Thursday, October 4, 2018

BLOG TOUR: What They Don't Know by Nicole Maggi

Welcome to the Official Blog Tour for Nicole Maggi's What They Don't Know!!! We are thrilled to be celebrating Nicole's new YA novel! On our tour stop today, we had the exclusive pleasure of asking Nicole "What was the Inspiration behind writing What They Don't Know." So, be sure to check out what she revealed to us. Plus, we have a cool tour-wide giveaway to celebrate this amazing new book! So... Check it out and grab your copy now!!! Don't forget to follow the tour, too! Find the tour schedule at the end of this post! 😊

Young Adult
Contemporary Fiction
Publish Date: 
October 2, 2018
Sourcebooks Fire

Mellie has always been the reliable friend, the good student, the doting daughter. But when an unspeakable act leads her to withdraw from everyone she loves, she is faced with a life-altering choice―a choice she must face alone.

Lise stands up―and speaks out―for what she believes in. And when she notices Mellie acting strangely, she gets caught up in trying to save her...all while trying to protect her own secret. One that might be the key to helping Mellie.

Told through Mellie and Lise's journal entries, this powerful, emotional novel chronicles Mellie's struggle to decide what is right for her and the unbreakable bond formed by the two girls on their journey.


What was the Inspiration Behind Writing What They Don't Know
My four previous novels all had a strong romantic element to them, and while I love romance as much as the next YA reader, I wanted to explore something different for this book. I wanted to write about a female friendship, a somewhat messy, complicated friendship that showed the power of girls when they choose to lift each other up instead of tear each other down. I had actually outlined a completely different book and pitched that to my editor, but she didn't go for it. A passing comment from my agent about the issue of abortion sparked this idea: what if two girls on the opposite sides of the abortion debate were thrown together because the girl on the anti-choice side finds herself pregnant after a rape and needs an abortion? What if the pro-choice girl is the only person she can turn to? And what if the pro-choice girl is also hiding a secret, a secret that the anti-choice girl has the power to dangerously exploit? From those initial questions, I began to build the characters of Mellie and Lise.

I first started writing the book in narrative form, the "I walked into the room and turned on the light" telling that most books are written in. But it just felt wrong. I kept pushing, hoping that something would break through, but the further I got, the more wrong it felt. Then my husband gave me the idea to try writing it as journal entries. I remembered that back in college, I'd kept a journal for one of my acting classes, and we had to turn it in at the end of the semester. I still have the journal and when I looked at it, I was shocked to see the deeply personal, intimate stuff I'd written in there for my teacher to read! That teacher was a wonderfully kind man who I obviously trusted completely. From that I got the idea that the girls were writing their journals to someone, the elusive Ms. Tilson who has tasked them with keeping a journal and handing it in at the end of the year. She doesn't really factor into the story, but she's definitely a presence on the page.

So I scrapped six months and 35,000 words of work, and started the book all over again, this time in the journal format. Once I had that, it clicked. I could hear Mellie's and Lise's voices so much clearer. And while Mellie and Lise are their own people, I gathered a lot of inspiration from the women that I interviewed about their own abortion and sexual assault experiences. I also got inspiration from the research that I did. There's a scene where Mellie visits a "fake clinic" - one that's run by anti-choice organizations for the express purpose of coercing women not to terminate their pregnancies. Everything that happens in that scene is something that women have reported experiencing in those clinics. There's also a speech that Mellie's father--a politician--gives that was inspired by a real speech that Paul Ryan gave at an anti-choice event.

The book is so timely it almost feels "ripped from the headlines" but at its core is a timeless story of two girls and how their friendship changed them and even saved them in a lot of ways. I've certainly had friendships like that, and those friendships continue to inspire me to do better and be better. I hope that readers will be inspired by Mellie and Lise in the same way I was when I was writing them.


**About the Author**
Nicole Maggi was born in the suburban farm country of upstate New York, and began writing at a very early age. Of course, her early works consisted mainly of poems about rainbows and unicorns, although one of them was good enough to win honorable mention in a national poetry contest! (Perhaps one of the judges was a ten-year-old girl.) Throughout high school, her creative writing was always nurtured and encouraged.

Nicole attended Emerson College as an acting major, and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Post-college, she worked as an actress in New York City for over a decade, focusing mainly on Shakespeare and the classics.

Now living in Los Angeles, Nicole balances writing full-time with motherhood. Winter Falls, the first in her Twin Willows trilogy (Medallion Press, 2014) is her debut novel. She has a stand-alone novel, Heartlines, released in February 2015 by SourceBooks Fire, as well as the second and third novels in the Twin Willows trilogy in 2015 and 2016.

Stay connected with Nicole Maggi


***The Giveaway***

Giveaway Open to the U.S. Only
Note: Not Responsible for Lost & Damaged Prizes in Your Mail Box

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