Published on June 9th 2015
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With a harrowing poetic voice, this contemporary page-turner is perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, Julie Berry's All The Truth That's in Me, and the works of Ellen Hopkins.
The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.
And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.
Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it's clear that Minnow knows something—but she's not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself.
Which comes first in your writing process, the title, or the content of you story? (Do you always know what your book’s title is going to be?)
The title for this book—and for most books I’ll write, I’d wager—came way after the content of the book. I’m pretty terrible at coming up with titles which is why for a very long time, the title of this book was just Minnow. The publisher wanted to give it a title that actually hinted at what the book was about, which is how we landed on The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly.
Let’s talk character names. How do you go about selecting names for characters in your book? Do the names you pick have any significance to you, or do you ever feel inspired by a name?
Generally, with character names, I wait and listen until I hear that character tell me their name. Often it takes some time, and sometimes if I’m still not hearing it, I’ll comb through Wikipedia until I come upon a name that feels right.
Minnow’s original name was Doreen, which I picked because I thought it was a sturdy, hard-working kind of name that her parents would actually give her. But the more I typed “Doreen,” the more I grew to feel that, considering everything she goes through, she ought to have a prettier name. Which is how Minnow was born!
How do you plot your books, do you write it down on paper/index cards/etc, or do you write on the fly? Do you ever find that your plot changes as you write, or does it stay pretty close to how you planned it?
It’s often a combination of both. I usually need some kind of outline to start with (and index cards once I have some plot established), but I discover at least half of the plot on the fly as I draft.
Do you have any authors who inspire you or your writing style? If so, who?
I love what authors like Melina Marchetta, MT Anderson, and Laurie Halse Anderson do, in that they shift genres from book to book. You kind of never know what you’re going to get with one of their books, but you know it will be exquisitely written. That’s something I aspire to.
What’s in your “Author Survival Kit”? (Pens, Caffeine, iPods, Prozac?)
Laptop, power cord, some kind of food, usually a beverage, and if I’m stuck in my writing, a book of poetry that I can read until I get back into a good writing headspace.
What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?
I’d love to visit Ireland, meet JK Rowling, and go on a road trip across the US and Canada.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Probably vegetable lasagna. I don’t make it very often since it takes so long, but it has all of my favorite foods wrapped up inside it.
What is something you never leave home without?
A book! I try to sneak reading in whenever I can.
What is your favorite movie?
Probably Singin’ in the Rain. That movie generates this feeling of pure, immediate happiness in me whenever I play it.
This is so hard, but I might say Death Cab for Cutie.
What are the last 3 books you enjoyed reading?
The first volume in Amulet graphic novel series (which was really fun and beautifully-illustrated), Adaptation by Malinda Lo (so page-turney and well-written—I love Malinda Lo), and Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann (fairy tale poems—‘nuff said).
What is your favorite word? (As in, what is your favorite word to say, or use in a sentence.)
This changes so often! The first word that comes to mind is “campanologist” (which means “bell-ringer”).
This or That?
Sunrise or Sunset?
Sunset (sunrise is too early).
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee, but tea is good for when I’ve already had too much coffee for one day.
Hot or Cold?
PC or Mac?
By Land, or by sea?
By land. I’m a huge fan of road trips.
Half-empty or Half-full?
Depends on the day! But I try for half-full.
Autumn or Spring?
Autumn, but I’m loving the springtime right now.
Summer or Winter?
Summer. I’m a teacher, so it means lots of time for reading and writing (though any temperatures over 85 degrees, I could do without).
E-book or Print Book? (Preferred reading)
Print book, for the most part.