Today I have the lovely Sarah Alderson here to answer some questions about her new contemporary thriller, The Sound. When Ren takes a summer job nannying for a rich family on the exclusive island of Nantucket, she doesn’t expect to become tangled up with a serial killer targeting young, attractive nannies... The Sound was released by Simon and Schuster on August 1st.
1. I love how vivid your setting are, especially the luxurious Nantucket. Is a sense of place important to you in a novel?
Absolutely. I usually base all my books in places I have been to. I actually nannied in Nantucket when I was 17, much like Ren, the lead character in The Sound. I base most of my books in the States but always using locations I’ve been to.
2. I loved how you connected the Lila series with The Sound in Tormenting Lila. Do you think Lila and Ren would get on if they met?
I actually think they would get on brilliantly in real life – they’ve both got a little bit of dry British humour and they’re both naturally inclined to fight for what they believe in.
3. The Sound had a brilliantly dark edge to it. What do think about the claims that YA can be too dark sometimes?
I don’t think I’ve read anything that was too dark. My biggest complaint with YA is the number of female writers writing male leads who are stalking, violent and aggressive, and with them painting that as the ideal man. I’ve read a few books now (some new adult) that I’ve ended up asking Amazon for refunds for on the grounds of ‘offensive content’.
I love writing YA and I think a lot of adults enjoy reading it, partly because it dares to tread where adult books can’t or don’t. In my experience younger readers are very open to interesting and eclectic worlds – dystopia, paranormal, Steampunk, and want to explore the great themes of life – sex, death and love. I love writing for teens and I think they make the best readers - much less judgemental and far more to interact around the book and me. I think it would be patronising in the extreme to suggest that they can’t handle older themes. But of course, your books have to be very delicately balanced. If you write for 12+ that’s a different proposition to writing 14+. Or even new adult.
4. Favourite writing snack?
I don’t snack much at my desk. I always have coffee on the go and if I snack it’s usually salt popcorn. I can consume my body weight in popcorn in one sitting. Or else a dark chocolate bar dipped in peanut butter. That’s proof right there of God’s existence.
Luth (I love Idris Ela), string hoppers (I just got back from Sri Lanka and this was all I ate...yum), Daft Punk’s new album, the new book I’m writing.
6. What are you reading?
Ready? I read a lot of books at once! ‘O Pioneers’ by Willa Cather (for my book club), Gansta Granny & Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets (both to my daughter), A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I just finished reading Cutting for Stone which was utterly brilliant and The Universe Versus Alex Woods (also very, very good).
My favourite read of the summer was the YA novel, The Fifth Wave. I thought it was fantastic.
I am on a huge reading binge at the moment as it’s the summer holidays. Once I start writing again next week I won’t read very much until I finish what I’m working on.
Thank you Sarah! Make sure to check out The Sound and the delectable Jesse to see if Ren escapes unscathed...