Blog Tour: Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten (Interview + Book Birthday Spotlight)

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Beware That Girl (May 31, 2016 – Delacorte Press) blog tour. This book looks AMAZING and I can’t wait to read it! So, of course, I’m beyond excited to be on this blog tour and even more excited to be celebrating Teresa’s Book Birthday with her by way of an awesome interview!

Here’s more about the book:

BTG For fans of We Were Liars, The Girl on the Train, and Gone Girl, this powerful psychological thriller with multiple mysteries is set against the backdrop of the megawealthy elite of New York City. Toten delves into the mesmerizing yet dysfunctional world of those who manipulate but seem ever so charming. With its gripping pace and Hitchcockian twists, Beware That Girl will keep readers guessing until the very last line.

The Haves. The Have-Nots. Kate O’Brian appears to be a Have-Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of—some more sinister than others. But she’s determined to change that. She’s book smart. She’s street-smart. Oh, and she’s also a masterful liar.

As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her “people” among the senior class “it” girls—specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had.

When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he immediately charms his way into the faculty’s and students’ lives—becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal—and can’t afford to ignore. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?

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And now for the interview! Enjoy!

Question: Congratulations on the release of Beware That Girl! What are your plans for release day?
Answer: I suppose a day of prayer and quiet contemplation is out of the question?? I’ll actually be writing all day (deadline) and then off to a giddy dinner celebration with friends and family.

Question: Beware That Girl has been described as Gossip Girl meets Gone Girl, and the kind of book that will appeal to fans of We Were Liars and The Girl on the Train. Think about those comparisons for a minute. What are the first three words/reactions that come to mind?
Answer: Oh. My. God!

Question: What inspired the plot for Beware That Girl?
Answer: Friendship. I know . . . but there really is nothing more complex or beautiful, and in this case terrifying than the relationship of two best female friends. I don’t outline or plot any of my books but for years I had in my head that first scene of two blonde girls in the ICU, one gravely injured and one a bit of a wreck sitting beside her. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I sat down to write to find out which girl was in which position and how they got there. I didn’t know how the book was going to end until I wrote the ending!

Question: According to the synopsis, Beware That Girl is “set against the backdrop of the megawealthy elite of New York City.” Why is this setting significant? Could the story have been told in any other setting?
Answer: I wanted/needed a glittering surreal backdrop of wealth and privilege so that the reader could taste and feel Kate’s intense yearning for it all. That degree of wealth also allows those girls a world of freedom that might not be available to them in another environment. Other cities do of course have strata of tremendous wealth but it’s not as deep and wide as New York City’s. I felt I needed a playground that was that big and that outrageous. Perhaps even more importantly, I lived in New York for a few years. I know the streets, the stores, the restaurants the aromas and the rhythms of the neighborhoods. I felt that “feel” for the city might be critical to the integrity of the story.

Question: Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
Answer: Ha! I had to Google so, so many weird things for Beware That Girl! Google is a life-saving first step, but it usually has to be followed up by steps two, three and sometimes four. I Googled whether it was possible to kill someone with a Le Crueset frying pan and if there would necessarily be blood (I didn’t want blood). Then I had to confirm that with talking to a doctor friend. And then I had to have my poor husband stand with his back to me while I sort of swung the pan at him at various angles so I could get the trajectory and his fall position right.

Question: What are three must-have items when you sit down to write
Answer: Well, to start, nobody can be in the house but my dog, Cheever. I wander around trying out dialogue and reading bits out loud in full voice to see if the rhythm is right and to catch the biggest clunkers. It’s beyond embarrassing. So, I have to start with an empty house. Then I must have espresso coffees followed quickly by huge mugs of tea. In other words, when I sit down to write I’m a lonely, highly caffeinated author who talks to herself.

Question: What book are you currently reading?
Answer: I just finished a new and terrific YA fantasy called Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan and I’m just going to start an old (1956) novel called Peyton Place because it’s calling to me.

Question: Are you working on anything new?
Answer: Yup, I’m in the middle of that must be alone, over-caffeinated talking to myself agony stage.


TTAbout the Author:
My earliest and most fervent ambition was to grow up and take my rightful place among the other mermaids. When cruel and insensitive adults crushed that dream by insisting that mermaids did not exist, I settled on the more mature aspiration of becoming an intergalactic astronaut. Then I realized that math would likely be involved. So, in the end, I went to Trinity College at the University of Toronto where I got a BA and then an MA in Political Economy taking great care not to take a single English or Creative Writing class. The only thing I knew for sure was that I was never ever going to be a writer. That would be silly, fanciful and well, unrealistic. And then I started to write…

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