I’m normally not much of a fun of horror, but seeing that The Wicked Unseen is also has a mystery to be solved I got curious. Today is my stop on the book tour hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours and I have an interview with Gigi Griffis to share with you. Keep on reading to find out more!
The Wicked Unseen by Gigi Griffis
Genre: Horror/Mystery Young Adult
Publishing Date: June 20, 2023
The new girl in town is having trouble fitting into a community that believes there’s a secret Satanic cult conducting rituals in the woods. When her crush goes missing, she starts to wonder if the town’s obsession with evil isn’t covering up something far worse. Perfect for fans of Fear Street!
To say sixteen-year-old Audre doesn’t fit in would be the understatement of the century. She’s a city kid who’s found herself in a rural town. The only girl at school who’d rather kiss a girl than a boy. Not to mention that the whole town believes there’s a secret Satanic cult conducting rituals in the nearby woods–and Audre is a born skeptic.
When the preacher’s daughter and Audre’s secret crush, Elle, goes missing on Halloween weekend, the town is quick to point fingers–in Audre’s direction. While they harass Audre’s family for being newcomers and nonbelievers, Audre realizes she might be the only person here who can find her friend.
The deeper she goes, though, the weirder it gets. What happened to Elle–and is the evil this town is hiding really what Audre thinks it is?
Content Warning: satanic cult, racism, sexism, police brutality and mistreatment, abuse from religious officials
What inspired you to write The Wicked Unseen?
I grew up during the Satanic Panic—a time when a massive number of Americans truly believed that secret Satanists were trying to teach their kids witchcraft through Saturday morning cartoons, rock music played backward, etc. It was wild. Both funny and terrible. And I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to write a book set during that weird slice of American history.
With QAnon on the rise, book bannings hitting a fever pitch, and panic over things like Critical Race Theory and who gets to use what bathroom ticking upward, it felt the right time to talk about moral panics and how much harm they can do.
What has been the favorite part of your publishing journey so far?
Seeing strangers read the book! Getting tagged in early reviews, getting emails from early readers, and having writer friends reach out to talk to me about their own experiences with some of the themes of the book has been so rewarding. Some authors feel a bit panicked about people reading their books, but I just feel relief. It’s the reason I do what I do. I can’t wait for it to be available to everyone this June (for Pride Month!).
If you were a character in The Wicked Unseen, what kind of character would you be?
Ahaha! In any horror book, I’m probably the clueless white girl who goes into the basement to investigate a strange noise (and dies first; RIP me). But honestly, most the characters in this particular book have a piece of me, including the ones you love to hate (ahem, Monica over there being loud and wrong).
Describe The Wicked Unseen in five words or less.
Queer horror built on hope.
What is your favorite quote from The Wicked Unseen?
“Damn, am I the dimwitted white girl who goes bouncing into the basement to investigate the mysterious noise with no weapons, just boobs?”
What do you hope readers take away from your story?
What we are scared of and what we should be scared of aren’t always the same thing. I hope books like this challenge people to ask what actually-horrifying things have been normalized in their lives—and what can we all do to stop accepting them as normal.
Could you give us 5 random facts about The Wicked Unseen (think the story, writing, publishing, anything that comes to mind)?
- The mystery at the heart of the story was originally plotted for a different book! The story wasn’t right for that book, but when I decided to write this one, it fit perfectly into place in the world of the Satanic Panic.
- The history is real! Yes, people really thought Pokemon were “pocket demons,” My Little Pony was teaching kids witchcraft, and Dungeons and Dragons was a ticket straight to hell. There was a pervasive fear that anything—books, movies, TV, cartoons—might be trying to destroy your soul.
- Audre’s family is inspired by (and a tribute to) The Addams Family. Her mom’s a mortician. Dad studies spiritualism and Ouija. Her sister’s obsessed with bats. And Audre herself is a horror movie aficionado with a semi-goth, punk rock aesthetic. There’s a joke early on about her parents dressing as Gomez and Morticia for Halloween, and it’s my little hat tip to a classic.
- The Wicked Unseen is the fourth manuscript I finished writing, and it was the second to sell (just a couple weeks after The Empress, my adult debut, which was the fifth manuscript I completed).
- Audre’s black lab Fantasma is a cadaver dog—and those are 100% real. They’re trained to find human remains and can be used for investigations as well as historical research (finding unmarked graves, for example). It is true that they are often trained using human placenta (ew, I know).
If the synopsis of The Wicked Unseen and the interview, click here for the full tour schedule. Amazing bookstagrammers and bloggers have been talking about The Wicked Unseen this week.
About the Author
Gigi Griffis is the author of the creepy YA horror The Wicked Unseen (coming summer 2023!), We Are The Beasts (2024), and The Empress (as seen on Netflix), among other things.
She’s a sucker for little-known histories, “unlikable” female characters, and all things Europe. After almost ten years of semi-nomadic life, she now lives in Portugal with an opinionated Yorkie-mix named Luna and a fancy blender that cost more than her couch.
A big thank you to the author for taking time and answering my questions! The Wicked Unseen is definitely a book I’ll be adding to my Halloween TBR.