Five Books that Influenced my Debut

Before I dive into my actual post… If you missed it, you’ve got eleven more days to enter my INT pre-order giveaway of FRAYED! Super-easy to enter, and the winner will be drawn randomly & emailed once the giveaway is over. :)

Last week, I was thinking about the books that inspire me, as a writer. This largely depends on what I’m writing at the time—for example, if I were to talk about my current work in progress THE EMPIRE OF STARS it was be completely different—so this post is geared a lot toward mystery/thrillers… both YA and adult. AND SO, here are the top five books that inspired Frayed in some way (in no particular order.)

1620851. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard. To sum these novels up three words: lies, betrayal, and secrets. And that, basically, is what Frayed is all about, and shaped it into what it is today. I’ll admit I wasn’t introduced to the books until I’d watched the TV show, but I love them both in their own way. There’s friendship, family, and bone-chilling mysteries.

These were the books I turned to whenever I felt down or wanted some inspiration; these were the books that made me initially rewrite Frayed after NaNoWriMo. I’m so, so grateful for these books (and the show, really—I feel like they built on the book series in a way that books simply can’t) and they were a HUGE influence in the way I wrote. Sara Shepard’s other series are just as good, but these books will always have a special place in my heart, I think.

192880432. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This one took me awhile to get into, but once I did, I was completely and utterly entranced by it. I loved the flawed, realistic characters you’ll love and you’ll hate, the mystery of what happened with Amy—and most of all, I loved how we got to see the story from two different sides. And. That. Ending. (also, book rec: If you enjoyed Gone Girl, then you’ll probably love The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I finished this the other day and totally know why the comparisons are there. They’re similar, but also wildly different and brilliant in their own ways, with a gritty, realistic look at alcoholism.) fyi: both these books are adult, not YA.

160747583. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. If you haven’t read this book yet STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND GO READ IT. Such a heart-pounding plot, and so, so many twists and turns, and complex, fascinating characters. By the end it’ll seriously make you reconsider everything you’ve thought about the characters, and… let’s just say it has one of the most jaw-dropping ends I’ve ever, ever read. I read Dangerous Girls shortly after I signed with Sourcebooks, and it make me work just that much harder on Frayed to make it the best novel it could be. So if you haven’t read Dangerous Girls… go read it. 100% recommend.

64427694. Paper Towns by John Green. Confession: I still haven’t seen the movie. I know, I know, I’m so behind. (I’ll get to it eventually, I swear.) But there’s mystery and humor, and characters I loved and hated. And, of course, John Green’s witty, impeccable writing style never fails to inspire me and is insanely quotable. There’s one particular quote in Paper Towns that always stood out to me, and to this day, has stuck with me:

“Margo always loved mysteries. And in everything that came afterward, I could never stop thinking that maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one.”

And I absolutely loved that element of the story: the fact that everyone seemed to adore Margo, but underneath, she wasn’t the person everyone thought she was. At the same time, though, she was gritty and real, and John Green wrote her character fantastically. With flaws—but with heart, too.

161433475. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. One of the most exceptional things about this book was the beautiful, elegant writing style, and that certainly influenced me a lot when I was revising. Although I did guess the ending of this one, everything was just so cleverly done I was able to appreciate it anyway. A really enjoyable read for anyone who enjoys mysteries, a hint of fairytales (another great aspect of We Were Liars were the “fairytales” throughout, which were stunning and gorgeous and gave some wonderful clues) and lovely writing.

“We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken.”

Also… I think a movie adaptation of this would be AWESOME.

To all the writers out there—what books inspire you to write? Do we have any in common?

And speaking of books, did you hear that Random House will be publishing books for DC characters (feat. authors Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, and Matt de la Peña)!? Are you as freakishly excited about that as I am!?

27 thoughts on “Five Books that Influenced my Debut

  1. OH MY GOODNESS THIS MAKES ME SO EXCITED FOR FRAYED. I pre-ordered it yesterday (I figured since I worked on Easter Monday I’d use the extra money to buy books…no regrets). But yessss I love books with mysteries. Dangerous Girls was just mind-blowing.

  2. This makes me super excited for Frayed (which I got approved for yesterday!!!) I loved Gone Girl so much (and The Girl on the Train for that matter). We Were Liars was another I was completely taken by. I am reading Dangerous Girls this month and am really pumped to finally get to it. I love a good mysterious book with some secrets and twists!!

  3. Well, of the five above I have read Paper Towns, which I really enjoyed! I do own Pretty Little Liars, despite not having read it yet, and I’ve been eyeing Gone Girl and We Were Liars for what feels like years. I haven’t heard of Dangerous Girls but now I’m intrigued! :D So excited for Frayed, obviously!!! That’s at the top of my wishlist!

  4. If your book is anything like Dangerous Girls and We Were Liars I already know I’m going to love it! xD Now I’m even MORE excited to read Frayed – if that’s even possible! ;) Thanks for sharing Kara and, as always, fabulous post! <3

  5. Great post Kara – it’s so interesting to see what books have inspired your work. Gone Girl, Dangerous Girls and We Were Liars were all stellar reads for me – I’ve been getting even more into thrillers more lately as well (Dark Places by Gillian Flynn and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins are also amazing reads). I can’t wait to read Frayed, it looks like something I’d love :)

  6. Pingback: The Weekly Hufflepuff #28

  7. Ahhh I LOVE and adore Dangerous Girls and We Were Liars and Paper Towns…omg Paper Towns is just a goldmine of really intensely good thoughts. Like I also like the quote about how dangerous it is to put people up on pedestals without truly getting to know them? So true. John Green honestly is such a good writer. :’)

    *whispers* This just makes me more and more excited to read Frayed!! :D

  8. Ooh, this is awesome! The only book I’ve read from this list is Paper Towns (which although had the customary witty dialogue and thought-provoking issues that John Green always touches upon, didn’t really impact me the way TFIOS did), but I’ve heard only great things on the others! I love the theme of secrets, mystery, and realism that all these books have. :D

  9. I haven’t read any of these books yet! But most of them are on my to-read list, which is way too long. I’m sure i’l read Frayed before the others though, because I like to put Aussie authors first! :)

    And how exciting is it that those awesome authors are writing books with DC characters. I can’t wait to read them!

    Whenever I read Melina Marchetta, Sarah J. Maas and Lani Taylor I feel inspired to write.

    • Thank you, lovely!! I hope you’ll end up enjoying FRAYED.

      I’m so, so excited for the DC character books. Usually I prefer Marvel—but the authors chosen are just so wonderful I’m sure they’re going to blow me out of the water.

  10. Congrats on your debut of FRAYED!! That is so cool! I’ve heard nothing but great things about We Were Liars (just got it yesterday! yay!) and Gone Girl was great. Can’t wait to read yours :)

  11. That’s it, I need Frayed this instant. You’ve just listed some of my favourite books of ever – Gone Girl and Dangerous Girls, and I loved We Were Liars as well! It’s always interesting to see where writers get their inspiration from.

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