Death by the River
Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: October 2nd 2018
Genres: Horror, Young Adult
A high school “American Psycho.”
SOME TRUTHS ARE BETTER KEPT SECRET.
SOME SECRETS ARE BETTER OFF DEAD.
Along the banks of the Bogue Falaya River, sits the abandoned St. Francis Seminary. Beneath a canopy of oaks, blocked from prying eyes, the teens of St. Benedict High gather here on Fridays. The rest of the week belongs to school and family—but weekends belong to the river.
And the river belongs to Beau Devereaux.
The only child of a powerful family, Beau can do no wrong. Handsome. Charming. Intelligent. The star quarterback of the football team. The “prince” of St. Benedict is the ultimate catch.
He is also a psychopath.
A dirty family secret buried for years, Beau’s evil grows unchecked. In the shadows of the ruined St. Francis Abbey, he commits unspeakable acts on his victims and ensures their silence with threats and intimidation. Senior year, Beau sets his sights on his girlfriend’s headstrong twin sister, Leslie, who hates him. Everything he wants but cannot have, she will be his ultimate prize.As the victim toll mounts, it becomes crystal clear that someone has to stop Beau Devereaux.
And that someone will pay with their life.
We asked the authors: How do you make your writing styles mesh? What's your collaboration technique?
Lucas Astor and I have worked on several books and series together. By the time we tackled Death by the River, our process had become pretty smooth. Lucas wrote the original story. Then I started working on and developing the manuscript. I consult with him on changes. He does a final read through after I am done. After a few years together, we know each other’s style. I understand what he wants in his story and how he wants his characters to be portrayed. We tend to think alike when it comes to story development and depraved characters.
I’m given the freedom to take his foundations and build on them. In this novel, I took time to hone Beau Devereaux. I incorporated his psychopathic tendencies to show the progression of his descent into depravity. Reworking the other characters helped highlight the changes he portrays as the story progresses. For instance, with the sisters, Leslie and Dawn, I focused on their relationship more and showed their differences. It helped to display the darker side of Beau during his interactions with Leslie at the beginning of the story. With Dawn, he is how everyone else sees him—popular, handsome and charming.
The secondary characters were also fleshed out. I like to bring out the ones in his original version who have the potential to add to the flavor of the piece. Both Lucas and I agreed Beau’s parents were more important if we were retelling the tale to emphasize his slippery descent into his self-made hell. Creating more complex parents gives the reader a hint about Beau’s secret past. The best scenes in the story were between Gage and Beau. They exemplify Gage’s twisted relationship with his son and give a little insight as to where Beau gets his evil nature from.
We also agreed that the setting needed to be someplace I was familiar with, so we chose Covington Louisiana, outside of New Orleans. The Abbey and the seminary school exist in my area and are located on the banks of the Bogue Falaya River, but they’re not abandoned. In the story, however, they are the ruins of the St. Francis Seminary and the derelict cells became the perfect eerie setting for Beau’s sadistic acts.
Lucas and I find our taste for twisted characters and horrific tales makes us a great fit.
Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight.
He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.
Photography, making wine, and helping endangered species are just some of his interests. Lucas is an expert archer and enjoys jazz, blues, and classical music.
One of his favorite quotes is: “It’s better to be silent than be a fool.” ~Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans.
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