Q&A with Samantha Waxman on Young Adult Thriller “The Forces Within”

img_6490Samantha Waxman is a senior at Oliver Ames High School in Easton, MA. Some of her hobbies include cheering for her high school’s team, hanging out with friends, and spending time with her dog Rosie. Samantha’s favorite subject in school is history, and she is excited to start her senior year.
Samantha was asked a series of questions about young adult novel “The Forces Within” by Stacy Padula, which is the 5th book in the Montgomery Lake High Series.

Q) There is a hidden message (or many) woven throughout this book – what do you think one is and why?

A) I believe that one of the hidden messages in the book is Chantal and Andy being split up. They both had different experiences while being apart (Andy’s “dream” with Leslie and Chantal being stuck in the dumbwaiter being visited by the angel.) Although Andy was in a coma during this surreal dream, it translated into their real lives when he woke up and you can feel the distance between them. Something has changed between the two of them and even you don’t find out what happens yet, you can almost assume it is not good.

Q) How is the topic of spiritual warfare covered in this story?

A) It seems as though many characters in this particular book are struggling with their spiritual views. They either want to be more religious or feel like their friends are just taking things way too far. Characters such as Katherine are trying to find themselves amongst the drama of her friend group. Whether that means leaving her best friends or leaving her boyfriend, she wants to become closer to a more spiritual group of girls such as Chantal. Chantal is struggling with the fact that Andy is not in tune with his religion enough. She believes that since his coma, he needs to be more connected with God, almost as a thank you for letting him live.

Q) What parallels do you see between everything that happened at Fallen Lake and Andy’s life in Montgomery?

A) I found it really interesting due to the fact that almost everything that happened in Fallen Lake correlated to something happening in Montgomery. I thought it was strange that Kat and Bobby were on the verge of a breakup and she was hanging around with Jon more. It was also strange to see Chantal find the hidden chapel but also deal with internal struggles in real life.

Montgomery Lake High #5: The Forces Within
After being trapped inside his own body, unable to communicate with anyone but his own thoughts, Andy Rosetti finally wakes up from the coma that controlled his life for one month. But upon awakening, Andy finds himself and his friends in an unfamiliar setting: a mansion riddled with secrets and supernatural forces. As his friends fall prey to the entities encompassing them, Andy must figure out if the darkness lies within the mansion’s walls or within the people surrounding him.


Published by Author Stacy A. Padula

Stacy Padula has spent the last 14 years working daily with teenagers as a college counselor, mentor, and life coach. She was named "Top Inspirational Author of the Year" for 2022 by the International Association of Top Professionals (New York, NY). In 2021, she was broadcast on the famous Reuters Building in Times Square as "Empowered Woman of the Year." Her Gripped book series is currently being adapted for TV by Emmy-winning producer Mark Blutman. She is the founder and CEO of Briley & Baxter Publications: a publishing company that donates a portion of its proceeds to animal rescues each month. She has edited and published a variety of titles, including Boston Bruins Anthem Singer Todd Angilly and Rachel Goguen's The Adventures of Owen & the Anthem Singer, LaTonya Pinkard of Netflix's Last Chance U's Nate & His Magic Lion, and former NHL player Norm Beaudin's memoir The Original: Living Life Through Hockey. Stacy resides in Plymouth, Massachusetts with her husband Tim and two miniature dachshunds, Briley and Baxter.