I’ve known indie author S.K. Falls (aka Adriana Ryan) since before I started publishing, and I became a fan of her writing with her wonderfully poetic dystopian novel World of Shell and Bone. She’s recently released a contemporary new-adult novel, Secret for a Song, which you may remember from the cover reveal a couple of months ago, about a girl with Munchausen syndrome who falls in love with a boy with a terminal illness. Today I have her on my blog to talk about what’s behind the book, what it was like to write it, and which part of the story is her favorite.
What gave you the idea for Secret for a Song?
I’m a huge psychology buff; I majored in it in college. When the idea for a character with Munchausen syndrome popped into my head one day, I couldn’t get the idea to go away. I was enthralled with the idea of creating an unlikeable character. People with Munchausen struggle with a lot of different issues, a personality disorder being one of them. I did a lot of reading on the subject, past what I’d learned in college, and was even more fascinated with what I found. So I ended up writing down a loose plot outline, and the rest is history.
You’re best known for your dystopian novel World of Shell and Bone. Was it difficult to switch gears and write a contemporary story?
Not really. I tend to jump from story idea to story idea in my head a lot when I’m deciding what to write next. I like stories with a big psychological pull, no matter what genre they happen to be in. That’s pretty much how I view or think about stories—I ask myself how the current condition affects the main character’s psychological makeup.
So to me, it was a matter of switching from Vika’s (the protagonist in World of Shell and Bone) psychology to Saylor’s rather than switching genres, if that makes sense. In a way, Secret for a Song was a bit easier because I didn’t have to keep track of the world building aspects that I did in World of Shell and Bone.
With her illness and her issues, Saylor isn’t always easy to relate to. What was it like getting inside her head?
I’d had her in my head for so long that Saylor began to feel very, very real to me. She was my constant companion through the day’s chores and activities, and I had her “voice” going 24/7. So, in that way, it was easy—and a relief!—to get her reactions down on paper. It was simultaneously emotionally draining, though, because, like you said, Saylor has a lot of flaws and a lot of internal pain. I’d never quite written a character like her—one who is so obviously doing the wrong thing and is cognizant of the fact. That was an interesting line to toe.
Which part of Secret for a Song was your favorite to write?
My favorite had to be the end, which is funny because some readers have written to tell me the end made them cry. The end, to me, was like a big sigh of relief. I just felt like the story had come full circle, and Saylor (and therefore I) could move on.
Are you planning any more contemporary novels in the future?
Most definitely. I love writing contemporary fiction. Right now I have a contemporary series planned with (again) a heavy focus on psychology.
Thanks so much for having me, Zoe!
Buy Secret for a Song here:
A huge fan of spooky stuff and shoes, I enjoy alternately hitting up the outlet malls and historic graveyards in Charleston, SC where I live and imbibe coffee. My husband and two small children seem not to mind when I hastily scribble novel lines on stray limbs in the absence of notepads.
Since no writer’s biography is complete without mention of her menagerie of animals, you should know I have one dog that doubles as a footstool, a second that functions as a vacuum cleaner, and a cat that ensures I never forget that my hands are, first and foremost, for pouring cat food.
Visit S.K. Falls: