Tuesday 3 May 2016

Secret Serendipity Seven with Sue Wallman

I am over the moon to have one of my fellow Bookbounder authors on the blog, Sue Wallman, who is the first one of our team to be published. Sue's been kind enough to let us into some secrets about her debut novel, Lying About Last Summer.
  • In earlier drafts of Lying About Last Summer Skye and Luisa were cousins, not sisters. I wrote it that way because I felt I’d read lots about sisters in YA fiction, but not much about cousins. Then I won a whole-manuscript critique with editor Natalie Doherty at a Society of Children’s Writers and Book Illustrators (SCBWI) conference and she said that a way to intensify Skye’s grief would be to make them sisters. I gave it a go and she was right. Here is a photo of me with my own sister, Clare. Those hideous purple outfits were our school uniform. 

  • A swimming pool is important in the book. I’m really into swimming but I only learned how to be a good swimmer in my twenties when my cousin Kate, over from New Zealand, taught me how to do front crawl. Up until then I’d been doing breast stroke with one leg doing a weird twist. 
  • People-watching was a family hobby when I was little. I love listening to snatches of conversations. When I’m on the bus or in a cafĂ©, I confess I sometimes disguise my earwigging by wearing earphones with the sound turned off. I’m particularly fascinated by teenage slang, which I hear a lot at home as I have three teenagers, but obviously I had to be careful not to use much of it in my book because it would date too quickly or might not be understood. 
  • In Lying About Last Summer there’s a karaoke evening. I used to want to be a musical theatre actress – until I realised I was too shy and wasn’t that great at singing. However, I know all the words to the songs from The Sound of Music – and here I am at my Sound of Music 40th birthday party!
  • There’s also a quiz evening in the book. I’m not a fan of quizzes. (*Shudders*) 
  • My main character in Lying About Last Summer used to live in a house called Yew Tree House. I chose the name because my grandfather and step-granny used to live in a road called Yew Tree Close. When I was little I thought their house was the height of luxury because it was so warm. We lived in an old draughty house with no central heating and I used to get dressed under the duvet. 
  • The first draft of Lying About Last Summer was called One Summer’s Day. My agent, Becky Bagnell, came up with the new title which reflected the darker nature of the book, and the double-meaning for lying worked perfectly.
The story centres around a girl called Skye, who is sent to a camp for troubled teenagers after her sister dies in an accident. However, once she is at the camp she starts receiving text messages from someone pretending to be her dead sister.
Information about the Book
Title: Lying about Last Summer
Author: Sue Wallman
Release Date: 5th May 2016
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: Paperback

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