I saw Gretchen McNeil at this year’s YALLWEST festival, and I also featured her here and here. She is one of today’s best writers in YA horror and suspense, and her newest book, DIG TWO GRAVES, came out on April 26,2022:

I did my part, BFF. Now it’s your turn.

Dig Two Graves coverSeventeen-year-old film noir fan Neve Lanier is a girl who just wants to be seen, but doesn’t really fit in anywhere. When Neve is betrayed by her best friend, Yasmin, at the end of the school year, she heads off to a girl’s empowerment camp feeling like no one will ever love her again. So when she grabs the attention of the beautiful, charismatic Diane, she falls right under her spell, and may accidentally promise to murder Diane’s predatory step-brother, Javier, in exchange for Diane murdering Yasmin. But that was just a joke…right?

Wrong. When Yasmin turns up dead, Diane comes calling, attempting to blackmail Neve into murdering Javier. Stalling for time, Neve pretends to go along with Diane’s plan until she can find a way out that doesn’t involve homicide. But as she gets to know Javier – and falls for him – she realizes that everything Diane told her is a lie. Even worse, she discovers that Yasmin probably wasn’t Diane’s first victim. And unless Neve can stop her, she won’t be the last.


At this year’s YALLWEST Festival, you are on a panel entitled, “How do you survive life as a creator (really)?” What have you found most helpful in keeping your creative life going?

I think the pandemic has put a lot of things in focus for me, and I discovered just how important my creativity is to keeping me sane. I’m a better mother/wife/daughter/friend when I have balance between my work and the rest of my life, a balance that was completely thrown out of whack when my husband was suddenly working from home and I was primary caregiver to a toddler and a newborn. For the first time in my life, I had to carve out time to write, and not in huge chunks like I’d been used to, but in small, stolen moments of time during the kids’ naps and after bedtime. It was incredibly difficult, but NOT making that time really affected my mood.

I guess the takeaway is that artists (and especially artist moms) are frequently relegated to “hobbyist” status and I have to fight to make sure that I have just as much substantive work time as any other professional.


Yup. Definitely not a hobby. DIG TWO GRAVES takes place in Southern California. How did you know this was the right backdrop for this story?

DIG TWO GRAVES is primarily set in northern San Diego county: Carlsbad, Oceanside, La Jolla. Even though I’ve lived in Los Angeles since 1993, I’ve actually never set a book there! That’s about to change in 2023 with THREE DROPS OF BLOOD which is set in Burbank. That was a necessity since the main character is a plus-size actress on a hit Netflix series and a major subplot of this Read Window-esque novel is sizeism in Hollywood.


What a great premise! I can’t wait until THREE DROPS OF BLOOD comes out. As mentioned, you’ve written a lot of great YA horror novels. Do you envision yourself writing in any other genre? Why or why not?

I love writing horror. Though many of my books fall more into the mystery/suspense column, the novels I’ve had the most fun writing are the ones that lean into horror. I’d love to break into the adult horror market as well, though I realize that’s not exactly another genre.

I suppose if I had to write something else, it would be historical. I have a nerdy love for a variety of different time periods (the American Revolution, Georgian London, New York in the 1910s) so maybe someday I’ll put some of that random knowledge to good use!


Hopefully so! What else are you currently working on? Is there anything you can announce yet?

In addition to the previously mentioned THREE DROPS OF BLOOD, I just started writing another YA mystery riff on Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt entitled FOUR-DROPS OF BLOOD which should be out in late 2024! I’m also working on an adult horror project inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The Way through the Woods” which is all I can say about it!



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