This two-book (so far!) story has become one of my favorites, so I am so glad to get a chance to chat with author Bianca Sloane! Below, she talks about her super-compelling characters and what she’s working on next – sign me up!
As stated on my review, discussing this book involves spoilers for Live to Tell, the first book in the series. Please read/come back later accordingly.
Was it always your plan to “split” this story into two parts, or did the idea come as you were writing?
BS: It was not my original intention to split the story in two. The idea to do so came during the writing process. When I was finishing up “Live to Tell,” I realized I really wanted to know Jillian’s side of the story. She was pretty insistent! So, I started a draft of “Tell Me a Lie.” Butthen, I rewrote the second half of “Live to Tell” during the revision phase, so everything I’d written for “Tell Me a Lie” had to be scrapped. Even though it was a LOT of work, I think both books are much better for it.
How did you get into the new point-of-view for this second book?
BS: I’m one of those weird writers whose characters talk to them, so getting into Jillian’s head wasn’t that difficult. Sometimes, I might have a particular actor/actress in mind for the purposes of what a character sounds or looks like. In developing Jillian, I drew inspiration from the“Hitchcock Blonde,” the so-called icy blondes Hitchcock was famous for casting in his movies, such as Grace Kelly and Kim Novak, their characters recognized as being beautiful, sophisticated, cool, and cunning.
The narrator of this book, Jillian, is a cold-blooded murderer, but I found myself feeling sympathetic for her at points. Why was it important to show her various sides? Do you see Jillian as a tragic character or pure evil?
BS: To paraphrase Stephen King, even murderers will help the little old lady across the street.
I always want my characters to feel like walking, talking, breathing people. I think by and large, no one is ever one thing. We all have the capacity to be sweet or snarky with lots of shades of gray in between and I always try to show that with my characters. I don’t think of Jillian as evil or tragic (I think what happens to her in the end is a tragedy, even though it is of her own making), but rather someone who is misguided. She does all the wrong things, but in her mind, she does them for all the right reasons.
Will we be seeing any of these characters again? Maybe Charlotte or Chase?
BS: I’ve had a “maybe” story swirling around in my head for a little while involving Chase and his brother, Gabe (with an appearance by Charlotte 😊). It’s a really big blob, so I’d need to spend some time exploring whether the idea has any legs. In other words, anything is possible!
What are you working on next?
BS: I’m finishing up edits on my next book to get it ready for copyediting. I’m still mulling over the title, but it centers around one of my greatest fears – home invasions. I’m also in the midst of the first draft for the book after that. All I can say about that one is, never underestimate the viciousness of teenage girls.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
BS: Read and write. Read widely within the genre you want to write in, read books outside your genre. Reading a variety of stories is a great way to stretch and learn more about story structure, character development, dialogue, cliffhangers, themes, plots, and so much more.
I also can’t stress enough that craft books should be at the top of your pile. In addition to “On Writing,” by Stephen King, which should be required reading, I highly recommend anything by James Scott Bell. Also, “Screenwriting Tricks for Authors” by Alexandra Sokoloff is just a goldmine of information.
It goes without saying that if you want to be a writer, you have to write. It’s just that simple.