Award-winning author returns with dark, coming-of-age YA thriller
LOUISVILLE, KY – Discover who set up Sam in the death of her mother’s fiancé in the new novel by award-winning author, Lynn Slaughter. Deadly Setup (Fire and Ice/Melange, Jul 5, 2022) introduces Sam, a young teen whose life changes when her mother’s fiancé is found shot to death and she’s the main suspect.
When her impulsive, romance-writing mom announces her engagement to a man whose last heiress wife died under suspicious circumstances, Sam tries to dissuade her mother. But her mom is convinced she’ll finally have the “Happily Ever After” she writes about.
And then Sam’s life implodes. Her mom’s fiancé turns up dead, and a mountain of circumstantial evidence points to Sam as the killer. On trial for murder, she fights to prove her innocence with the help of her boyfriend’s dad, an ex-homicide cop.
Moonbeam Children’s Book Award bronze medalist and Agatha Christie award nominee, Lynn Slaughter returns with a new YA thriller pushing the envelope on coming-of-age stories. Dark yet hopeful, Deadly Setup shows that wealth truly doesn’t buy happiness.
Lynn Slaughter | July 5, 2022
Fire and Ice/Melange Books | YA Thriller
Paperback | 978-8-88653-008-7 | $14.99
Ebook | 979-8-88653-009-4 | $4.99
LYNN SLAUGHTER: Lynn Slaughter is addicted to chocolate, the arts, and her husband’s cooking. Like Sam, her family tree is peppered with musicians, and she’s a huge fan of the American Songbook. Music has always made her want to move, and she ended up becoming a professional dancer and dance educator. When injury meant it was time to find a new dream, she earned her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Her previous young adult novels include: Leisha’s Song, also published by Fire and Ice, which received a bronze medal from the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards and was nominated for an Agatha for best MG/YA mystery novel; It Should Have Been You, a Silver Falchion finalist; and While I Danced, an Epic finalist. The ridiculously proud mother of two sons and grandmother of five, she lives in Louisville, Kentucky where she is at work on her next novel and serves as president of Derby Rotten Scoundrels, her local Sisters in Crime chapter. She loves hearing from readers and hopes you’ll visit her website, http://lynnslaughter.com
Praise for Leisha’s Song
Nominated for 2021 Agatha Award for Best Children’s/YA Mystery Novel, Moonbeam Children’s Award Bronze Medalist, and Imadjinn Finalist for Best YA Novel
“Lynn Slaughter’s knowledge, love, and passion for music are evident in Leisha’s Song. Adept at striking the right balance between tough social issues and young love, Slaughter orchestrates a tale that harmonizes issues of racism, abandonment, and abuse with the power of love and beauty of music in this young adult romantic suspense novel where two young lovers must dig through generations of hatred and intolerance to uncover the truth and solve a mystery with life and death consequences.”
– V.M. Burns, Agatha Award-nominated author of The Plot is Murder
“Suspense, tender romance, and a thoughtful exploration of racism make this page-turning coming-of-age novel a winner. An academy setting and focus on the creative arts add appeal, and Leisha’s growth from people-pleaser to independent woman will resonate with girls and women everywhere.”
– Lee Tobin McClain, U.S.A. Today Bestselling Author of Home to the Harbor
“Heartfelt, wise and relevant, Leisha’s Song is a compelling murder mystery wrapped around a romance that propels the reader along a ‘must keep reading’ journey. Leisha is a protagonist we come to care for and cheer on as she faces a mystery that must be solved. A romance that must be navigated, and a world that must be grown into. It is a testament to Lynn Slaughter’s immense skills as a writer that she has produced another wonderful adventure story.”
– T. Lynne Singleton, contributing author, African American Alphabet, A Celebration of African-American and West Indian Culture, Custom, Myth, and Symbol
In an interview, Lynn Slaughter can discuss:
- The inspiration behind Sam
- Changing her career from dancer/dance instructor to author
- Choosing to write YA stories
- Her previous works, Leisha’s Song, It Should have Been You and While I Danced
- The influence of art, music, and dancing throughout her novels
- The relationship between parent and child especially during the teen years
- Writing a teen protagonist dealing with loss/grief
- Creating a subplot including discussion on LGBTQIA+ teens
- Why elevating a child to a parental role is harmful
- Why young people seek to create intentional families when their families of origin cannot meet their emotional needs
An Interview with Lynn Slaughter
You went from being a dancer to a writer. What are the similarities and differences between the two?
I think the role of “choreographer” (the creator of dances) is most akin to the role of a writer (composer of stories). Both engage in acts of expressive communication—nonverbal in the case of dance and verbal communication for stories. Both art forms take years of practice and study. Both require perseverance and resilience in the face of rejection and setbacks. In addition, for both art forms, there is always “more” to discover and work on.
Sam has a very difficult ethical decision to make when she uncovers evidence about who set her up. Why does her decision matter so much?
When Sam uncovers evidence about who set her up, she must make a decision. She can keep quiet and not reveal what she’s learned, or she can turn in the evidence she has and permanently rupture a relationship and perhaps get this person in serious trouble.
These decisions follow us through life. Think about the kid in elementary school who witnesses wrongdoing by another child. If he turns the culprit in, is he a snitch? Or a whistle-blowing hero? And what if the culprit is one of his best friends?
Sam’s closest male friend is openly gay and wants to pursue a career in fashion design. Are you playing into stereotypes about gay people by presenting him as a character interested in fashion and design?
I hope not! The character of Paul is based on my husband’s closest friend from college and dance company days in Detroit. His friend was not only a beautiful dancer but a costume designer and wonderful seamstress. The year they lived together, he taught my husband how to sew, and for many years, my husband made most of my outfits.
I think it’s important to note also that Paul is an athlete, the star of his high school diving team, and his lover is a football player. We all have many identities.
You went back to school to earn your MFA late in life. What was that experience like, and do you recommend that writers pursue MFA programs?
I had a very positive experience in grad school, and I think our shared interest in growing as writers transcended our age differences. I certainly know tons of wonderful writers who did not earn their MFAs. But for me, I found a wonderful learning community. Our teachers were all multi-published professional writers committed to mentoring aspiring writers.
I do think it’s important to find a good match. Not all MFA programs are alike. Seton Hill’s is geared toward novel writing and popular fiction, which was a great fit for me and my interests.
What drew you to writing YA, and why do you think YA literature is such an important resource for teens?
Long into adulthood, I continued to love reading YA fiction. In addition, teenagers have always been my favorite age group to work with. While I was still dancing, I moonlighted as a freelance writer and my specialty was writing about teens and the challenges of parenting them.
In our increasingly diverse and polarized world, books can offer teens a look into the interior lives of characters in ways that television and video can’t. We can not only see ourselves in books but also see others who may appear to be very different from ourselves, but with whom we have much in common. Books can also offer comfort to those who are suffering from struggles with depression, anxiety, or other issues. A hallmark of YA fiction is that there is an element of hope for a better future.
What’s next for you writing-wise?
I currently have two projects I’m working on—the expansion of a short story I wrote called “Missed Cue” in which a detective is investigating the suspicious death of a ballerina, while struggling with issues in her personal life. I’m also working on a middle grade novel about a young vampire who hates the taste of blood and is convinced he’s mistakenly landed in the wrong body. Then it’s back to YA again!
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