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MesajSubiect: Biography   Mar Feb 01, 2011 3:05 pm

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Sara Shepard is an American author known for the bestselling Pretty Little Liars series of young-adult novels.
Shepard graduated from Downingtown West High School in Downingtown, Pennsylvania in 1995, and got her undergraduate degree from New York University. She later received an MFA from Brooklyn College. She recently moved from Tucson, Arizona back to Philadelphia's Main Line with her husband and dogs.

Q: After finishing the final book of the Pretty Little Liars series, what was it like for you to write The Lying Game?

A: The Lying Game was definitely challenging—it has the same mysterious structure, but so many things about it are different: new characters to create, new voices to explore, a new setting, and two narrators: one living, one dead. It was hard to find the balance of when Sutton speaks and when Emma speaks, and I definitely had to write many drafts. It was exciting, though, and definitely rewarding when the process was over. I especially love the new device in which Sutton interjects with fully-drawn “memory” chapters in which she walks us through a very creepy scene from her past. It’s something that’s going to show up in every book of the series, much like the flashback prologues appeared in every PLL.

Q: One of our favorite similarities between PLL and The Lying Game is that both stories revolve around a tightly woven mystery. How would you describe the mystery at the heart of The Lying Game?

A: There are several mysteries: who killed Sutton Mercer, who is torturing Emma Paxton, and why Emma and Sutton never met when they were young. I love the past and family element of it—I can’t wait to explore that more.

Q: Introduce us to Emma Paxton and Sutton Mercer, the twins at the heart of The Lying Game, and tell us what you like most about each of them.

A: Well, Emma is plucky, resourceful, wry, and a bit world-weary—she’s lived her whole life in foster homes trying to be the ideal girl of every family. Plus Emma has never had a real family, so she’s forever wishing on stars, hoping that she’ll have some kind of place in the world someday. I like that Emma’s a chameleon, I like how she throws herself into being Sutton, and I like how she takes a chance on Ethan, one of the boys in the story, even though he’s not in Sutton’s clique.

Sutton, on the other hand, is a bit spoiled, a bit rebellious, and a bit nasty—as much the opposite of Emma as you could get. She’s had everything handed to her her entire life, and much of it she throws away (or so Emma and Sutton think). What I love about Sutton, though, is how she views her life and mistakes from her ghostly vantage—she begins to realize that she’s hurt some people and has some regrets. She also starts to appreciate her life in a way she might not have when she was alive. As we get to know Sutton better, we begin to understand her deeper, too—and we realize that she wasn’t always the maniacal, cruel, wild party girl she was when she left this world.

Q: You've always said that certain aspects of your personality made their way into the four Pretty Little Liars. Do Emma and Sutton resemble you in any way?

A: I think Emma is definitely like me—especially how she adapts to situations. And I think some of Sutton’s post-death reactions were spurred by my experiences as well. I’ve made mistakes in my past—we all have. I’ve let opportunities and friends go I shouldn’t have, and I have regrets. I’ve done not-so-nice things to people, and I wish in hindsight I wouldn’t have. But when I did them—when I was a teenager, mostly—I was just like, “whatever,” and moved on. Repercussions and people’s feelings didn’t matter as much to me, maybe because I hadn’t been hurt much myself. I was trying to harness how I would feel if I was suddenly Sutton and watching my life as a ghost. So that’s how I was able to get into her head.

Q: We noticed some cool nods to PLL in The Lying Game—like, Emma's Socktopus, which reminds us of Aria's Pigtunia. Are there other details hidden in the book that fans should keep a look out for?

A: It’s funny—Pigtunia and Socktopus are both stuffed animals of mine! Well, there will definitely be a lot of sleuthing in The Lying Game, which you’ll also find in Pretty Little Liars. Look out for incriminating photos and texts that might lead Emma closer to Sutton’s killer. I also make my usual nods to some of my favorite (or at least some of my most memorable) books: in Pretty Little Liars, I wrote a lot about The Scarlet Letter. In The Lying Game, there’s a nod to The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, which I love.

Q: We love all the quirky lists that Emma keeps in The Lying Game—like the CISS (Comebacks I Should've Said list), and the WTF (Ways to Flirt list). If you kept a CISS and WTF list, what would your #1 entry be for each of them?

A: I would’ve definitely kept a CISS list, and probably one of the top things would’ve been how to respond to a friend or a boyfriend in an argument. I am terrible when arguing—I sort of shut down, especially if someone is getting aggressive and loud with me. It’s only in hindsight when I think, “That’s what I should have said!” As for a WTF list—I never kept one of those. I was often too shy to flirt, or if I did, it was completely haphazard and unschooled. Something tells me Emma might be a little better at it—and Sutton would be an absolute master.

Q: Fans like to quote your books—especially your snarky notes from A. Can you describe what it's like when you write a line that puts a smile on your face?

A: Lines like that often come out of the ether, in a flash of lightning. But they also come from exhausting revisions or suggestions from my editors. So they should be as proud of those quotable lines as I am!

Q: Would you share your favorite line from The Lying Game with us and tell us why you like it?

A: In a later chapter, Emma finds Sutton’s journal and discovers the rules and regulations for The Lying Game, Sutton’s secret club with her friends. After reading the rules, she remarks that The Lying Game sounded like “Girl Scouts for psychopaths.” For some reason that line really makes me smile—it captures the essence of Emma. (And it’s actually a little bit true—The Lying Game club is quite insane.)

Q: A lot of your fans also aspire to be authors themselves. If you could give them just one piece of advice, what would it be?

A: Read a ton! Anything you can get your hands on—classics, romances, mysteries, poetry, non-fiction, the newspaper. The more you read, the more you’ll understand what works in writing and what doesn’t. When I was starting out, I tried to “imitate” writers I loved, writing paragraphs in their style. It sounds silly, but it actually works and got me writing. So pick a writer whose style and voice (or even characters or setting) really blow you away and got for it!

Q: You got us addicted to PLL and now we can't get enough of The Lying Game. Can you give us a hint about what's next for Emma and Sutton?

A: Emma is just at the tip of the iceberg of the mystery of what happened to Sutton…and she’s about to realize that some pretty unsuspecting people might be her biggest threats. And, oh, she has a near-death experience in Never Have I Ever. All in a day’s work though, right?

[Trebuie sa fiti înscris şi conectat pentru a vedea această imagine]
[Trebuie sa fiti înscris şi conectat pentru a vedea această imagine]

[Trebuie sa fiti înscris şi conectat pentru a vedea această imagine]

she is the darkness to your light.

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