Sweet Sixteener Elizabeth Briggs recently spoke to Fearless Fifteener Amanda Panitch about her YA thriller, DAMAGE DONE (July 21, 2015, Random House).
Amanda Panitch grew up next to an amusement park in New Jersey, went to college next to the White House in Washington, D.C., and now resides in New York City, where she works in book publishing by day, writes by night, and lives under constant threat of being crushed beneath giant stacks of books.
“In her incredible debut novel, Amanda Panitch leaves you on the edge of your seat. Prepare to be stunned. Prepare to be torn apart.” –Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist
“Exceedingly clever and surprisingly unsettling, Damage Done is an unforgettable read.” –Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of Made for You
“A brilliant thriller. Gillian Flynn for the YA set.” –Amy Christine Parker, author of Gated
22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.
Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.
After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.
Now that she’s Lucy Black, her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school. And someone much more dangerous. She thought her brother’s crimes were behind her. But now she’s being forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind. How far will Julia go to keep her slate clean?
One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . .
Elizabeth: Where did you get the idea for DAMAGE DONE?
Amanda: I was reading an article about a suicide bomber that mentioned the bomber’s siblings, and I wondered – what would it feel like to be so close to someone who’s done such a horrible thing? Julia grew from there.
Elizabeth: On Twitter you once said you like writing dangerous girls. Why is that?
Amanda: When I was a teenager, I didn’t see myself as particularly nice. Most of my friends didn’t either. We weren’t dangerous people in the sense that we were killers or anything, but we were often back-biting and vicious and mean, and then there were other girls who were back-biting and vicious and mean to me. I’ve changed, thank goodness, but I still find myself identifying more with the dangerous than I do with the sweet and kind and good.
Elizabeth: How much did you draw upon your own childhood and experiences for DAMAGE DONE?
Amanda: Not all that much. There are definitely parts of me that snuck in, like how Julia plays the clarinet and hates to drive, but it’s not an incredibly personal book.
Elizabeth: You’re working on a second book now, can you give us any hints as to what it will be about?
Amanda: Yes! It’s another YA psychological thriller, called NEVER MISSING, NEVER FOUND, and it’s set at a theme park based on Six Flags, where I worked summers when I was younger. This book is much more personal than DAMAGE DONE, as the love interest in this book is based on my own first love.
Lighting Round Questions
YA mystery/thriller you couldn’t put down?
FAR FROM YOU by Tess Sharpe
TV show you couldn’t stop binge-watching?
Lost (yes, I’m late to the game)
Movie you’ll always watch if it’s on?
The Princess Bride
Song you listened to over and over while writing this book?
Billy Joel’s “The Entertainer”
Snack that kept you going during revisions?
I don’t eat while I write.
Drink you can’t live without?
Water (I don’t drink much else. I’m boring!)
Elizabeth Briggs is a full-time geek who writes books for teens and adults. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Sociology, currently mentors teens in writing, and volunteers with a dog rescue group. She’s the author of the new adult Chasing The Dream series and the upcoming young adult novel Future Shock. Elizabeth lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a pack of fluffy dogs.