If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I really enjoyed Sue Wallman’s debut novel, Lying About Last Summer, which had huge success in the Zoella Book Club as well, and so I jumped at the chance to have a guest post from Sue on my blog! Sue’s books are chilling and intense, and I would recommend them without hesitation. See How They Lie I thought was particularly creepy and sinister. Today’s guest post from Sue is on why she set her latest novel, See How They Lie, in the USA.
But first of all, the book’s cover (look how intriguing and somewhat terrifying it is!) and blurb to whet your appetite.
All’s not well at the Hummingbird Creek wellness resort. No one can see in. No one can get out…
New from the talented author who brought you Lying About Last Summer: a psycho-chiller to wake up your darkest phobias. If you got to live in a luxury hotel with world-class cuisine, a state-of-the-art sports centre and the latest spa treatments, would you say ‘yes please’?
Well, that’s kind of what Hummingbird Creek is like. No wonder Mae feels lucky to be there. It’s meant as a rich-kid’s sanatorium, but she isn’t sick. Her dad is the top psychiatrist there. But one day Mae breaks a rule. NOT a good idea. This place is all about rules – and breaking them can hurt you…
Why See How They Lie is set in the States
As I developed Hummingbird Creek, a luxurious wellness retreat and psychiatric facility in the middle of nowhere, the setting for See How They Lie, it felt far more American than British. It wasn’t just the climate and the vast landscape that I’d described in the first chapter. Health services are highly regulated here. I don’t think we have the same level of extreme wealth, or quite the same cult of the celebrity doctor (although Dr Christian Jessen if you’re reading this, I’m a massive fan).
I spoke to writer friends and my agent about the setting. I discussed relocating the Creek to Dartmoor or somewhere in Scotland, or even a private island. I wasn’t feeling it though – because by that time, I could see the Creek in my head. I could feel the brittle warmth and see the exotic, beautifully tended plants, and the flat arable land beyond the perimeter fence that stretched as far as the eye could see. I’d listened to recordings of hummingbirds and I could hear their snipping song as Mae, my main character, does outdoor exercise. My editor said it didn’t matter where I set the book and to do what felt right. So I stopped dithering and got on with actually writing the thing (easier said than done).
During the editing process, my editor at Scholastic left, and the person who took over was Linas, who’s American (Lithuanian-American to be precise) and he was THE perfect person to help me nail the American aspects, as well as all sorts of other aspects.
Setting wasn’t something I thought about when I first started trying to get published. It was hearing Lucy Christopher (author of Stolen, set in the Australian desert) speak that made me think differently. She said setting sets the tone for a book, and in some cases it becomes almost like another character. With Lying About Last Summer and See How They Lie the setting became crucial – because in both books I needed it to be alluring but claustrophobic.
While I was doing intense edits on See How They Lie to a very tight schedule, it felt as if I was half living in my Creek world – and let me tell you, that was very unsettling!
Sue Wallman has lived in various places, including a hospital in York where her father was a psychiatrist. Sue has also lived in Paris where she was an editorial assistant for an American newspaper. She now lives near Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.
Sue has always loved words. After attending Oxford Brookes University, Sue became a magazine journalist. She has been a sub-editor, letters page editor and deputy features editor.
In May 2016 Sue Wallman’s debut novel, Lying About Last Summer, was published. Her second novel, See How They Lie, is out in March 2017.
Thank you to Sue for writing such an interesting blog post for today – See How They Lie is such a good book, and so if you haven’t already grabbed a copy, I would definitely suggest you do!
Also, very excitingly, the lovely people over at Scholastic have offered me the chance to give one lucky winner their own copy of See How They Lie – a big thank you to them for this and for arranging the guest post! All you need to do for a chance to win is follow me on Twitter, and retweet the tweet below.
— Jess (@bookendsendings) March 13, 2017
Terms and Conditions
- The winner must be following me on Twitter, and must have retweeted the above tweet.
- The winner must be prepared to give me their mailing address.
- The winner must provide a UK mailing address.
- The prize on offer is one copy of See How They Lie by Sue Wallman. There are no alternatives.
- The competition is open from 7:00 am on Monday 13th March 2017 to 9:00 pm on Monday 20th March 2017. Entries outside these times will not be taken into account.
- The winner will be chosen at random from those who have retweeted the tweet.