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From the Publisher
"An ideal companion for your next journey to Rosewood." —SCENE Magazine (February 1, 2013)
Building a Mystery
SARA SHEPARD'S KILLER SERIES
Before there was a mysterious text message from beyond the grave, before there were four former friends separated by secrets, before Rosewood was built and rebuilt on the Warner Brothers back lot, Sara Shepard had only a blinking cursor but she conjured a world of decadence and deception, best friends and betrayal, and created a series that would sell millions of books and become a veritable pop culture phenomenon.
Sara grew up in a family that valued the arts, and she recalled, "My mother constantly encouraged my sister and me to read, draw, write, and be creative." The author-to-be started honing her storytelling skills at a young age, tapping out tales on her father's computer by the time she was in fifth grade. Looking back, the author joked, "Of course, I would be all amped up to write chapter one ... but would have no idea what to do with chapter two. I wasn't great at plotting back then." Though she was still a couple of decades away from being a bestselling author, Sara did have an early taste of literary success: in fifth grade she won second prize in a library contest for a short story called "Quizzles."
The budding author continued to write throughout high school, where she showed such promise that her English teacher told her she could skip the essay component and focus on writing fiction instead! But following her inner Spencer Hastings instead of her inner Aria Montgomery, Sara refused the offer. Looking back, the author lamented, "Like an idiot, I said no. I wanted to write the themes about, I don't know, The Fountainhead. The Scarlet Letter. What was wrong with me?"
In her undergraduate studies at New York University, Sara started out studying biology but admitted, "[I] was afraid of my teachers and fellow bio majors so I switched to English, where everyone was laid-back and happy and talked about books all day." During her college years she got to combine her love for fashion and writing when she interned at Elle magazine, though she didn't get to put many words to paper. Sara remembered, "Like the girls on The Hills, it involved a lot of folding, steaming, and basically doing the work no one else wanted to do." She found a better fit, and some actual writing and editing experience, at Time Inc.
Sara went on to real journalism work after graduating, and reporting satisfied her writerly side for a few years, until the events of 9/11 forced her to look at her life to date. "As lots of people did after September 11, I decided I was going to make the most of my time," explained the author. She decided to go back to school, enrolling in the MFA program at Brooklyn College in 2002. There she studied under celebrated writers like Michael Cunningham (winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his Virginia Woolf–inspired novel, The Hours).
Spending her days honing her skills, writing, rewriting, and work-shopping, Sara decided she might be ready for some paid work. Her sister worked at Alloy, a company that originates creative properties that cross platforms like Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and now, Pretty Little Liars. So, to get her foot in the door there, our ambitious author crashed the company Christmas party! This holiday caper paid off, and Sara started doing freelance work for Alloy. One of her earliest projects was ghostwriting the Samurai Girl books, a six-novel YA series about a girl who is married into the Yakuza (the Japanese Mafia) and must train as a samurai to protect the people she loves. In 2008, the books were adapted into a miniseries for ABC Family, but by that point Sara was already hard at work on a series of her own that would later become the network's hottest property.
With the Samurai Girl novels, Sara had proven herself to Alloy as a pen-for-hire. But when the company discovered she had grown up along the Pennsylvania Main Line (the towns along the train route out of Philadelphia) and knew a thing or two about the lives of the east coast elite, they realized they might have a good match for a new idea they'd been developing, one they described as "Desperate Housewives for teens."
Though the author had never seen an episode of that hit ABC series, she got the concept right away. Once she started thinking about her glossy suburban backdrop, she realized how well it would work: "Main Line Pennsylvania is full of very idyllic sights — old converted barns, beautiful green fields, gorgeous homes, a lot of old battlegrounds, and tons of venerable private schools — and I liked mixing those details in with the main characters' flawed lives. The point is that everyone's lives are flawed in one way or another, no matter where you live."
After meetings with editors and execs, in what Josh Bank, east coast president of Alloy, calls "intellectual potluck," Alloy had the concept, but they needed someone to bring it to life, and that's where Sara came in. She joined in the brainstorming process, fleshing out the mystery and those four little liars. They wondered, "What happens if some girls start getting weird texts?" Then the missing friend came into the picture. Sara explained, "Then I started to develop what this friend could be like and the secrets that she would have on them. It all kind of came together pretty slowly. I did think about the characters a lot right away and their secrets and things like that. As far as what the series has become, I mean, I don't think I knew from the start that it would be such a mystery with such a backstory and so much tragedy."
Turns out, Sara wasn't just revisiting her high school stomping grounds, but her high school self. Sara went back to her teen journals, noting, "I would reread them a lot and just kind of see what I was thinking and what mattered a lot." She ended up putting a bit of her teen self in each character. She says she was probably most like artsy Aria: "She's kind of not really interested in being popular and she just wants to be herself. I think at least the last couple of years of high school I was a lot like that. I identified with her with how all she really wants is just to get out of this little town and the people are all the same." (Sara is careful to specify that she didn't engage in any steamy extracurriculars, though Ezra Fitz is named after someone she went to elementary school with.) Like Spencer, she was a type-A overachiever. Like Emily, she swam on her high school team. And like Hanna, she was into fashion, and also had what she calls "eating issues," explaining that it wasn't "bulimia, and not exactly anorexia, but I certainly used food and exercise as control. It was a lonely time of my life, but as I know so many people go through it, I wanted to make sure one of my characters struggled with it."
Balancing a complex mystery as well as the personal stories of the four protagonists isn't easy, but with her editors' help, Sara worked out a system that worked for her. "It's definitely like putting together a puzzle," said the scribe. "I outline each book very carefully. Usually, I first think about what my aim for the book is concerning the overarching Alison DiLaurentis mystery: what we know at the beginning, and what we'll know — or think — at the end. From there, I think about the prologue, which is always a shared memory from the past, usually a scene involving Ali. Each girl takes away something a little different from the prologue, and I want to thread this through the book and use the girls' perspectives to get a little bit closer to the real truth about what happened to Ali. And then I think about the girls' front stories — often having to do with love, fractured friendships, or family troubles — and how A might use their problems to his or her best advantage. It's difficult to keep straight, but it's my favorite and most rewarding part of writing the series." Beyond that, the author's secret to success is simple: she writes every day, even when she doesn't have a deadline. Luckily for Sara, it's a labor of love: "For me, writing is something I have to do ... if I don't, I start to get a little crazy."
The first book, Pretty Little Liars, was published by HarperTeen in October 2006, and the tantalizing premise and stylish neon cover caught the eye of readers and reviewers alike. Publishers Weekly observed, "Readers will certainly find enough drama to keep the pages turning ... and they will no doubt have fun piecing together who and what could be behind those bizarre messages. This is clique lit with a mystery twist." Library Journal noted, "Shepard writes a suspenseful page-turner that will have teens thirsting for more." The second book, Flawless, was out just a few months later in March, and by April 2007 had climbed to #3 on the New York Times children's bestseller list (later books would hit the #1 spot). By August 2007, the series made it onto the series bestseller list, keeping company with Harry Potter, the Twilight saga, and other heavy hitters.
Sara's editor Farrin Jacobs gave her take on the books' astronomical success to Publishers Weekly: "You're watching people do something you would never do. It's fun to see something happen to them. There are a lot of consequences in these books. It's definitely 'peel back a veneer on the perfect life and look at what lurks beneath that.'"
Alloy had started the series thinking there would be four books. Then in August 2007 the series was extended to eight, and it seemed the timing would be perfect: the final book, Wanted, would be released in time with the debut of the TV series. But with a dedicated fanbase, 2.4 million books in print, and book sales that went up 39 percent with the success of the TV show, no one was ready to say goodbye to Rosewood, so Sara agreed to write another four books.
Thanks to the success of the TV show, which takes different directions than the books did, the author now has a new challenge: satisfying fans of the TV show who have become attached to certain characters and want to see more of them in the books. Although she does see the two worlds of PLL as "parallel universes" she admits she's being influenced by the show and would like to please her fans. "I've started thinking about how to incorporate some of those popular characters from the show back into the books. Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out a way to bring Toby back to life that isn't completely soap opera–ish. But Ezra is back in Ruthless, book 10. I never intended to bring him back, but readers demanded it!"
Though she has a hot property on her hands with PLL, Sara hasn't limited her writing to the murder and intrigue of Rosewood. She's published two novels for adults to date. The first, 2009's The Visibles, is the story of a young woman exploring family ties, both biological and emotional. Publishers Weekly called it "tightly constructed and captivating" and "complicated, rewarding, and full of heart." Released in October 2011, her second adult fiction offering, Everything We Ever Wanted, is an exploration of the ripples caused by allegations of scandal in a wealthy Pennsylvanian family. Kirkus called it "a fine character study on the repressed lives of the American elite."
But Sara hasn't forgotten her teen writing roots, and between her two adult books, on December 8, 2010, she released The Lying Game, the first in a new four-book series about twins separated at birth. The new series was also well received, with Library Journal declaring the first volume "a thrilling mystery with just the right doses of romance and danger," and Publishers Weekly praising it as "a fun and fast-moving mystery." Like PLL, The Lying Game was brought to the small screen by ABC Family, and it's been steadily picking up steam.
Looking ahead, Sara's finishing the third Pretty Little Liars cycle and the first of The Lying Game, and hopefully has more adult books percolating in her mind. The driven yet modest author is proud of everything she's done, but maintains, "Hopefully my greatest accomplishment is yet to come."CHAPTER 2
MARLENE KING AND THE MAKING OF PRETTY LITTLE LIARS
"I'm not a teen girl, I'm in my 40s, and I love the Sara Shepard books," said Marlene King, the woman who adapted Pretty Little Liars for ABC Family. "I think, universally, what's fun about the show is the mystery, and I don't think it matters if you're a guy or a girl and what age you are."
Before she was dreaming up A's evil plans, Marlene went to California's Pepperdine University where she earned a BA in broadcasting. After graduation, she got a part-time job to pay the bills, but her focus was on writing scripts. Three years later, a project with her writing partner Roger Kumble was optioned by Disney. The duo spent a year rewriting Some Enchanted Evening but it was ultimately never made. She and Kumble worked on a variety of optioned projects, navigating "development hell" but gaining invaluable experience. "That was our big learning curve on how to find our voices and be writers," explained Marlene, "and we were fortunate enough to get paid at the same time."
One of Marlene's solo projects, Now and Then, found its way into Demi Moore's hands; having fallen in love with it, Demi produced the film (and she acted in it). It was Marlene's big-break moment. Released in 1995 and directed by Lesli Linka Glatter (who directed the pilot and season 1 finale episodes of PLL), the story is about four childhood girlfriends who reunite in their mid-20s, and through flashbacks we see a particularly important summer of their lives and friendship in the '70s. Marlene said of her work with Demi, "We had a great collaboration for many years, and that was definitely a turning point in my career." Marlene's other credits include Senior Trip (1995) and a segment of If These Walls Could Talk (1996).
Around then, Marlene switched focus, from penning scripts to raising kids (though she did cowrite the 2005 Lindsay Lohan picture Just My Luck). When she decided to return to work, she wanted to focus on television rather than feature film work. She'd written one TV pilot for The WB (which became one half of The CW in 2006) for development exec Kate Juergens, who was now executive vice-president of series programming at ABC Family. The two met to chat and, as Marlene describes it, "we had such similar sensibilities, we were like long-lost friends. I knew we could do something together. And the next day they sent me the first Pretty Little Liars book."
Now a division of the Disney-ABC Television Group, ABC Family got its start as part of Pat Robertson's Christian TV empire in 1977 and grew to be The Family Channel in 1990, and changed hands from Fox to Disney in 2001. In the past, its programming was focused more on religious shows, original TV movies, and reruns of comedies, but it now boasts series like The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Make It or Break It, Melissa & Joey, Switched at Birth, The Lying Game, as well as the canceled but still loved Kyle XY and The Nine Lives of Chloe King.
For those unfamiliar with the relationship between producers, studios, and networks, Marlene explained that going straight to ABC Family and connecting with a particular property is unusual: "I sort of got in through the back door that way. Normally, you would meet with the producer, which was Alloy Entertainment, and then the studio [Warner Brothers] and then the network [ABC Family], but I had a meeting of the minds with the network and they hired me right off the bat and then I met with the producer and the studio and thank god we all got along."
The Pretty Little Liars TV adaptation had been kicking around for about five years by the time Marlene got her hands on it. It was at The CW for development — a logical home for it, considering the network's success with other Alloy Entertainment properties like Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries. But soon enough the producers tried their luck, and ultimately found great success, with ABC Family.
Excerpted from Rosewood Confidential by Liv Spencer. Copyright © 2012 Liv Spencer. Excerpted by permission of ECW PRESS.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Building a Mystery
Sara Shepard's Killer Series 10
Pretty Little Liars Cheat Sheet 16
Marlene King and the Making of Pretty Little Liars 19
Pretty Little Precedents 24
Meet the Cast
Troian Bellisario as Spencer Hastings 29
Ashley Benson as Hanna Marin 33
Lucy Hale as Aria Montgomery 36
Shay Mitchell as Emily Fields 39
Ian Harding as Ezra Fitz 43
Keegan Allen as Toby Cavanaugh 46
Sasha Pieterse as Alison Dilaurentis 49
1.01 Pilot 55
Holly Marie Combs as Ella Montgomery 58
1.02 The Jenna Thing 60
Chad Lowe as Byron Montgomery 61
Chuck Hittinger as Sean Ackard 63
1.03 To Kill a Mocking Girl 65
To Kill A Mockingbird 66
1.04 Can You Hear Me Now? 71
Julian Morris as Wren Kim 72
1.05 Reality Bites Me 76
Lesley Fera as Veronica Hastings, and Nolan North as Peter Hastings 77
1.06 There's No Place Like Homecoming 80
Torrey Devitto as Melissa Hastings 82
Diego Boneta as Alex Santiago 86
1.07 The Homecoming Hangover 87
Brendan Robinson as Lucas Gottesman 88
1.08 Please, Do Talk About Me When I'm Gone 92
Janel Parrish as Mona Vanderwaal 94
1.09 The Perfect Storm 96
Great Expectations 99
1.10 Keep Your Friends Close 102
Nia Peeples as Pam Fields 104
Eric Steinberg as Wayne Fields 106
1.11 Moments Later 108
That's So Gay 110
Laura Leighton as Ashley Marin 114
1.12 Salt Meets Wound 115
Brant Daugherty as Noel Kahn 118
1.13 Know Your Frenemies 120
1.14 Careful What U Wish 4 123
Ryan Merriman as Ian Thomas 124
1.15 If At First You Don't Succeed, Lie, Lie Again 127
1.16 Je Suis Une Amie 130
1.17 The New Normal 134
1.18 The Badass Seed 136
The Bad Seed 138
Tyler Blackburn as Caleb Rivers 140
1.19 A Person of Interest 143
Lindsey Shaw as Paige Mccullers 146
Tammin Sursok as Jenna Marshall 148
1.20 Someone To Watch Over Me 151
1.21 Monsters In the End 153
1.22 For Whom the Bells Toll 156
2.01 It's Alive 161
Drew Van Acker as Jason Dilaurentis 165
2.2 The Goodbye Look 166
2.3 My Name Is Trouble 169
2.04 Blind Dates 174
Claire Holt as Samara 175
2.5 The Devil You Know 178
2.6 Never Letting Go 181
How To Dress A Liar 185
2.07 Surface Tension 188
2.8 Save the Date 190
2.9 Picture This 193
2.10 Touched By An "A"-Ngel 197
Music On Pll 198
2.11 I Must Confess 203
2.12 Over My Dead Body 205
Yani Gellman as Garret Reynolds 210
2.13 The First Secret 211
2.14 Through Many Dangers, Toils and, Snares 216
2.15 A Hot Piece of "A" 219
2.16 Let the Water Hold Me Down 223
Shane Coffey as Holden Strauss 224
2.17 The Blonde Leading the Blind 227
2.18 A Kiss Before Lying 231
Bianca Lawson as Maya St. Germain 234
2.19 The Naked Truth 237
2.20 Ctrl: A 241
2.21 Breaking the Code 244
2.22 Father Knows Best 247
2.23 Eye of the Beholder 252
2.24 If These Dolls Could Talk 255
2.25 Unmasked 261
Psycho and the "Master of Suspense" 267
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I REALLY HATE WHEN WANNABES TRY TO BE THE A I MEAN IT'S OBIVIOUS THAT YOU RLYING SO SAVE US A SECOND AND STOP.BECAUSE THERE IS ONE A AND ONE A ONLLY LOOK BELOW:
So i hope you now see the truth behind thee
Not really but just showing you the possible suspects behind A
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Posted August 3, 2013
So even though i havent seen the whole first season but i am really into the show and started reading the books watch the show every tues on abc family at 8:00pm
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