Welcome back to the second week of Spies, Murder and Mystery! Celebrating my release of A Spy Like Me!
Today we have Nova Ren Suma with us. She’s the author of Fade Out and Imaginary Girls. Both will be released in paperback in June with new covers! I read this book called Imaginary Girls and ended up loving it! The mythical relationship between sisters is not easy to show and having an older sister, I related. So I asked Nova to talk to us about mysterious girls.
Nova has run some incredible blog series about Turning Points and authors of upcoming releases. Check them out if you haven’t yet.
I’m drawn to mysterious characters. The characters who give you pause, who make you question. The ones you need to know more about… And then you discover that the more you know, the more mystery there is to unravel. They’re complex. They’re flawed. They’re impossible to truly know, which to my mind makes them all the more real. I think that’s why I created Ruby, the larger-than-life older sister in my novel Imaginary Girls, or, really, why Ruby found me and forced me to sit down and write about her. I wanted to know who she was, and she wanted to play a cruel little game with me to keep me guessing.
It’s the mystery of Ruby that propels that novel—and so much of that comes from telling the story in the voice, and through the lens, of Chloe, the younger sister who idolizes every single thing Ruby does and yet still doesn’t fully understand her. She can’t. I admit I loved telling Ruby’s story through those eyes. I never want a mysterious girl to be stripped of all her mystery.
I wonder where this fascination came from. Even in my first published novel—originally titled Dani Noir, but you’ll see a new version of it on shelves this June called Fade Out—my narrator, Dani, goes searching for a mysterious femme fatale in her small sleepy town, even if there’s no true “femme fatale” to be found for miles. There are the secrets. The lies told behind closed doors. And how Dani idolizes a true mystery girl on-screen, none other than Rita Hayworth, star of glamorous noir movies like Gilda.
Even my upcoming book, 17 & Gone—which is such a mystery I haven’t revealed the summary yet!—is peopled with a whole cast of mysterious girls. You might just say the book wouldn’t exist without them.
I’m simply intrigued by a girl who inspires questions. And I don’t want easy answers.
So who are some mysterious girls from books I’ve read that catch my imagination?
Hannah in 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher: The whole story is set up to unravel Hannah and reveal why she chose to take her own life. Once the truth is exposed, it’s heartbreaking.
Bev in The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour: Colby can’t keep his eyes off Bev, and neither can we. Why does Bev do what she doe—say one thing and then change her mind and do another?
Mandarin in Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard: I remember being drawn to girls like this when I was in high school, wanting to be their friend, never at first realizing what dark, unruly secrets they kept hidden.
Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote: I know this one isn’t YA, but I can’t help but be obsessed with the mysterious, fascinating figure who makes this novel what it is. We only see her through the eyes of another, and we never quite catch up to her.
Francie in The Blonde of the Joke by Bennett Madison: In this novel, Val tries to be like her gorgeous, exciting new friend Francie, but who is Francie, really? And what does becoming like Francie really entail?
Margo Roth Spiegelman in Paper Towns by John Green: It’s an obsession with the girl next door that drives this mystery and the ensuing adventure adventure. We want to climb out the window and follow her into the night.
Who are some mysterious girls you find yourself drawn to in books?
Comment to win a pre-order of the Imaginary Girls paperback or a signed copy when Nova receives her author copies. Your choice! And please tweet with @laurapauling. Thanks!
Welcome to week two! We’re celebrating my release of A Spy Like Me:
Stripping your date down to his underwear has never been so dangerous.
And I wanted to celebrate by hosting authors in my genre.
When I heard about this kid who published his work I was curious. Then when I learned he wrote a spy novel – I had to contact him for this blog series. You might’ve heard about him before. Spencer Brokaw author of The Impenetrable Spy. He just started a new grog called Inkslingers Press dedicated to supporting Indies. And he likes to write about spies!
Curious about what his friends and family think? And when he finds the time to write? Read on!
Where do you find the time to write?
Finding the time to write can be very hard, between schoolwork, socializing with friends, and spending time with my family. I normally get to my writing on the weekend or in the summer. Sometimes I squeeze some writing into the week, but normally don’t have enough time. In the summer, I finish most of my novels, and end up starting new ones with the abundance of time, and there is no homework or projects to worry about.
What do all your friends, family, and teachers think?
They are very proud of me, and are very interested in my writing. My friends think it’s cool, but don’t bug me about it much, mostly because they know it’s an odd topic for me to discuss. Writing is like my separate life, but I’ll mention something to my friends if I think they’ll be interested. My family has gotten very interested, and likes to stay up to date on my writing, and my publishing process, as do my teachers.
What do you like best about your spy stories?
What’s not to like about a world that you have complete control over? Writing is a way to express yourself, but also to entertain yourself in the process. Sharing it with others is amazing, and is really fun for me to hear feedback, whether it is good or bad. Spy stories are the best. They involve high-speed chases, secret missions, stealthy agents, awesome weaponry, futuristic technology, stealth tactics, sports cars, and bad guys that will always get in the way of your protagonist. Writing a spy story is like playing a video game, only you control the plot. I love writing, and don’t plan on stopping any time soon.
Love it. And that’s what it’s all about. Having complete control over our world and loving what we write. Some might say that thirteen is too young to publish – I think it’s awesome! There’s no better way to improve than feedback from readers and going through the fire of publishing. So kudos to you, Spencer. And best of luck!
Spencer will be offering one ebook of The Impenetrable Spy to one person in the comments. Please tweet!
Thanks for stopping by everyone! What do you like the best about the genre you write?
So the posts are rolling in and I’m loving what I’m reading and can’t wait to share it with all of you in the next three weeks.
What? Haven’t you heard?
To celebrate A Spy Like Me I’m holding a 3 week Spies, Murder and Mystery Marathon.
But here are some sneak peeks!
Six common challenges when writing a traditional mystery and some ideas for getting around them, by the fabulous Elizabeth Spann Craig, author of Quilt or Innocence.
Don’t miss it!
What does the Deepwater oil spill, the European debt crisis and the barefoot bandit have to do with Elisa Ludwig’s YA debut, Pretty Crooked?
You’ll have to wait to find out!
When does a 13-year-old author find the time to write? And what do his teachers and friends think?
Spencer Brokaw of The Impenetrable Spy tells all.
Teddy bear cams, rearview sunglasses, listening ears, video pens – all needed spy equipment.
Find out how Gina Robinson uses them in her fiction, The Spy Who Left Me.
Hollywood scandal inspires Anne R. Allen to write The Gatsby Game.
Curious about which scandal? Return next week!
Becca Puglisi, co-author of The Emotion Thesaurus talks about cake, er, I mean sub-plotting and editing.
Don’t miss out!
That’s just a taste of what’s coming. More great authors. Terrific info! Lots of stories behind the stories. And, of course, book giveaways!
See you next week!