L.E. Falcone answers reader questions.
1. What was the inspiration behind writing Daddy’s Girl?
Inspiration for this book came from several different places. The idea started out about three or four years ago when I was listening to a song my brother had written back in his heavy metal days. The song was called Rusted Wings. Although the true meaning behind the song isn’t directly related to the book, I was fascinated by one line: rusted wings that angels wear. I’ve always been intrigued by the duplicitous nature of human beings and so I wanted to explore that theme. I liked the idea of somebody being so angelic in public but having this absolutely darker private side.
From my own personal motivation, I had been reading a lot about narcissists and sociopaths at the time. I’m sure we’ve all had our run-ins with those personalities. And narcissists and sociopaths are perfect examples of people who wear two (or more) masks. In Daddy’s Girl there isn’t one character, except for the homicide detective, who isn’t two-faced.
2. In the acknowledgments, you mention you had a hard time writing this book. Why is that?
I’m not sure I can answer this without a lot of words, but I’ll do my best. During the outlining stage, when I first came up with the idea, I wrote in my notes: Am I a good enough writer to pull this off? The original idea was something I had never done before. For one, it was in an older age bracket than what I wrote, so I didn’t know if I could actually do it. But, also, the way I envisioned the story in my head was different in structure, and I didn’t know if I had enough experience to do it effectively. The answer to that concern came much later when I read my editor’s comments. Her critique told me I failed at what I had set out to do. But I believed in the story and wanted to write it so badly that I took her notes and figured out how to get the book I had in my head out onto paper. So I took a sixty-five thousand word story and pretty much threw it in the trash and started over. I got rid of a lot of characters, eliminated going nowhere story lines, and switched some roles.
During the second iteration of what became Daddy’s Girl, I felt more confident in approaching the subject matter. But there were things going on in the world that made me question if I wanted to continue. My brain is dark, and I like to explore dark themes in my books, but when someone walked into a church and shot nine people in cold blood and two murderers escaped from a high-security prison, it made writing from this particular point-of-view a bit frightening. I actually had to stop for a few months and write something else to keep the darkness at bay. So I ended up writing a romance novella to keep things light. After about a three-month break, I went back at it and didn’t look up until I finished. There were moments where I got physically ill during the writing process.
Another thing I found difficult was to create sympathy for an unreliable narrator. Every reader is going to have their own opinion about how I handled that, but I feel pleased with the outcome.
3. Is this book for young adults?
This book is for older teens but has cross-over appeal, meaning adults can, and should, read it. No, really, read it. You know you want to.
4. Which character did you enjoy writing the most?
Each one presented their own challenges. Christa, for obvious reasons (if you read the book, you’ll understand). Michael, the father, was difficult because he’s such a prick, and I totally hate him. Enjoy is not a word I’d use for this book. Hate-loved is more like it.
5. What’s next?
I have several things lined up. One, a cozy mystery series for adults. The first book is in the editing stage as we speak, er, write. Two, a paranormal psychological thriller that may or may not be written as a screenplay the same time I write the novel. It’s YA. And, three, I’m going back to my roots and will be submitting an upcoming middle grade to agents/editors under my real name.
Daddy’s Girl is $2.99 in ebook and available at these e-tailers