Feast your eyes on the cover for THE DOLLS – a young adult paperback original written by Kiki Sullivan coming to a bookshelf near you this September! Check out the reveal below followed by a Q&A with Kiki and a chance to win a totebag!
Update: The winner of the totebag is Kyra202! Congrats!
About THE DOLLS
On sale: September 9, 2014
Imprint: Balzer + Bray
Eveny Cheval just moved back to Louisiana after spending her childhood in New York with her aunt Bea. Eveny hasn’t seen her hometown since her mother’s suicide fourteen years ago, and her memories couldn’t have prepared her for what she encounters. Because pristine, perfectly manicured Carrefour has a dark side full of intrigue, betrayal, and lies—and Eveny quickly finds herself at the center of it all.
Enter Peregrine Marceau, Chloe St. Pierre, and their group of rich, sexy friends known as the Dolls. From sipping champagne at lunch to hooking up with the hottest boys, Peregrine and Chloe have everything—including an explanation for what’s going on in Carrefour. And Eveny doesn’t trust them one bit.
But after murder strikes and Eveny discovers that everything she believes about herself, her family, and her life is a lie, she must turn to the Dolls for answers. Something’s wrong in paradise, and it’s up to Eveny, Chloe, and Peregrine to save Carrefour and make it right.
Are you ready for the cover?
Are you sure?
Gird your loins. . .
Here it is!
Q&A with Kiki Sullivan
1. The novel’s steamy Southern Gothic setting takes on a life of its own in the story. Did you spend any time in real-life towns like Carrefour, LA that inspired your writing?
I infused Carrefour with some of the spirit of New Orleans, a city that I have spent some significant time in. But I also wanted it to feel mysterious and cut off from the rest of the world in a way that piqued readers’ interest and made Carrefour feel like the kind of place you couldn’t just wander into as an outsider. I’ve lived in the South since I was 10, so I’ve passed through my fair share of small towns steeped in tradition and mystery, so I suppose in a way, Carrefour is a combination of those towns, New Orleans, and my own overactive imagination. It’s funny; by the time I was done writing THE DOLLS, Carrefour felt more real to me than actual places I’ve visited! Is it wrong that I sorta-kinda want to move there? I hear it’s populated with cute guys. . . .
2. We can’t get enough of this sexy cover! What do you like most about it?
Oh my gosh, this is my favorite cover ever. The first time my editor, Sara, showed it to me, I think I almost fell out of my chair. It’s sexy and a little mysterious, and it features a shoe! A shoe! Don’t even get me started on how much of a shoe addict I am! Seriously. Allow me to present my case: First of all, in my bedroom, I have a) my entire closet floor covered in shoes, b) two shoe racks on my closet door, and c) eight special shelves built into the walls to house the remainder of my overflowing shoe collection. (Yes, I admit, I have a problem.) Second point: Early in my writing career, a magazine in Los Angeles described me as “the real-life Carrie Bradshaw,” referring, of course, to the shoe-obsessed lead character of the Sex and the City series. I’m sure their words had something to do with me being a writer too, but to this day, I still consider it one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever been paid. Third, I’m only five feet tall, so let’s face it: Heels are the only way for me to actually see over people’s shoulders if I’m in a crowd. See how good I am at justifying shoe purchases to myself? As for the cover of THE DOLLS, let’s just say that I’m now on a self-appointed mission to find a similar snakeskin stiletto to wear everywhere. In fact, I consider it my duty. So thanks, Balzer+Bray, for giving me one more excuse to expand my shoe collection. Woo hoo!
3. Which character in THE DOLLS was your favorite to write? Why?
Ooh, that’s a tough question. Well, I suppose I’d have to say I like Eveny the best. I think it’s fairly typical for a writer to identify very closely with her main character, especially if the book is written in the first person, like THE DOLLS is. Eveny reacts like I would to the situations she encounters, and she has the same kinds of questions (and crushes!) I think I would have if I were in her shoes. (See how I bring everything back to shoes?) That said, while I feel closest to Eveny, I’d have to say I really enjoyed writing Peregrine too. She’s smart; she’s sexy; she has both a pet snake and a killer wardrobe; and, let’s face it, she doesn’t seem very nice. But I think there’s more to her than what you see on the surface, and I look forward to exploring that a bit in the sequel. Boniface is another character who fascinates me and who I look forward to expanding on in the future. His past is certainly interesting and mysterious! And finally, Caleb. *Sigh* Caleb is all kinds of dreamy. Caleb has some hidden secrets. Caleb has abs of steel. Need I say more? (Quick question: Is it wrong to have a crush on a character I created? Seeking mental help immediately. . . .)
4. You’ve also written several books for adults in addition to your YA novels. Which audience do you most enjoy writing for?
To tell you the truth, I don’t think the process is all that different. My adult books are a little longer than my young adult books are, but I think there’s a ton of crossover between the audiences. Case in point: I’m a full-grown woman (except for the whole height thing), and I read YA novels all the time, not just because I write in the genre, but because I truly love them. I think there’s something so relatable about those formative years between 14 and 20, when the future is wide open to you, and you’re having your heart truly broken and your morals truly tested for the first time. I LOVE reading about that kind of stuff, and many of my adult friends do too. All the stakes are just as real and just as dramatic as they are later in life, but there’s just something about approaching problems (and relationships) from a less jaded perspective that’s so appealing. I also love the idea that writing for teenagers allows me to reach back to my own teenage years and include some things that I wish I could have learned at the time. For instance, when I was a teenager, I don’t think I had very good self-esteem, so I really like writing characters who learn to believe in themselves, because I think that’s a great lesson for readers to learn: You are awesome, and you should never let anyone tell you otherwise. But the cool thing about reading YA novels as an adult is that those exact same lessons and messages still apply. Just because you’re in your twenties, thirties, forties or beyond doesn’t mean you’ve figured it all out yet. My self-esteem still suffers for stupid reasons. I still doubt myself. I still have some of the same fears and shortcoming I had when I was 16 or 17. I think that’s true for most adults. Writing for young adults allows me to reboot, go back to the beginning, and start to figure it all out. I hope reading my books helps readers of all ages do that too!
5. We’re dying to know what happens in the sequel to THE DOLLS, coming next fall. Can you spill any secrets?
I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. Or, rather, I’d send Audowido (Peregrine’s snake!) to kill you.
Okay, ignore my empty death threats. Audowido is actually quite nice, if not a little scaly, when you get to know him. So here goes: In the sequel, I think you’ll see the stakes in Carrefour get even higher. There will be another sexy, mysterious guy who arrives in town to complicate things. (Can you tell I like writing about sexy, mysterious guys?) Eveny will get closer to finding out the truth about her past. And the magic in Carrefour will grow ever more dangerous as dark forces close in.
How’s that for a teaser? But you’ll have to read THE DOLLS first! In the meantime, I’ve started blogging at TheGirlinGlasses.com, so come on over for fashion tips, recipes (like chocolate cake you can make in FIVE MINUTES in the microwave!), travel stories and posts on how to write a novel. There’s a lot going on in this jumbled little brain of mine, and you can find some of it there and some more of it on Twitter, where you can follow me at @Sullivan_Kiki. See you there!