My new book deal (with story excerpt) announced with the help of

I couldn’t be more happy to continue working with William Morrow and editor Jennifer Brehl. Looks like I’ll be a writer for a few more years anyway.

The author of A Head Full of Ghosts and the recent Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, who counts Stephen King as a fan, has struck a deal for two new novels and a collection of short stories, according to William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. 


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A Head Full of Ghosts wins the 2016 Massachusetts Book Award for fiction

Wow! I’m honored, flattered, and wicked excited! The award ceremony will be held at the Massachusetts State House in Boston, Dec 6th, 3:30 pm.

From the Mass Center for the Book website:

Mass Book Awards

The Massachusetts Book Awards recognize significant works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s/young adult literature published by Commonwealth residents or about Massachusetts subjects.


Congratulations to the Mass Book Award and Honors Winners for 2016.

Fiction Award

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay (Wm Morrow)

Honors Fiction
Only the Strong by Jabari Asim (Agate)

Honey from the Lion by Matthew Neill Null (Lookout)
The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro (Algonquin)

Nonfiction Award

Rosemary:The Hidden Kennedy Daughter  by Kate Clifford Larson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Honors Nonfiction
Massacre on the Merrimack: Hannah Duston’s Captivity and Revenge in Colonial America by Jay Atkinson (Rowman & Littlefield)

The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789 by Joseph J. Ellis (Knopf)
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough (Simon & Schuster)

Poetry Award

Immortality by Alan Feldman (Wisconsin)

Poetry Honors
Incarnate Grace by Moira Linehan (Southern Illinois)
Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts by Lawrence Raab (Tupelo)
Stable by David R. Surette (Moon Pie)

Middle Reader/Young Adult Award

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin (Little Brown)

Middle Reader/Young Adult Honors
Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad  by M.T. Anderson (Candlewick)

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (Little Brown)
Baba Yaga’s Assistant  by Marika McCoola (Candlewick)

Picture Book /Early Reader Award

Ketzel, the Cat who Composed by Leslea Newman (Candlewick)

Picture Book /Early Reader Honors

Ling & Ting: Together in All Weather  by Grace Lin (Little Brown)
Growing Up Pedro by Matt Tavares (Candlewick)
You Nest Here With Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple (Boyds Mill)


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The text of the diary pages in Disappearance at Devil’s Rock

Yes, I know, you readers using older e-readers are having a difficult time seeing some of the diary pages. I think what happened is the publisher reproduced them as images (in order to preserve the affects used in the hardcopy) and that prevents some older and black and white e-readers from enlarging them. Maybe? Something?

Well, the diary pages are sort of important to the novel, so I’m putting the text of the pages up here. Use only for entertainment purposes.

Continue reading

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Disappearance at Devil’s Rock: Liner notes (all spoilers all the time)

Within the trade paperback of A Head Full of Ghosts, William Morrow published an extensive liner notes section in which I went chapter by chapter explaining some of the references, nods, inspirations for the novel. So, why not do the same or similar for Disappearance at Devil’s Rock? So I am. And I’m going to leave it up here on ye olde blog.

So many of my novels have been inspired by and/or were reactions to other works (AHFoG wears its influence on its sleeves (Yes it has sleeves), The Little Sleep: The Big Sleep and Raymond Chandler (obviously) and No Sleep Till Wonderland: The Long Goodbye). DaDR is no different, and being a novel partly inspired by New England folktales and folklore, of stories that interconnect and interact, here’s a brief list below of other works that inspired and informed Disappearance at Devil’s Rock.

YEAH, SPOILERS BELOW.  Don’t read unless you’ve already read the book or don’t plan on reading it. Or do what you want really. I’m not here to tell you what to do…



You can read Michael Calia’s WSJ Speakeasy blog for more about the novel’s genesis. But basically I started off with a teen going missing and a place, Borderland State Park. It’s a place I’ve been visiting for going on seventeen years now. See this post for my photos and the like. I renamed the town of Easton as Ames, otherwise, the geography of the area and park is as described in the novel. Including Split Rock. Although, Split Rock doesn’t have the gnarly tree on top. That tree is on another unnamed boulder in the park. I just moved it over a little.


No, it’s not a Hardy Boys mysteries title…. This is the first novel I have ever started writing without a title in hand. I started off calling it, simply, ‘Borderland.’ But I knew that wasn’t a good title and wouldn’t work. It was a place holder.

Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock is one of three Australian films that heavily influenced the novel. A bunch of private school girls go on a trip to Hanging Rock at the edge of the outback, and some of them disappear, as does a chaperone. If you think my books are maddeningly ambiguous, try the wonderful Weir film. There’s barely a hint of an answer as to what happened. But the general unease (doubly impressive given how well-lit and sunlight splashed the film is…the light itself becomes trippy, hallucinogenic, creepy) and feel of the film is just brilliant.

So Disappearance at Devil’s Rock it became. Hardy Boys be damned.



Being the parent of a teen (and a second teen on the way to teen-ness), the fear of losing one is high up on my list of fears, and it’s where I started with the novel. I made sure that Tommy Sanderson was not in any way like my son, though, in an effort to detach from some of the fear/anxiety. It worked, mostly. Tommy was instead modeled after a kid who lives down the street. (Sorry kid who lives down the street). That said, Cole was my Minecraft consultant.

The “hardo” and “chirps” lingo the boys use is what the kids at my school used circa 2014 to now.

Friend and brilliant writer, Stewart O’Nan published his Songs for the Missing in 2008. I even got to read with Stewart at the KGB bar in Manhattan as a part of that book’s tour. He floored the room with his reading from this harrowing, brilliant novel about an almost-to-college aged girl not coming home from work one night. The novel is an almost unbearingly too-realistic portrayal of what happens to the parents and a sibling and friends and the town when a young person is taken away. I’ve only read the novel once (because it was so much to take emotionally), but I knew instantly that I wanted to treat Tommy’s disappearance with a similar weight, gravitas, and melancholy. In this way, the novel has a similar tone to the movie Lake Mungo (more on that…later)


When I was a little kid, there was a small period of time where an older kid, a teen named Vito wanted to hang out with me. I remember not knowing why such an older and cool kid wanted to hang out with me, but I loved it. Made me feel so much older and important. We of course did some dangerous stuff that I shouldn’t have been doing (mostly playing with fire and messing around with trashed wood and nails and such). The friendship didn’t last long. I know my parents weren’t happy about it existing in the first place and likely were relieved when the older kid stopped hanging out with me. I know because I’ve been hesitant to allow my daughter to hang out with another girl who is four years older. Those four years are a bridge over a canyon when they span puberty.

So enter the mysterious older boy Arnold into the novel.

I read a bunch of true-crime accounts of men coercing others into violent acts. Just awful stuff. But these two fictional tales, and one movie based on a true story, were the biggest influences on Arnold.

Joyce Carol Oates’s famous short story “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?” (also adapted into a film called Smooth Talk) was a formative, life-changing short story for me. (read this essay, if you wish!)  I named my mysterious, may-or-may-not-be-the-devil stranger after hers. And yeah, his Snapchat handle was Arnoldfrnd (so clever, right?). I was pleased that Terrance Rafferty and the NYT picked up on that!

Cormac McCarthy’s brilliant and disturbing Child of God was another book that helped to inspire bits of Arnold and his character. Particularly Lester Ballard’s proclivity to crawl around caves in the woods.

Based on a horrific true story, The Snowtown Murders (another Australian film) is one of the most disturbing movies I’ve ever seen. A movie that I will only see once. In it, a strange, charismatic man befriends his girlfriend’s totally messed teenage son and convinces/bullies/coerces the kid into unspeakable acts.



What did Tommy see in the woods and/or Elizabeth in her bedroom? Hell, if I know for sure…

There are a whole slew of apocryphal doppelganger stories floating around out there, and I mentioned a few in the novel. My favorite fictional use of the doppelganger is in the film Lake Mungo. Such a quiet, clever, melancholy movie about a family dealing with the drowning death of their teenage daughter, and there’s a genuinely moving and frightening doppelganger reveal toward the end. The movie shares so much in tone and feel with the O’Nan novel as well. It’s the slow build and aching realism that makes Mungo so effective.


The story of Devil’s Rock in the novel is presented as a long-ago folktale, one typical of puritan New England. I wanted to juxtapose that with our own modern, version. Tommy’s drawing of the shadowy-maybe-doppelganger goes viral with sightings (real or imagined) of a shadowman peeking in windows and bedrooms all over town and then the drawing and name trends as a hashtag on Twitter and is then being argued over on social media sites and news shows by vapid talking heads.

Slenderman is our 21st century version of those devil-in-the-woods folktales, complete with hysteria and controversy surrounding the tale/figure (and of course, a near tragedy perpetrated in his name). I wanted Tommy’s shadowman to fill that Slenderman role and be juxtaposed with the Devil’s Rock story. Or maybe it verifies the Devil’s Rock story?


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Disappearance at Devil’s Rock release day!

It lives! It being my novel DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL’S ROCK. It’s blue and yellow and pretty. And kind of disturbing. Sorry…


You can buy it at your favorite bookstore.

The New York Times,, LitReactor, Barnes and Nobles, and This Is Horror says you should buy it.

Stephen King says you should read it too:


Much of the novel is set in and around Borderland State Park. It’s a real place. Really real! To prove it, see the pictures below of Split Rock and surroundings. In the novel I stay mostly true to the geography. Oh, the last picture is of my gnarly leg after crashing my bike. It hurt.

house at borderland




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Events and (dis)appearances for Disappearance at Devil’s Rock

Events! Mark your calendars! Maybe I’m coming to your town, or within proximity?

BOOK RELEASE EVENT, June 21st, 7pm, Brookline Booksmith,  279 Harvard Street
Brookline MA 02446-2908. Writer/critic/man-about-town Jack Haringa will serve as interviewer/MC.

–June 22nd, 6:30 pm, Paul Tremblay in conversation with Chuck Wendig, Doylestown Bookshop, 16 S Main St. – Doylestown, PA 18901

–June 23rd, 7:00 pm, Readings with Laird Barron, Victor LaValle, and Paul Tremblay, Book Culture, 450 COLUMBUS AVE., New York City, NY

–June 25th, 7:00 pm, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock reading/signing, Jabberwocky Bookshop at The Tannery Marketplace 50 Water Street Newburyport, MA 01950

–June 28th, 5:30 pm, Horror galore! Paul Tremblay, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, Gibson’s Bookstore, 45 South Main Street Concord, NH 03301

–June 29th, 6:00 pm, Paul Tremblay (Disappearance at Devil’s Rock) author talk, Savoy Bookshop and Cafe, 10 Canal St, Westerly, RI

–July 5th, 7:00 pm, Paul Tremblay and Jeffrey Thomas reading and signing, Annie’s Bookshop,  Worcester, MA

–July 7-July 10th, Readercon, Quincy, MA. Panels/signing TBA

–July 11th, 7:00 pm, Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Kat Howard, Joe Hill, Josh Malerman, Paul Tremblay, Brookline Booksmith,  279 Harvard Street Brookline MA 02446-2908

–July 12th, 7:00pm,  Mid Summer Nightmares with Paul Tremblay, Kristin Dearborn, Daniel Mills, and Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Bear Pond Books, 77 Main St. Montpelier, VT 05602

–July 16th, time TBA, Shades & Shadows, Los Angeles, CA

–July 22nd, San Diego Comic Com, panel TBA

–September 20th, Providence reading series, TBA

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Interview with Karen Brissette

Karen Brissette is the name of the blogger in A Head Full of Ghosts. The real Karen is a bookseller, reader advisory master, one of the top reviewers at Goodreads, and a force of nature. I first met her in 2010  when Karen reviewed my collection In The Mean Time (my favorite lines: “so gentle of a touch, so much restraint and it kills me because i need to know more!!i hated leaving these characters behind!! SHORT STORIES, WHY ARE YOU SO SHORT???”). I got to meet her in person at her bookstore in 2012 (see the picture below. Smile everyone! Not pictured, last summer’s reading in Brooklyn at WORD Karen attended and the weirdness of me reading her to her ensued.).

Fast forward to the heady days of 2013 and I asked her if I could name my blogger after her and have my blogger sound like her. Er, maybe I forgot to ask her the second part there, but it’s all good. Right? RIGHT???

Here’s Karen reviewing the other Karen and A Head Full of Ghosts .

Now, onto the interview!

ME: Are we (the royal we) sure that you are the real Karen Brissette?

KAREN: i am willing to provide a DNA sample if you give me a dirty magazine and a candlelit room. but i can’t think why anyone would want to steal this identity instead of one that came with more money and glamour attached.

ME: Tell me something your legions of Goodreads followers don’t know about you.

KAREN: well, considering my alarming lack of boundaries, impulse control, and dignity, anyone who follows me on goodreads and actually reads my reviews and weekly adventures knows absolutely everything about me; from what my various surgical scars look like to how i did in my first ballet recital (poorly). the only thing people don’t know is what i am doing RIGHT NOW and that is: wearing my baller shorts and drinking a bass ale while also still on painkillers from my back surgery, which is probably a bad thing to do, but it is getting all warm and summery out and sometimes a lady needs a beer after a hard day at the book factory and don’t judge me!

ME: I wouldn’t dream of judging you. As one of the top reviewers at Goodreads, do you rule over the Goodreads chattle with an iron fist or the delicate touch of a benevolent supreme being?

Karen: i don’t feel like i do much ruling at all. i’m only on top because i’ve been on the site since 2007 and i’ve written so damn many reviews. after the amazon takeover, and several subsequent design changes, so many of my friends abandoned goodreads in revolt; it’s a whole different climate over there now, and i’ll be old news soon enough. but i try to be kind and avoid conflict and deflect any drama that comes my way. i’m just a reader who likes talking about books and my cat like any other crazy old librarian lady. so i guess i ‘rule’ with studied neutrality.

ME: Tell me about your reader advisory group you’ve set up. (I know that’s not a question, but work with me)

KAREN: oh, that’s something i put together as my final thesis-type project for library school. the idea was to teach everyday readers the fundamentals of readers’ advisory, which is a wonderful service librarians provide to help connect their patrons with books they will love based on detailed conversations about what appeals to them as readers. i wanted to see how goodreads could serve the readers’ advisory community – what it offered that other RA resources lacked, and how building a community of readers could replicate the readers’ advisory experience with just basic training. we read books together and did readers’ advisory exercises, we tested out other RA services to see which ones were good and which were weak, we suggested books to each other based on reading patterns and stated preferences – we did it all, man! i started it in 2011, and it’s still going, with over 3,000 members, and before i even graduated, i was asked to present my paper on it at ALA, on a ‘readers’ advisory in the digital age’ panel. not too shabby! and OH! here’s something goodreads peeps don’t know yet – i just started working for riffle, where i am now their in-house readers’ advisor, and i’m going to be doing the same thing over there! it just started yesterday, so i haven’t had a chance to pimp it out yet! it is here:…

ME: How many possession (monster erotica doesn’t count) novels have you read?

KAREN: good lord. i don’t even… probably not many, honestly. there’s yours… oooor issss tthhheeeeere? The Exorcist, (i am looking at lists online of “demonic possession novels” to jog my memory and this list is saying The Terror by dan simmons, so i do not think this is a very good list, but i have read that), Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone, A Good and Happy Child, does \Rosemary’s Baby count? lists are also saying tim curran’s Sow is demonic possession, but that’s more demonicproximity maybe. i dunno, NEXT!

ME: I love Your House is on Fire… Do you consider yourself a fan of the horror/dark fiction genre?

KAREN: i surely do! i’m a big fan of czp (Chizine Publications), as you know, and all of their books are dark gems. my preference, though, is the slipstreamy stuff, where things are just slightly off, rather than being traditional horror monster-y stuff. i like unsettling more than splatter; spooky stuff where you’re like, wait, WHAT?? where it’s a little subtle and startling.

ME: You have many fans on Goodreads. Many of them are desperate, slovenly writers like me. Can you tell us how many times you’ve been tuckerized?

KAREN: thank you, google.

so, there’s you, and then i was in a short story by j.r. hamantaschen called – ominously – Soon Enough This Will Essentially Be a True Story from his collection With a Voice that is Often Still Confused But is Becoming Ever Louder and Clearer in which an angry author stalks and attacks a goodreads reviewer named karen (who reads a lot of monsterporn) because she didn’t write a review of his shitty book after winning it through the goodreads giveaway program.

so that was great.

also, a there is a brief appearance by a character named “karen” in mike mullin’s book Ashen Winter that was written in as a ‘thank-you’ to me for being such a good cheerleader for his books. spoiler alert – as brief as it is, nothing good happens to me, but i am a silver lining kind of girl, as the author himself points out in the thread to my review:

I told Karen that the character named in her honor came to a bad end. Then we were talking about it at ALA, and she says all cheerful-like: “My character might not be dead. She might be a sex slave in a flenser gang.” That’s optimism for you, folks!

this is how people thank me.

i am also the human protagonist in both The Horny Leprechaun 1 AND The Horny Leprechaun 2 by nikita king, in which i experience anal sex with a leprechaun. twice.

i am also in a tao lin poem called “february,” although he doesn’t know it was me. the relevant parts are:

…a Barnes and Noble person stood above us.

The Barnes and Noble lady wore a kimono. She freaked out and gave a lecture about where to sit and we paid attention and she ran away. I looked at your face. I said something and you laughed.

fun fact – i just googled this to find the exact quote and it led me to his site with the full text of the poem where “barnes and noble person” hyperlinks to this annotation:I’m ~95% sure this person read this and said something about it in a Goodreads review of the book (“you are a little bit happier than i am”) that “February” is in. I just looked and couldn’t find it. I remember she seemed to not have a positive or neutral reaction, and gave the book 1 or 2 or maybe 3 stars.

to set the record straight, i never read the book, but my bestie greg did (and he gave it FOUR stars), and my ‘saying something’ was in the comments section of his review:…, where i said i never freaked out,and to tao lin, i say “hhmph”

don’t sit in front of the bookshelves. you are in the way and the carpet is wicked gross. trust me.

also, i’m still convinced that the song “jessie’s girl” is about me. which is pretty gross, considering i was 4 when that song was released. gross, jessie.

ME: Jessie is gross. Was it fun or weird or fweird reading your blogger doppelganger in A Head Full of Ghosts?

KAREN: oh, it was super-fun! there was LOL-ing. it was definitely weird reading a version of my voice through someone else’s perception-filter, but it was an excellent homage.

ME: Is there something Karen (not you, the other one) got wrong in her blog posts?

KAREN: you mean, like, factually, or just incompatible with the me that is me? i can’t speak to factually, because book-karen is way better informed than i am about film studies, and uses terminology i would never use myself in both jargon and slang. ‘funky,’ my foot…

but the tone is pretty much spot-on. scarily so. to the point where i was reading it and thinking, “oh, karen, you complete goober!” because you managed to make me see myself as others must see me, and it’s a pleasantly alienating experience. it’s a little horrifying and embarrassing, to see someone capture your voice like that, with all the BOLD DECLARATIONS and odd phrasings, and that part about das unheimliche which i think was lifted straight outta one of my reviews – that one was particularly goobery on my part.

ME: Tell us writers to stop doing one thing in our books. We’ll listen. We promise.

KAREN: well, this isn’t something that you, personally, are guilty of, but my biggest pet peeve is when a misunderstanding between two characters is allowed to drag on for years of their lives/hundreds of the book’s pages, because a simple conversation – a conversation that would naturally occur in a real-world scenario – just doesn’t happen, because the author thinks this is a fine way to build tension and sustain drama, but it drives me CRAZY! it’s sloppy writing and poor characterization.

and publishers – not every book is a readalike for gone girl on the train. be better at comparisons!

ME: Approximately how many books are in your home right now.

KAREN: screw approximately. after the bedbug convention of 2015, which was really very mild and ended up being needlessly disruptive, when i had to move the majority of my books to two separate storage facilities so exterminators could come in and kill those bastards, i have relatively few books here (as opposed to the thousands upon thousands i had before those suckers tried to move in. on the second day, after greg and me had made countless trips to my queens storage unit, my dad showed up to help move more, and he weighed them by unknown means, and he claims to have personally relocated more than 2 TONS of books. which is insane. it is insanity.) so now, i have very few, and i counted them for you because i like things to be accurate. excluding library books, e-books, and books belonging to sean of the house, there are 1664 books in my house. i did math for you.

ME: Thems a lot of books… You can pick three favorite books ever with only six words to describe each. Wow, I’m annoying. Sorry.

KAREN: Jude the Obscure: kids do the darndest things sometimes
Infinite Jest: good for reading and squishing bugs
Wuthering Heights: two assholes in love ruin everything

ME: What to-be-published-soon books should we keep an eye out for?

KAREN: well, there’s this book coming out called Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by this paul tremblay cat that’s pretty good…

but also –

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by bryn greenwood – august 9th

this an absolutely beautifully-written book, but i know i’m gonna get put on some watchlist for loving it as much as i do. it’s about a may january-december relationship that should be shocking and disgusting, but trust me, it works. it’s like Lolita, but with more meth.

True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray by james renner – may 24th

one of my favorite novelists, who is also a former journalist, has written this true crime/memoir mashup about his investigation into the 2004 disappearance of maura murray: what he discovered and what it cost him, personally. it is nonfiction, but just like his novels, it visits crazytown more than once.

The Hatching by ezekiel boone – july 5th

carnivorous spider apocalypse. what, you need more??

there are also excellent new books by ron rash and donald ray pollock and jessie burton.

as for books that are on the publishing horizon that i haven’t read, but would like to very badly, dear publishers who might be reading this – there are new books by tana french, megan abbott, colson whitehead, both ali AND zadie smith, a very mysterious release by steve erickson … sometime, and Blood Riders: A Novel – a vampire western written by gary oldman.

which is the book i need THE MOST.



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