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    Nov 08, 2016 | 304 Pages | Young Adult

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    Nov 08, 2016 | 304 Pages | Young Adult

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Praise

Dark, twisty, and thrilling.” —Danielle Paige, New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die 

 “A delicious and fast-paced read! This one kept me up way past my bedtime!” —Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’

“[A] swiftly paced blend of mystery and psychological suspense.”—PW

“Addictive . . . sure to appeal to fans of Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars.”—Booklist

“Not your typical dying teenage girl story.”—SLJ

“This was absolutely perfect. It’s got cool characters, an interesting plot and a shriek-inducing ending. Translation: I read it in one sitting and recommend it to all.” —The Book Trap

Author Q&A

A Q&A with the author of DEAD GIRLS SOCIETY, Michelle Krys

  
Dead Girls Society is about a girl who starts out playing what she thinks is a game, but soon the promise of a prize is replaced with the fight to survive. Where did the idea for this story come from?
 
The creative process is so varied for me. Some of my book ideas have come to me effortlessly, while others I’ve had to go after with a club. Dead Girls Society was the latter. I knew I wanted to write a book with the mystery and intrigue of Pretty Little Liars, but with a fun competition element à la Panic by Lauren Oliver, so I sat down and brainstormed ideas with my critique partners, family, friends—essentially anyone within a hundred-mile radius of me while I was plotting—until I landed on this idea.
 
Hope suffers from cystic fibrosis. What inspired you to tell her story?
 
I really wanted to explore what it would be like to be a normal teenager in a lot of ways, experiencing all the normal teenager things, like love and angst and a desire to push boundaries and rebel, while also living with an incurable illness that really limits your experiences. All in the scope of a fun mystery thriller!
 
How did you research cystic fibrosis?
 
As a young nurse, I had the privilege of working with a few patients living with cystic fibrosis. That experience definitely helped shape my knowledge of the disease. Of course, I also did a boatload of online research, abused my medical texts, and cornered the professionals I work with to ask them questions.
 
What made you decide to set the book in New Orleans?
 
The book was originally set in Everywhere, USA, until I went to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in 2014, which was in New Orleans. I remember walking from the apartment some friends and I were renting in the French Quarter to the hotel where the convention was being held and being totally blown away by the Gothic, otherworldly feel of the city. I just knew it would be the perfect setting for this book.
 
What was your favorite scene to write in Dead Girls Society?
 
Definitely the charity event. As someone who grew up poor, writing this scene was a lot of escapist fun. I could easily imagine the excitement and thrill of being invited to a fancy, exclusive event with the most popular boy in school, getting ready with the girls, wearing clothes and jewelry I could have never worn otherwise, and of course, sexy times with a forbidden lover.
 
Dead Girls Society features a rich cast of characters from diverse backgrounds. There’s Hope, the poor, insecure, sick kid; Farrah, the haughty, popular, rich girl; Nikki, the anal perfectionist; and Hartley, the leather-wearing badass with a chip on her shoulder. Which of the girls do you identify most with?
 
There are elements in all of the girls I can identify with, but I relate most to Hope. When I was growing up, my dad suffered from an aggressive and incurable form of multiple sclerosis, so I know firsthand how a chronic illness can affect a family. Carving out a life around medication and treatment schedules, getting to appointments, learning to be happy when there’s a ticking clock reminding you there isn’t a lot of time left—all the things Hope goes through I wrote from a place of personal experience.
 
Hope has a very interesting family dynamic, particularly regarding her relationship with her mother. What made you decide to characterize her the way you did?
 
When a kid is sick, I can imagine how it would be possible for a parent to become extra protective, like Hope’s mom. While it comes from a place of love, I can also imagine how frustrating and isolating this might be for a teenager who wants to experience normal teenager things. I really wanted to capture the way a devastating diagnosis affects not just the patient but the whole family.
 
The girls in Dead Girls Society compete in a series of escalating, dangerous dares. What is the craziest dare you have ever accepted?
 
I’m supercautious by nature and was always more of a truth over dare person, so I think the craziest dare I ever accepted involved knocking on a door and running away. (I know! Somebody rein me in.)
 
What are you reading right now? Do you have any favorite books?
 
My reading tastes are pretty varied—I like anything from contemporary novels in the vein of Stephanie Perkins and Julie Murphy to dystopian romance like The Selection series by Kiera Cass and fantasy novels like Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. If it has a strong romance element and lots of kissing, so much the better. Right now I’m reading and enjoying Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch.

Author Essay

Without a doubt, the most frequent question I get asked as an author is “What inspired you to write your book?” Sadly, the answer isn’t nearly as romantic or exciting as anyone expects: hard work. While it’s true that I do sometimes get flashes of inspiration, it’s a myth that authors need inspiration to write. If I waited around for an idea to strike me, I might have never finished another novel after my debut, Hexed. For me, a book happens when I take a source of inspiration (or sometimes many combined sources of inspiration), then sit down and brainstorm. With that in mind, here are some of the things that inspired Dead Girls Society.
 
Pretty Little Liars
 
Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, the TV series PLL is about a group of girls who come together years after the death of their mutual friend, when they all start receiving messages from an anonymous person called A, who threatens to expose their secrets. A zillion seasons of madcap plots ensue, during which the network promises to finally reveal who A is, only to be like HAHA, NOPE, NOT TODAY. But I digress.
 
I’d recently begun watching PLL around the time I was drafting this novel, and like the rest of America, I desperately wanted to know who A was. This inspired the idea behind the anonymous invitations that Hope and the other girls receive in Dead Girls Society, asking them to join a high-stakes game of dares. Of course, it isn’t all just fun and games. . . .
 
The Skulls
 
Hands up if you too love this classic Paul Walker movie! The Skulls is about a college student name Luke McNamara who is invited to join an elite secret society called—you guessed it—The Skulls. Membership brings Luke flashy cars, girls, and all the money he could ever spend. But soon Luke discovers that all the perks come with a price. Dun-dun-dunnn.
 
This movie, you guys—it’s not an Oscar winner by any stretch. The script leaves a little to be desired, some of the plot turns are eyebrow-raising, and you pretty much know what’s going to happen from the outset. But damn if I don’t love it. There’s just something so fun about secret societies. For years I’ve been trying to write my Skulls novel, but none of my ideas were ever quite right. So I put the thought on the back burner and revisited it every now and then, until finally something sparked.
 
Competition
 
A lot of my favorite novels have featured some form of competition: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Selection by Kiera Cass, Panic by Lauren Oliver, and Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, to name a few. I’ve been trying to work a competition element into one of my novels for years, just like I’ve been trying to write my Skulls novel, but the perfect idea eluded me. It wasn’t until I put the invitations inspired by Pretty Little Liars together with my love of secret societies and my desire to write a competition book that Dead Girls Society was born.  
 
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” —Jack London

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