Lucienne: Shifting Gears
I've been writing since I was eleven years old. At first it was a lot of wish fulfillment, like my story about the girl in the forest who tamed the unicorn—oh, how I wanted that to be me! (Yes, I was one of those girls, the unicorn girls. There was hardly a space on my walls that wasn't taken up with their images.)
And then—well, as I write, it occurs to me that there wasn't really an and then. Not for a long while. The two series I've written, Vamped and the Latter-Day Olympians, have featured snarky heroines who are tough enough to take on anything life throws at them. They're special. They have powers, not the least of which is thinking of that perfect one-liner I'd only ever come up with after the moment had passed. I love these girls. I want to be them when I grow up. Well, maybe not Gina so much, since I do like my tanning options, but certainly Tori from the Latter-Day Olympians series with two hunky guys falling all over themselves for her and the ability to quite literally stop men in their tracks.
But with Faultlines, I'm writing about things I wouldn't wish on anyone, yet teens deal with them on a daily basis. Sure, I put my issues into a suspense plot, but that only ups the tension and stakes rather than lessens them. I couldn't wisecrack my way through this book. My tone had to change. This was difficult for me at first. As my critique partner could tell you, my first few beginnings were too light in tone. Too flippant or distant for what was going on. My character, Vanessa, needed to be wrecked. Really and truly. Her best friend Lisa had just committed suicide, and she didn't know why. Lisa had pushed her away, pushed everyone away, a few months prior to her death. Vanessa blames herself for letting it happen, for not fighting harder for the friendship and for not seeing the signs. She's dealing with horrible guilt on top of her loss and gets herself through things by finding a purpose, the search for answers about why Lisa did what she did. Unfortunately, that search brings danger to her door.
This was the hardest thing I've ever written. To tap into Vanessa's emotions, I had to tap into my own. Books don't develop in a void. They're spawned from our own experiences, and this book came from a deep, dark place within me. I was afraid to access that place, afraid that rather than me illuminating the void, the darkness would reach out to snuff my light. I needed a very strong and powerful light as a talisman against that dark, both for Vanessa and for myself. That talisman came in the form of her little sister Ari, who she dubs the "tiny terror". Ari is alternately irrepressible, troublesome and sweet. She's a force of nature, and she will not be denied.
With all the sorrow in the world—the terrible stories of bullying and harassment, suicide and other violence turned inward or outward—it's vital that we all find our light, that thing that banishes our darkness, whether it's people who love us, furbabies (or scaled or feathered babies) who count on us or art that refills our well. When you find your light, shout down any voice, internal or external, that tells you that it's frivolous or a unacceptable or anything else. Especially, don't bully yourself. It's self-care, and it's crucial.
I love my strong, snarky heroines, but I want to speak for others as well, just as in Faultlines, where Vanessa needs to speak for Lisa when she can no longer speak for herself.
|I love this cover, don't you? Deborah|
In case you're interested in learning more about the book or (yes!) getting a copy for yourself, here are a couple of recommendations, the book blurb, and a couple of links. If you have any questions for Lucienne, go ahead and ask them! She's going to be GIVING AWAY A SIGNED COPY to one lucky commenter!
“Vivid, suspenseful, and charming, Diver creates a world where anything can happen in this must-read page-turner.” —Carrie Jones, New York Times bestselling author of the Need series
“Faultlines blew me away! A tense, suspenseful read that will break your heart and keep you guessing right up until the very end.” —Amy Christine Parker, author of GATED and ASTRAY
Six months ago Vanessa Raines lost her best friend.Lisa had changed, pushing away everyone close to her, even Vanessa. She had quit soccer. Started wearing dark and dismal clothes. She refused every offer to talk and suffered whatever she was going through in silence. Now she’s really gone. Suicide they claim, but Vanessa knows that isn’t right. It can’t be.Vanessa blames herself for letting Lisa chase her off. She wants answers, so that she can put to rest the rumors surrounding Lisa’s death and so that she can move on, heal. But Lisa left no note and the journal she was always scribbling in—which might tell all—is mysteriously missing.As Vanessa struggles to come to terms with the loss of her friend and to reconstruct the last months of Lisa’s life, someone calling themselves “Poetic Justice” begins taking revenge against those he or she thinks drove Lisa to suicide. Everyone at school believes Vanessa is this mysterious “Poetic Justice”. It’s easy to blame the former best friend, and Vanessa makes an obvious target.Struggling with her own guilt, Vanessa is determined to ignore the threats and allegations aimed her way. But as Poetic Justice’s vengeance takes a darker turn, retaliation against Vanessa begins to escalate, from cyber bullying to violence, putting both her and the little sister she adores in the line of fire. To protect them both, she has to find out who’s behind the attacks before things turn deadly. And hope she can survive the truth.