiction YA novel. There are several adult-level short stories hanging out in my project folder along with notes for a nonfiction children’s book collaboration. Lots of exciting reasons to spend time with my laptop everyday!