I’m very excited to host my friend, S.K. Falls today. Her book just came out, and she’s a fabulous writer. I reviewed her debut novel, World of Shell and Bone here.
Thinking Up and Writing Secret for a Song
The idea of a girl with Munchausen Syndrome who pretends she has a terminal illness came to me first, before the rest of the plot of Secret for a Song did.
I’d studied Munchausen Syndrome as a psych major in college, and I’d read about patients who pretended they had cancer or other illnesses to gain sympathy and attention. When the idea just wouldn’t let go, I knew I had to write it. That’s when I realized Saylor would fall in love with a boy with a degenerative disease, and that she’d come to deeply care about people who had terminal illnesses. From there I went on to figure out how to put Saylor in the most impossible situations and how, if at all, she’d redeem herself.
One thing I wanted to be sure I did was have Saylor make mistakes and then learn from those mistakes. I didn’t want a story where the girl is rescued by her boyfriend, especially not a girl as sick as Saylor. I think I accomplished that fairly well. That was the main pull of the book for me—to take a character who would be seen as inherently unlikable and then have her go through a redemptive process of self-discovery. I wanted to show a full character arc.
There were moments when I wished I didn’t have to do some of the things to Saylor (and other characters) that I did, but I felt like the story absolutely called for it. All in all, Secret for a Song is the most emotional story I’ve written and I was genuinely sad to see it end. J
A huge fan of spooky stuff and shoes, I enjoy alternately hitting up the outlet malls and historic graveyards in Charleston, SC where I live and imbibe coffee. My husband and two small children seem not to mind when I hastily scribble novel lines on stray limbs in the absence of notepads.
Since no writer’s biography is complete without mention of her menagerie of animals, you should know I have one dog that doubles as a footstool, a second that functions as a vacuum cleaner, and a cat that ensures I never forget that my hands are, first and foremost, for pouring cat food.
Visit S.K. Falls:
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