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.)
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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!?