Thursday, January 31, 2013

Daphne Benedis-Grab Author Interview

Photo Content from Daphne Benedis-Grab

Daphne Benedis-Grab, author of The Girl in the Wall, earned her MFA in creative writing from The New School, where she began the thesis that became her first book, Alive and Well in Prague, New York. She has worked a number of jobs including buildings houses for Habitat for Humanity and teaching adult literacy classes. She lives with her husband and their two children in New York City. 


Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
When I was a kid I was a voracious reader -- lots of Judy Blume, Madeleine L'Engle, Lois Duncan and then this tween romance series called 'Sweet Dreams' that always made my mom roll her eyes. From that came a desire to write though I don't remember one moment where it crystallized; it's more that it was just always there in the back of my mind.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
I have gotten some good advice over the years but I think one of the things I hold closest is to write what you love. It's tempting to want to write to a trend or write what you think someone else might want to read, but if you aren't utterly in love with your own story, if it isn't something that comes from your heart, then the already challenging task of writing becomes nearly impossible. And really boring.

In your new book; The Girl in the Wall, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
I always have trouble summing up my books in just a few sentences -- I tend to go off on tangents that seem important to include but probably aren't. So here it is as stripped down as I can manage: Ariel's birthday party was supposed to be the event of the year. But moments after a private concert with rock star Hudson Winters begins, the small group of high school students, including Ariel's former best friend Sera, are taken hostage. Ariel flees to the hidden tunnels in her home while Sera forms an unlikely alliance with Hudson as they try to make it through the night. But when the hostage plan goes awry, they soon find themselves fighting for their very survival.

What part of Ariel did you enjoy writing the most?
She is strong and sassy but hiding a lot of pain. I loved writing her voice, which was often sarcastic, one of my favorite things in a character. And I also enjoyed her arc, the very she grew over the course of the story.

For those who are unfamiliar with Sera, how would you introduce her?
Sera has spent the last nine months being ostracized by all her former friends so at the start of the story she is feeling pretty beaten down. But she has a natural optimism and faith in people that has not been snuffed out and that serves her really well over the course of the story, especially in the romance department.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I am working on another thriller right now. I had such fun writing The Girl in the Wall that I didn't want to leave the genre!

When asked, what's the one question you always answer with a lie?
I am a pretty honest person but I am not above lying to get out of something I don't want to do, especially if it involves housework or having to go out in the rain.

What's the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
I think the best advice I can give is the advice I was given: write from the heart and tell the story you want to tell. If you write from an authentic place then the voice of the story will truly be yours.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
My husband though he forgets to turn his phone on half the time!

What is your favorite room in your home and outside environment? 
We have a small apartment in NYC that is high in the sky and has windows all on sides. It's cozy and quiet and flooded with light and I love every room we have in it!

Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
This morning I talked to my sister- she is the person I call the most and the one I call on a bad day if my husband's phone is off.

Who was your first boyfriend?
In third grade I had a crush on Ritchie Merrel and came up with the idea of starting a detective agency together so that I could be his girlfriend. But after a terrific beginning and a two day stint of officially being a couple, things fell apart over a case that went south and we didn't speak for the rest of the year.

Who was the last person you hugged?
My kids when I dropped them off at school this morning -- they are still young enough that me hugging them outside the classroom is not mortifying.

What is the one, single food that you would never give up? 
Chocolate -- 72% dark chocolate, the French kind that is insanely expensive yet so worth it.

Ariel's birthday weekend looks to be the event of the season, with a private concert by rock star Hudson Winters on the grounds of her family's east coast estate, and all of Ariel's elite prep school friends in attendance. The only person who's dreading the party is Sera, Ariel's former best friend, whose father is forcing her to go. Sera has been the school pariah since she betrayed Ariel, and she now avoids Ariel and their former friends. Thrown together, Ariel and Sera can agree on one thing: this could be one very long night.

They have no idea just how right they are.

Only moments after the concert begins and the lights go down, thugs open fire on parents and schoolmates alike, in a plot against Ariel's father that quickly spins out of control. As the entire party is taken hostage, the girls are forced apart. Ariel escapes into the hidden tunnels in the family mansion, where she and Sera played as children. Only Sera, who forges an unlikely alliance with Hudson Winters, knows where her friend could be. As the industrial terrorist plot unravels and the death toll climbs, Ariel and Sera must recall the sisterhood that once sustained them as they try to save themselves and each other on the longest night of their lives.

Daphne Benedis-Grab’s thriller, The Girl in the Wall, is the story of former best-friends who are forced to be together for one night that turns out to be a night they will never forget. The weekend is set for Ariel’s birthday bash headlined by a private concert by rocker Hudson Winters. All of her prep school friends are just as excited as her except her former best friend, Sera. They had a falling out when Sera betrayed Ariel but Sera’s father is forcing her to attend the extravaganza. She’s been avoiding Ariel and her former friends since the fallout, and now the two are pitted together for one night. The party is quickly interrupted by armed thugs plotting against the birthday’s girl’s father. Dead bodies are everyone and the remaining is taken hostage. However, Ariel escapes into the secret tunnels of the mansion. Sera remembers the tunnels and calls for the Hudson to help her find her former friend. Their childhood memories of playing inside these tunnels will now serve as the key to saving themselves and each other on this horrific night.

The beginning of the story seemed like the typical story of two teenage girls who were once best friends. Author Daphne cleverly steers readers into this direction and quickly swerves them into a pleasantly surprising twist. Once the thugs come into play, the story completely takes a 360 turn into an electrifying thriller-mystery. The dual perspectives of hostage and escapee gave a clear understanding of this magnificent plot in two very important, yet different points of view. The writing style of Daphne is clever and even though of the bloodshed, remained joyful. It was a nice chance from the usual paranormal beings being killed. This time is was real people, people who are friends. It couldn’t get any more real. The Girl in the Wall is a heart-pounding thriller that will satisfy any reader. It will naturally have readers on the edge of their seats guessing what the outcome of the main characters will be.


"Two high school seniors re-evaluate their failed friendship under dangerous circumstances. Benedis-Grab alternates between the two girls' perspectives; nearly every chapter ends with a cliffhanger, keeping tension high. The action and high stakes should keep readers engaged." Publishers Weekly

"Told in alternating voices ... this compelling narrative includes a touch of romance. Readers will find this mystery satisfying." School Library Journal

You can purchase The Girl in the Wall at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you DAPHNE BENEDIS-GRAB for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a copy of The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab.


  1. Does deoderant count? If so, then it would be the Adidas kind! Thanks so much Daphne and Jean!!

  2. Any kind of perfume from Victoria Secret I love there perfumes thanks for the givaway!

  3. Chanel... don't remember what number

  4. I love flora by gucci and funny! by moschino :)

  5. Japanese cherry blossom from bath and body works:)

  6. I wear Midnight Fantasy by Britney Spears.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. one from bruno banani - forgot the name

  8. I wear Wonderstruck by Taylor Swift :)

  9. Thiery Mugler - Angel & Alien

  10. Classique by JPG. It's my favorite among the perfume bottles I have.

  11. Usually a Bath and Body Works spray-- Sea Island Cotton scented.

  12. Midnight poison :D

  13. I don't wear perfume usually...if its a special occasion I usually just borrow one of my sisters or moms scents lol
    oddball2003 at hotmail dot com

  14. I don't wear perfume usually :S but yes deodorant hahaha.

  15. I use Japanese Cherry Blossom body mist. I love it!

  16. "Shi" by Alfred Sung.
    Thanks for the guveaway!

  17. My two favorites that I have are Gucci and Burberry. The Gucci smells SO GOOD! I can't get enough of that one. Thank you for a great giveaway!!

  18. Can Can by Paris Hilton :D
    Love when they're sweet yet citrus at the same time :D

    Why the question though... <333

  19. I don't usually wear perfume.
    Sometimes I use a sweet body spray from Avon.

  20. I can't wear perfume . . . My nose gets really irritated by it.