What is your favorite thing about THEY ALL FALL DOWN?
I’d never written anything quite like this book, so the story felt wildly fresh and unique to me. Not only had I never written a “thriller” before, I hadn’t read any teen thrillers. I actually had a hard time finding any on the market at the time I started writing. So, this was uncharted territory for me and I hope that translates into a book with plenty of twists and turns that surprise the reader as much as they surprised me.
The other aspect I loved was a chance to incorporate the “dead language” of Latin -- which is not dead at all! Through the assistance of my daughter and her Latin teacher, I was able to weave threads and clues using a language we really don’t know much about -- yet is the basis for so many of our words. What I initially thought would be an interesting character trait for the protagonist turned into a critical plot point for the whole book. I always love when that happens.
I guess there’s one more thing I loved about the book -- it is the first book I’ve written in my whole career where a romance isn’t front and center to the character’s story arc. There is a “love interest” in THEY ALL FALL DOWN but I would never classify this book as a romance. For me, it was liberating and great fun to write without worrying about over-developing that aspect of the story.
What was your inspiration for writing this book?
I have to be honest -- I don’t know any other way to be! -- I never woke up and had a “OMG I have to write a teen thriller!!” moment. I had written one young adult for Delacorte/Random House, DON’T YOU WISH, a book I would classify as very light paranormal adventure/romance. I had signed a contract to write another and the publisher had agreed, through an outline, to an emotional contemporary where one of the protagonist dies at the end. After finishing DON’T YOU WISH, I met with the publisher and they asked me to write a thriller instead, based on my many years experience of writing romantic suspense. They felt -- and I believe they were right -- that the thriller market was underserved in young adult and would be blossoming soon. I wrote out three story ideas, and was delighted when they chose this one -- about a girl who is fifth on a “hottie list” at her high school. The “honor” (which she doesn’t really want and doesn’t think she deserves) turns into a horror when the girls on the list start dying...in chronological order, all in freak accidents that can’t possibly be murder. Or are they?
How long did you work on the book?
I had a lot of time to let this idea brew and it was about a year between the publisher giving the green light to the story until I turned in a finished manuscript. I generally take three to four months to write a novel draft, and at least another month to revise and rewrite the book.
How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?
I think this is my 40th book -- somewhere around that number. I started writing in 2001, sold my first book in 2002, and have not stopped since then. I’ve written for multiple publishers in a few different genres, but have made my name in contemporary romance and suspense. My road to publication sounds “easy” when I look back at it, but there were many, many rejections and lots of valleys and frustrations. You just can’t quit!
What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?
I have to have complete silence! No music, not talking, no dog snoring. Well, the last one is okay. I usually write at home, although I also meet with a group of three other writers at least once or twice a week, and we write all day together. We call it “Writers’ Camp” and believe me when I say we write, and that’s IT. No one gets lunch until everyone has done 1,000 words and we generally will write 2,500 in the afternoon. We sit around a dining room table, four writers, four laptops, four different stories being pounded out. (We’re all published authors in different genres.) We often stop for two minute brainstorm sessions (“What’s another word for brown?” “Any interesting ways an ex-wife might have died?” “I need a name for a baseball team! ”) and over lunch, we plot and commiserate on the writing life. These days are invigorating and productive! One year, we wrote 1 million words and published 14 books between the four of us!
What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Nothing a serious writer hasn’t heard before -- read what you want to write, write every single day, and don’t quit even when you want to. The job is NOT for the faint of heart and it is most certainly not for someone who doesn’t wallow in hard work. Success in this business takes determination and discipline as much as talent, and some thick skin won’t hurt, either. Make good friends, limit your social media time, and learn how to revise because writing really IS rewriting.
What are you working on now?
I just started the third novel in a popular contemporary romance series called the Barefoot Bay Brides. It’s a spin-off trilogy that’s part of my “Barefoot Bay” series -- emotional and engaging love stories set on a fictional island off the Gulf Coast of Florida.
ABOUT THE BOOK
They All Fall Down
by Roxanne St. Claire
Pretty Little Liars meets Final Destination in this YA psychological thriller that will have readers' hearts racing right till the very end!
Every year, the lives of ten girls at Vienna High are transformed.
All because of the list.
Kenzie Summerall can't imagine how she's been voted onto a list of the hottest girls in school, but when she lands at number five, her average life becomes dazzling. Doors open to the best parties, new friends surround her, the cutest jock in school is after her.
This is the power of the list. If you're on it, your life changes.
If you're on it this year? Your life ends.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Roxanne St. Claire is a New York Times and USA Todaybestselling author of more than thirty novels of suspense and romance, including three popular series (The Bullet Catchers, The Guardian Angelinos, and Barefoot Bay) and multiple stand alone books.
In addition to being a six-time nominee and one-time winner of the RITA Award, Roxanne’s novels have won the National Reader’s Choice Award for best romantic suspense three times, as well as the Daphne du Maurier Award, the HOLT Medallion, the Maggie, Booksellers Best, Book Buyers Best, the Award of Excellence, and many others. Her books have been translated into dozens of languages and are routinely included as a Doubleday/Rhapsody Book Club Selection of the Month.