Saturday, July 29, 2017

0 Alexandra Sirowy, author of FIRST WE WERE IV, on drawing inspiration from various sources

We're delighted to have Alexandra Sirowy stop by to tell us more about her latest novel, FIRST WE WERE IV.

Alexandra, what was your inspiration for writing FIRST WE WERE IV?

Back when I was an undergrad in college, I came across this blurry black and white photo of girls surrounding a lake, lighting paper boats on fire, and sailing them out to burn. The photo was from decades before, and it was captioned Midnight Lake Ritual. From the instant I saw it, I had questions. Ritual of what? Was this an all-girls secret society on campus and did it still exist? Secret societies wormed their way into my consciousness, where they waited for the other pieces of the puzzle to fall into place years later.

The next bit came when I was scanning an entertainment blog a couple of years ago. A short post about celebrity kids using crystals to start their own religion snagged my attention. I couldn’t get the image out of my head: a few teenagers in the hills behind their Los Angeles homes, inventing something big and bonding over shared secrets. After that I knew that FIRST WE WERE IV needed to be written.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

The first and last.

Opening with the arrival of the police, evidence of an accident or murder, and the statement “First we were four. Now we are three,” FWWIV jumps back to relate how four best friends’ secret society ratchets dangerously out of control, leaving the mystery of what happens to one of them (and to which one) to pull readers through the book. The first scene sets the stage; it’s a vignette of the aftermath. I had to walk a fine line between enticing the reader to wonder what transpired and why, without sharing too many details that would ruin the book’s central mystery.

The last scene was difficult to write for a completely different reason. By the time I got there, 400 pages in, the four best friends FWWIV follows had come alive for me. I loved them. It’s no secret that one of them dies, and I almost didn’t have the courage or the heart to go through with it when it came time to. I remember being hunched over my laptop, crying as I wrote the final pages.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

FIRST WE WERE IV is in the vein of FIGHT CLUB meets PRETTY LITTLE LIARS with a secret society. It also feels a little like a young adult THE SECRET HISTORY. Recently there have been a lot of reviewers who’ve recommended it for fans of E. Lockhart’s WE WERE LIARS and Lauren Oliver’s PANIC.


First We Were IV
by Alexandra Sirowy
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 7/25/2017

It started for pranks, fun, and forever memories.
A secret society – for the four of us.
The rules: Never lie. Never tell. Love each other.

We made the pledge and danced under the blood moon on the meteorite in the orchard. In the spot we found the dead girl five years earlier. And discovered the ancient drawings way before that.
Nothing could break the four of us apart – I thought.

But then, others wanted in. Our seaside town had secrets. History.
We wanted revenge.
We broke the rules. We lied. We told. We loved each other too much, not enough, and in ways we weren’t supposed to.

Our invention ratcheted out of control.
What started as a secret society, ended as justice. Revenge. Death. Rebellion.

Purchase First We Were IV at Amazon
Purchase First We Were IV at IndieBound
View First We Were IV on Goodreads


Alexandra Sirowy was born in Northern California and grew up in Providence, Rhode Island and the San Francisco Bay Area. She attended a women's college as an undergraduate and has a graduate degree in International Studies. She lives in Northern California with her husband. Visit her at


Have you had a chance to read FIRST WE WERE IV yet? Have you ever been inspired by an old photo? Have you cried as you wrote a scene? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Emily, Jocelyn, Anisaa, Sam, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, and Lori Ann

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