When Emma Vaile's parents leave on a mysterious business trip, it gives her the perfect excuse to be a rebellious teen. But then her best friend stops talking to her, the police crash her party and Emma finds herself in the hands of a new guardian, Bennett Stern, and on a plane to his museum-like mansion in New England.
After enrolling at Thatcher Academy, Emma settles in by making friends with the popular crowd. She has memories of Thatcher she can't explain and strange visions are haunting her. Emma doesn't trust anyone any more - except maybe Bennett. But he's about to reveal a ghostly secret to her. One that will explain the visions . . . and make Emma fear for her life.
Lee Nichols was raised in Santa Barbara, California - the setting of her adult novels. Deception, published by Bloomsbury in September 2011, is her first novel for YA readers. Betrayal, also published in September 2011, is the follow up to the ghosly murder mystery, Deception. She now lives in Maine, USA, and is married to novelist Joel N. Ross.
Author: Lee Nichols
Interview with Lee Nichols
Question: Deception is your first novel for Young Adults, what did you enjoy most about writing for young adults?
Lee Nichols: It's not that different than writing for adults. You're still trying to build believable settings and characters and dialogue. I became a huge reader at that age, so the thing that excites me most is that I might help a young reader start to love books. And I love hearing from girls who enjoyed the book. No one's more enthusiastic than a teen girl who likes something.
Question: What inspired you to write Deception?
Lee Nichols: I originally wanted to write a contemporary Gothic novel set in New England with a haunted house type setting. But I was reading a lot of YA at the time and the more I worked on the idea, the younger the character kept getting, until I realised I really wanted to write a novel for teens.
Question: Can you talk about how you developed the character of Emma Vaile?
Lee Nichols: I wanted her to be this girl who slowly comes to realize that she's got these incredible powers that her parents have kept hidden from her, because they wanted to protect her. And I always like to write about the idea of identity, how we decide who we are and who we want to be. She's this vulnerable character who isn't prepared for what's thrown at her, but handles it with strength and humor.
Question: How much of your inspiration for Deception came from real life and real people?
Lee Nichols: The museum Emma goes to live in is based on a house in Salem, Massachusetts that was once owned by my ancestors, and the fictional town of Echo Point is based on Marblehead, where I was born, and what I consider to be the most charming, picture-perfect small town in New England. The characters are all made up, but definitely the relationships between Emma and her friends-their funny interactions and loyalty-are based on the kind of friendships I had at that age.
Question: What advice do you have for aspiring writers or artists?
Lee Nichols: Wrap yourself in your art, whether it's music, writing or painting, immerse yourself in listening, practicing, reading, watching, whatever it is. But the real key is perseverance. Everyone who is trying to create faces a lot of rejection, no matter how good they are. But you have to keep going and believe you have something worth contributing.
Interview by Brooke Hunter