Amanda Searcy recently released her Young Adult thriller novel The Truth Beneath the Lies.  She sat down with us to discuss why Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller is the perfect book to take to a deserted island and how cliches can be the best advice.

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into writing? When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I am not one of those people who wanted to be a writer from childhood. I was always told that I was a good writer, but writing felt too much like school to do for fun.

I always loved books and thinking up stories. By the time I was in college and graduate school my head was filled with unwritten stories. I constantly talked about them until, finally, one of my roommates said (in irritation), “Just do it already! Write a book!” I think I needed that permission to push me those last few inches toward writing, and I’ve been doing it ever since.

So if you are someone who dreams of writing a book but can’t get over that last hurdle in your mind: Just do it already! Write a book!

How long did it take to finish your book? How has it changed since you first began writing it?

I wrote the first draft in about 3 months. Revising it was a whole different story. I did a significant revision (rewriting Betsy’s story almost from scratch) as part of the Pitch Wars contest. That was eight weeks of really intense work fleshing out the two stories and picking up the pace.

It took about a year and a half from when I started the first draft until the manuscript was in good enough shape to attract the attention of my then soon-to-be agent.

Do you have any specific or strange writing rituals that get you into a groove?

I do all my writing perched on the edge of my couch with my laptop on the coffee table. I’ve been sitting in this one place for so long that the cushion is pretty much non-existent at this point. (I’m mostly sitting on the wooden frame.) But I’m like Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory. This is my spot.

Which three books would you bring with you to a deserted island?

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George because this is the book that taught me all my (never used) wilderness survival skills.

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller because it has all sorts of handy info on pirates (in case some wash up on my island).

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins because I could read it over and over again (plus wilderness survival skills and info handy for dealing with potential pirates).

In your opinion, has there ever been a movie adaption better than the original book?

Not usually, but I did like the Stanley Kubrick version of The Shining much more than the book (although the book has some cool stuff that was left out of the movie – e.g. possessed shrubbery).

Which three authors would you invite to a dinner party and why?

Salman Rushdie, Oprah, and the spirit of Alexander Hamilton. Can you imagine what that conversation would be like?! We could talk about the state of the world, the state of this country, people in general. It would be fantastic.

Do you have any advice for young writers?

It gets said so many times that I know it sounds cliché, but keep going. It’s the only way to get published. Keep writing, keep learning, keep trying and you’ll get there eventually. (Also, to toss out another cliché, it takes as long as it takes.)

What books do you recommend for fans of The Truth Beneath the Lies?

  • The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
  • The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
  • The Safest Lies by Megan Miranda
  • The Leaving by Tara Altebrando
  • Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
  • I Am Her Revenge by Meredith Moore
  • The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

What is your favorite thing that you have received in the mail?

When I was in high school (before email or even the internet was a common thing), I was friends with many of the foreign exchange students. When they went home, we would still keep in touch by writing letters. I loved opening the mailbox after school and pulling out envelopes covered in colorful stamps from exotic lands.


Miss out on the December PageHabit YA box featuring The Truth Beneath the Lies by Amanda Searcy?  Send us an email at hello@pagehabit.com and we will make sure you receive it along with your January box, while supplies last.

Sign up for the January Young Adult Box here.