Today, I am very excited to welcome Sophie McKenzie to the blog. I am a huge fan of Sophie and have been reading her books since I was a teen. ALSO her new book SweetFreak is out today. I read it last month and it is brilliant.
Sophie is the award-winning author of a range of teen thrillers, including the Missing series (Girl, Missing, Sister, Missing and Missing Me), Blood Ties and Blood Ransom and the Medusa Project series. She has also written two romance series: the Luke and Eve books and the Flynn series, which starts with the novel Falling Fast. Split Second is her first teen stand-alone novel in seven years. Sophie's first novel for adults is the psychological thriller Close My Eyes.
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1. Tell me about SweetFreak…
In SweetFreak popular, confident Carey is framed for sending her best friend a death threat. The threat, traced to Carey’s laptop (which wasn’t hacked, is password protected and only bears Carey’s fingerprints) has been sent from an anonymous user calling themselves SweetFreak via a social media app that allows the user to manipulate photos of people to show them being killed. Carey’s world falls apart as her friends desert her and even her mother struggles to believe she is innocent. Carey fights back, determined to find out who SweetFreak really is and why they have targeted her.
2. What do you love about writing?
Everything! Seriously, I enjoy each stage: the planning, the actual writing and the editing afterwards. I particularly love getting lost in the story and the characters, in the same way that you do when you read a book you really enjoy. And I love the lifestyle that goes with writing too: being able to work to my own schedule, taking time off when I want and making it up later. It’s an amazing freedom.
3. What made you want to write about the topic bullying?
I kept coming across articles about online bullying and the horrific impact it can have. I found these stories of vulnerable teenagers with their lives ripped apart heartbreaking and it struck me how much easier social media (and its anonymity) makes it to bully people. I wanted to write about the impact of bullying, from all sorts of different angles, but to do so in the context of a suspense mystery – a book with a (hopefully) exciting story that might reach more people than a straightforward newspaper article or report.
4. Carey and Amelia go through a lot in this book and their friendship is hanging by the thread. Was there a reason you wanted to write about friendship and the ups and downs of it?
I’m fascinated by the ways human beings interact and what motivates us. Friendships between girls are often intense, especially when you are at that stage when you’re moving away from a primary reliance on family relationships but haven’t yet had a serious romantic involvement. Over the years I’ve written about all sorts of different relationships, but the ups and downs of young teen female friendship was something I really wanted to explore in this book.
5. Have you read anything recently that you've just loved?
I really enjoyed The Girls, by Emma Cline and also Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld. On the younger teen front I’ve just discovered The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward, which are great too.
6. Are you working on anything at the moment?
I’m currently writing a reworking of a children’s classic which I loved as a girl. I’m about a quarter of the way through my first draft and thoroughly enjoying it! I can’t say anything else about the project just yet, but I’ll be revealing more soon on Facebook and Twitter. www.facebook.com/sophiemckenzieauthor @sophiemckenzie_
Get ready for a brand new edge-of-your-seat read from bestselling author Sophie McKenzie! When everyone thinks you're a liar, how hard will you fight for the truth?Carey and Amelia have been best friends forever. Then Amelia starts being trolled by SweetFreak, a mysterious and hateful online account, and Carey is accused of being behind the vicious comments and threats. Shut out by her other friends and shunned by Amelia, Carey is determined to clear her name and find out who's really sending the messages. But as the online attacks spill over into real life, events start spiralling out of control... Can Carey expose the real SweetFreak before it's too late?