Blog Tour: Dead Girls Walking by Suzy Cox - Guest Post
Today as part of the Dead Girls Walking Blog Tour I have the author Suzy Cox on my blog with a list of what inspired Dead Girls Walking
5 things that inspired Dead Girls Walking
1. New York, New York
There's an old adage that you should write about what you know. If you believe that, I totally messed up with The Dead Girls Detective Agency. It might seem weird that an English girl from Oxford wrote a series about New York teenagers, but surely the whole point of writing is to let your imagination run wild? I don't know any more about what it's like to go to high school in America than I do about how it feels to be horribly murdered aged 16 - then find yourself trapped in limbo until you can solve your own murder, like my heroine Charlotte does. But I do know how it feels to be 16, to have the friends you thought had your back let you down, and to be confused as hell about boys.
I set Dead Girls in New York because I'm obsessed with it. I feel the same way about that city as a whole lot of people do about Harry Styles’ abs. Ever since I saw On The Town – the Frank Sinatra movie – when I was a little kid, I've thought New York was the most amazing, magical city. Growing up, I read Paula Danziger’s Remember Me To Harold Square until it fell to pieces; I could quote you every line in Breakfast At Tiffany’s and I still think Ghostbusters is one of the best movies ever made. I went to New York for the first time six years ago and actually cried when I had to leave (I am *that* sad). If, like Charlotte and the other dead girls, I had to be trapped in one place for eternity, it would be New York every time.
2. Being a massive wuss
Confession: I'm terrified of ghosts. I'm that person who can't sleep at 3am if there's a creek in the hall, and the scariest film I can cope with is Casper. My best friend reckons I chose to write about ghosts to make them less scary; to humanize them in some way. Much as I hate to admit it, I think she's probably right. How can you be scared of the Dead Girls? I want to gossip with Lorna, have Nancy on hand in a life crisis and get Charlotte to take me to see a cool new band. Without being brutally murdered in the process, of course. They're smart, funny and would never use their powers for evil – like, say, rattling chains outside my bedroom at 3am.
3. The hot Living detective
I totally stole the character of Detective Jefferson Lee, the guy who runs New York City's murder squad, from a friend. He used to be a court reporter working out of The Old Bailey in London, then one day he decided he'd had enough of reporting on crimes and wanted to stop them instead. He gave up newspapers and retrained as a policeman. I'm in awe of him for doing something so brave and amazing. If anyone says Detective Lee's too goody-goody to be true, I know he’s not – because there’s a real life example solving crime on London's streets.
4. Gossip Girl
Ever since I picked up a Sweet Valley High book, I've wanted to go to high school in America: to sit at the cool table in the cafeteria, audition for the cheer squad and get asked to prom. I was a Gossip Girl nerd as soon as I read the first book and I've never seen an episode of the TV show I didn't like. Not even the ones in season 5 when Blair’s dating the stupid prince of Monaco – and some episodes in there tested even my fandom. Dead Girls 1 was set around Washington Square, so for book 2, I had to take the girls to the Upper East Side. I want to see Anasasia de Witt – Dead Girls 2’s queen bee – take on Blair Waldorf in a fight. I don't know who'd win, but the one-liners and put-downs would be outstanding.
5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Despite the fact it’s about teenagers being murdered in gnarly circumstances, Dead Girls isn’t a blood and gore series. I wanted Charlotte’s death to be nothing compared to the shocking things that happen after it – like, she could just about pick herself up after being pushed under a subway train, but being cheated on by her first boyfriend or betrayed by a friend? That’s what really hurts.
I didn’t want to write something depressing or all woe-is-me. My favourite TV programme of all time is Buffy. I’m in awe of the way Joss Whedon uses horror as a metaphor for all the sticky moments involved in growing up. It manages to be clever, funny, moving and insightful – while at the same time dealing with some pretty heavy issues. I tried to use bereavement and loss in a similar way.
I wasn’t thinking so much about the big end-of-your-life death so much as the daily end-of-the-world-as-you-know-it moments – because you go through so many when you’re that age (or at least I did). The best friend who you see 24/7, who’s suddenly not there any more. The soul mate who goes off with another girl. The weird changes in your body… Dealing with all of that is so earth-shattering – you have to accept that one life (your childhood) is over and something new is beginning. But you’ve got to find the humour in the situation or you’ll fall in a heap instead of getting stronger and moving on.
Award-winning journalist and author Suzy Cox began her writing career in teen magazines, asking popstars what kind of biscuit they’d most like to be. From Smash Hits, Mizz and 19, she moved on to Cosmopolitan, before becoming Features Director of Grazia and Associate Editor of Fabulous, the UK’s biggest newspaper supplement. She’s interviewed everyone from Kylie to Cheryl Cole and Russell Brand, taken Debbie Harry to Number 10, and reported from Thai police stations, American prisons and 18-30 holidays. Suzy is now back at Cosmo for a second time, as deputy editor of the magazine — and also edits its student spin-off title, Cosmo on Campus.