Cover Reveal – Whispering Pines: Infestation

Today I’m thrilled to reveal the GORGEOUSLY CREEPY cover of Whispering Pines: Infestation, the second book in the Whispering Pines series by sisters Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski. But first, let’s learn more about the book!

MORE ABOUT INFESTATION:

Caden’s brother Aiden is many things: clever, powerful, vindictive. Unforgiving. And now, he’s also mysteriously free from the hellish dimensional prison that Caden had trapped him in. Caden is sure that Aiden is out for revenge, but since his parents refuse to see the danger when it comes to his brother, he’ll have to find a way to survive on his own. 

Meanwhile, Rae, freed from the threat of the eye-snatching, monstrous Unseeing, has once again turned all her focus toward finding her missing father. She believes the town’s shady alternative energy company, Green On!, might have the information she seeks, so she joins their internship program to get answers. Unfortunately this means sacrificing her friendship with Caden, who wants nothing to do with Green On! or anyone associated with it.

When a special assignment from Rae’s internship leads her to uncover an infestation of giant, flesh-eating centipedes that may be alien in nature, she needs to convince Caden to help her get rid of them. The two friends must learn to work together again, because this time, it’s not just Whispering Pines’ fate that hangs in the balance, but the world’s. 

INFESTATION is set for publication: September 14th, 2021

And…

Without further ado…

Drumroll please…

Here’s the beautiful cover with artwork by Xavier Collette!!!

Love it! And Heidi and Kati also answered a few questions about the book!

KIM: What’s the story behind the cover art? Did you work with the artist or ask for changes? 

KATI: We actually had a different illustrator for this book than for our first book, so he had to try to match the characters from the original. But no, we did not ask for any changes or anything. I loved the cover as soon as I saw it.

HEIDI: Ditto. The illustrator for this cover is Xavier Collette, and he did an amazing job. I’m also really happy with it.

KIM: What’s your favorite part of the cover?

KATI: I love the huge centipede right behind our characters, and the hint at all the others in the background. Check out all those glowing eyes!

HEIDI: I also love that Vivienne gets a spot on this cover, too. And I like how the characters look so fully dimensional, like they’re about to sprint off the page. It makes me think of an animated TV show.

KIM: What can readers expect in book 2? Do you recommend reading this book alone with the lights out?

KATI: Book 2 will definitely have more of creepy Aiden, plus bugs…huge, man-eating alien bugs. As far as reading it with the lights out, of course! Is there any other way to read this kind of story? 😉

HEIDI: And expect more suspicious activity on the part of the alternative energy company that basically owns the town of Whispering Pines. Also readers will finally learn the secret behind Vivienne and her mysteriously-oversized backpack.

KIM: This series delves into some pretty creepy topics. Do you believe in the paranormal or supernatural? What drew you to these topics?

KATI: I do believe in the paranormal, and I have always loved reading a good ghost tale, or a book that keeps me up in the night.

HEIDI: In book one, our character Rae explains that her dad taught her you can’t prove a negative, so there are no limits on possibility. This is how I feel, that anything is possible. That belief coupled with a very active imagination has been good for writing horror, but bad for those moments when I have to be alone in the dark.

KATI: When we were kids we watched shows like The X-Files together. Heidi was always more into them than I was, but when we began writing books together, I started thinking that a middle grade X-Files would be really fun to write.

HEIDI: Kati suggested the idea, and I was really excited to partner with her on it. Any strong emotion makes for great story fodder, if you can translate it into a plot on the page. And since I’m actually quite terrified of all things supernatural, I felt like this would be a series I could really get into writing.

Yes, I love The X-Files! I still rewatch it to this day 🙂

KIM: How would you describe Rae and Caden? What makes them the perfect team?

KATI: Rae is someone who throws herself into finding what she needs to find, whereas Caden is the type who likes to hold back, and not rush into anything without a plan. This makes it so their abilities complement each other.

HEIDI: They are also both very independent thinkers, which, coupled with certain mysterious life events in both of their pasts, has taught them to be careful in who they trust. Caden is a total loner at the start of this series, and Rae is someone who knows what it feels like to be the one on the outside. Both of them are looking for a friend, someone who really “gets” them, but until they find each other neither of them realize that’s what they’re missing.

Lightning Round:

Fun fact about book 2:

KATI: The idea of large alien bugs came from a dream I had. In my dream the creatures were more worm-like than the bugs in this story, but they, too, started off small before becoming huge. And they also enjoyed feasting on people…

HEIDI: Initially when we started writing this I wanted our bugs to look more like praying mantises than worms, but we changed them to giant centipedes when a couple of our early readers said they thought that would be the creepiest. All those legs. <shudder>

KATI: I was always in favor of the centipede look, personally. Oh, and even though the bugs in our story are made-up, there really were bugs like them back around the Permian Period called Anthropleura.

HEIDI: Which leads to our next fun fact: apparently Kati knows a lot of really disturbing things about bugs. Before writing this book together I had no idea. Frankly, it’s a little concerning. ;D

What’s scarier, ghosts or aliens?:

KATI: Ghosts! Aliens are creepy, but I assume they’ll pick someone else to experiment on over me, whereas ghosts I don’t think will be so choosy. 

HEIDI: I spent an entire summer when I was twelve convinced I was going to be abducted (thanks a lot, X-Files!) so I have to go with aliens on this one.

Favorite writing snack:

KATI: Anything with chocolate.

HEIDI: Same.

Favorite spooky read:

KATI: Eek! So many to choose from! The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancy was a nicely creepy YA, and Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh for MG…but there are so many other great ones that I love, too.

HEIDI: Yeah, I don’t know if I can pick one favorite either. I really loved your Bone Hollow, with its perfect combination of spooky and heartfelt. Coraline by Neil Gaiman is another favorite. And I’m currently reading Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker and so far I am really enjoying it.

KIM: Awww, shucks. Thanks for the shout-out, Heidi!!!

Favorite quote from the book (if you can share):

HEIDI: It’s a little long, but we both loved writing this passage here:

The tunnel opened up into a large cavern. Stalactites dripped down from the ceiling, some so long their points almost brushed the ground, while towering stalagmites thrust up to meet them like giant broken teeth. And in between, the bones and half-decayed bodies of at least a dozen animals littered the floor.

It smelled awful—rotting flesh and damp earth and, underneath that, a strange acrid scent like fermented gasoline. Rae tried breathing shallowly as she stepped into the cavern, carefully avoiding a carcass. She swept her beam around.

It caught on something hanging from the ceiling. A large, yellowy something, throbbing and pulsing like an infected wound. A giant egg sac, Rae realized, tangled around a lanky boy, his eyes half closed, his red hair gleaming in her headlamp.

Rae stared at him for so long that at first she didn’t notice all the giant centipedes crawling down from the ceiling and along the walls, moving rapidly toward her.

From Whispering Pines: Infestation

AUTHOR BIO:

Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski are a writing team of two sisters. Heidi is afraid of all things that go bump in the night but watches shows like The X-Files and Stranger Things anyhow. Kati enjoys reading about serial killers and the apocalypse but secretly sleeps with a night-light. They believe that the best way to conquer fear is to share it with as many people as possible, so between the two of them, they love creating stories full of all the things that scare them most. They are the coauthors of the Mystic Cooking Chronicles trilogy. Find out more at https://heidiandkatibooks.com/.

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