Title:Deadly Sweet Lies
Publication Date:August 18th 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
1) What inspired the premise of this novel?
After I completed my first major revision/rewrite of Sing Sweet Nightingale under my editors’ guidance, they asked me for outlines and synopses for the remaining books in the series so that they could get a better idea of where I saw the story heading. My plan at the time was for a trilogy told entirely from Mari and Hudson’s points of view, so that was what I have them. Two more books of Mari and Hudson. What they did instead was point to Mariella’s cousin Julian from book 2 and ask “What about him? What’s his story? Can you tell his story?”
Once I concentrated on Julian, Nadette became the obvious counterpart and the rest of the themes of the book fell into place. Lies and truth are a huge one, but so is friendship and fear and family and all of the ways those things can impact someone’s life.
2) What was the biggest challenge encountered while writing this book?
Julian, actually. Getting the right balance of personality traits to make sure that people picked up on all of the most important facets of his thought process and background was a huge struggle. Which is funny considering that his cousin Mariella was the hardest to nail down character in the previous book. Obviously being stubbornly enigmatic runs in the family.
3) Following up that question, what was the most exciting part about writing this novel?
That instead of a dreaded sequel, I got to write what essentially amounted to a second book 1. Theoretically, you could jump into the series with Deadly Sweet Lies and understand everything. Although there are small references that make more sense if you’ve read Sing Sweet Nightingale, Deadly is less a sequel and more of an expansion of the universe. Book 3 on the other hand? That’s a true sequel.
4) Given the opportunity to swap bodies with one of the characters from this novel for a day, who would you choose and why?
This is an interesting one, actually! So many of my characters have powerful abilities that, in all honesty, kind of suck to deal with every day. If I had to live as any of them for a day it would be Anya Travieso, a minor character who has an incredibly talented artist. People think that if you can create one kind of thing you can probably create everything. Or at least other things. Not true. Despite my ability to build worlds and characters and stories, I do not have an artist’s eye. I am horrible at visualizing things vividly, but Anya isn’t and I have always wondered what it’s like to see the world the way an artist does.
5) This addition to The Dream War Saga is very much an extension of the dream world that readers were introduced to in the first novel except that it features very different protagonists. In what ways is this second installment similar to the first one and also, how are they different?
Like I said earlier, Deadly is practically a second book 1. Paired with Sing, it gives readers a much more wide-angle view of, well, everything. The timelines overlap heavily for a while and the characters from one eventually interact with the other. They’re similar in that they take place within the same world and follow the same larger story, but otherwise the shapes of the stories aren’t the same at all. Whether you look at the cast, the scope, the themes, or the romance, they’re all different from one book to the next. Which, quite honestly, is one of the reasons both books were so fun to write!
6) The Balasura have very ancient and dare I say original names. Did you partake in very extensive research into these names when first writing this series?
The character names for the Balasura I based off of obscure names I found in a wonderfully useful baby name app! Some of them are different spellings or combinations of names, but they are all names people do use. Or have once upon a time, anyway. As far as the words that name things within the dreamworld--like Balasura and Abivapna and others that haven’t come up in the series yet--I based those words on the ancient Sanskrit language, combining words until I found something both pronounceable and interesting. Names are very important (and also a lot of fun) to me, so I definitely spend a lot of time skimming through lists of names and words until I find something that fits. Luckily Sanskrit has a lot for me to pull from for the bits of the language I need to create.
7) At what age did you realise that you wanted to be an author?
I should have known at around 12 or 13--maybe earlier--but I didn’t. “Author” wasn’t ever one of the options they discussed when talking about what you wanted to be when you grew up and it never occurred to me that I could create the books I loved to read so much. It should have, though, considering that when my eighth grade English teacher told us to get into groups and create a picture book I not only did the whole thing alone, I turned the project into a 40-page mystery novella. I may or may not have been reading a lot of my dad’s James Patterson books at the time. I tried to write a fantasy novel in high school (and failed miserably because I had no idea what I was doing), but it wasn’t until I got into writing fanfiction toward the end of my college years that it occurred to me I might be capable of writing my own books and that someone might be willing to buy them.
8) What are some of your favourite childhood books and how have they impacted your life today?I have always been an absolutely voracious reader. I legitimately cannot remember a time when books weren’t a crucial part of my life. My parents, especially my mom, read to me and my sisters a lot. When I was a little older, I was the kid who packed half a suitcase of books for vacations and then made their parents stop at a bookstore for more in the middle of the trip. The Hobbit will always hold a fond place in my memories since my dad read it to us twice when we were little. I read most of the Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley books when I was in elementary school and then moved on to authors like Tamora Pierce before jumping straight into “adult” fantasy and mystery books. I didn’t have many friends until middle school, so books were my companions and my escape. Stories kept me sane and, hopefully, my books will do the same for someone someday.
You can purchase Deadly Sweet Lies on Amazon.
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