Kalynn Bayron talks her new YA slasher novel, You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight

"I think that kind of ambiguity is what makes it fun and terrifying."


From fairytale retellings to killer plants, New York Times bestselling author, Kaylnn Bayron, has proved time and time again that her creativity and talent for writing knows no bounds and her nail biting new YA slasher horror, You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight, is further proof of that. Unwaveringly atmospheric, tense and creepy, You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight, is a fast paced and brilliantly gripping read with an air of suspense that makes it truly unputdownable.

To celebrate its release, we had the pleasure of chatting with Kaylnn all about You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight, upcoming projects and more.

Hi Kalynn, I’m so excited to get to chat to you again today, this time in celebration of your gripping new YA horror, You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight! For readers just hearing about the book, how would you best describe it to them?

This book is my ode to the camp slasher movies of the 80’s and 90’s. My main character, Charity, Curtis, plays the Final Girl at a terror simulation camp in the woods of upstate New York. The story is frightening, fast-paced, and full of all the horror movie tropes that I know and love.

Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind the story of You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight?

Friday the 13th, Sleepaway Camp, and the Fear Street Series were the main influences but I’m also intrigued by a place called McKamey Manor, which is an interactive haunted house attraction where a survival-style game is played. The employees are allowed to have full contact with the participants who have to “survive” for eight hours. It has attracted a ton of controversy but also has an incredibly long waitlist so there’s clearly a big interest in the experience. I tried to combine these two things in this story and blur that line between what’s real and what’s made up. I think that kind of ambiguity is what makes it fun and terrifying.

What made you decide to go from writing fantasy to horror?

I think there has always been a little bit of horror threaded through my fantasy work so making the jump to a slasher-style novel wasn’t too big a leap. It’s a fun space to write in. The main difference is getting to fully lean into the scary stuff.

Now you’ve written both fantasy and horror, are there any other genres you’re wanting to tackle?

I’d love fantasy and horror so much. I’d love to continue to bring those elements into my stories but honestly, I’d love to write a mystery/detective novel. A legitimate Agatha Christie style story. I think that would be incredibly fun and challenging.

Jumping off that, how did your experience writing horror differ from that of writing fantasy and were there any differences that surprised you or any part of the writing process you particularly enjoyed?

The process is very much the same but I will say that I enjoyed going back rewatching my favorite horror movies for “research” purposes. I loved adding little easter eggs to You’re Not Supposed To Die Tonight that I know horror fans will pick up on. Sherriff Lillard, for example. Horror fans know who that’s a little nod to.

Do you have any recommendations for readers looking for more creepy YA horror reads after loving You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight?

We really are getting so much phenomenal horror in YA. The forthcoming Last Girls Standing by Jennifer Dugan and Your Lonely Nights Are Over by Adam Sass. On the adult side I can never stop recommending My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephan Graham Jones and its sequel Don’t Fear the Reaper.

Finally, do you currently have any projects in the works and if so, is there anything you can share with us?

So. Many. Things. In October, I have The Vanquishers: Secret of the Reaping coming out and I also have a Doctor Who novella later this year, both for younger readers. I’m currently working on a new YA fantasy that I think anyone who enjoyed Cinderella Is Dead will absolutely love and that will be out next year. I’m also actively in the process of trying to get someone to let me write a Beetlejuice YA horror novel, so I’m just putting that out there!

Get your copy of You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight by Kaylonn Bayron here.

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