Featured Friday: Weirdville Series by Majanka Verstraete | Jo Linsdell

Featured Friday: Weirdville Series by Majanka Verstraete

Series: Weirdville
Author: Majanka Verstraete
Genre: Chapter Books, Kids Books, Horror

The Doll Maker
ISBN: 1622530659
ISBN13: 9781622530656

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Derek’s little sister wants one of those creepy-looking dolls, staring at him from the strange new doll shop in town, and what his sister wants, she gets. Now they’re stuck with a doll that looks so human, it gives Derek the creeps.

When Derek tells his friends, Martin and Jamie, about the new shop with creepy human-like dolls, they want to see for themselves. That has “bad idea” written all over it, but he takes his friends there anyway.

They meet the mysterious doll maker, who reminds Derek of Dr. Frankenstein, and who brainwashes Martin into buying one of those scary dolls. Derek and Jamie push and pull Martin out of the shop, but something isn’t right with their friend. He’s shivering all over, and he has no memory of what happened in the shop.

Martin’s condition worsens every day, and Derek’s sister grows more and more obsessed with her new doll. Derek and Jamie have to find out what’s going on, and fast, because...

...the doll maker seems linked to a bunch of mysterious disappearances, and the last thing Derek wants is his sister, or his friend, being next on the doll maker’s list.
This book is only $0.99 (eBook) and serves as a great introduction to the series!

House of Horrors
ISBN: 1622530667
ISBN13: 9781622530663

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 When her parents allow her to go to the fair, Jacky is over the moon. The fair is most famous for its haunted mansion, the House of Horrors, and her friend Ben can’t wait to try it out. Her best friend, Cass, is a little more reluctant, but then again, Cass has always been a chicken when it comes to getting scared.

Jacky and Cass are determined to act tough, so when Ben suggests they try out the House of Horrors, the girls tag along, even though the place gives them the chills.

As soon as the three of them enter the spooky monstrosity, the ride comes to a screeching halt, and the horror begins.

The lights fade, and a hooded figure appears and tells them they’re stuck in a twisted game of cat and mouse. He will show them their worst fears, and if the kids manage to face down those fears, they’ll have a chance of getting out of the House of Horrors alive. If they don’t, well....

Thirty minutes to go. Thirty minutes to face their nightmares... and the clock is ticking.

Fright Train
ISBN: 1622530683
ISBN13: 9781622530687

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 Charlie’s parents drop him off at the train station so he can visit his grandma in Weirdville. It’s a cold winter evening, so when his usual train is cancelled at the last second, Charlie wishes he’d stayed home.

An hour later, shivering from the cold, he climbs onboard the next train to Weirdville, even though he’d rather not. It looks like something straight out of the nineteenth century, as if it used a time machine to arrive at the station.

His shivering doesn’t stop, for soon after Charlie boards, he realizes just how right he was to be wary of this strange train. Something is seriously wrong with all the people onboard. If only he could figure out what was going on. If only he could get off the train

Author Bio
 Majanka Verstraete begged her Mom to teach her how to read while she was still in kindergarten. By the time she finished fifth grade, she had read through the entire children’s section of her hometown library.
She wrote her first story when she was seven years old, and hasn’t stopped writing since. With an imagination that never sleeps, and hundreds of possible book characters screaming for her attention, writing is more than a passion for her.
She writes about all things supernatural for children of all ages. She’s tried to write contemporary novels before, but something paranormal always manages to crawl in.
Majanka is currently studying for her Master of Laws degree, and hopes one day to be able to combine her passions for law and writing. When she’s not writing, reading or studying, she likes watching “The Vampire Diaries” and “Game of Thrones,” spending time with her friends, or playing “World of Warcraft.”

“The Doll Maker will keep you on the edge of your seat while wanting more and more. You'll quickly turn each page to learn more while curled up in your bed. Just be sure to leave the lights on!”
“Welcome to Weirdville with The Doll Maker, another excellent masterpiece from Verstraete. Venturing into the genre of chapter books, geared for the early reader from age 6-10, Majanka has swung a home run.”
“House of Horrors is my favorite Weirdville book to date. There is always the perfect amount of age appropriate scary going on, but this one i found myself holding my breath a couple times or taking a big sigh.”
“One could try to compare these to the R.L. Stine series, but they would be wrong to narrowly define them in such a way, Verstraete has a very unique storytelling style that touches the child within, but also reaches the adult reader.”

There’s a tour-wide giveaway for a $50 Amazon gift card. The giveaway is international, and the winner will be contacted through email. 


Why did you write these books?
When I was younger, I loved the Goosebumps and Fear Street series by R.L. Stine. Both series were horror aimed at kids. For the Fear Street series, all books took place in Fear Street. Each book could be read as a stand-alone, and apart from the location and genre, the books had nothing in common, each had their own story to tell.

I’ve always wanted to create something similar, yet different. So I came up with the idea for Weirdville. All books in this series are scary chapter books aimed at a slightly younger audience than R.L. Stine’s books. The stories take place in Weirdville, a fictional town where creepy things happen on a daily basis. Each book can be read as a stand-alone.

However, the more books in the series you’ll read, the more you’ll discover about Weirdville and the secrets it’s been harboring for centuries. Each book gives away several clues about the founders of Weirdville, the Weird family, and their descendants.

Anything in particular you'd like to share about these books or their creation?

For “The Doll Maker”, I took inspiration from one of my oldest fears: dolls. I’m not scared of all dolls – I even have some in my room, staring at me while I sleep – but one doll in particular gave me the chills. This doll had eyes that seemed to follow you everywhere. Nowadays, it’s hidden in my attic, but it still gives me the chills every time I go up to the attic to find something.

After writing “The Doll Maker”, I got writer’s block. I knew what I wanted the third book, “Fright Train” to be about, but for “House of Horrors”, I had trouble getting inspired. Then a fair came to my university’s town, and they had a haunted mansion. I’d never seen one of those travelling haunted mansions before, and it inspired me right away. I knew I had to write a story about it.

“Fright Train” is based on a story idea that’s plagued me for years. I take the train two times a week, for a two-hour ride each time, and during one of the first times I was travelling to university by train, I came up with the idea of writing a scary novel taking place on a train. It took several years, but I managed to write it after all.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

The next three Weirdville books will be released later this year. The fourth Weirdville book is called “Drowning in Fear”, and it’s the scariest Weirdville book to date. The majority of the book takes place at summer camp. Because honestly, what is scarier than going on summer camp? In Weirdville, none the less.
Weirdville five and six, “The Clumsy Magician” and “Grave Error” will be published later this year as well. “The Clumsy Magician” is one of the less scary Weirdville books, but it talks about choices, and the consequences of our choices. I’ve yet to start writing “Grave Error”, although I have the plot planned out. I can’t wait to get started, but finding time in between the dozens of other things I’ve got going on, is always a hassle.