Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you so much for reading my book! I'm hoping the answers below might answer some of the questions you might have. I've also done some interviews. Link here. 

Here are some questions I've answered about myself and my publication process. Link here. 

What inspired you to write The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly? 

This is a hard question to pin down for me because there were so many things that inspired it. In a way, it was inspired by many things I've witnessed and read about. I suppose the first inspiration came when l when I happened upon the fairy tale "The Handless Maiden" which was most famously recorded by the brothers Grimm. I grew up loving fairy tale retellings (like books by Shannon Hale and Donna Jo Napoli), and had played around with retelling fairytales in poems, but I hadn't yet found a fairy tale that I really wanted to retell in a novel. When I read "The Handless Maiden" I knew I had found it. I decided to set it in a modern setting because I had read so many historical and fantasy (and even a few sci-if) fairy tale retellings, but I hadn't read many contemporary retellings. I built it around subjects that I was really interested in (such as religion, cults, juvenile detention centers) and after lots of drafting and revising, finally came to the story that ended up in the final book.

What is your favorite character from The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly?

I enjoyed writing most of the characters for different reasons. Jude, Minnow, and Angel are probably my favorites.

What kind of research did you do for this book? 

I spoke about research in this interview with Shea Olsen. Check it out!

What was your process for writing this book? 

I talked about this question in this interview. Link here! 

Can you talk a little about writing a fairy tale retelling?

I spoke about this in an interview with Sharon Roat (link here) and also wrote a guest about this on YA Midnight Reads (link here). 

Do you have any plans for a sequel? 

Not right now. I'm satisfied with the story as it currently stands, but I love these characters so you never know!

Are any of the characters based on real people? 

Nope! I don't ever write based on real people. That just doesn't appeal to me. 

[Spoilers] Why did you end the book the way you did?

I tried a bunch of different endings and I liked the one that ended up in the final book the best. I thought it felt right and in keeping with the rest of the book. And I liked that it was open-ended enough that readers could have some freedom to speculate about what happens to Minnow in the end. 

[Spoilers] What happens to Minnow after the book ends?

I want the reader to feel free to determine this for themselves. I have my thoughts, but I feel like I said everything that I needed to say within the pages of the book. I'm of the belief that once a book is published, it belongs to the reader. That's one of the most magical parts of being a writer, watching the book become a different thing for every person who reads it. For me, that also means not injecting my own opinions in conversations about the book. The reader's opinions are just as valid--and completely fun to hear about!