Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination—an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her “other”, if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.
But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.
Now she must abandon everything she’s ever known—the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love—to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.
What Eva finds is a grief-stricken family; parents unsure how to handle this echo they thought they wanted; and Ray, who knew every detail, every contour of Amarra. And when Eva is unexpectedly dealt a fatal blow that will change her existence forever, she is forced to choose: Stay and live out her years as a copy or leave and risk it all for the freedom to be an original. To be Eva.
From debut novelist Sangu Mandanna comes the dazzling story of a girl who was always told what she had to be—until she found the strength to decide for herself.
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Kayla: What gave you the inspiration to write "The Lost Girl"?
Sangu: Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. I reread it at university and found myself really fascinated with the idea of stitching life from scratch. I wanted to tell a story from the monster's point of view, and I played around with possibilities, but for a few months nothing really worked. Then Eva's voice popped into my head and I knew that was the story I needed to be writing.
Kayla: Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Sangu: I wish I was more interesting, but here goes: I'm twenty-four. I have a husband who, by some amazing stroke of luck, actually forgivesme when I ignore him for hours at time, and a baby who steals the rest of my time. Sometimes I get so caught up in writing that I forget to eat (this is where the ignoring-my-poor-husband part comes in). I love some of the classics, but find most of them very uninteresting, which I probably shouldn't admit when I have a degree in English Lit, but there you go. I (briefly) used to want to be a stunt motorcyclist and jump the Grand Canyon but, alas, that didn't work out. I leave the perilous ventures and dramatic exploits to my characters now.
Kayla: Is there anything specific that you want your readers to get from reading The Lost Girl?
Sangu: Actually, no. I hope readers will love it, of course, but the rest is up to them. I wrote it, but it stops being mine as soon as someone else picks it up. It becomes theirs.
Kayla: How does it feel now that your first novel is about to be released?
Sangu: TERRIFYING. Honestly. Exciting, too, and absolutely thrilling, because this is what I've wanted for so long. But it's terrifying. It's not so much that I'm afraid of what people will think, or afraid of it not doing very well (though obviously I am a teeny bit scared of those things): more than anything, it's the simple fact that the book is out of my hands now. I can't change anything. I can't fix a sentence I no longer like. I can't take something back. I've worked on the book for nearly three years now, so the loss of control is frightening.
Kayla: How do you like being with Harper Teen? (I bet it is AMAZING)
Sangu: It is amazing. I can't begin to tell you how much fun I've had with my editor, Sara, or how supportive everyone at HarperCollins has been. They're all just so nice and so fun and so very, very good at their jobs. Plus, my cover is gorgeous, which, you know, is obviously the most important thing...
Kayla: What has been your greatest memories while being an Author?
Sangu: a writer, my happiest memories are of being completely, obsessively absorbed in a new book. As an author, with a book coming out, the best thing has been meeting people, especially other authors and readers. My favourite memory is of Lauren DeStefano (whose books I love) telling me on Twitter that she heard a song that made her think of two of my characters. Few things are cooler than that.
Kayla: Do you have anyone that you would consider your "Mentor"?
Sangu: I find inspiration in a lot of other authors' work, especially from the classics, and also from movies, those kinds of things, but I don't think I have a mentor, as such.
Kayla: Is there anything else you would like to tell everyone?
Sangu: Just thank you. I love all your tweets, emails and questions about the book, I love your enthusiasm. And if you do read THE LOST GIRL, I hope you enjoy it as much as I loved writing it.
Sangu Mandanna was four years old when she was chased by an elephant and wrote her first story about it and decided that this was what she wanted to do with her life. Seventeen years later, she read Frankenstein. It sent her into a writing frenzy that became THE LOST GIRL, a novel about death and love and the tie that binds the two together. Sangu now lives in England with her husband and baby son. Find her online at www.sangumandanna.com or on Twitter (@SanguMandanna).