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readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Story Secrets: DEADLY LITTLE GAMES by Laurie Faria Stolarz

We are very excited to host Laurie Faria Stolarz, author of the TOUCH series: Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, and now the third book, Deadly Little Games, just released this week!

Laurie is here to chat about the secrets behind Deadly Little Games...

Welcome, Laurie!

*****

High school juniors Camelia and Ben have discovered a powerful bond: they both possess the power of psychometry, the ability to see the future through touch. For Ben, the gift is a frightening liability. When he senses a strong threat or betrayal, he risks losing control. Camelia’s gift is more mysterious. When she works with clay, her hands sculpt messages her mind doesn’t yet comprehend. Before either one has a chance to fully grasp their abilities, a new danger surfaces, but this time, Camelia is not the target. Adam, a familiar face from Ben’s past, is drawn into a puzzle he can’t solve. . . and his life is on the line. As the clues pile up, Camelia must decide whether to help him and risk losing Ben or do nothing and suffer the consequences. But in these games, who can be trusted?

And here is an excerpt from DEADLY LITTLE GAMES:
With only a few minutes of class remaining, I close my eyes again, still picturing Adam’s mouth. I try to imagine what he would say if he knew what I was doing. Would he suspect that I was interested in him? Would he think it was weird that I remember so much detail about the moment that night inside his car? Would he tell Ben what I was up to? I take a deep breath and try my best to focus on the answers. But the only words that flash across my mind, the ones I can’t seem to shake, don’t even address the questions at all. “You deserve to die,” I whisper, suddenly realizing that I’ve said the words aloud.


Holly Cupala: I love to hear the stories behind the story – how did you come up with the idea?

Laurie Faria Stolarz: I wanted to write a story where the main character has to struggle with the idea of falling in love with someone who could potentially be dangerous. I tinkered with this concept in the first three books of my Blue is for Nightmares Series [(Blue is for Nightmares (Llewellyn 2003), White is for Magic (Llewellyn 2004), and Silver is for Secrets (Llewellyn 2005), as well as in Bleed (Hyperion 2006)]. In Bleed, in particular, there’s a young male character who was convicted for the murder of his girlfriend. His next relationship consists of pen pal letters he exchanges with a young girl while he’s in prison. Without giving too much away, the relationship is briefly pursued once he is released, and I wanted to bring this concept to another level.

Additionally, I wanted to continue experimenting with the supernatural (which I also use in my Blue is for Nightmares Series as well as in Project 17), showing how we all have our own inner senses and intuition, and how with work we can tap into those senses and make them stronger. I started researching different types of supernatural powers and discovered the power of psychometry (the ability to sense things through touch). The concept fascinated me, and so I wanted to bring it out in a character, showing how sometimes even the most extraordinary powers can also be a curse.

Lastly, I wanted to apply these concepts to be part of a series. I love the idea of growing main character over the course of several books.


Holly: What would you say is your biggest inspiration?

Laurie: I get my inspiration from all over – TV, magazines, news headlines, ideas and themes that interest me, lessons I learn, etc., etc. I’m always looking for something new and something deeply relatable for people. I got the idea for my novel Project 17, for example, when the newspapers in the surrounding towns were flooded with the news of the controversial teardown of an abandoned mental institution that was rumored to be haunted.


Holly: How have your life experiences helped you get to the heart of your story?

Laurie: I think what’s most important for me is that my stories are relatable in some way. Though there are definitely extraordinary things happening, I want my main character to be someone people can relate to. I try to tap in to my inner teen and remember what it was like to be a young person. I try to bring those emotions out in my work.


Holly: What do you most hope your readers will take away?

Laurie: First and foremost, I hope that my work is enjoyable to my readers – that it keeps them turning pages, anxious to find out what happens. I wasn’t a big reader as a young person. A book would have to be a real page-turner to keep me reading. When I started writing books for young people, I wanted to target teens who were like me in that respect – those who didn’t necessarily gravitate toward reading for pleasure. Secondly, though there’s a lot of dramatic action that takes place in my books, there are messages in there as well – lessons about forgiveness, forgiving oneself, moving forward, learning and letting go, etc., etc.


Holly: Any secrets you might be willing to share?

Laurie:
I once ate a maggot by mistake. It was in high school and I was on a date with a new guy that I really liked him. We stopped to get slices of pizza after a movie. After chatting, and laughing, and munching on my pizza, I suddenly noticed an odd gummy texture inside my mouth. I looked at the crust, noticing half a maggot, cooked and embedded into the crust (I’d obviously eaten the other half). I was so repulsed, but didn’t say anything, because I didn’t want to make a fuss. I would’ve done things differently now, but to this day I refuse to eat at that particular chain.


Holly: What’s up next for you?

Laurie:
I’m currently working on Deadly Little Voices, the fourth book in the Touch series. I’m also writing the third book in The Amanda Project.

*****

Thank you for dropping by readergirlz, Laurie!

~Holly Cupala