Title: DeviantAuthor: Helen FitzGerald
Publisher: Soho Teen
Release Date: June 11th 2013
When 16-year-old Abigail’s mother dies in Scotland–leaving a faded photo, a weirdly cryptic letter, and a one-way ticket to America–she feels nothing. Why should she? Her mother gave her away when she was a baby, leaving her to grow up on an anti-nuclear commune and then in ugly foster homes. But the letter is a surprise in more ways than one: Her father is living in California. What’s more, Abigail discovers she has an eighteen-year-old sister, Becky. And the two are expecting Abigail to move in with them.
After struggling to overcome her natural suspicions of a note from beyond the grave (not to mention anything positive) Abigail grows close to her newfound sister. But then Becky is found dead, the accidental victim of an apparent drug overdose. As Abigail wrestles with her feelings and compiles a “Book of Remembrance” of her sister’s short life, she uncovers a horrifying global plot aimed at controlling teen behavior: one that took her sister’s and mother’s lives, with vast implications.
***Interview with Helen FitzGerald***
Helen, welcome to Jessabella Reads! It is truly an honor to have you on the blog today. Thanks so much for stopping by to answer my questions. : )
1.) In a few sentences, tell us why we should read Deviant.
My 16 year old daughter spotted this question on my laptop and wrote this:
“If you’ve ever felt pressured, felt like a fish out of water, or like there was something being hidden from you, Deviant is completely relatable. Set in the contrasting worlds of Scotland and LA, this book is a whirlwind of emotions and intriguing twists. If you don’t read this, it’s your loss.”
I love my daughter!!
2.) What made you decide to leave your jobs as a parole officer and social worker to write full-time?
Five years ago, I thought writing full time would be the dream job. Imagine not having to set an alarm, not dealing with difficult offenders, not having a boss. Six months ago, I realised I was wrong. While the writing’s been going from strength to strength, I hated not having to set an alarm, not dealing with difficult offenders and not having a boss. I’m back working as a probation/parole officer now, but part time. Best of both worlds.
3.) Where did you get the idea for Deviant?
The initial idea was based around the notion of a book of remembrance - I wanted Abigail to compile a book of memories about her dead sister, which would lead to her uncovering a dark secret.
4.) Who had inspired you as a writer?
My Mum and my husband – how lucky am I? Mum was a literature teacher and taught me to love language and reading. My hubby’s a screenwriter. We spend hours each day talking about stories and thinking up weird ideas. And I always get Mum to read my drafts. I wouldn’t be a writer without these two people.
5.) What are your must-haves when sitting down to write?
I need to be in a kind of meditative state – in Scotland they call it the “creative dwam”. Relaxed, no other pressures, no jobs staring at me, and lots of time. Once I’m in that state, I can write 8,000 words in one go.
6.) Are you an outliner or a "pantser" aka organic writer?
I used to be organic but I’m all right now! Truly, the first novel was a projectile vomit of ideas. It just came out, and I let it. After the first or second editing experience, I started to realise I needed more planning. Now, I do a five page outline before starting. At the very least, I need know the beginning, the middle and the last line.
7.) Which character in Deviant was your favorite to write?
Abigail, definitely. She’s an outsider, a tough and isolated Glaswegian who’s gone through hell. I take her from rags to riches and back again, and I love how she seemed to grow into this amazing woman without me even trying.
8.) In which ways are you alike or different from Abigail?
I come from a large, close, stable, happy family. Mum was a teacher, dad an engineer. We went to church, played loads of sport, and went on to Uni. I was traditional, I guess. Abigail’s not that way at all.
9.) As a teen, were you a "deviant"?
No, I was a straight-laced catholic girl who won sports trophies and felt guilty about kissing. My adult life has been a different story…
10.) What are three of your all-time favorite books besides you own?
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – love the history, the complexity of class, the theme – you can’t build happiness on someone else’s pain.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Scary and multi-layered and timeless. Love the story of how it was written too.
And Dirty Weekend by Helen Zahavi. I’m mad about mad women. This story shocked and exited me when I read it years ago.
11.) What has been your favorite "moment" since first becoming a published author?
I was on holiday in Italy and my husband came over a week later. He brought my first ever printed book, Dead Lovely. I slept with it.
12.) What can we expect to look for from you next?
Another adult thriller this year, The Cry. And next year, The Viewing. I’m currently pondering Abigail’s future – should she rise again?
About the Author:
Helen FitzGerald is the second youngest of thirteen children. She grew up in the small town of Kilmore, Victoria, Australia, and studied English and History at the University of Melbourne. Via India and London, Helen came to Glasgow University where she completed a Diploma and Masters in Social Work. She worked as a probation and parole officer for ten years. She’s married to screenwriter Sergio Casci, and they have two children.
***Tour Wide Giveaway***