I’m so excited to have Kara Taylor
stop by the blog today to talk about her new book, Prep School Confidential
. I loved this book; it was darker than I expected, and the main character, Anne, epitomizes the kick-ass heroine. And who doesn’t love a boarding school setting filled with rich kids, scandal, and…a murder. Check out my interview with Kara, and see below for a giveaway of a finished copy of Prep School Confidential
. You can visit other tour stops here
Publication Date: July 30, 2013 by St. Martin’s Griffin
: In this breathtaking debut that reads like Gossip Girl crossed with Twin Peaks, a Queen Bee at a blue-blooded New England prep school stumbles into a murder mystery.Anne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side—that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston. Determined to make it back to New York, Anne couldn’t care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school.When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it. With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read—even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder.
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Kara has a BA in English/Secondary Education from Stony Brook University. She loves New Girl,
sushi, and puppets that say rude things. It’s her dream to own a bakery someday.Kara was inspired to start writing in part by her grandmother giving her Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and in part by her father’s bizarre antics, such as blow-drying his car. Her father looked like Borat in the 80′s.Kara lives on Long Island with a Chihuahua named Izzy and a kitten named Felix. Her favorite authors are Gillian Flynn, Maureen Johnson, and Nelson Demille. She writes full-time, both on the PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL series and on an untitled television pilot for Warner Brothers Studios.
Q. Anne is not your typical YA heroine. She gets in trouble, she’s brash, and oh, yes, she sets a fire at her school. How did you manage to create a character composed of complete bad-assery, while still still making readers want to root for her?
A. I really love complicated protagonists who grow on you as they grow as characters. It was hard balancing Anne’s rougher edges with creating a likable character in the first few chapters especially– she’s completely oblivious to how the world works and thinks an Edible Arrangement will get her out of trouble every time. I think a heavy dose of humor helps us root for Anne in those first few chapters. Then when she gets to the Wheatley School and reality bitch-slaps her in the face, we really see her struggle with figuring out what kind of person she wants to be. Her bad-ass side comes out again when she starts poking into the murder, but we know she’s doing it from a place of wanting to do something right for the first time in her life.
Q. How would you have fared in prep school?
A. I attended a public school that was VERY different from Wheatley! However, I spent my first year of college away at a private school in Boston. I always imagined that being a freshman in college is not too different from being at boarding school– the lack of privacy, parents breathing down your neck to make sure you’re okay, balancing schoolwork with a social life. I struggled to fit in a bit during my freshman year of college, so I don’t think I would have adjusted well to boarding school! Probably, I would wither under the pressure of a prep school and the cutthroat environment of Wheatley.
Q. Anne is an NYC girl, and she initially looks down a bit on her Boston classmates. What do you think are key differences between the cities and their residents?
A. I think the Boston/New York rivalry is so silly, because New Yorkers and Bostonians are more alike than they’re different. But there are surface-level differences people from Boston like to pick on New Yorkers for, and vice versa. Namely, pronunciation and linguistic differences. In Boston, I got made fun of for referring to a sandwich as a “hero” and not a “sub.” I poked fun at the NY/Boston rivalry in PSC. Anne is obviously insecure about coming from New York because she thinks people are going to judge her, so she flips it around and judges her classmates before she even meets them, calling them “Massholes.”
Q. Anne was welcomed into the popular clique at her new school, Wheatley, with open arms. How do you think her experience would have differed had that not been the case?
A. I think Anne was very prepared to deal with a bunch of preppy mean girls, which is why she’s so shocked that her new classmates think she’s cool. They want her to be one of them; if that weren’t the case, Anne’s investigation would have taken a very different turn. She gets a lot of her information by infiltrating the right social circles.
Q. What are some of your favorite books and films with a prep school or boarding school setting?
A. Oh, I know it’s cliche, but Harry Potter will be my favorite boarding school book series of all time. As far as films go, I love Dead Poets Society!
Q. What can you tell us about your next book, Wicked Little Secrets?
A. I’m ridiculously excited about Wicked Little Secrets. It’s the sequel to Prep School Confidential, and it’ll actually be out in March of next year. It picks up almost right where PSC left off; I don’t want to spoil the end for anyone who hasn’t read yet, but the cliffhanger opens up a new mystery for Anne. This one is over thirty years old, however, so cracking the case comes with a whole new set of problems for Anne. What I can tell you is there will be more Brent and Anthony, a new villain who I want to punch in the face, and a rather large body count.
Thanks so much, Kara, for visiting Inspiring Insomnia! I loved the cliffhanger in PSC, and I can’t wait to read Wicked Little Secrets
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