Claire Legrand is the author Cavendish Home fore Boys and Girls, a middle grade horror novel available now.
Kat, Archer and I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with the awesomely hilarious Claire Legrand, author of Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. We talked about her influences, fears (Chucky! Gah!) and gigantic cockroaches. Probably best not to google anything mentioned in this interview at night. #justsaying
Kat Kennedy: Steph, Archer and I saw a van offering free candy today. Seemed legit at the time, but turns out instead of Candy, was Claire Legrand.
So we decided to chat with her instead!
Stephanie Sinclair: Also, I love candy.
Claire Legrand: I ALSO love candy. I will strive to be as yummy as candy. And less caloric!
Kat Kennedy: Yeah, that was kind of surprising.
Claire Legrand: Also, you will find no shady vans here. I’m not a fan of shady vans, although I do have a story about shady vans that perhaps I can share later!
Adam Archer: Told you that van didn’t have any candy… but would you listen? Noooooooooooooo…
Kat Kennedy: Yeah, folks, don’t get fooled like us. Damn shady vans.
So, Claire Legrand, author of Cavendish Home for Girls and Boys,
When did you first realize that you could harness the power of children’s screams?
Claire Legrand: Well, see, I wrote this book, and it was fun and all, but it wasn’t getting me anywhere, professionally. So I put it aside, and then I was like . . . you know what this career needs? More scaring the batootie out of younguns. When I was a youngun, I loved having the batootie scared out of me. Hence, CAVENDISH was born.
Kat Kennedy: Ha!
Claire Legrand: And to write a properly batootie-scaring book, I had no choice BUT to harness the power of children’s screams, with this cool photon-powered harness device I fashioned. Just on a whim one night, you know. As one does.
Kat Kennedy: So can you clarify whether or not you’re Henry J Waternoose from Monsters Inc?
Claire Legrand: *ahem* *casually slides blueprints beneath unicorn collection*
Kat Kennedy: Because that would make a lot of sense.
Claire Legrand: Totally. Except less crablike and much sparklier.
Kat Kennedy: I knew it! Busted, Claire.
Claire Legrand: Sigh. Five minutes in and you’re already uncovering my darkest secrets.
Must be more devious.
Stephanie Sinclair: Speaking of monsters, what monsters scared you as a child?
Claire Legrand: Oh god. Okay, this is not so much a monster, but it was the scariest thing in the WORLD to me as a child.
I mean, it’s kind of a monster.
You know that movie Child’s Play? With the possessed doll Chucky?
Kat Kennedy: Oh yes!
Stephanie Sinclair: OMG, YES!
Claire Legrand: Oh. My. GOD.
Adam Archer: I still don’t like dolls cause of that flick.
Claire Legrand: So, to this day, I still haven’t seen any of those movies.
One day I went to Blockbuster (remember those? ah, the good ol’ days), and I saw the movie sitting there, and that COVER, with angry Chucky ready to stab the crap out of someone.
Stephanie Sinclair: I can’t look at doll babies the same.
Kat Kennedy: Chucky it just… ruined so much for me.
Adam Archer: Chucky was on a par with Pennywise for childhood damage.
Stephanie Sinclair: Remember when he would just turn his head to look at you? *shivers*
Claire Legrand: GAH.
Seeing that movie cover traumatized me for LIFE.
I started having all these nightmares and kept imagining Chucky, like, sneaking into my room to murder me.
Oh, wait! One more thing about Chucky that will be interesting for anyone who sees the dedication at the front of CAVENDISH.
Kat Kennedy: I’m scared…
Claire Legrand: To, I guess, help me deal with the Chucky demons? I started telling “Chucky stories” at my lunch table in sixth grade.
Stephanie Sinclair: Someone hold me.
Adam Archer: I’m Intrigued.
Kat Kennedy: You know I have to sleep after this interview, right?
Claire Legrand: IT’LL BE OKAY I SWEARS.
Kat Kennedy: HOLD ME!
Stephanie Sinclair: Is that Michael Myers music playing?
Adam Archer: *holds his co-bloggers*
Kat Kennedy: No Archer, I meant Claire. I want Claire to hold me…
Adam Archer: *pushes kat away* Fine.
Claire Legrand: So I would tell these Chucky stories that would involve my lunch table friends, and Chucky, and him trying to kill us, and us being total BAMFs and being in peril for a little bit but then totally kicking his possessed creepy ass.
Claire Legrand: *snuggles Kat, as Barry White plays*
*I mean, what? ahem*
Kat Kennedy: Nice.
So you obviously have a long history with horror.
Claire Legrand: So, eventually my friends would start requesting Chucky stories. And that’s why CAVENDISH is dedicated to my sixth-grade lunch table, who liked my scary stories.
Oh yes. I was a veritable Stephen King in those days.
Kat Kennedy: Hahah!
I can imagine.
Adam Archer: So, with Horror flicks and trauma in mind. Is horror your favourite genre or was this just the story you had to write?
Claire Legrand: Horror is NOT my favorite genre. That would be fantasy.
But CAVENDISH just had to be told.
And all of my stories, regardless of genre, have a lot of dark, twisted, macabre elements in them, so all the scary stuff in CAVENDISH does come naturally.
Adam Archer: This is just teasing now. I already want this book.
Stephanie Sinclair: So along with Stephen King, who else influenced your novel?
Claire Legrand: Well, actually, I have yet to read any Stephen King stuff. *ducks and covers from the shame*
Kat Kennedy: Oh my god!
Claire Legrand: But I’m familiar with his oeuvre. (Do you like that Kat? My fancy word? I’m trying to seduce you, FYI.)
Adam Archer: What? Not even Different Seasons?
Kat Kennedy: I am so impressed. Your fancy words are having an effect!
Claire Legrand: And I have seen Carrie and The Shining.
But . . . I haven’t read them.
Some huge influences on this book in particular are Neil Gaiman (*bows down*), Roald Dahl *continues bowing*), and R. L. Stine (*bows but also curses for having traumatized me with Slappy the ventriloquist doll*)
Are you seeing a theme here? Dolls or doll-like items = No bueno.
Kat Kennedy: Those are some pretty impressive influences!
Adam Archer: Gah Slappy… Kill it with fire!
Claire Legrand: I mean . . .
Adam Archer: You do realise some of us are sleeping after this right?
Kat Kennedy: So Cavendish revolves around a girl, Victoria, investigating the disappearances of her classmates while their friends and family seemingly have forgotten about them.
She seems like an interesting characters – straight A’s, competitive etc – do you share any similarities with her?
Oh god…. I just clicked the link. *Hides under bed*
Claire Legrand: SORRY. (Or am I?) I couldn’t help myself.
Kat Kennedy: You can’t! You saucy minx!
Claire Legrand: Anyway, heavens, YES. Victoria and I are practically the same person.
I mean, I exaggerated a lot of qualities of my 12-year-old self.
I was not nearly as snotty as she is, and I had lots of friends, whereas she only has one (and even that’s pushing it, for her).
Kat Kennedy: You have friends?!
After you scare them all with your horror stories?
Claire Legrand: Unthinkable, right? Clearly they are all masochists.
Kat Kennedy: Luckily, so are we.
Stephanie Sinclair: She has doll friends.
Claire Legrand: *pets the doll friends*
*I mean, what?*
*I totally meant unicorns; sparkly, sparkly unicorns*
Kat Kennedy: *Shudder* You just had to go there…
Claire Legrand: So, yes, Victoria is a lot like me. I was similarly obsessed with getting good grades, and I could be quite bossy, like in group projects and dance rehearsals and ordering food, whatever.
Kat Kennedy: Without being killed and stuffed a la psycho…
Adam Archer: Eyes doll friends nervously wishing for an axe. I’m curious though. With Victoria being so young do you think that older readers will still be able to relate to her?
Claire Legrand: Oh, absolutely. That’s why I wanted to include stellar YA blogs on the tour, as well as MG blogs. I think there’s a lot of crossover appeal in CAVENDISH to YA and adult audiences.
First of all, I don’t pull any punches.
It’s scary and dark, and there are Real Stakes for these kiddos. Things aren’t magically made right at the end like a time-travel Star Trek episode or something.
Kat Kennedy: Considering you have us locked in your van, that doesn’t sound good..
Claire Legrand: Disclaimer: I totally do NOT have the Cuddlebuggerers locked in my van. That would just be felonious of me. Not to mention creepalicious. *whistles innocently*
Adam Archer: Scary and dark… I’m seeing a recurring pattern. Did we just turn left?
Kat Kennedy: Help! Help! If you’re reading this, please call the police!
Claire Legrand: But, Kat, then we couldn’t keep cuddling like this.
Kat Kennedy: Oooh, you’re right. This is really nice cuddling.
Okay, I’ll stop calling for help now.
Claire Legrand: (dying over here)
And, yes, I think readers of all ages can relate to Victoria specifically because, while she is young and snotty, she’s also very brave and covers up a lot of heart with that icy exterior of hers.
Stephanie Sinclair: Were there any scenes in CAVENDISH that scared you while writing it?
Claire Legrand: Oh gosh.
Only, like, all of them.
Three come to mind:
1) There’s a scene in a library with Victoria, one of her professors, and . . . a whole lot of bugs.
Stephanie Sinclair: Gah! BUGS!
Claire Legrand: 2) Also, a scene in Lawrence’s house with creepy piano music and parents who . . . are no longer quite right.
3) And a scene at the end that I cannot divulge because SPOILERS. But if you re-read this chat, you will find clues.
Adam Archer: Yeah speaking of the that. I understand 10 legged cockroaches are involved in your story. Why? Do you hate us? Are you siding with the cockroaches in their nefarious schemes?
Claire Legrand: Haha.
Well, I tend to write about what scares me because I think that makes for the most genuine horror.
And bugs . . . I can’t take bugs.
Especially spiders and cockroaches.
Kat Kennedy: I can handle spiders.
But cockroaches… ugh!
Claire Legrand: Like, I see one and I start sweating and panicking. It’s so stereotypically girlie.
Adam Archer: Kinda like Batman… You want readers to share your dread?
Claire Legrand: YES.
Adam, you hit the nail on the head.
I might have to turn my affections to you now.
Stephanie Sinclair: Google titan beetle. You’re welcome.
Kat Kennedy: DIE STEPH!
No! Don’t leave me!
Stephanie Sinclair: Heh. 😛
Adam Archer: I see your Titan Beetle and raise you one Golden Orb Weaver.
Claire Legrand: STEPHANIE. WHY.
Adam Archer: I am a very good cuddler.
Claire Legrand: Ohhh I have totally looked up the Golden Orb Weaver before. Much to my UTTER DISMAY.
Kat Kennedy: We’ll cuddle you later Adam.
Claire Legrand: *bow chicka bow wow*
Kat Kennedy: I think I’m not the only one insanely excited for this novel now.
I actually love a good horror story.
Claire Legrand: Yay!
Stephanie Sinclair: I’m scared, but I think I like it.
Adam Archer: Join the club with that one. I’ve been jonesing for a good horror for a while.
Claire Legrand: It is definitely horror, but there’s also a lot of humor and heart. The main friendship in CAVENDISH is still to this day one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. It’s just so sweet.
Kat Kennedy: So before we actually wrap up this interview – are you going to let us contact our families first? Or just whisk us away on a wild adventure?
Claire Legrand: Oh, I’ll absolutely let you contact your families. I may be cuddle-abducting you, but I’m still practical and organized. (Victoria is nodding along in my brain, approving.)
Kat: Ha! I like your style, Claire.
Stephanie Sinclair: I like adventures.
Kat Kennedy: I don’t think we’d object to being cuddlenapped by you.
Adam Archer: Why do I find that more disturbing than “No you can’t?”
Claire Legrand: Although . . . the spontaneous thing has a certain appeal, a certain . . . je ne sais quoi.
I’m the kinder, gentler, cuddlenapper.
Stephanie Sinclair: Can we leave the gigantic cockroaches behind?
Claire Legrand: Ugh, yes. Although I have fake ones! I made them into barrettes and whatnot. We can dress up. Bug makeovers: It’s the new black.
Stephanie Sinclair: Cuddlenapper, lol. Reminds me of the Hamburgerler.
Claire Legrand: Ha!
I should brand this.
Or maybe open a business.
Kat Kennedy: You totally should.
Claire Legrand: Extra income.
Kat Kennedy: The best damn cuddlenapper I’ve ever met!
Adam Archer: Claire Legrand – Cuddlenapper extraordinaire.
Claire Legrand: Cuddlenappers ‘R’ Us: Need a Cuddle? Call the Cuddlenapper!
Stephanie Sinclair: LOL!
Kat Kennedy: Well, thank you so much for luring us in your van of fantasticalness. And for taking the time to talk to us before cuddlenapping us.
Claire Legrand: But, yes, thank y’all so much for chatting with me. This was FUN.
In fact, I’m loathe to let you go. *shifty eyes*
Kat Kennedy: Before you go, when does Cavendish come out so that we can read it?
Claire Legrand: Ah yes! August 28th.
Kat Kennedy: So close! excited.
Claire Legrand: As in, 10 DAYS, as in, no I’m not freaking out at ALL.
Stephanie Sinclair: Awesome, we’ll be sure to check this out. Sounds like a good time! Or at least a scary one…
Adam Archer: 10 days… If I get a phone call saying “Seven Days” I’ll assume it means the book.
We want to give a huge thank you to Claire Legrand for the interview!
Check out the rest of the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls Blog Tour here!
Don’t forget to check out Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, out now!
At the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, you will definitely learn your lesson. A dark, timeless, and heartfelt novel for fans of Coraline and The Mysterious Benedict Society.Victoria hates nonsense. There is no need for it when your life is perfect. The only smudge on her pristine life is her best friend Lawrence. He is a disaster—lazy and dreamy, shirt always untucked, obsessed with his silly piano. Victoria often wonders why she ever bothered being his friend. (Lawrence does too.)
But then Lawrence goes missing. And he’s not the only one. Victoria soon discovers that The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is not what it appears to be. Kids go in but come out…different. Or they don’t’ come out at all.
If anyone can sort this out, it’s Victoria—even if it means getting a little messy.
To win a hardcover copy of The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, fill out the form below! Contest is U.S./Canada only. Ends September 21st.
To enter, please fill out the Raffelcopter form below.
We ask that all entrants be at least 13 years or older to enter.
- The giveaway is open to US and Canada only. Sorry internationals! 🙁
- Please enter your email address in the Rafflecopter form and not the comments!
AWESOME interview. Also, I am very glad I did not google any pictures. 😀
Ha, great interview! I laughed, I cried, I craved candy and I survived. For middle grade heroine I’ll have to be the first to nominate the one and only…(drum roll)… Miss Hermione Jean Granger everybody!!!! Thank you very much.
Hi! Thanks for the chance to win! I can’t think of a favorite right now.
Christina K. in the rafflecopter
Hermione! Of course:)
Hermione, definitely. And what a great tour stop! <3
As usual, you guys did an amazing interview. One question: what were you THINKING in entering a shady van that says free candy on the side? I mean come on, have you never been warned by your parents not to approach strange vehicles?
Hi Claire! I’m not sure I have a favorite MG heroine, but I do have a Golden Orb Weaver in a huge web down the way from my apartment building. His web is strung up between two trees. FYI, they are harmless and beautiful. But yes, quite large. I still say the wolf and huntsman spiders are the worst because they do not build webs and actually go hunting at night. I had one come up the drain in my bathtub and that sucker was monstrous. I’m not going to go into detail about his death but let’s just say I hope I never have to experience that again.
As for cockroaches, yes, my experiences are similar. I sweat, shake, and freeze in place. I have killed them before, but I literally have to work myself up to it with a shoe in hand while tears are streaming down my face. I have quite the phobia. Still want to read the book though!
Fabulous interview, guys!
Hi Claire. I don’t think I have a favorite MG heroine. I really haven’t ready any MG in a long time, and the ones I have don’t really have a heroine. Thank you for the chance to win!
It’s been a long time since middle school, so figuring out a middle school heroine makes my head hurt. Maybe one of the girls from the Percy Jackson series would do – Annabeth, or Hermione from Harry Potter.
Hi Claire! What a fantastic interview!!! I absolutely loved it!!! 😀 As for a MG heroine, I haven’t read any MG books in a while, but I love Max from the Maximum Ride series. Does she qualify? 🙂
Ha, great interview! My favorite middle grade heroine was probably… Merricat Blackwood, from We Have Always Lived in the Castle. LOVE that book, and it’s also a creepy one. ;D
Hi guys! Another awesome and very entertaining interview. I hope you guys were able to sleep HAHA
WOW… MG.. Well when I was IN MG, I read tons and tons of Nancy Drew novels but she definitely isn’t MG is she? I would have to go with Hermione from Harry Potter then.
Claire you so full of sparky awesome! 😀 Loved this interview.
Unfortunately, I didn’t read much MG when I was a kid. I think I skipped that whole MG thing and moved straight to YA…ok, they didn’t have YA per say back then, but you get the point. Does Harry Potter count? Of course, I was an adult when it came out…but Hermoine Granger is so full of awesome. :DSo want to read this book now!
I loved RL Stine & Christopher Pike when I was a kid. I read so many of those books. I can read pretty much any scary book but am terrified of scary movies. I won’t watch Chucky either lol.
thanks for a very fun interview! This book has been getting such rave reviews, it was already on my “want” list!
I guess I was a sucker for Nancy Drew. I remember going a reading spree until my mom forced me to come up for air… she said it wasn’t healthy to read nonstop for days… she obviously wasn’t a reader 🙂
Hi Claire! LOVE the interview! It’s hard to choose a favorite, but maybe Liesl from Liesl & Po. Does she count? Or Olive from the Books of Elsewhere series : )
I’m going to go with Tiffany Aching.
Pretty sure I am going to be scarred for life after all of those creepy pictures…or not.
Either Matilda or Anne of Green Gables for favorite heroine probably. I like my heroines bookish.
Great interview! Thanks for the giveaway!
My favorite character is probably Annabeth from Percy Jackson.
Great interview! Thanks for the giveaway!
My favorite character is probably Annabeth from Percy Jackson. That’s the only MG book Ive read in a while.
LOL Forever. That is all. 😛
Max from Maximum Ride is my favorite.
That was awesome! So much fun to be deliciously scared when you’re a kid. But I can’t watch Chucky either.
Oh the ring reference. I love it so much! <3
If I saw a van that said “Free Candy”, they’d have to peel me off it.
There’s no shame in being Cuddlenapped like that, Cuddlebuggery. No shame at all.
Very nice interview.
This is hilarious XD
the unicorn van! no time to explain….love it. oh, and summer in australia in my house is horrible. cockroaches on the streets and spiders just waiting in the corners of every ceiling and hanging in the trees waiting for you to WALK INTO THEIR NEFARIOUS WEBS OF HORROR. i hate it! and oh god, oh god, its practically summer now!
My fave middle grade heroine has to be the young Hermione from the Harry Potter series 🙂
Looking forward to reading this!
Mmm…my favourite middle grade heroine would have to be Anne of Green Gables! Just a classic. Thanks for the giveaway!
Awesome interview! thanks for the chance to win.
Luna Lovegood all the way! Sure, she doesn’t up that often, but you just have to adore her quirkiness. Thanks for the giveaway!
Great interview! This book looks fantastic. I’m always on the lookout for good MG & YA horror. As for my favorite MG heroine, Amanda from The Headless Cupid is pretty awesome.
A young heroine that I LOVE but is definitely not from a middle grade book would be Arya Stark from the Game of Thrones books…. she kicks but as for being so young.
Hi Claire! Great interview — I laughed so much! Thanks for sharing.
Oh gosh, this was awesome. Hi Claire, can’t wait to read your book! 🙂
I don’t really read a lot of middle grade, so I’ve got to skip out on this question.
This book? Looks like it’s made of awesome. Can’t wait to read it.
As for favorite middle grade heroines, I have a notoriously bad memory, but I have loved Fer from WINTERLING and Roo from THE HUMMING ROOM in 2012. Any farther back and I don’t even know my own name, so… yeah. *grin*
Thanks for offering this giveaway!
thanks for the interview. it was hilarious! love the “legit” candy van! and OMG! yes! Slappy the ventriloquist doll! arggh! *scared*
oh and fav middle-grade heroine would have to be Ramona!
Love the title, love the cover!
And seriously, the asian ghost at the end?
THANKS FOR THAT.
Hey, thanks so much for the giveaway, have been wanting to read this one 🙂 And favorite middle grade heroine is definitely Sammy Keyes.
This seems like such a fun book and contest giveaway. Good luck to everyone!
I love the concept for this book! My favorite MG herione was always Amy from The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye
Hi Claire! This sounds like an amazing read. My favourite middle grade heroine has to be Harry Potter..I know it’s typical, but he’s Harry..He’s bad-ass and he completely demolished Voldemort!
Announcing . . . the CAVENDISH Blog Tour! « Claire Legrand
[…] 9/6: I chat with the Cuddlebuggery Cuddlebuggerers! (Do they appreciate being called that? I don’t know, but it makes me happy […]
Blogoversary Day 6: Guest Post by Authors Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner | Cuddlebuggery Book Blog
[…] I didn’t like Claire LeGrand’s. They talked about candy and then there was none and then I was thinking about […]
I don’t think slappy the ventriloquist doll is that creepy.. A lot of people feel like it is, but I personally don’t think so! Anyways, great job on the post 🙂
Melanie recently posted…4 Helpful Tips to be a Ventriloquist Comedian
Insurance is a Bitch…’cept When it’s Not – KjerstiNeT
[…] Goddamnit Samara, FIVE days. Not seven. FIVE. […]