Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to meet the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her, even if her friends won’t admit it now. As for Jonah, well—Miri knows none of that was Fatima’s fault.
Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck—especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too. Now, looking back, Soleil can’t believe she let Fatima manipulate her and Jonah like that. She can’t believe that she got used for a book.
Penny Panzarella was more than the materialistic party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was. She desperately wanted Fatima Ro to see that, and she saw her chance when Fatima asked the girls to be transparent with her. If only she’d known what would happen when Fatima learned Jonah’s secret. If only she’d known that the line between fiction and truth was more complicated than any of them imagined. . . .
An Interview With Lygia Day Peñaflor
- First of all, thank you so much for this interview Lygia! I’m very excited to have you on my blog! I hope you’re excited about it too.
Thank you for the interview! I’m very excited to talk about ALL OF THIS IS TRUE.
- This book is a contemporary mystery, as opposed to Unscripted Joss Bryd which was a contemporary fiction, so how much fun was it, writing something so different than what you’d published earlier?
I’m glad you said that because ALL OF THIS IS TRUE is contemporary, but it is not a mystery. I’ve seen a lot of people mislabel it as a mystery, and then readers end up a bit confused as to what the big crime is to solve. It does have aspects of psychological thriller, but it’s definitely not a whodunit. Instead, it’s ahow-did-we-get-here—an analysis of how thoughts and events unraveled.
It was a lot of fun writing multiple perspectives, as well as a book within the book for ALL OF THIS IS TRUE. Whether an author’s books are similar or completely different, the approach and process of writing is different for each book. Unfortunately for me, it feels as if there is very little carryover from one novel to the next when it comes to skills or routine. A blank page is a black page whether you’ve previously written one book or twenty.
- How has your experience as a teacher to young celebrities shaped your process of writing this story?
I’m very familiar with fanatical behavior. I’ve witnessed the way fans will hang on a celebrity’s every word or copy their style. When I worked as a teacher for the young cast members of Gossip Girl, there was one particular NYC fan who would buy the designer clothes from each episode. She’d come to our filming location and show us her outfits—clothing items that had been worn by “Serena” or “Blair” on the show the week before! Because of my experiences working with celebs, it was easy for me to write about teens who copy an author’s hairstyle, makeup, and catchphrases.
- What do you think are the effects of the ‘celebrity culture’ that has grown in these past few years?
People are definitely idolizing the wrong individuals. They also place too much importance on celebrities’ opinions.I admit that I roll my eyes when I see people online praising or quoting certain celebrities who I personally know to be pretty rotten. Actors, musicians, and authors are regular, flawed humans. They’re often not what they seem. They are usually playing a role both on and off camera or social media. I wish more young people would look within their own families and communities for worthy heroes who make tangible, positive contributions to society—parents, grandparents, teachers, social workers—people they can trust, people who care about them in return, good-hearted folks who are in their lives.
- What was your favourite scene to write in the book?
I won’t give away any specific scenes, but I loved writing Penny’s little punch lines, which she doesn’t mean to be funny but are. She has an innocence about her that I enjoyed, and her insights were fun for me to write.
- Now, a few choices!
- Romance or Mystery? Rom-coms!
- Books or Movies? (Not adaptations of books, but movies in general.) Both!
- Cake or Ice Cream? Definitely ice cream, no contest
- Library or Bookstore? Library for writing, bookstore for browsing and hot chocolate
Thank you so very much, Lygia! it was a pleasure to have you on my blog! I’m really looking forward to reading All of This is True!
Lygia became a writer by writing letters to a friend she met on a cruise ship when she was 14. She is the author of UNSCRIPTED JOSS BYRD (Macmillan) and ALL OF THIS IS TRUE, which will be published by HarperTeen US, Bloomsbury UK, and translated in several countries in summer 2018. Lygia also teaches child stars on television and movie sets. Her students have included cast members of Gossip Girl, Boardwalk Empire, Law & Order SVU, I Am Legend, and others. She lives with her husband on Long Island where she rides horses and watches reruns of everything. Follow Lygia on Twitter @lygiaday.