Karen McManus Shares the Story Behind the B&N Exclusive Edition of One of Us Is Lying

Karen McManus’s One of Us Is Lying hit shelves just over a year ago. Since then the taut, multi-voice thriller, pitched as Pretty Little Liars meets The Breakfast Club, has won over a legion of fans and spent most of its life on the bestseller list. Today marks the release of the B&N exclusive edition, including a must-read bonus chapter expanding on the stories of all four of the book’s main characters. Here’s author McManus to discuss why she wanted to tell this particular story.

When you have the opportunity to create a special edition of your book, there are lots of directions you can take. A Q&A, an author’s note, deleted scenes, bonus content, sneak peeks at a future work—they’re all great ways to extend and deepen a story.

For the B&N special edition of One of Us Is Lying, I took the bonus content route in the form of a new, twenty-page chapter set several weeks after the epilogue. In the main text, each chapter shows the perspectives of two of the characters. This bonus chapter has scenes from the points of view of all four main characters. They appear in the same order as in the beginning of the book: first Bronwyn, then Cooper, then Addy, and finally Nate.

Why did I choose to tell this particular story? For two reasons:

  1. It’s been in my head since I finished the book.
  2. It answers the question I get most from readers: What happens next?

I ended One of Us Is Lying the way I wanted to, and I’m happy with how and where the epilogue stops. But the thing about characters is they don’t disappear from your mind just because your book is in production, or on shelves, or about to turn a year old. Over the past year, even while working on my second book, I often found myself thinking about OOUIL’s lead characters. I pictured them navigating unsettled lives, interacting with their families and each other, and having conversations they didn’t get to have within the main edition.

So when I talked with my editor about the various formats this bonus content might take, I said, “Let me write the scenes that have been running through my head and see how those turn out.” I’ve often said in interviews that One of Us Is Lying flowed easily during the drafting stage, and this chapter was no different. It just poured out. When I was done, it felt like a natural extension of the story.

This edition is not only for new readers but for anyone who—like me—found themselves missing the OOUIL universe when the book was finished. It’s for people who wanted to know whether a certain couple ever sees a certain movie. For people who wanted to spend a little more time with sisters, grandmothers, best friends, or pet lizards. And for anybody who has wondered: What happens next?

That’s not a question that could ever be answered fully in twenty pages, because to me, these characters will always be as ambiguous as real people. They’re still figuring themselves out, and could go in lots of different directions depending on what obstacles, successes, and relationships come next. Plus, I think books can exist in lots of parallel universes. If a reader imagined something different for a character than what I’ve written, that’s still a perfectly valid interpretation. The Bayview Four belong as much to you as they do to me.

When you finish this special edition, if you’re still wondering what happens next, well—maybe I’ll answer that question another day.

The B&N exclusive edition of One of Us Is Lying is on sale today!

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