Today on the blog, I have an interview with Amanda Panitch on the blog. I also have a giveaway. So don’t forget to enter the giveaway after you read the interview.
Book Link: Goodreads
22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.
Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.
After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.
Now that she’s Lucy Black, she’s able to begin again. She’s even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy’s forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.
One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . .
Interview with Amanda
The twist in Damage Done was so startling and so dark. How did you decide on that twist?
The twist actually came first. I got to know Julia and what she was hiding, and built the book around that.
Where did you get the idea for this book?
I was reading an article about a suicide bomber that mentioned the bomber’s siblings, and I wondered: what would it be like to be that sibling? You’d be grieving the death of your sibling even as you were horrified over what they’d done, which I imagined would lead you toward feeling guilty for mourning someone who’d done something so horrendous. And if you were close, you’d be wondering how you could have stopped it, what you could have done. Julia’s relationship with her brother, a school shooter, grew from there.
I found Dr. Spence’s notes to be the most captivating subplot of the book. Were his insights always a part of the book or did you add them in a later draft?
Thank you! They came out of a suggestion from my brilliant agent and were added in a later draft. It was a lot of fun to explore Julia and Ryan’s relationship from an outside, comparatively unbiased perspective, and give readers that extra view.
Did you know how it was going to end before you started the first draft?
Yes. I’m not generally a big outliner, but before writing a book, I always need to have, at the very least, a good sense of the characters and where they’re going to end up.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I did a lot of research on twins and the bonds between them, as I don’t have a twin of my own (though I do have a lot of siblings). I also learned a lot about school shootings and psychopaths (those were a dark few days), and did some Google Maps exploration of California – the book is set there, but I’ve never been west of Pennsylvania.
That final scene between Lucy & Michael was so intense, and it turned out to be one of my favorite scenes in the entire book. Do you have a favorite scene from this book?
My very favorite part is the last chapter, which is only one scene. Without spoiling anything, Julia’s finally free to be herself and stop pretending to be something she most definitely is not.
I loved how we got to look back at Lucy & Ryan’s childhood. What made you decide to delve into their childhoods?
I thought that we needed to understand their beginning if we were going to understand their ending. If we didn’t get to see their complicated relationship develop, I don’t think their story would have had as much of an effect.
The ending turned out to be very open ended, which I didn’t mind at all. What made you decide to have the ending be open ended?
I’m always surprised when people say this (and a lot of people have), because I actually didn’t see it as being all that open-ended – all the main plotlines have been wrapped up, and we know what happens to everybody. I’m not knocking anybody – I just find it fascinating! Without spoiling anything, I guess we don’t know what’s going to happen to Julia in the future, but isn’t the unknown sometimes more frightening than the known?
What advice would you have for aspiring writers?
Write a lot and don’t give up. Some people get a book deal with their first novel, but most don’t. DAMAGE DONE was the seventh novel I finished.
Also, get to know the industry before you start searching for an agent and/or a publisher. There are a lot of “schmagents” out there – people who call themselves agents but don’t know the first thing about selling a book or managing an author’s career. Some of them are all over contests and social media, so they have the appearance of legitimacy. Being agented or published badly is worse than not having an agent or publisher at all – it might not seem like it when you’re in the trenches and getting rejection after rejection, but trust me, they can tie up rights to your book and future books with bad contracts and make it incredibly difficult to have a future career at all. Even just getting your book read can depend on the reputation of an agent – editors might request to see a manuscript from a schmagent’s pitch just in case, but good luck getting them to take the manuscript seriously.
What can we expect to see from you next?
My next book, NEVER MISSING, NEVER FOUND, comes out next June. It’s a stand-alone YA psychological thriller set in an amusement park like the one where I worked in high school. As a young child, Scarlett was kidnapped and held hostage with another little girl for several years. Eventually she escapes, but in the process is forced to make a terrible choice, leaving the other girl behind. Several years later, she’s regained a semblance of a normal life and is working a summer job at an amusement park, but one of her coworkers strikes her as familiar. Strangely familiar. Could it really be the little girl she left behind? And if it is, what does she want from Scarlett now?
About the Author
Amanda Panitch grew up next to an amusement park in New Jersey and went to college next to the White House in Washington, DC. Amanda now resides in New York City where she works in book publishing by day, writes by night, and lives under constant threat of being crushed beneath giant stacks of books. You can follow her on Twitter @AmandaPanitch, and visit her online at www.amandapanitch.com.
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