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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NYU chapter.

Words cannot express how excited I am to introduce the next interviewee for my Author Spotlight series. She is known for her duology “Blood Like Magic” and is a Governor General’s Literary Finalist. Without further ado, I’m happy to announce I’ve interviewed Liselle Sambury about her newest YA thriller “Delicious Monsters.”  

Liselle Sambury is a Trinidadian Canadian with work spanning across multiple genres. In her free time, she shares helpful tips for upcoming writers and details about her publishing experience through a YouTube channel dedicated to demystifying the complicated business of being an author.

“Delicious Monsters” is a mind-bending and evocative thriller following two teen girls navigating the treacherous past of a mysterious mansion ten years apart.

Daisy sees dead people—something impossible to forget in bustling, ghost-packed Toronto. She usually manages to deal with her unwanted ability, but she’s completely unprepared to be dumped by her boyfriend. So when her mother inherits a secluded mansion in northern Ontario where she spent her childhood summers, Daisy jumps at the chance to escape. But the house is nothing like Daisy expects, and she begins to realize that her experience with the supernatural might be no match for her mother’s secrets, nor what lurks within these walls.

A decade later, Brittney is desperate to get out from under the thumb of her abusive mother, a bestselling author who claims her stay at “Miracle Mansion” allowed her to see the error of her ways. But Brittney knows that’s nothing but a sham. She decides the new season of her popular “Haunted” web series will uncover what happened to a young Black girl in the mansion ten years prior and finally expose her mother’s lies. But as she gets more wrapped up in the investigation, she’ll have to decide: if she can only bring one story to light, which one matters most—Daisy’s or her own?

If you had Daisy’s ability to see dead people, who would you want to see? Would you see it more as a superpower or a burden?

I would definitely see it as a burden! I am one of those people who believes in other forces but has absolutely no desire to be involved in them. I would like a mundane existence bereft of any supernatural dealings. But assuming I was not this paranoid, I would be interested in meeting an ancestor from a time in my family that I don’t know much about, I think it would be so fascinating to be privy to those stories and history.

There are moments when you write through various characters’ perspectives about what it means to be Black in an environment that doesn’t appreciate or fully understand the experience. Do you have any memories of going through the same experience or some that inspired or are included in “Delicious Monsters”?

There are several of those experiences in the book that feel familiar though nothing is an exact 1-to-1. I think what I wanted to express was really the sort of futility you can feel as a Black person knowing that an institution is not even attempting to understand your experience whether that be in work, school, or otherwise. Or that they may only want to attempt to highlight your unique struggles when they can relate it to themselves, or it’s deemed profitable. And how your voice can then go unheard. The difficulty of asking for something as simple as empathy and encountering a fight. Those are experiences that I can definitely relate to.

How would you say “Delicious Monsters” differs from other thriller mansion set stories?

I think that when you write these sorts of stories there are tropes that we all play with, and the differences are in how we approach those and how we tell the story. I worked to create a house that had some of the trappings of what you expect from a creepy mansion in the woods, but I made it work in a different way. I also introduced the dynamic of a character who is familiar with the dead while I think that often people who enter these houses don’t have any idea what they’re in for. But Daisy comes into it with an already established relationship with the supernatural.

Were there certain spots in your hometown, or its history, that helped you when writing “Delicious Monsters”?

In the scenes set in Toronto, having grown up there did help with choosing areas and expressing why something like homeownership might be so impressive to someone living there. But a lot of what went into this book was really my experience of living in Timmins where I am now, and exploring that area, people, and history as someone from Toronto. Specific spots like the cottage area in Kenogamissi where the mansion has been placed that I found inspiring, and also places in town like the main library branch where I knew I wanted to set scenes. I love writing stories set where I’ve lived because I feel like there’s so much more local color that I can bring into the narrative.

What inspired the shift in genre from fantasy to paranormal thriller? Were there any challenges when writing “Delicious Monsters”?

It was really just a case of a friend making the suggestion to me. It was always a genre that I was interested in, but it was somewhat intimidating to think about writing. Which, thinking back on it now, I do find kind of funny because I loved throwing twists and red herrings into my fantasy stories, and so it wasn’t as much of a stretch as it seemed to do so in “Delicious Monsters.” But I had an idea for a story, and I just decided that I would go for it and see how the novel came out. I think the fact that it worked out has made me a lot more open to the idea of trying other genres in the future.

What inspired you to continue your AuthorTube when nowadays BookTok and Bookstagram are the main social media platforms? Is there a platform you prefer?

I’ve always loved YouTube and it was a platform where I’d learned a lot about being an author and that experience. I’m the sort of person who really enjoys long form content and getting to have that in-depth look into someone’s life and career. And because I like that format, that’s the format that I’ve been the most interested in keeping up with. I’ve also been very fortunate to have found a great community there which adds to my engagement with it as a platform. I do still participate in Instagram and TikTok communities, but I find myself the most committed to consistency through YouTube.

If you could describe Daisy and Brittney as Starbucks drinks, what would they be and why?

I almost never go to Starbucks, so I don’t know any drinks! But I will put a little Canadian twist on this and say what Tim Hortons drinks they would be. I think Daisy would be a dark roast double double, because she seems more bold and dark on the surface, but has a lot of sweetness. And Brittney would be an iced cappuccino made with chocolate milk with added whipped cream because she’s not afraid to be a little bit extra, and it may take more effort to get on board, but she’s worth it.

What can readers look forward to in this novel when it comes to jump scares and mysteries?

There will be a lot of slow creeping moments that build up to some bigger scares that I hope will stick with you long after you’ve finished reading. You can also expect a multi-layered mystery with a lot of twists and turns that’ll have you rushing to the finish. I think this is the sort of story where you expect it to go in one direction and are surprised when it takes a different path.

Thank you so much Liselle for answering my questions! I DEVOURED “Delicious Monsters” and I have to say now I MUST read the “Blood Like Magic” duology. I’d like to thank Nicole Valdez from Simon & Schuster who set me up with the chance to interview Liselle along with other writers from when I started my Author Spotlight series at Her Campus Hofstra. Without either of them, this article would not have been possible.

Sabrina Blandon is an English major at NYU with a minor in creative writing. Avid reader herself and literary advocate, she has interviewed over 60 authors from New York Times bestselling ones to debut authors for Her Author Spotlight blog series for Her Campus NYU and Her Campus Hofstra. She loves exploring everything New York City has to offer and is a major foodie.