Mar 20, 2013

Posted by in Giveaway, Guest Post, New | 17 Comments

Guest Post and Giveaway: Pretty Girl-13 author Liz Coley

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming the author of Pretty Girl-13, Liz Coley, to the blog for a guest post on her ideas and inspirations. As I am a huge fan of Pretty Girl-13, I am so excited to share this with you all. I hope my readers enjoy!

When Ideas Collide

By Liz Coley

Years ago, as I was reading one of Orson Scott Card’s books on writing craft, I was deeply impressed by his “two-idea” notion. On his Hatrack website (, he explains it this way: “What usually works for me is to take two idea-sources and combine them. As with a metaphor, the tension between the two ideas leads to interesting possibilities. It’s a way of drawing surprising answers out of your unconscious mind.”

A single idea is often too thin for a novel. That may be short story territory. Card talks about filing away ideas until something else comes along that resonates and provides a deeper inspiration. Pretty Girl-13 emerged as the intersection of a character, a scientific development, and a title.

Sometimes my manuscripts begin with the shadowy outline of a main character—a boy on his first interstellar flight, a boy with the ability to change the past, an idealistic girl who wants to fight every injustice, a boy so deeply out of place that he thinks “howdy” is an appropriate greeting on the first day of school. Years ago, I learned that one of my acquaintances had undergone therapy for dissociative identity disorder, and the person I knew was a reintegrated personality. I told myself, “Some day, I’ll have to write a book where the protagonist has alter personalities,” but the thought rested unused for many years.

Sometimes my manuscripts begin with a scientific or medical idea. I’ve always loved science fiction, I have a degree in Molecular Biochemistry, and I consider myself a bit of a futurist. I read Discover, Cosmos, and MIT Technology Review for fun. Two articles I’d read jostled together in my head—one about the military health system trying to improve techniques for memory management in service people at risk for PTSD; the other an article on light sensitive gene switches being successfully inserted into living systems to control brain cell to brain cell communication. I asked, what if you could switch off terrible memories? Would it be a good idea? How soon will we be able to do that?

Finally, I enjoy titling my work even before I begin. In the case of Pretty Girl-13, the cornerstone of the creative process was the title. Out of the blue, I imagined a book cover with the title PG-13. “What would that stand for?” I asked myself. “Pretty Girl-13,” I answered. “That sounds like the name of an alter personality,” I commented. And then the ideas banged together, and I knew that I had the core of the story, a girl with multiple personalities who faced their own extinction through this developing technology and needed to tell their stories. But did she want to hear them? And where had they come from? What were their stories? The questions piled on.

That’s where it all started. With the book in your hands, you can see where it led.

*Fascinating, Liz. It’s amazing that just imagining a title could turn in to such an incredible story. Thank you for sharing!*

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Thanks to HarperTeen I have a copy of Pretty Girl-13 to give away to one lucky reader. To enter, you must be 13 years or older and live in the U.S. Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter. icon smile Guest Post and Giveaway: Pretty Girl 13 author Liz Coley

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About Pretty Girl-13:

Angie Chapman was thirteen years old when she ventured into the woods alone on a Girl Scouts camping trip. Now she’s returned home…only to find that it’s three years later and she’s sixteen-or at least that’s what everyone tells her.

What happened to the past three years of her life?

Angie doesn’t know.

But there are people who do — people who could tell Angie every detail of her forgotten time, if only they weren’t locked inside her mind. With a tremendous amount of courage, Angie embarks on a journey to discover the fragments of her personality, otherwise known as her “alters.” As she unearths more and more about her past, she discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: When you remember things you wish you could forget, do you destroy the parts of yourself that are responsible?

Liz Coley’s alarming and fascinating psychological mystery is a disturbing – and ultimately empowering page-turner about accepting our whole selves, and the healing power of courage, hope, and love.

LizColey Guest Post and Giveaway: Pretty Girl 13 author Liz ColeyAbout Liz Coley:

Liz lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, her teenaged daughter, a snoring dog, and a limping old cat. When she’s not involved in writing-related activities, she can be found sewing, baking, shooting photos, playing tennis, and singing.

Liz loves reading aloud.

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  1. Love how Liz Coley is inspired by many things, including science!

    Lovely post:)

    Thank you:)

  2. This book sounds like an awesome read. I would love to own it especially since I have never read anything from this author. Thanks

  3. Holy cow, I love it when a plan comes together! Seriously, though. It’s so interesting what inspires people and how they combine seemingly disparate ideas into a killer novel. I have this one waiting for me on my Kindle and can’t wait to read it!

  4. annettesbookspot says:

    I’ve read several reviews of Pretty Girl 13, and they’ve all been glowing. Can’t wait to get my hands on this one.

  5. I have such an intense love of this book. Seriously, I amazed me so freaking much. And part of the reason I read it was YOUR review, Bailey. It made me want this book like crazy, and it’s one of those books that wrecked my emotions in the best way possible.

  6. Fab guest post. I didn’t realize Orson Scott Card had books on writing. I should check them out. I wonder if by combining two ideas he meant like what he did in Ender’s Game with the space fighting juxtaposed with political philosophy.

  7. I can’t wait to read Pretty Girl 13!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  8. Jennifer K says:

    I have been waiting for this book for awhile and I am excited that it is finally coming out!

  9. A Rip Van Winkle theme. I’m curious just to find out what happen to Angie. Three years of her life gone and that she can’t remember. Yet everyone who know her, said that she interacted with them. I want to read this book

  10. This is a great guest post! I agree that if you combine ideas it can work really well. I have a story I worked on several years ago and thought I had everything but just got stuck. Then years later I had an idea for another story, completely different, but when it came down to it I realized I could actually combine the two and make a much more interesting story.
    I have this book and can’t wait to read it!

  11. Ah, PG-13! I love how that played into this story coming together! I have an ARC of this I plan to read very soon. I look forward to it. :)

  12. interesting info about ideas for books

  13. Oh my gosh, I want to read this one so bad! Thanks for the giveaway, Bailey! :D

    -Brad @ BookYAReview

  14. I really wanna win! :)

  15. I’d love to win! :D

  16. This book sounds so good oh my god

  17. Your blog really very fantastic and all the information are very awesome…

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