Hey there, fellow book nerds! Welcome to another week of #BeyondTheBio! James here, and I’m joined by bestselling author Karen McManus. Her debut book, One Of Us Is Lying, has been out for less than a year and has already been translated into thirty languages and been optioned for an upcoming television show. One Of Us Is Lying is a twisty mystery that is guaranteed to keep you reading into the early morning. We’re giving away a signed copy, so be sure to stick around to the end of the interview! Let’s get to it!
James: Hey Karen! Thanks so much for joining us today. Your bestselling debut novel, One Of Us Is Lying, was one of the twistiest books of 2017. Can you tell our readers a little about what they can expect?
Karen: Hi, thanks for having me! Well, first off, I should acknowledge that the title is a misnomer because almost everyone is lying. The book is a mashup of all my favorite things: locked-door mystery, unreliable narrators, slow burn romance, and people who think they have nothing in common getting thrown together and finding common ground. Also lying. Lots and lots of lying.
James: So I want to know about high school Karen. Were you more of the brain, the beauty, the criminal, the athlete, or the outcast in high school?
Karen: I was closest to the brain, although I didn’t have Bronwyn’s self-confidence. Personality-wise, I was more of a people-pleaser like Cooper.
James: You've said your book is partly inspired by the classic film The Breakfast Club. Several other movies come up throughout the movie as well, including the Divergent films. It made me wonder... What are some films or TV shows you'd recommend we add to our Netflix queue?
Karen: I just finished binge-watching American Vandal. It’s a hilarious, faux-documentary take on the high school experience that also examines how we judge people’s character based on who we think they are—which is one of the themes in One of Us Is Lying, too.
James: Speaking of TV shows, I hear that One Of Us Is Lying is going to be a TV series! Major congratulations are in order! If you could cast yourself as any one character, who would it be?
Karen: I’d like to play Addy’s sister Ashton. Not only is she a great older sister, but she’s one of the only consistently reliable characters in the book. You can always trust Ashton’s take on something.
James: One Of Us Is Lying is your first published book, but I have to ask... Did you ever write any books before this one?
Karen: Of course! I don’t know many writers who got agented with their first book, let alone published. I wrote two books before One of Us Is Lying, both more in the fantasy vein. I had never tried writing contemporary until my critique partners pointed out that all my fantasy-world teens sounded like they lived in 2015. They were absolutely right; my voice is very contemporary, and when I finally matched that to a modern plot everything clicked.
James: What advice would you give to teens hoping to one day become published authors themselves?
Karen: Find writer friends. Not only does it make what can be a very solitary pursuit more fun, but you grow so much as an author when you exchange work with others.
James: Here at PickMyYA, we often share #Pick6 where we highlight six books we think our followers would love. What are six other YA books you'd recommend for readers who enjoyed One Of Us Is Lying and are looking for other suspenseful reads?
Karen: Little Monsters by Kara Thomas, Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig, Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson, Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart, The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis, and The Truth Beneath the Lies by Amanda Searcy
James: What's next for you, Karen? Rumor is you have another book coming out in 2018! Anything you can tell us about it?
Karen: The publication date is still TBD, but the book is another standalone YA mystery, set in a small town with a tragic past where history might be repeating itself. And we just came up with a title I love, but I can’t share it yet.
James: One last question, so let's make it a fun one... What's one upcoming book that makes you very excited for 2018?
Karen: Just one? Impossible! But I’ll try—I’m very excited for The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, which is releasing on February 6th. It’s an incredibly fresh, immersive fantasy with vivid characters, and it also happens to be one hell of a page-turner.
That wraps up today’s interview with Karen. Don’t forget to click on the picture below and enter to win a signed copy of One Of Us Is Lying, along with a themed bookmark. Winner must live in the United States. We’ll see you back here again next week, when Isela will be interviewing Alice Broadway about her dazzling new book Ink. See you then!