The dark will bring your worst nightmares to light, in this gripping and eerie survival story, perfect for fans of James Dashner and Neil Gaiman.
On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.
Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.
Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.
Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.
And it may already be too late.
I have to ask: what inspired you to write such a scary novel? The long night is super intriguing!
PK: Thanks!! I’d be curious to see how Jake answers this question, but for me, I didn’t start off saying – this has to be a scary novel. Sure, I wanted it to be suspenseful, but somehow the idea of the long night just naturally transformed it into something closer to horror than just ordinary suspense!
JH: Interesting answer, Kujo. That is what I call Peter – short for Kujawinski – and conjures the image of Stephen King’s infamous mad dog. And yes, absolutely, my goal was to write as scary a story as was humanly possibly. Mind you, I didn’t want to write horror. I am not big on blood and gore. I was thinking more like the kind of tales that kids tell around the campfire to spook themselves – and what is spookier than the dark?
Speaking of which, how do you go about writing scenes with the intent of scaring readers? Any writing rituals to get to that point?
PK: You have to take your time. You can’t just dash off passages that are scary. The scariest stuff has to be written slowly, and you have to freak yourself out while writing it. That’s when you know you have something good.
JH: The key is to create a tense mood from the outset and then to make the book get incrementally scarier through the use of small details – like the mention that pigs on the island are being slaughtered or that there are these long knives that are being stored in the basement, for what purpose we don’t know. You just have to keep building the mood of foreboding, gradually, and not go for any quick cheap thrills.
You both have previously written the DORMIA fantasy series together. How has this experience differed for you?
PK: I feel each book is better than the previous one – we learn more about how to write. But also, DORMIA was all about an entire world. For Nightfall, we didn’t want to world-build. We wanted something so fast and intense that you couldn’t stop reading it.
JH: Dormia was an epic. It involved this elaborate magical land with its own mythology. We always envisioned NIGHTFALL as a quick, short read – something that you could tear through and give yourself a good fright, in one sitting, on a stormy night.
Can we talk about your cover for a second? What was your reaction to seeing it for the first time? Literal chills down my spine over here.
PK: Me too! Penguin knocked it out of the park – no question at all. I actually second-guessed myself, thinking I was exaggerating about how good it was. But my wife had the same opinion, so I knew it worked.
JH: I love the cover because it is so cinematic. The artists worked very hard and did a few passes. I wasn’t 100% sold on the first pass, but by the end, I was dazzled and totally on board. It achieves just the right tone of foreboding – it reminds me of Dr. Who and the Twilight Zone – surreal and spooky.
Since NIGHTFALL is a stand-alone, can you share what your next writing adventure is?
PK: It’s a stand-alone, but we’re still contemplating making it a series. It really depends on what our readers want. The book we’re working on now is called Edgelands. It’s set in the same world as Nightfall, but it’s about a place and characters on the same latitude as the Desert Lands. It’s going well – and I can’t wait to tease out some details!
JH: This new story involves a guy and girl and a journey into the after life. It’s pretty crazy stuff! Oh, and there is a massive waterfalls at the edge of the world as well!
And because this is obviously the most important question of all: chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry ice cream?
PK: All three please! I truly believe the secret to world peace is more ice cream for everybody.
JH: One could, of course, write a treatise on this. Kujo being a former diplomat gave a judicious and crowd-pleasing answer, but because my goal here is not to make everyone happy or in any way better mankind, I will boldly say that Chocolate is only sensible solution!