Monday, March 10, 2014

Lizzie Friend Author Interview

Photo Content from Lizzie Friend

I’m a YA author living in Chicago with my husband and our son, Lincoln. My first novel, a contemporary thriller, will be published in late 2013 by Merit Press.

Among my obsessions are fantastic books, fantastically awful TV shows, biking, running, and all things food-related. By day, I’m an analyst, and I write about things that aren’t nearly as much fun as political conspiracies; dark, writhing underbellies; and other important stuff like the prom.

If you have any questions, comments, or you just want to yell in caps at someone about how great/awful/amazing some book was, feel free to shoot me an email through the contact form. I’d love to hear from you!

For more about me, my book, writing life, and the publishing process, take a look at my blog .

Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t know that there was one single moment, but throughout my childhood books were just a constant presence. I read every chance I got—in the car on the way to soccer practice, while walking to the bus stop, not so slyly under the table at dinner, and everywhere in between. I have always enjoyed writing, but I never really considered attempting a book until just after college. I had just started my first job, and I was sitting in my tiny little office thinking about who knows what, and it just hit me suddenly how badly I wanted to write a book. The idea of putting a story out in to the world and actually having people read it—whether they enjoyed it or not—was just incredible. For some reason it had never felt like something that was even remotely attainable, but I after that I just couldn’t get it out of my head.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
This is truly an impossible question! I’ve loved so many books for so many different reasons at different times in my life, but some recent favorites have been Where’d You Go Bernadette?, Visit From The Goon Squad, and Gone Girl. One of my all-time favorite authors would have to be Ken Follett. I read Pillars of the Earth at 14 and spent the next decade reading and rereading all of his books. I’m a bigger fan of his historical soap operas (Pillars, A Dangerous Fortune, A Place Called Freedom) than his spy thrillers, but they’re all great. In YA specifically, I couldn’t get enough Lois Duncan as a kid. I love anything dark, twisted, and just a little over-the-top—in case the plot of Poor Little Dead Girls didn’t already give that away.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
This is another tough question, but I’ve gotten a lot of really great advice from some of the other (truly wonderful) authors represented by my agent, Lauren MacLeod. The best takeaways for me have been to write what you want to write, not than what you think you “should” write. Also, be patient. Can’t emphasize that one enough.

In your new book; Poor Little Dead Girls, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
PLDG is about a girl who transfers to a prestigious East Coast prep school on a lacrosse scholarship, only to find out that everything about the school—the beautiful campus, the even more beautiful students, and the reason she was invited to attend in the first place—are a little darker, a little creepier, and a lot more dangerous than she could have imagined. It’s a really fun contemporary—think Pretty Little Liars mixed with a political thriller and just a little bit of Lifetime movie-style camp to keep things interesting. Oh, and prom dresses. Lots and lots of prom dresses.

For those who are unfamiliar with Sadie, how would you introduce her?
Sadie is smart and strong and funny, and she’s not afraid to stand up for herself. She’s also insecure, a bit of a whiner, and she doesn’t always do the right thing—at least not right away. She’s not 100% likeable all the time, but I love that in a main character. Perfect is boring, and imperfections are what make characters people I actually want to hang out with for a while.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m going to keep obnoxiously quiet on that one for now, but there are so many projects I would love to pursue. I think there’s definitely more to Sadie’s story, and I’d also love to experiment with adult fiction at some point in the future.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Oh wow, good question. I’m not sure about individual characters, but in terms of worlds, I think Thayer might fare suspiciously well in the Hunger Games universe.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
“Do negative reviews bother you?”

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
My husband. He truly is my best friend in the most nauseating way possible.

What is the hardest thing you ever had to do?
About two years ago, I had to make the impossible decision to have my dog euthanized when he was in the early stages of stomach cancer. I know dogs aren’t people, and I can’t even imagine how much more difficult going through the death of a family member or close friend would be, but it was just incredibly hard in ways I wasn’t remotely prepared for. I still have a hard time thinking about it, and I will never know whether I made the right decision.

Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
My (day job) boss. Sorry, that’s so boring.

Who was your first boyfriend?
Ha! A really nice boy in my sixth-grade class who I’ll spare the embarrassment of mentioning by name. We were totally clueless about what “dating” was really supposed to mean, but we held hands at school, went to Great America once and basically never talked again until one of us decided we should “break up.”

Who was the last person you hugged?
My son. He’s a year and a half old, and about 30 pounds of bright red-haired, huggable chub. He’s the best.

What is the one, single food that you would never give up?
Doughnuts. I will not apologize.

“A girl wins a scholarship to an elite boarding school and finds herself entangled in a powerful secret society that threatens her life. Friend writes with a sure, often witty touch … .The story is both immersive and topically relevant. A promising suspense debut.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Will give the toughest of readers goose bumps. With suspenseful pacing and Gothic diction, Friend skillfully develops each character in this novel, which blends themes of romance and friendship with the glam of Cecily von Ziegesar’s Gossip Girl and a sinister private-school mystery reminiscent of Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Boys”— Booklist

Perfect people aren't just born. They're made.

The first time she is blindfolded and kidnapped, star-athlete and posh boarding school newbie Sadie is terrified. She wakes up in a dark room surrounded by hushed whispers, hooded strangers, and a mysterious voice whispering not-so-sweet nothings in her ear.

But once the robes come off, she realizes it’s just an elaborate prank designed to induct her into the group that’s been pulling the strings at Keating Hall for generations. The circle has it all--incredible connections; fabulous parties; and, of course, an in with the brother society’s gorgeous pledges.

The instant popularity is enough to make Sadie forget about the unexplained marks on her body, the creepy ceremonial rituals, and the incident that befell one of her teammates the year before. So the next time Sadie is kidnapped, she isn’t scared, but she should be. The worst of Keating Hall is yet to come.

You can purchase Poor Little Dead Girls at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LIZZIE FRIEND for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Poor Little Dead Girls by Lizzie Friend.


  1. There are a lot that I would like to try again in my past, but when I think about it...if I change my past, my present and future will change. In the end, after contemplating on it, whether it was good or bad, I wouldn't change anything in my past.

    Thank you Lizzie, Merit Press and Jean for this amazing giveaway!

  2. I can't really think of much that I would want to try again. Maybe Scuba Diving?

  3. I'd like to try high school again.

  4. Yes there is lots of stuff that I would like to try again to many to tell but on my top of the list I would like to try collage again! thanks for the great giveaway!

  5. I'd love to try skiing again.

  6. the time when I had a chance to join dance classes but I didn't and now I really want to