Rosewood Confidential

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What was wrong with me? In her undergraduate studies at New York University, Sara started out studying biology but admitted, "[I] was afraid of my teachers and fellow bio majors so I switched to English, where everyone was laid-back and happy and talked about books all day.

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Sara remembered, "Like the girls on The Hills, it involved a lot of folding, steaming, and basically doing the work no one else wanted to do. Spending her days honing her skills, writing, rewriting, and work-shopping, Sara decided she might be ready for some paid work.

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So, to get her foot in the door there, our ambitious author crashed the company Christmas party! This holiday caper paid off, and Sara started doing freelance work for Alloy. One of her earliest projects was ghostwriting the Samurai Girl books, a six-novel YA series about a girl who is married into the Yakuza the Japanese Mafia and must train as a samurai to protect the people she loves. In , the books were adapted into a miniseries for ABC Family, but by that point Sara was already hard at work on a series of her own that would later become the network's hottest property.

With the Samurai Girl novels, Sara had proven herself to Alloy as a pen-for-hire. But when the company discovered she had grown up along the Pennsylvania Main Line the towns along the train route out of Philadelphia and knew a thing or two about the lives of the east coast elite, they realized they might have a good match for a new idea they'd been developing, one they described as " Desperate Housewives for teens.

Though the author had never seen an episode of that hit ABC series, she got the concept right away.

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Once she started thinking about her glossy suburban backdrop, she realized how well it would work: "Main Line Pennsylvania is full of very idyllic sights — old converted barns, beautiful green fields, gorgeous homes, a lot of old battlegrounds, and tons of venerable private schools — and I liked mixing those details in with the main characters' flawed lives. The point is that everyone's lives are flawed in one way or another, no matter where you live. After meetings with editors and execs, in what Josh Bank, east coast president of Alloy, calls "intellectual potluck," Alloy had the concept, but they needed someone to bring it to life, and that's where Sara came in.

She joined in the brainstorming process, fleshing out the mystery and those four little liars. They wondered, "What happens if some girls start getting weird texts? Sara explained, "Then I started to develop what this friend could be like and the secrets that she would have on them. It all kind of came together pretty slowly. I did think about the characters a lot right away and their secrets and things like that.

As far as what the series has become, I mean, I don't think I knew from the start that it would be such a mystery with such a backstory and so much tragedy. Turns out, Sara wasn't just revisiting her high school stomping grounds, but her high school self. Sara went back to her teen journals, noting, "I would reread them a lot and just kind of see what I was thinking and what mattered a lot. She says she was probably most like artsy Aria: "She's kind of not really interested in being popular and she just wants to be herself.

I think at least the last couple of years of high school I was a lot like that. I identified with her with how all she really wants is just to get out of this little town and the people are all the same. Like Spencer, she was a type-A overachiever. Like Emily, she swam on her high school team. And like Hanna, she was into fashion, and also had what she calls "eating issues," explaining that it wasn't "bulimia, and not exactly anorexia, but I certainly used food and exercise as control. It was a lonely time of my life, but as I know so many people go through it, I wanted to make sure one of my characters struggled with it.

Balancing a complex mystery as well as the personal stories of the four protagonists isn't easy, but with her editors' help, Sara worked out a system that worked for her. Usually, I first think about what my aim for the book is concerning the overarching Alison DiLaurentis mystery: what we know at the beginning, and what we'll know — or think — at the end. From there, I think about the prologue, which is always a shared memory from the past, usually a scene involving Ali.

Each girl takes away something a little different from the prologue, and I want to thread this through the book and use the girls' perspectives to get a little bit closer to the real truth about what happened to Ali. And then I think about the girls' front stories — often having to do with love, fractured friendships, or family troubles — and how A might use their problems to his or her best advantage. It's difficult to keep straight, but it's my favorite and most rewarding part of writing the series. Luckily for Sara, it's a labor of love: "For me, writing is something I have to do The first book, Pretty Little Liars, was published by HarperTeen in October , and the tantalizing premise and stylish neon cover caught the eye of readers and reviewers alike.

Publishers Weekly observed, "Readers will certainly find enough drama to keep the pages turning This is clique lit with a mystery twist. By August , the series made it onto the series bestseller list, keeping company with Harry Potter, the Twilight saga, and other heavy hitters. Sara's editor Farrin Jacobs gave her take on the books' astronomical success to Publishers Weekly : "You're watching people do something you would never do.

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It's fun to see something happen to them. There are a lot of consequences in these books. Select Parent Grandparent Teacher Kid at heart. Age of the child I gave this to:. Hours of Play:. Tell Us Where You Are:. Preview Your Review. Thank you.

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