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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Guest Post by Katherine Owen Discussing Tally Landon in the "Truth In Lies Series"

Grief arrives in such unexpected ways and moments. I can't decipher if it's the remembering that is more painful or if the incessant worry of not remembering everything about her that might be worse. 

You can't really hear heartbreak. It is remarkably silent but excruciating all the same.  
Because the death of a loved one--that loss--is like a bacteria your body never really rids itself of. It's always there, just waiting to re-ignite and burn through you all over again.

You know what they say about air and water when it comes to fire, don't you? She asks. Now, I'm curious. She hasn't spoken for the last ten minutes of the drive. What? Too much air blows our the fire. Too much water destroys it.  


Guest Post

Book fans loved This Much Is True, the first book in the Truth In Lies series, and my foray into
New Adult Fiction (a newish genre that deals with characters between the ages of 17 and 26).
Along with that embrace and love for This Much Is True came the most complicated, either-you-
love-her-or-you-hate-her character in Talia “Tally” Landon.

To that end, Tally Landon has to be the most complex character I’ve written. After two books,
I’m not sure that me, as the writer, or readers completely get where she is coming from and why
she is the way she is.

So I thought I would spend some time discussing my most complex, polarizing character, Tally
Landon, and tell you a little about my process and where she comes from.

Tally is a product of my imagination. I write from a character-based perspective, meaning the
main characters tend to drive my writing and where it goes. I basically see them—how they
dress, how they talk, how they act long before I write the story down. I tend to know what their
pain is as much as where their happiness comes from just by envisioning them in my mind. For
me, the writing process is convoluted. It can take weeks, sometimes months, of thinking about
how the story should go—in imagining these characters—before I get anything worthwhile down
on paper.

When I first imagined Tally, she was an artist when she meets up with baseball star Lincoln
Presley. The first few drafts for a class I was taking at The Writers Studio, and then later, when I
was attempting to write this novel, showed Tally as this innocent girl meeting this very famous

But it was boring. Trust me. I’d seen it a thousand times in New Adult Fiction, which is probably
where the inclination to write such a story came from in the first place, but after some careful
evaluation,  I decided we didn't need another story like that. At least, I wouldn't be writing it.
So, I started asking more what-if type of questions to further flush out my story concept. What if
she was becoming famous in her own right? What if she was also an athlete of sorts? I was
excited about the contrasts developing with this concept and finally settled upon the idea of a
love story between two rising stars—one—a ballerina, and the other—a baseball player.
Talia Landon. And Lincoln Presley.

I loved exploring the differences between ballet and baseball, where even gender tended to play
a role in how things worked out with these two. The often difficult choices these characters
made for their chosen professions became clear, where even the nuances of how the money
awarded in one sport didn’t necessarily transfer to the other created these stark differences
between them. I also learned just how hard these athletes work as well as how much they had
to sacrifice in their private lives to make it.

The emotional side with these two very talented people led to this inevitable connection
between them partly because they discovered they harbored the same fears—failing and falling
and losing—these same fears that tended to stifle them so much of the time.

Those fears started to resonate with me and the writing of this story. What would Tally do? What
would Linc sacrifice in his own way to be with her? I wasn’t exactly sure until I got deeper into
the writing of the story where I’d also begun to explore all of that goes along with the trappings
and triumphs of fame. So. All these factors started to come together in the writing of this first
book, This Much Is True. I knew I had some incredible characters to work with, and I was just
hoping to do the story justice by then.

In this first book, This Much Is True, Tally Landon is so self-absorbed and, at times, so hell-bent
on self-destruction in all these unexpected ways that she quickly becomes a polarizing
character for readers, which made her intriguing to write about. In the opening scene, Tally is
just 17 and experiences such profound tragedy. My goal was to have readers empathize with
her in those first few pages but also recognize her dark side.

To this end, Tally is more than a little lost, partly because of her age and what has recently
happened to her.  In one of the early scenes, her best friend Marla drags her to a party, where
Tally meets Lincoln Presley, whose star is already on the rise. She proceeds to lie to him about
who she is, and how old she is, because Tally Landon is in a survival mode. Lying is her coping
mechanism. It’s always worked for her in the past and lying allows her to maintain a distance
and keeps her from getting emotionally attached.

Tally’s singular goal was to escape her tragic story and concentrate solely on ballet. Right away,
after Linc and Tally met, both seemed to realize that the other represented a complication—a
complication neither one was ever able to deny again.

Tally was strong in so many ways but vulnerable in others, although she rarely allowed others to
see this in her. And yet, Linc saw this in her right away. He was ultimately bound to her—bound
to protect her—from the very moment they first meet. Tally's interactions with Linc showed her
secret desire for being loved for herself, of being wanted and liked, instead of just being admired
or sought after for her most famous talents.

One of my favorite scenes to write was when he cooked for her. Tally had a thing about food.
She denies herself food quite a bit throughout the novel. There are hints that she’s fought off
Anorexia the year before.

Even so, Linc nurtured and took care of her from the start, but Tally was having it. Her heart was
locked down, and she would not give it away. Linc seemed to hold the key to her heart, but it
took supreme sacrifice on both their parts in order for them to ever have a chance at finding
their way back to each other.

Tally’s vulnerability and darkness as well as Linc’s strength and lightness seems to keep
readers reading to find out what happens.

I mean, how often in a love story would two talented people in their own right with ballet and
baseball be written about? I hadn’t read a story like that, and I wanted to write it.

As it was, most readers loved This Much Is True and demanded more, so I wrote a second book
about them, The Truth About Air & Water, and released it in late August of 2014 almost a year
to the day since This Much Is True’s release.

So. If you like your love stories a little dark with so much angst that reading the book will have
you drinking wine and popping Advil at regular intervals, you might want to read my work.
Just so you know; I'm busy writing a third book about Linc and Tally titled Tell Me Something
True, right now, because my fans want even more of these two. If all goes according to my
convoluted plan, it will be out in late May 2015.

The Truth In Lies series has become a series, despite my despising series. All the novels follow
these two main characters as they struggle with fame and an epic love that sometimes seems
as bent on destroying them as much as it does on building them up.

Okay, maybe, that perspective is just mine. I don’t know. You tell me. Read the book, This
Much Is True.

In any case, I love my readers. I know every author says that, but do they really?
Thank you, Deb and Bookish, for having me here…
Katherine Owen

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