Emily Kazmierski has written YA thrillers that I’ve loved and is back with her latest book: Good Girl, Dead Girl. This is definitely one you will want to check out. It had me hooked from the start. Emily took some time for me to answer some questions for today’s interview. Keep on reading to find out more about this author and her latest book.
Everybody in Hacienda has heard the story of that night.
Intrepid high school journalist Gracia Cuoco was murdered. The last person to see her alive? Valencia Lamb’s father–the town’s respected sheriff. Who disappeared after visiting the crime scene.
Six months later, Valencia can’t let it go. There has to be something crucial she’s missing.
Tired of waiting for the interim sheriff to crack the case, Valencia starts her own investigation. But the deeper in she gets, the murkier the waters. Someone in Hacienda doesn’t want Valencia to know what really happened, and they won’t hesitate to make her disappear, too.
What inspired you to write Good Girl, Dead Girl?
After i finished writing Don’t Close Your Eyes, I knew I wanted to write a longer series, really dig in with a group of characters and write their stories. In addition, I loved YA series like Veronica Mars and Riverdale, that set their dramas in small towns. I already had the setting–Hacienda, from the Don’t Look duology, so I went from there. I was attracted to the idea of a sheriff’s daughter who is ostracized from the only community she has ever known when suspicion falls on her dad. Add an estranged best friend from the “wrong side of the tracks,” a golden boy love interest, and a frenemy who makes the main character’s life even more difficult, and I had a plot I was excited about.
How was writing this book different than your previous books?
Writing Good Girl, Dead Girl was a lot more difficult than my previous books, for several reasons. It took me some time to find Valencia’s voice. I wanted her to be smart and scrappy, and a little rough around the edges. I find that, often, rougher female characters are difficult to balance. They still have to be likable enough that readers root for them, even if they don’t always agree with them. It was a challenge.
What has been your favorite part of your author journey so far?
My absolute favorite part of my author journey is hearing from readers. Every message I get about one of my books gives me the biggest grin. I especially love it when a reader lets me know they couldn’t put my book down, or that it made them cry. Or that it evoked any strong emotion, really. It means my words affected them, and that is powerful.
If you were a character in Good Girl, Dead Girl, what kind of character would you be?
If I was a character in Hacienda, I’d perobably be a bystander, or one of the teenagers’ moms. I’m too old to be a main character.
In all seriousness, I’d love to say I’m like Valencia. Dogged in her determination to find out what happened to her close friend and her dad, but I don’t know if I would have the skills, or the deviousness to pull off her investigation. Perhaps I would be Miss Wayne, Val’s well-intentioned teacher.
Do you have a favorite quote from Good Girl, Dead Girl?
One of my favorite parts, because it’s so sad, is this: “I’m locked into place between my best friends, breathing hard. Nothing to shield my heart as my mom steps into the doorway. Sees it’s not her lost husband. Only Portia, Destin, and me.
Her knees buckle. And finally, finally she breaks.”
Could you give us five random facts about this book (writing, research, anything really)?
1 – One of the main characters is based on Weevil from Veronica Mars, because I love that guy.
2 – Esau, Taryn, Audrey, and Noah from the Don’t Look duology have a cameo in one scene.
3 – Originally, GGDG was going to be dual POV, but as I was writing I discovered it worked better when told only from Valencia’s POV.
4 – An alternate title I was considering was Dead Girls Tell No Tales, but it sounded too much like a pirate book, so I changed it. Titles are tough.
5 – There are subtle references to Harrison Ford throughout. This is because Sheriff Lamb, Valencia’s dad, loves the actor. He got that characteristic from me, who grew up watching Ford’s movies with my dad. In this instance, art imitates life. 🙂
Good Girl, Dead Girl is a book I definitely recommend and I can’t wait to read more about Valencia’s crime solving adventures. Emily Kazmierski is an author to keep an eye on!