Hey everyone! I can’t even begin to express how excited I am to have Caroline B. Cooney here for an interview today! Seriously, Caroline B. Cooney was my childhood! I read (and re-read) The Face on the Milk Carton, Goddess of Yesterday and The Ransom of Mercy Carter so many times, I lost count! So my 13-year-old self is pretty much shrieking non-stop right now! Okay, I’m done fangirling… not really, but I’ll try to contain myself! So first, here’s the cover and synopsis for Caroline’s new book, No Such Person (July 14th 2015, Delacorte Press):
From the author of the multimillion-copy bestseller The Face on the Milk Carton, this riveting new thriller, set against the backdrop of a bucolic summer town on the Connecticut River, will have readers guessing until the very last page, as a seemingly innocent sibling rivalry and newfound young love turn into something much more devastating than anyone could ever have imagined.
Miranda and Lander Allerdon are sisters. Miranda is younger, a dreamer, and floating her way through life. Lander is older, focused, and determined to succeed. As the girls and their parents begin another summer at their cottage on the Connecticut River, Miranda and Lander’s sibling rivalry is in high gear. Lander plans to start medical school in the fall, and Miranda feels cast in her shadow.
When the Allerdons become entangled in an unimaginable tragedy, the playing field is suddenly leveled. As facts are revealed, the significance of what has happened weighs heavily on all. How can the family prepare for what the future may hold?
“Jangling suspense juxtaposed with cozy details of family life keeps thriller master Cooney’s latest zooming along.” — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“Full of twists and turns . . . has all the elements that keep young mystery lovers coming back for more.”–School Library Journal
“No one writes suspense like Cooney . . . . Haunting, harrowing, and hard to put down.”–Kirkus Reviews
“Cleverly plotted . . . rooted in suspense . . . fully satisfying. Mystery fans will be delighted.”–Booklist
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Book Depository | IndieBound | Kobo
And now here’s the interview! Enjoy!
Question: Congratulations! No Such Person will be out in two weeks (and will be celebrating its Book Birthday when this interview goes live). How does it feel?
Answer: I’ve written more than ninety books, but the excitement of a new one never diminishes. It’s so marvelous to hold the real book in your hands for the first time. This one also has a wonderful cover, evocative and spooky.
Question: No Such Person sounds amazing! What inspired the idea for the plot?
Answer: I had a little red cottage perched on a bluff over the Connecticut River. In the summer it was busy with motorboats, kayaks, sailboats, and tugs pushing or pulling oil barges. One day I saw a boy in a small speedboat playing chicken with a barge the size of half a football field. I thought, You could murder a water-skier that way. Tow him in front of the barge, ease up on your speed, drop him in the water, and here comes the barge. He’s cooked.
Immediately it began to shape into a book.
What if you are looking out on the river one beautiful day, and you and your sister both stand helplessly watching this terrifying event? But you are watching it from different heights and different perspectives. You know immediately that the driver of the boat planned and executed the death of his friend. But your sister doesn’t see it that way. She is filled with compassion for the driver, who, she insists, is guilty only of carelessness. What if your sister now begins to date that young man? A man you believe to be a murderer?
Question: You’ve been writing and publishing books for a long time! How do you keep your plots fresh and interesting and your characters realistic?
Answer: No Such Person was very exciting to write. It’s a double narrative, with each sister in a separate but overlapping nightmare. I’ve written over ninety books and I don’t think I’ve ever written a book in the present tense before, let alone two different first persons.
Question: The Face on the Milk Carton came out in the early 1990s. How has the YA market changed since then? What’s the most significant thing you’ve seen happen since your first YA book was published?
Answer: My first YA was published in 1980, so that’s thirty-five years ago! Topics today are so much deeper and sometimes—though not usually in my own books—so much darker. Covers are more artistic and graphically satisfying. The readership is much wider—it used to be about sixth through ninth grades, and now you have a lot of readers in fourth and fifth grades and plenty of readers in high school. Books are available in digital format, which seems reasonable and logical to my young readers but which I still find absolutely astonishing.
Question: You’ve written across several genres. What’s your favorite genre to work with and why? Do you have a favorite book that you’ve written?
Answer: It depends on my mood. I always want a lot of action; I want the good guys to win, and that means, the book has to have good guys. It’s not the genre that matters, it’s the characters. You have to have great people that a reader will root for.
Question: The Face on the Milk Carton was turned into a movie. What was that experience like?
Answer: I had a big movie-night party. The local cable company ran temporary wires around my house so we could put televisions all over the place. My sixth-grade teacher, who started me writing, was able to come to the movie party! Such a kick for both of us.