Very excited to be part of the blog tour for One of Us is Lying hosted by Rock Star Tours!
About the Book:
Title: ONE OF US IS LYING
Author: Karen McManus
Pub. Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, & One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
As a kid I used to write books when I was supposed to be playing outside, and not much has changed. I'm a marketing and communications professional who also writes Young Adult contemporary and fantasy fiction in Cambridge, MA.
When not writing or working I love to travel, and along with my nine-year old son I've ridden horses in Colombia and bicycles through Paris. A member of SCBWI, I hold a bachelor’s degree in English from the College of the Holy Cross and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northeastern University. Which I have never, ever used professionally.
Karen was nice enough to write a guest post for The OWL. I asked her to talk about how you write a mystery that keeps everyone guessing. I'm always impressed and fascinated by someone who can do that well!
Here's what she had to say!
The art of hiding clues and keeping the ending a surprise (definitely needed with this book!)
When I was a kid I loved the game Clue. There was something satisfying about methodically piecing together bits of evidence until I could say with absolutely certainty that the murder was committed by Mrs. Peacock, in the library, with the candlestick. I wanted One of Us Is Lying to recapture that experience in narrative form—keep readers guessing, but also building on what they learned over time so that the puzzle, once solved, makes sense.
To keep suspense high, writers have to plant clues in such a way that they nag at a reader’s mind, but don’t beat them over the head. I used a few different techniques that I’ve culled through years as an avid mystery reader (and board game aficionado) while writing One of Us Is Lying:
- Unreliable narrators. Because One of Us Is Lying is very character-driven, its four main characters—Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy, and Nate—need to carry a lot of the suspense. They’re in the room for their classmate’s shocking death, which at first makes them objects of sympathy. But when investigators learn the death wasn’t an accident, they become suspects. So they needed to have layers of secrets—not only were they keeping things from their parents, their friends, or the police at various points, but sometimes they weren’t even honest with themselves.
- Several possible explanations. Throughout the book, investigators and others advance different theories: Did the four students plot Simon’s death together? Did one of them plan it and frame the others? Or could a different character be pulling strings? My intent was to keep all of these plausible for as long as possible.
- Red herrings. These are useful to scatter throughout a novel to keep readers from guessing whodunit too soon. I don’t want to provide specific examples from One of Us Is Lying (because spoilers) but in general red herrings can take lots of different forms. Suspicious characters who turn out to be innocent, clues that were planted by the villain, events that seem meaningful but aren’t … you get the idea.
- Ambiguous behavior. Characters in One of Us Is Lying often say one thing, but mean another. Sometimes they contradict one another or withhold information. And other times, their reactions simply aren’t what you would expect for the situation. All that contributes to a feeling of unpredictability and an uncertainly about who to trust.
The hope, of course, is that if you sprinkle your diversions and clues properly throughout the story, your readers are guessing until the very end. But even if that doesn’t happen, the experience can still be satisfying if everything ties together in a way that makes sense.
Thank you for sharing all that! I still don't think I could write a mystery well - one that keeps the reading guessing!
To see more tour stops check out this week's schedule and the tour page at Rockstar Book Tours:
6/12/2017- Eli to the nth- Review
6/13/2017- YA and Wine- Interview
6/14/2017- Smada's Book Smack- Review
6/15/2017- The O.W.L.- Guest Post
Zach's YA Reviews- Review-
3 winners will receive a finished copy of ONE OF US IS LYING, US Only.