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Interview: Jacqueline Green, Author of TRUTH OR DARE

Jacqueline Green’s latest thriller, TRUTH OR DARE, is sure to have readers on the edge of their seats! A simple party game of truth or dare turns into something much more deadly for high school seniors Tenley, Caitlin and Sydney. Set against the eerie backdrop of Echo Bay --- an isolated beach town haunted by misfortune --- the girls will have to go to dangerous lengths to protect their darkest secrets.

In this interview, Jacqueline talks about the challenges of writing from the points-of-view of three very different characters, the scariest dare she ever accepted and exclusively reveals the title of her next book --- the highly anticiated sequel to TRUTH OR DARE!

How do you think you'd react if you were suddenly sent a series of threatening dares?

I'd like to believe I'd tell somebody and get help! But the truth is, I think it's impossible to know how any of us would react. Tenley, Sydney and Caitlin might have said the same thing, but when your deepest secrets are on the line, the whole game changes.  

What did you have the most fun with while writing this book? What was your biggest challenge? 

I had so much fun creating the beach side town of Echo Bay. I drew a lot of inspiration from one of my favorite places in the world, Gloucester, MA, while still getting to make the area my own: adding restaurants, town traditions and of course the town's dark, eerie underbelly...The biggest challenge was probably keeping all the story lines and secrets straight! With three main characters and a lot of intertwining story lines, I employed many a list to make sure I didn't forget anything. Luckily, I kind of have an addiction to making lists.  

All of the characters in TRUTH OR DARE are so different! There is no way you could ever confuse Emerson, Caitlin, Tenley or Sydney. Was it a challenge to give such different characters distinctive voices? 

It was so much fun to give Sydney, Caitlin, Tenley and Emerson their own distinctive personalities and quirks and fears and desires. Before writing the book, I actually sat down and sketched out my thoughts for each character, and I ended up consulting those lists (See? More lists!) often while writing the book. It was like my own personal character bible. The harder part, of course, was remembering which character I was writing about at any given time...

Which character, if any, do you think you are most like?

I’m not too much like any of the characters, which made writing them all the more exciting. But of all of them, I definitely have the most in common with Caitlin. I love dogs just like she does (I have my own little poodle, who inspired Caitlin’s dog, Sailor!) and I also volunteered a lot in high school. I took my schoolwork and grades pretty seriously, too --- though not as seriously as Cait does!  

Photography plays a key role in the book as Sydney and Guinness bond over the art of photography...and some secrets are exposed through photographs. Is photography a hobby of yours or is taking pictures something you like to do?

Photography is something I've always really admired and been fascinated by, but never delved into too deeply myself. (If you don't count the numerous shots of my backyard I took when I was in middle school --- which I of course believed to be award-worthy at the time.) I still love to take pictures now, but I don't think I'd go as far as to call them photography...more like snapshots. But centering so much of this book around the art form was a great way to live that dream vicariously.  

What would you like teens to take away from TRUTH OR DARE? 

Your choices matter. Things that feel invisible at the time might not always. So think about the choices you make --- especially when they affect others.

What has been the most memorable game of Truth or Dare you've ever played? Was there ever a "truth" or "dare" that has stuck out to you? 

On vacation, my friends and I once accepted a group dare to walk into a local dive bar, which supposedly didn't ID. (We were under 21 at the time.) We were nervous at first, but we went through with it! We were just starting to feel the rush of a successful dare when suddenly two scruffy-looking, middle-aged men approached us. My first thought was: are they really going to hit on us? Then they flashed their badges. My second thought was: uh oh...They were undercover cops. Apparently we'd chosen a bad night to accept that dare. Luckily, we were let off with just a warning. The bar didn't fare as well, though; afterwards, the cops permanently shut it down. I've always felt a little responsible for the closing of that bar!

We dare you to tell us what you are working on next (if you can!) Is there another book on the way...and can you give us any teaser details?

I'm working on the sequel to TRUTH OR DARE right now. In the next book, the character of Emerson takes on a larger role as the twisted game continues --- with even greater consequences. And for the first time I can reveal the title of the book! It's called SECRETS AND LIES.