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Trick or Treat with Linda Joy Singleton!

Welcome to #SeasonsOfKidLit, terror fanatics! As we know, the holidays are always fun and filled with magic. But what if they were filled with fright, too? Linda Joy Singleton, author of over 50 books, is here with us today to talk about her Haunted Holiday's chapter book series (Illustrated by George Ermos). Her unique series takes a closer look at Halloween, Valentine's Day, April Fools' Day, and The Fourth of July with a fun, freaky....and totally terrifying twist. Want to know more about what'd it'd be like spending the holidays in terror? Read on...

Q: Hi, Linda Joy. Thanks so much for joining #SeasonsOfKidLit! I'm thrilled to have you featured today - what a treat! Can you tell the readers a little about yourself and your books?

A: I started writing when I was 8 and my favorite books to read were spooky mysteries. I dreamed of having my own series someday—and it happened! My first published series was with Avon Books, MY SISTER THE GHOST. My recent series are CURIOUS CAT SPY CLUB and HAUNTED HOLIDAYS. I had the idea for HAUNTED HOLIDAYS years ago and was planning to make the stories into a spooky anthology. It was so much more fun turning these ideas into a chapter book series with amazing illustrations. I am so grateful to ABDO for these books.

Q: You’ve written so many fun titles for kids, including the Haunted Holidays series from ABDO. I have to say, you had me at Valenterror! How did you get the idea for these frightfully-unique books?

A: Ideas are easy for me! When my agent suggested I submit to ABDO, I whipped up a long list of ideas. I picked the best four to pitch to ABDO—and I was thrilled when they were accepted. In fact, I have more holidays I’d love to write about like Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, and maybe Groundhogs Day (g).

Q: Can you give us a breakdown of what each book is about, and a sneak-peek or hint of the monsters that may appear? We monster lovers must know! ;)

A: VALENTERROR — A substitute teacher substitutes heart for horror when she assigns students to create a valentine. I got the idea because when I was a kid, I always enjoyed making valentine mailboxes in class and sharing valentines with my friends. Once I even tried to get revenge on a cruel classmate by writing less than nice things on a valentine—which ended with an awkward visit to the principal’s office. (Can’t believe I’m sharing that publicly as it was actually very traumatic, and I don’t think I even told my parents!)

APRIL FIENDISH—Becky finds out the hard way why her best friend is locked in her room every April Fool's Day—when fiendish friend tried to attack her!

To be honest, I don’t like April Fool's Day. I hate embarrassing pranks. But they sure are fun to write about! FRIGHT OF JULY—Sneaking off to set fireworks on a monstrous island turns into an explosive adventure. I had lots of fun with this one—and if you look closely at the cover there’s a big clue about the island’s secrets.

TRICK OR TERROR—When kids go into a Forbidden Pumpkin Patch, they’re in for a monstrous surprise and have to run for their lives.

Halloween was my favorite holiday as a child. My best friend and I didn’t want to eat our bag of candy too quickly, so we made a game of hiding the wrapped candy in our rooms. We’d forget were some were hidden and find them months or even a year later! We have the same birthday near Halloween, which often made for fun birthday-ween celebrations. And I still celebrate Halloween every year with a fun costume party at my mom’s house where we have a piñata for kids, a Candy-walk game, and lots of delicious food. I wonder what costume I’ll wear this year…still deciding.

Q: ABDO has a unique format for chapter books. What can readers expect to see when flipping through the pages of your series?

A: I love ABDO’s format of colorful words in dramatic SIZES and lots of sound words that become characters of their own. The books are short, but that doesn’t mean they are easy to write. Each chapter has to sort interesting characters, exciting action, and end with a cliff-hanger in about 250 words. I love challenges and have written both mystery novels and picture books, so this format is perfect for me. And the illustrations are gorgeously wicked!

Q: What makes this the perfect series for anyone looking for a spooky read this season?

A: The books are short, exciting, and meet Common Core and state standards, which makes the useful for educators while they’re spooky fun for young readers. When I’ve spoken at schools/libraries either in person or by Zoom, these books are perfect to read when I have a short time—and kids love them!

Fantastic, Linda Joy! Thanks again for joining and sharing your books with us!

Q: Would you like to leave a Trick or a Treat for the readers?

A: TREAT! I would love to leave a career consultation for any inspiring writers.

How exciting! Thanks for such a spooktacular treat!

Contest Details: To enter to win a consultation with Linda Joy, comment below and let her know why you're excited to read her Haunted Holidays series! One winner will be announced on or about November 4th.

Reminder: Those who leave a comment on all posts will be eligible to win one (1) of ten (10) Rate Your Story Speed Passes.

About Linda Joy:

Linda Joy Singleton is the author of over 50 middle-grade, YA, and pictures books about magic, animals, psychics, mermaids, aliens, clones, and ghosts. Her two MG series, CURIOUS CAT SPY CLUB and HAUNTED HOLIDAYS were inspired by events in her childhood. Her newest picture book is SUN & SON. She is a long-time member of SCBWI and Sisters in Crime. She and her husband David live in the country in Northern CA where they’re surrounded by horses, peacocks, dogs, pigs, and very demanding cats.

For more about Linda Joy, check out the below links:

To purchase Linda's books on Amazon, or to leave a review, click here.

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Congratulations on all your success, Linda! I love that you can create such terror-filled holiday books! I can't wait to read them, especially the Fright of July!


Oct 31, 2022

Haunted holidays is such a clever idea! What great chapter books. Congratulations! (And I must check out ABDO!)


Your Haunted Holiday series sounds intriguing. April Fool's is my favorite holiday and can't wait to read how you handled this topic. Love the colorful words! Thanks for the information.


Kathleen Lowry
Kathleen Lowry
Oct 29, 2022

These spooky twists on other holidays are super creative. Thank you for such a great interview.


Oct 29, 2022

Wow, I love the spooky twists! These books look like so much fun! Thanks for another great interview, Linda Joy and Heather!

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