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Jennifer Fawcett Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Beneath the Stairs (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Jennifer Fawcett
Jennifer Fawcett grew up in rural Eastern Ontario and she spent many years in Canada making theater before she came to the United States. She has an MFA from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop and she was a founding member of Working Group Theatre.

Her work’s been produced in theaters all across the country and has been published in Storybrink, Third Coast Magazine, Reunion, and The Dallas Review, as well as the anthology Long Story Short.

When she was just a kid, she wanted to be Princess Leia. This led her to acting, which led to her playwriting, which has brought her to ultimately writing fiction.

She got the idea for “Beneath the Stairs” from when she was about thirteen, she and her friends visited this local house which was supposed to be haunted. The house was in the shape of an octagon. Jennifer has never forgotten the feeling that she had while standing inside of it. It might’ve just been in her imagination, however there was definitely this feeling in that house that she had never experienced before. As soon as she crossed over the threshold, she felt this residue of something which was left behind.

She learned that people would build houses with eight sides so that the devil would be unable to get them in a corner. Makes you wonder about what the person that built the house was attempting to avoid.

As she was writing the novel, she continued to wrestle with the idea of whether a place can truly be haunted. If human actions do generate energy, it seems conceivable that such energy could very well be left behind. Or is it actually created by what we bring into it? This house was so horrifying for her since someone told her that it would be. But in the end, she is unsure if it matters since the experience will always be driven by perception.

Fast forward a number of years and she decided to give National Novel Writing Month a try. She did not know what to write about and then she started imagining four young teen girls standing in front of this abandoned house, attempting to convince themselves to go in. The rest of the story unfolded from there.

As she began writing the novel, the image that she began with was that of these four girls standing in front of this haunted house and trying to decide if they were even brave enough to step foot inside. She knew very well this mix of childish bravado and the dread of getting made fun of which would take them over this threshold.

She is fascinated by the long term effects of violence and knew that if Abby and Clare went into this house as girls, that experience would ripple into their adult lives. The earlier timelines were created while she began imagining what had happened in this place to make it what it was. Jennifer’s always been drawn to abandoned places and likes imagining who had been there years and years ago. There were these old buildings near where she grew up, and she did this as a kid, so these older timelines were just a natural extension of such an impulse.

With all of that said, she is actually a giant chicken when it comes to all things haunted. She’s been told time and time again how scary they find this novel, which is excellent and makes Jennifer seem that much tougher than she is. She’s been in just the one haunted house, and it made such an impression on her that a whole novel came out of it.

To get inspired to write, Jennifer listens to audio books and reads books. She listens to the news and to podcasts. She watches plays, movies, and television. They are all equally valid and all stories. Jennifer does not believe that there is a hierarchy, like some stories are more important than others. She gets inspiration from hearing good stories no matter what their form might be.

Sometimes, a good story is going to unlock something that she has been working on, even if what she is working on has got seemingly nothing at all to do with what she has heard or read. And other times, a memory or a question is going to pop into her mind, which will lead her to a new idea.

“Apples in Winter” won the Susan Glaspell Award and the National New Play Network Smith Prize. “Atlas of Mud” won the Kennedy Center National Science Playwriting Award. “Birth Witches” was nominated for the ATCA/Steinburg New Play Award. “Out of Bounds” won the NEFA National Theatre Award with Working Group.

“Reasons Not to Have Children”, a short story, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

“Beneath the Stairs” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2022. A woman returns to her hometown after her childhood friend attempts suicide at this local haunted house, which is the same place where a traumatic incident that shattered their lives some twenty years ago.

There are very few in sleepy Sumner’s Mills that stumbled across the Octagon House hidden deep in the woods. There are even fewer that are brave enough to trespass. A man murdered his two young daughters and wife there, which is a gruesome and shocking crime that this sleepy upstate New York town attempted to bury. This one summer night, a fourteen and emboldened Clare, with her friend Abby, ventured into the Octagon House. Clare made her way out, but a part of Abby never did.

Twenty years later, this adult Clare gets word that Abby has tried to kill herself at the Octagon House and is now in a coma. With very little to lose and still grieving after her personal tragedy, Clare goes back to her roots in order to uncover the darkness that’s responsible for Abby’s accident.

“Beneath the Stairs” is an eerie page turner, and is about the trauma which follows us from childhood on to adulthood and going back to the start in order to reach the end. Readers found this to be an enthralling debut novel by a gifted storyteller.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Jennifer Fawcett

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