Sara Faring’s debut novel The Tenth Girl, which I will SHAMELESSLY tell you RIGHT NOW I LOVED (you can go read my review, which I linked if you don’t believe me), releases THIS TUESDAY, September 24th. And I KNOW, I GET IT. Your wallet has a hole in it. Your bank is wondering if you’ve gone mad by now, BUT you just HAVE to trust me. The Tenth Girl is calling. Heed the call.
As apart of the Fantastic Flying Book Club Blog Tour, I was honored to have been granted a chance to interview Sara prior to the release of The Tenth Girl. After exchange emails to set-up the questions and everything? I had just one thought, really. How can someone so lovely, so graceful and, well just a good soul, really, write such a wicked, devious horrifically mind-bending novel?
Unfortunately, that question is not answered in the interview below. I’m not sure there is an answer to that question, as I’ve begun to realize it is of the case when it comes to authors and their craft. However, I guarantee you will be enthralled getting to know Sara, as I was, all the same.
1) Have you ever taken a favorite book and rewritten the ending to help getting past a creative block/practice/rethink different way a twisted ending could go? Not because you didn’t like the ending of that book, just to give you a different perspective from your WIP but keep thinking about that part of the writing process?
I do this all the time in my head. I want to shake my brain in its sloshy skull and beg it to give us a break (read, brain, read and relax!), but… it is quite useful.
But gosh, I shiver like you wouldn’t believe when an ending is juicier and more luminous than anything I could have imagined. Ripe moon fruit.
I have too much information about Mavi and Angel. They’re many-faceted individuals just like us, talking all the time, about their many thoughts, in the throes of their many moods—and my job as an author is to decide how best to lay their story out onto the page. So much in my head—in the world of the characters—doesn’t squeak its way into the final draft, because my books need structure. (I… need structure.) These details live on in my private book journals.
3) Music is definitely a mood for me. I don’t know that I’ve connected that to reading but I’ve definitely seen a commonality with The Tenth Girl. There is a lot of thunderstorms, late nights, cabins, the woods, being alone… for someone who is not usually atmospheric in their reading, can you explain what the connection is between these pieces and your debut?
The Tenth Girl is so atmospheric because I wanted to live in miraculous Patagonia for several more months than I could in real life. Music helped get me back there.
To write this book, I alternated listening to nothing at all, haunting scores, and nature sounds (played on the computer, since I live around more concrete than grass right now). Haunting scores on loop work best. Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, and Olafur Arnalds: I salute you.
4) What are your favorite reality shows? Are there any non-reality shows that you feel have the best darky/twisty plots?
Bachelor in Paradise and Love Island. It feels like I’m watching National Geographic. I’m an introvert, so I’m fascinated by watching extroverts interact. Humans are endlessly interesting. I prefer the plot lines that are completely inane and show weird psychological tics at their boldest. I tend to fast forward through lots of bits.
Non-reality shows with dark/twisty plots… the German show DARK comes to mind.
5) To date, what is the strongest/most intense reaction someone has had to The Tenth Girl? Did you expect it?
I did not expect it, but I dreamed it might happen one day: a few people have written to me late at night explaining they read the book—a 464 page book—in close to one sitting. They floated in starry shock for a few minutes, then turned back to the beginning to savor the clues they missed and reread the book through a new lens.
6) There is a common structure with books such as The Girl With All the Gifts, Wilder Girls and The Tenth Girl (the former two both being YA and/or adult NYT Best Sellers). It is the way the story unfurls itself. You learn things as the characters do and so the twists and mystery are built in because they are as unknowing as you are.
To me it is enthralling, suspenseful and a slow burn that is impossible to put down. It is one of the most enjoyable forms of writing and I would think, one of the most difficult to pull off. But it is also very divisive. Readers like it or they don’t. To some readers, it is slow and/or off paced. Did you know that would be the case going in or that is a writing style that can be very divisive among readers? Is it a style you have enjoyed and gravitated to as a reader?
This is my favorite type of book. To me, reading is about disappearing into the intricate world created by another’s singular imagination, and I don’t want to be dragged through a narrative like one of those kids on leashes you see in theme parks—I want to be the kid who is tingling with excitement as his mom drives up to the theme park gates, aware that this could be the best day of his life, so he better soak in every detail. I proceed through the book slowly, absorbing the strange sights and as I go, and by the end, I’ve had the most unexpectedly glorious day.
Sara Faring Biography:
Born in Los Angeles, Sara Faring is a multi-lingual Argentine-American fascinated by literary puzzles. After working in investment banking at J.P. Morgan, she worked at Penguin Random House. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in International Studies and from the Wharton School in Business. She currently resides in New York City.
Her first novel, The Tenth Girl, will be released by Macmillan/Imprint on September 24, 2019. Sara is represented by Sarah Bedingfield at Levine Greenberg Rostan Agency.
The Tenth Girl Synopsis:
Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.
At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.
Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.
One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.
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