Author Interview: I Will Find You Again by Sarah Lyu
It’s been almost 4 years since Sarah Lyu put The Best Lies out in the world and I have not stopped thinking about it since. To say that I am excited for I Will Find You Again is an understatement. We interviewed Sarah back in 2019 and asked her to come back and talk about how she crafts her unforgettable characters. Check out her thoughts below and pick up I Will Find You Again next Tuesday!
I Will Find You Againby Sarah Lyu
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
on March 14, 2023
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Thriller, Young Adult
All the Bright Places meets Ace of Spades in this smart, twisty teen thriller about a girl who can’t stop pushing herself to be the best—even after losing her best friend and the love of her life.
Welcome to Meadowlark, Long Island—expensive homes and good schools, ambition and loneliness. Meet Chase Ohara and Lia Vestiano: the driven overachiever and the impulsive wanderer, the future CEO and the free spirit. Best friends for years—weekend trips to Montauk, sleepovers on a yacht—and then, first love. True love.
But when Lia disappears, Chase’s life turns into a series of grim snapshots. Anger. Grief. Running. Pink pills in an Altoids tin. A cheating ring at school. Heartbreak and lies. A catastrophic secret.
And the shocking truth that will change everything about the way Chase sees Lia—and herself.
On Crafting Characters
My upcoming novel, I Will Find You Again, is a young adult thriller that sees driven, perfectionist Chase devastated after a traumatic breakup with Lia, her more free-spirited girlfriend. And when Lia goes missing nearly six months later, Chase is forced to work with Hunter, Lia’s new girlfriend, to understand what happened in the weeks leading up to Lia’s disappearance. As she begins to put the pieces together, she discovers secrets about her own relationship with Lia that shock her. Not everything was as it seemed, and not everyone is who they appear to be. But one thing is certain: if Chase can’t make sense of the past, she might not get a chance at a future.
I loved the time I spent with these characters, particularly Chase and Lia. They felt immediately known to me in a kind of instinctive way, but as I worked on their story, it was important for me to really understand who they were as characters and why they belonged in this particular narrative together. The main conflict between them—that Chase is always striving for more and that Lia wants a future away from the relentless pressure to climb and climb—is rooted in an internal conversation I’m always having with myself. Is it better to be successful or to be happy? The push and pull of trying to feel enough in a world that tells almost everyone that they’ll never be enough is very personal and for this novel, I split the warring aspects within myself and gave them to Chase and Lia.
When developing characters that don’t share my personal history or internal conflicts, I always think of what my favorite author, E. Lockhart, once said about finding an “in” with a character. To paraphrase, she was referring to the love interest in The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and how she understood him from one detail of his family background—the way his father was hard on him when playing word games like scrabble and yet he had remained loyal, even emulating his father in an argument with Frankie. I kept that in mind when it came to Hunter, Lia’s enigmatic girlfriend. She represents everything Chase longs for—great wealth and power, the freedom to do whatever she wants—and yet she’s asking Chase for help. Hunter’s motivations are central to the book’s question of what happened to Lia, and though her character’s experiences are almost completely foreign to me, I could understand and empathize with what drove her: an overwhelming sense of guilt and a desire to do right by Lia. From that perspective, her machinations make a certain kind of awful sense. As for whether Chase or Hunter ultimately succeeds, you’ll have to read to find out 🙂