Tell us about The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove and why would fans of Fallen enjoy it?
The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove is my first novel and was as much of a guilty pleasure to write as I hope it is for people to read. It’s a dark, funny, gothic story about one girl’s twisted path towards Queen Bee-dom. It’s a Cruel Intentions meets Friday Night Lights meets MacBeth (told from Lady MacBeth’s point of view), set in the contemporary south. People read Fallen and they ask me whether I went to a school like Sword and Cross. Not even close! Actually, it’s the school in Betrayal that is a thinly veiled version of my utterly enormous and insanely Texan high school. All the things Natalie cares about in Betrayal are very close to my high school heart.
What do the two books have in common … & what makes them so different?
The biggest thing the books have in common in their setting. They are both richly southern gothic—Fallen is set in Savannah and Betrayal is set in Charleston, South Carolina—so the same sort of wonderfully oppressive southern scenes are important to both books.
The biggest difference, I think, is the voice of the protagonists. Where Luce is struggling to find her place in a new, unfamiliar school, Natalie is a girl at the top of her game—and she won’t let anything compromise that. Like every complex character, they both have some pretty remarkable skeletons in their closet. Natalie is a bit naughtier than Luce, but I imagine they would be friends. Actually, Nat’s kind of like a type-A version of Arriane.