THE JOY OF SPOOKING is a darkly satirical horror-mystery for middle-grade readers. The story follows twelve-year-old horror fan Joy Wells as she investigates the secret history of her dilapidated hometown while safeguarding its character against the pernicious influence of suburbia.
“It goes best with thunder and lightning.” — The Rover
“A new head rises from the eyeball-strewn swamps of children’s horror…” — Quill and Quire Magazine
“Bracegirdle (his real name) is a witty, intelligent voice that reads like a not so bloodless Lemony Snicket.” — Montreal Mirror
“Give this series to fans of Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark or Neil Gaiman’s Coraline…” — School Library Journal
“Naming his lead character Joy and presenting her as anything but — a child who’s more comfortable with the gothic than the gleeful, the weathered old than the shiny new, the horror than the happy — was a stroke of genius.”— Ottawa Citizen
The first book in the trilogy, FIENDISH DEEDS, was featured as a 2009 Best Book for Kids & Teens by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.
The second book, UNEARTHLY ASYLUM, was released in August 2010 and is an official selection of the 2010 Canadian Children’s Book Club Program.
The final installment, SINISTER SCENES, hits shelves Summer 2011.
The series has recently been given a new look with cover artwork by David Frankland.
PJ Bracegirdle on FIENDISH DEEDS, from Simon & Schuster’s Behind The Book series:
“With FIENDISH DEEDS, the first book of The Joy of Spooking trilogy, I wanted to kick off a quirky, comedic mystery that packed some serious chills. I loved the idea of a young heroine who revels in how the worn-out relics of the past still echo with secrets and stories—and that’s what I found in Joy Wells.
To set the stage for her, I took a lot of inspiration from classic literary figures such as Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. That said, I wasn’t as interested in trying to imitate their startling works as I was in reinventing their fascinating private lives, which were often marked by the bizarre and the tragic. So I recast them as a single character—a reclusive author from a bygone age with a history both sinister and supernatural. It was this story that would become the heart of the mystery surrounding the town of Spooking.
This trilogy itself however would be set in the modern day amid the absurd trappings, distractions, and horrors of a world feasting on itself. For that reason I needed a distinctively modern villain, someone both a product and a victim of these times. Someone selfish, greedy, and egotistical in the extreme. What’s more, I imagined somebody once a talented artist but who now embodies all the bitterness and frustration of living in obscurity; and who like so many great artists will tragically only be cherished once they are gone.
And so it came to me that an aging punk rocker would be a good fit for this villain—and a hilarious one. He would be a person who had gone full circle to become everything he once detested. That character soon developed into Octavio Phipps, a failed musician who now works as assistant to the mayor of a neighboring suburban sprawl. It was then just a case of unleashing him on his mission: to destroy Spooking, the weird old town he blames for his woes…”
© 2008 Simon & Schuster