Here's some info about the upcoming book!
It all starts with one little lie…
Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell lies to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts a business providing forged permission slips and cover stories for the students of Vista Palisades High. Liars, Inc. they call it. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?
When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.
Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called "Captivating to the very end," Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.
Let's get started!
1). What was the process of writing this novel like?
I wrote LIARS, INC. back in late 2011 and finished the first draft in early 2012, before THE ART OF LAINEY had even sold to a publisher. I was writing a pen name trilogy for a book development company at the same time, so LIARS was my fun book, the project I turned to after I had completed my contracted work for the week. I did several revisions which were tedious--anytime you make changes to a mystery they often start a ripple effect where you have to make more changes--but overall the book was easy to write and I'm happy with how it turned out. NOTE TO REVIEWERS: I did make over 150 changes/additions after the ARC was printed. Nothing too major, but I think the finished book is tighter in plot, character, and authenticity. If you read the ARC and would like to know what I changed for curiosity or review purposes, email me.
2). Can you relate to any of these characters? Do you have a favourite?
I can relate to Max and Parvati, but only a little bit. Like Max, I grew up in a lower-income family and most of my friends had more money than I did. Like Parvati, I'm ambitious, a bit impulsive, and interested in martial arts and spy stuff. That's where it ends, though. Parvati is absolutely my favorite because I wrote her to have Borderline Personality Disorder, but since you read through Max's eyes and he idealizes her, you don't really see much of her internal struggles. They exist, though, and they inform almost all of her choices. I really want to write a companion book from her POV.
3). Are you on Team Truth or Team Lies?
I have to be on Team Truth, because I'm a terrible liar. Also, look what happens when you lie! *points at book* People get hurt. People get shot. People get arrested. People DIE.
4). Please explain your other books to me (what they're about, what they mean to you, how they came about, etc)
My work-for-hire books (The Secrets of the Eternal Rose Trilogy, writing as Fiona Paul) are creepy murder mysteries set in Renaissance Venice. I wrote them in collaboration with Paper Lantern Lit. THE ART OF LAINEY (2014) is the story of a somewhat clueless popular girl who gets dumped, uses the ancient teachings of Sun Tzu to try to win back her boyfriend, and ends up discovering who she really is in the process. Bonus factors: Epic and supportive best friend, mohawked punk rock boy who likes to bake. I also have 2 books coming out in 2016 and 2 books coming out in 2017 and I'm hoping to add to that number :)
5). Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Stop calling yourself aspiring. If you write, you're a writer. It's that simple :) More advice for writers can be found on my blog under the FAQ tab.
6). Any hidden/secret talents?
I'm a sea lion whisperer. I once snorkeled with them at Los Islotes, Mexico and now if I go to the zoo I can run back and forth in front of their pen and they'll play with me.
7). The cover is breathtaking and intriguing. What do you think it represents and did you have any input?
Like most authors, I don't usually get much input into my covers. Usually the editor, design people, and sales people sit down and come up with a concept they think fits the book and will appeal to the right readers. Only then, after everyone smart and savvy is in agreement, do they usually show the author.
LIARS was different because it's a really hard book to capture in a single image. My editor contacted me and was like "Design was going to put Max's shark's tooth pendant on the front but you can't really tell what it is and we don't think it works--do you have any ideas?" I didn't have anything specific but I fired off as many possibilities as I could think of--a deserted beach, a cabin in the woods, a house on fire, a spiderweb motif, a bloody cell phone, a stack of dollar bills being cut by a knife, a cemetery--knowing none of them were quite right. Luckily, the art director at Harper found the cover image and procured the rights from the original artist/photographer. I LOVE this cover!! It exactly conveys the mood of the story and I see the image as Preston being stolen right out of his shoes. There is also a rainstorm that plays prominently in the book so this image is all-around perfect.
i). Book or film? Film >_>
ii). Summer or winter? Now that I've moved to Portland, summer.
iii). Vampires or werewolves? Vampires.
iv). E-readers or paper/hardbacks? Physical books
v). Pretty lies or the ugly truth? The truth never hurts more than finding out someone you love has lied to you.
I plunge through the shrubbery, branches clawing at my face and arms. I hear McGhee and Gonzalez behind me, crashing through the brush like angry bears. Lengthening my stride, I propel myself forward. I know these woods. I know where I’m going. The river. These guys aren’t superhero TV FBI agents. They won’t go over the cliff.
But I will.
I’ve done it loads of times. Never while being chased, but still, it’s easy. Run. Push off. Fall. Sink. Emerge.
The moon shucks off a veil of clouds, illuminating the widening path in front of me. I can see where the trail dead-ends at a sheer drop-off. Water roars, just out of sight. My tennis shoes crunch gravel as I accelerate. Blood pounds in my ears. Where’s Preston DeWitt? I don’t know. That’s the truth. Not the whole truth, because it’s too late for that. Even if I told the feds everything, they wouldn’t believe me.
My left foot lands at the edge of the cliff. I push off with all my might, rocketing my body out toward the middle of the river, far away from the jagged rocks below. As I plummet through the crisp night air, I think about whether things might have been different if I had just told the truth from the beginning.
Thank you so much, Paula Stokes
About the author