Sunday, March 17, 2013

Be Afraid. Be Very, Very Afraid of Pitch Green

Pitch Green

Today I'm featuring Pitch Green, the debut YA horror novel by the Brothers Washburn, Berk and Andy Washburn, who are lawyers by profession, writers at heart. The Dimensions in Death series is merely the beginning of the ingenious and spine-tingling world of The Brothers Washburn. Be on your guard, people, there is a new Grimm in town.

Be Afraid. Be Very, Very Afraid.

 Pitch Green by Berk and Andy Washburn. The first installment in the highly anticipated Dimensions in Death series. 

Trona is a small, smoggy, mostly insignificant town in California. Besides a booming chemical plant, the only thing that characterizes this dismal town is dirt, sagebrush, and an enormous abandoned mansion. The mansion is, admittedly, the only notable addition to Trona, but it’s something everyone tries to avoid due to its creepy facade. Everyone except for Camm Smith, who is obsessed with the need to get inside. 

Seven years earlier, as Camm herded a pack of little trick-or-treaters past the mansion, her young neighbor, Hughie, disappeared, becoming one of the many children who have vanished from Trona over the years without a trace. Now a senior in high school, Camm is still haunted by the old tragedy, and is sure the answer to the mysterious disappearances lies hidden somewhere in the decaying mansion. 

Joining forces with her best friend, Cal, who also happens to be Hughie’s older brother, Camm naively begins a perilous search for the truth.As things spiral quickly out of control, and others die, Camm and Cal discover it will take all their combined ingenuity to stay alive. An unseen evil lurking deep within the bowels of the mansion is now hunting them. To make matters worse, they become entangled with hostile federal agents, who will do all they can to keep old secrets permanently hidden.

Left with only their wit and seemingly ineffective firearms, Camm and Cal know time is running out. Unless they can make sense of the few pieces of the puzzle they manage to unearth, their lives are in danger, and like so many others before them, they may also disappear without a trace.

Synopsis: Jolly Fish Press

Review of Pitch Green

Cal and Camm (a.k.a. Smith and Jones) are two smart, resourceful college-bound kids, friends since childhood, who must call on all the resources they can muster to face  unimaginable evil in the old Searles mansion and discover how to put an end to it. Cell phones and access to a library don't hurt either as our tech-savvy heroes put their combined knowledge and skills to work in order to tackle a horrifying puzzle that has gone unsolved for generations. 

Aided by nerves of steel, a bit of moonlight, and an arsenal of handy tools, they must also defy numerous government agencies and other formidable obstacles as they battle the malevolent forces in the mansion that no one else has been able to defeat. When they’ve accomplished their mission and astonished the bumbling authorities, reality hits and they sound like typical teens, though, wondering,”How are we going to explain all of this to our parents?”

Pitch Green by Berk and Andy Washburn is filled with suspense, horror, the occasional touch of humor, a bit of teen romance, and as many surprises as 280 fast-paced pages can hold. Cal and Camm, who call themselves Team One, are two very likeable heroes. What will their next adventure be? I suspect it’s right around the corner. Or, to be more accurate, in Volume Two of the Dimensions in Death series. Stay tuned. And it wouldn't hurt to watch your back. 

Reviewed by Janet Kay Jensen

The Brothers Washburn's debut novel, Pitch Green, is the first of three books in the suspenseful, yet horrifying, Dimensions in Death series.

Who are the Brothers Washburn?

Berk writes: We are two of 9 sons (16 children total) who grew up in the Mojave Desert near Death Valley.  Our father was a dentist, who built up a practice in Trona, California, a small mining town.  While we were growing up, he was the only dentist in town.  As the good citizens of Trona mined the minerals of Searles Valley, Dad mined their teeth.

When, in turn, Andy and I went off to college, we left the desert and never looked backed.  We thought we were done with Trona forever, but couldn’t have been more wrong.  For about 35 years, I was a business lawyer working for international commercial finance companies in the mid-west.  For about 25 years, Andy was a trial practice lawyer working in Southern California.  We both have many years of formal writing experience.  While we have kept our law licenses current, we are now having fun writing fiction full time.

After we each moved to Colorado for different reasons, we talked for some time about starting a business together.  We have always been story tellers, first to our siblings, then to our own children, and now to our grandkids.  Scary stories are a family specialty.  A few years ago, I started writing a young adult science fiction series, so when Andy also tried his hand at writing fiction, it didn’t take long for us to come together as The Brothers Washburn on a young adult horror series.  The tale is of course set in Trona, California, the perfect setting for a horror series.

The general outline for Pitch Green, the first book in our Dimensions in Death series, came together in November of 2010.  We were attending a writer’s seminar in Manhattan, listening to panel discussions by top literary agents during the day.  One night, as we rode the subway from one end-of-the-line stop across town to the opposite end-of-the-line stop, and then back again, we mapped out the basic elements we would need to expand a favorite childhood scary story into a full-length novel.  Andy wrote the first rough draft, and then, in our typical tag-team effort, I took that draft over to edit and expand the tale.  In the writing of the first book, the ground work was laid for both the sequels and prequels in that series.

Author Interview with The Brothers Washburn

Berk and Andy, AKA The Brothers Washburn

JKJ:       Did you have a real house in mind to start with, or did you completely invent this spooky mansion from scratch?  As you wrote it, did you have a sketch of it and a floor plan, etc, so you could guide your readers through it as the action progresses?

BW:         Trona, California, is a real mining town (where we grew up) in a desolate part of the Mojave Desert, not far from Death Valley, but it does not have a mansion.  Pitch Green is based on a twenty-minute childhood story that was retold over and over again for many years to family, friends and even complete strangers.  The story always took place in a mansion, but its description was always vague in the unwritten story. 

 When we decided to expand the verbal story into a full-length novel, Andy invented the specific details of the mansion completely from scratch.  For the initial rough draft of the novel, we didn’t have a written floor plan, but as we began the editing process and started actually tracking the movements of our characters through the mansion, we created a written floor plan of the mansion (showing rooms, stairs, fireplace, grandfather clock, etc.) so we could see where they were going and more accurately described the action.  We were tempted to put a site map of the mansion’s floor plan in the book, but eventually decided against it.

(2)        How does the co-authoring process work?  Who does what?  How do you resolve any creative differences that come up, if any?

 BW:           As brothers, we get along well, and have a healthy level of mutual self-respect, so we can freely share ideas and challenge each other without worrying about egos.  We are more creative when we are bouncing ideas off each other and discussing a general storyline, but we actually write separately, conferring afterwards on what we have been doing.  Though we sometimes disagree on specific wording, there is usually some friendly give and take as we consider alternatives, and then we agree quickly on the final wording.  

We are different in how we approach the writing process.  Andy used to be a planner (a habit from writing like a lawyer), but in fiction writing, he no longer likes to plan ahead.  He likes to develop his characters, and then let them take the story wherever it is going to go.  On the other hand, Berk is definitely still a planner.  He is always making lists and outlines, not only for the current story, but for future stories as well.  We both appreciate the different perspective and skills that the other brings to the joint process, and in the end, we think we get a better product from our joint efforts.

JKJ:        What are your backgrounds, and how long have your been writing together?  Is this your first published novel?

BW:           We are two of 9 sons (16 children) who grew up in the Mojave Desert near Death Valley.  For about 35 years, Berk has been a business lawyer working for international commercial finance companies in the mid-west.  For about 25 years, Andy has been a trial practice lawyer in Southern California.  We both have many years of formal writing experience.  While we have kept our law licenses current, we are now writing fiction full time (both individually as well as jointly).  

We have always been story tellers, first to our siblings, then to our own children, and now to our grandkids.  Scary stories are a family specialty.  After we each moved to Colorado, for separate reasons, we talked for some time about starting a business together.  A half-dozen years ago, Berk started writing a young adult science fiction series, so when Andy also tried his hand at writing fiction, it didn’t take long to come together as The Brothers Washburn on a young adult horror series, located in Trona, the perfect setting for a horror story.
We are now in our third year writing together, and this is our first published novel.  We anticipate that there will be a number of sequels (and even prequels) in this horror series.  Separately, we are also working jointly on the first couple books in a YA sci-fi series.

JKJ:       What qualities does an author need to appeal to the YA reader?

BW:            The YA author needs a vivid imagination, an understanding of the young adult world, and a high degree of comfort with the tools and techniques of a story teller.  The youth of today have had their senses numbed by the exaggerated blood and gore of gratuitous violence and the repulsive exhibition of graphic sex.  Bringing such overused elements into a story is no longer surprising to a young reader, and it is tiresome and boring to an avid reader.  Using such flimsy props to build a story is clear evidence of an author’s lack of imagination and misunderstanding of the real power of the story teller’s bag of tools.  

Like any intelligent reader, youth readers must be courted with suspense and entrapped by conflict.  While there is some legitimate overlap of youth and adult themes, a young reader wants to be immersed in a world of new beginnings and exciting transitions, a world where anything is possible and hope is a guiding star.  A world of despair, overwhelmed by failed dreams and missed opportunities, is for an older audience.  As the subtle strings of an impossible dream are carefully wrapped around the young reader, the story teller will keep his audience coming back with repeated doses of hope and inspiration, and will make his audience happy captives with a plot that says we don’t give up, we will find a way, we will succeed, because life is worth the sacrifices we make.

JKJ:     Thanks, Berk and Andy, and best of luck with Pitch Green and the rest of the series. 

Jolly Fish Press is sponsoring some great giveaways! For details, visit the blog of the Brothers Washburn  at

and the official website for Pitch Green: (including a spooky book trailer)

You can also keep up with the Brothers Washburn here:

Twitter: @BrosWashburn

For more details on Pitch Green, or to review the novel, contact Kirk Cunningham at
PO Box 1773, Provo, UT 84603-1773 | |

Title: Pitch Green
Author: The Brothers Washburn
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press, LLC 
Trim: 5.5 in. x 8.5 in.
Format: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, 
Pages: 280
(HC) ISBN-13: 978-0-9886491-1-8
(TPB) ISBN-13: 978-0-9886491-2-5
(E-Book) ISBN-13: 978-0-9886491-3-2

Retail Price:
(HC) $24.99
(TPB) $14.99
(E-Book) $7.99
Genre: Young Adult, Horror
Region: US, CAN, UK, AU
Wholesaler: Ingram
Publication Date: March 16, 2013

Contact: Kirk Cunningham, Head Publicist: (801) 380-4503 |

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