Kathleen: Liz, tell me why you wanted to write a mystery and more importantly, why on earth would you choose me as your co-writer?
Liz: Hello, Kathleen! I’d say, we chose each other, wouldn’t you? I’ve loved mysteries since I was a little girl, and grew up reading all sorts of cozies, from Agatha Christie to Nancy Drew to the Hardy Boys series. At the beginning of 2020 when lockdown started, writing another sad book felt overwhelming. We started chatting about how we wanted to write something fun… something that would give readers a break from the stresses of the world, and a mystery felt like just the thing. I’m still amazed that we pulled it off!
Kathleen: I read a lot of Nancy Drew growing up, too, and then gravitated toward true crime, like In Cold Blood and quite a few other books that were very dark stories about very dark things. One of the things I loved most about writing this book with you was how organic it was. We chatted about writing, we gradually found our plots, our characters, we kept things easy and engaging and it was a joy to sit with another writer (even though we are in different time zones) and be able to share a story in real time . Another very cool thing is that…we wrote this book in secret. We did not have a book deal, we didn’t tell our agents or editor (we share an editor, which is how we met in real life). This book was…just allowed to grow.
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Liz: Absolutely. One of the things that I didn’t realize before my debut came out, is how different it is to write under contract. So many more expectations. Writing this was like getting another taste of that freedom. When we started chatting about writing together, we realized that we were both fascinated by the disappearance of Agatha Christie some hundred years ago. It was fun to use that as a jumping off point to create Alice Ogilvie’s backstory. I wrote Alice’s POV and you wrote our other POV character, Iris Adams. How did you start building her character?
Kathleen: Alice Ogilvie and Iris Adams….what a pair! I love that you came up with Alice first: a privileged, smart, headstrong girl. It seemed natural that her partner would have to be someone from entirely different circumstances, socio-economically and personality-wise. Iris Adams is reclusive (though she does have friends, The Zones, a group of smart and geeky outcasts, who we both enjoyed writing), secretive, somewhat shy, and hiding her own secrets from the world, and from Alice. And what better way to bring these two together than have Iris assigned as Alice’s tutor after Alice returns to school, fresh off house-arrest? (You’ll have to read the book if you want to learn more about that!) We needed an opposites-attract dynamic and I think we found it in our pair of unlikely teen detectives. Now, tell me, Liz, what is the story of our book?
Liz: Two teen girls (the aforementioned Alice Ogilvie and Iris Adams!) go rogue to solve the disappearance of Brooke Donovan, the richest and most popular girl at their high school, who just so happens to be Alice’s ex-best friend.
Kathleen: When we were writing, we were determined to make this a seat of your pants adventure, but we also wanted to make sure that Alice and Iris (and the teens in Castle Cove) also had some real life issues to deal with. Iris is a victim of domestic abuse, Alice’s parents are neglectful and she feels grief at the loss of Brooke, and there is dating violence in the book. We made sure to include resources at the end for teens reading the book who might also be struggling with these things.
Liz: One of my favorite parts of writing this book was all the mixed media we were able to include, from social media posts, to breaking news alerts, to text messages. Plus, the very best part of all, which is that it has a beautiful MAP!!!
Kathleen: Every time I look at that cool map of Castle Cove, I just sing to myself “I’m the map!” like in Dora the Explorer.
Kathleen: Also, Liz…I feel like we could write so many Agathas books. I mean…we still have to think about what happened to Mona Moody. And Remy Jackson. What do you think? Are you up for it?
Liz: Absolutely, Kathleen. Absolutely.
Meet the authors
Liz Lawson is the author of The Lucky Ones (2020), which was a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2020. She lives outside of Washington DC with her family and two bratty cats. You can find her on all social media platforms @LzLwsn and on her author website www.lizlawsonauthor.com.
Kathleen Glasgow is the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces, You’d Be Home Nowand How to Make Friends With the Dark. You can find her on Twitter @kathleenglasgow Instagram @misskathleenglasgow and TikTok @kathleenglasgow Learn more about her at www.kathleenglasgowbooks.com.
About The Agathas
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Who killed Brooke Donovan? It’s the biggest mystery of the summer, and everyone in Castle Cove thinks it’s the wrong guy. Fans of One of Us Is Lying and Riverdale can’t miss this page-turning who-done-it that’s sure to be the next must read Young Adult thriller!
Last summer, Alice Ogilvie’s basketball-star boyfriend Steve dumped her. Then she disappeared for five days. She’s not talking, so where she went and what happened to her is the biggest mystery in Castle Cove. Or it was, at least. But now, another one of Steve’s girlfriends has vanished: Brooke Donovan, Alice’s ex–best friend. And it doesn’t look like Brooke will be coming back. . .
Enter Iris Adams, Alice’s tutor. Iris has her own reasons for wanting to disappear, though unlike Alice, she doesn’t have the money or the means. That could be changed by the hefty reward Brooke’s grandmother is offering to anyone who can share information about her granddaughter’s whereabouts. The police are convinced Steve is the culprit, but Alice isn’t so sure, and with Iris on her side, she just might be able to prove her theory.
In order to get the reward and prove Steve’s innocence, they need to figure out who killed Brooke Donovan. And luckily Alice has exactly what they need—the complete works of Agatha Christie. If there’s anyone that can teach the girls how to solve a mystery it’s the master herself. But the town of Castle Cove holds many secrets, and Alice and Iris have no idea how much danger they’re about to walk into.
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Publication date: 05/03/2022
Series: An Agathas Mystery #1
Age Range: 14 – 17 Years
Filed under: Guest Post