Sunday, April 1, 2018

Author Spotlight: Black Chuck by Regan McDonell + Interview

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM

Regan studied poetry and creative writing at the University of Victoria. Black Chuck is her first published work.

Title: Black Chuck
Genre: Young Adult Dark Contemporary
Author: Regan McDonell
Publisher: Orca Books
Publication: April 3rd 2018
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading format: Provided Paperback
Black Chuck by Regan McDonell is the story of five friends, told from the perspective of two of the friends. The story starts off with one of the friends being dead and progressed from there. The two points of view are from the girlfriend and best friend of the deceased. The book takes place in Canada.

Rèal Dufresne is our first main character. Shaun, the deceased, has been his best friend since they were nine. But Rè has a pretty big secret waiting to explode from him. Before Shaun was found dead, they had a huge fight that left both of them bloody. Ordinarily, that wouldn't be too big of a problem, only... Shaun's body was found somewhere not many people, aside from their group, go and Rè can't remember anything from that night after the fight. He just knows that his clothes from that night are bloody. More bloody than they should be.

Evie was Shaun's girlfriend for nine months before his death. Their relationship started pretty randomly with Shaun just stopping by her house one day. He felt like they had kind of the same life with no real parents and that had bonded them. Now, with Shaun gone, Evie is stuck in a pretty serious situation and she doesn't know what to do about it. But Rèal makes it very clear to Evie that he will be there for her no matter what she decides. He feels responsible for her since Shaun was pretty much his brother. 

The other two friends are Sunny and Alex. Sunny is a Goth Asian girl who gets her way no matter what and Alex is her boyfriend who just happens to be from a family of really powerful bikers. Together they make up a small, tight-knit group of friends. But maybe a few of them were a little too tight. 

As I was reading, I realized the hook has this ominous feel to it. I felt like I was being followed by a really dark cloud the entire time. Like something bad was going to happen or some shocking realization was about to be had. I liked that aspect of the book a lot. 

In the end, I was kind of surprised by the ending. I was really expecting it to end as a gruesome murder by someone close to Shaun. I really didn't see THAT ending coming. This book really surprised me with how good it was and how much I liked all of the characters and the story they had to tell.

In the end, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.



1) Where did the inspiration for Black Chuck come from?
A lot of the little details in this book are based on real experiences I had as a teenager, going to high school in a small town. But the main part of the story grew out of the character of Shaun - I had written about 3 chapters about him many years ago, then set it aside. When I went back to it and finally started writing again, the rest of the story just poured out. Moral: save all your scribblings, young writers! You never know where a book might sprout up!
2) What is the best part about being an author?
In my day job as a designer, I take creative direction from a lot of people. When I write books, I call all the shots! If I want something to happen, it can happen - as long as it makes sense for the story. Writing gives me so much more creative freedom! Plus, writing the kind of books I want to read is pretty awesome. I didn't see a lot of books like mine on the market, so I wrote one. That's a pretty powerful thing to be able to do! :)
3) Please tell us 5 random facts about yourself:
1. I'm deathly afraid of boats. 2. I have synesthesia, so I perceive words and numbers as colours and textures. 3. Halloween is my favourite holiday by a long, long mile. 4. I named a main character after my personal trainer. 5. I have never done a cartwheel in my life.
4) If you were a serial killer, what would you want the media to call you?
Even though I am pretty dark and twisty, I can't even bring myself to kill bugs, so if I were an actual serial killer, it could only be by mistake! In that case, my name would have to be "The Oops Killer", I think??
5) Are you currently working any new projects?
I am about 1/4 of the way into a new book. It's got witchcraft, urban legends, tarot cards, a possible monster and at the heart of it is a missing girl and her brother. It's still very much in the soft and gooey phase of an unfinished first draft, but is slowly taking shape. It will be another dark, mature YA when it's done, with a hint of romance because who doesn't love falling in love? :)

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