‘Listen for the Lie is very much a book that came from the characters’ – Amy Tintera chats about her debut novel for adults
 More about the book!

Amy Tintera is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels for young adults. Listen for the Lie is her adult debut. She chats here about structuring the book around a podcast, and balancing humour and romance with crime and mystery.

This is a book structured around a podcast. Honestly, I was thinking about the story as an audiobook from the very beginning. I love it when books have sections that are really well-suited for audio – Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is an example of this. But even in print, I thought that a podcast was a really engaging way to play out a cold case for the reader.

I listen to true crime podcasts myself. I got into them with Serial, like so many others. My feelings about true crime podcasts are complicated – they can be an excellent way to shine light on cases that would otherwise be ignored, but also, with social media these days, it’s very easy for things to get twisted or spin out of control, and for conspiracy theories to run wild. The thing I try to remember is that there are real people behind the stories, people who maybe never wanted the big spotlight a podcast can bring, and to try and be respectful of that.

I’d just watched Fleabag when I first started writing Listen for the Lie, so certainly a bit of that humorous tone influenced me when creating Lucy Chase. But truthfully, I’ve always had a bit of a sarcastic voice! I’m not sure I could ever write a book without humour and sarcasm, because it just comes naturally to me.

Savvy, who is Lucy’s friend, has as distinctive a voice in the book as Lucy does. I really liked the idea of two friends who were really different from one another, so I just started thinking about what that would look like, and let the characters guide it from there. Listen for the Lie is very much a book that came from the characters – there are sections of the first draft where I just wrote pages and pages of dialogue, letting them tell the story.

There is a strong romantic thread running through Listen for the Lie; and it was hard at times to balance that with the investigative and thriller elements. I occasionally had to pull myself back a bit from the romance in order to make sure it didn’t overwhelm the mystery. But I love writing ill-timed romances, and the romance in Listen for the Lie is certainly not at a convenient time for either character! In my first YA book, my editor had to point out that my characters were often kissing when they were supposed to be like, running for their lives. I’m obsessed with characters in bad situations who decide they still have time for romance. To me, it’s realistic, and also a lot of fun to read (and write!).

Listen for the Lie is out now.


This article was originally published in The Penguin Post, a magazine about books for book lovers from Penguin Random House South Africa.   


About the book

Am I a murderer? You tell me …

You probably already know about me. Lucy Chase, the woman who doesn’t remember murdering her best friend.

You probably think I did it, too. That’s OK, I get it. Being found wandering the streets covered in her blood wasn’t a great look.

Believe me, I’m as frustrated as you are. I’d love to know if I’m a murderer – it’s the sort of thing you really should know about yourself, isn’t it?

And now, thanks to true-crime podcast Listen for the Lie, I finally have the chance to find out. But will I be able to live with myself if it turns out it was me?

And if it wasn’t, will digging into the secrets of the night I forgot make me the next target of whoever did?

Perfect for fans of None of This is True by Lisa Jewell and Murder in the Family by Cara Hunter.

Categories Fiction International

Tags Amy Tintera Listen for the Lie Penguin Random House SA Penguin Random House SA Book Club The Penguin Post

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