Double Voices



Before I wrote Birthmarked, I worked on a novel that contained five points of view, all following different members of the same family in crisis. It was a worthy experiment, but I swore afterward that I’d never try it again. I couldn’t make all the perspectives equally compelling. I felt like I was shortchanging each character, and the collective honesty I was aiming for didn’t resonate enough.

Imagine, then, my surprise when I started writing The Rule of Mirrors and discovered I could not write it from only one perspective. I was telling the story of a girl whose mind is split in half and ends up in two bodies. Each Rosie is both a captive and a survivor, but in very different ways. The dual quality of the novel depended on the interplay of two voices and a dovetailing of story lines. Based on my previous efforts, I feared I was doomed to fail, and then I had a very important bit of inspiration. I started reading Mary Pearson’s The Kiss of Deception, which has three primary points of view, and the book plays very clever mind games on the reader. I was in awe, and though I knew I couldn’t do what Mary did, I realized I had grossly underestimated the possibilities of multiple points of view.

I needed to think beyond a strict “in the meantime…” swap of the storyline, and use the parallel perspectives to explore how the characters were changing and growing. I had to let characters make mistakes and get ugly. I had to trust that my readers would grasp the contrasts without my spelling out explanations. I had to fight to make sure each girl was interesting enough so that a cliff-hanger chapter ending from one perspective didn’t turn into a bummer when the next girl came on stage. It was a fascinating and humbling experience, and I could not be happier with how the novel came out. It’s hard for me to believe The Rule of Mirrors will finally hit the shelves in a few weeks. I’m excited!

4 Responses to Double Voices


  • Thanks, Aria! I hope you’ll enjoy it. 🙂

  • I have a question that has been on my mind for a while after reading ‘Prized’. I was just wandering, how come abortion was part of this? I realize that it isn’t bad for some people, but I have just been wandering why abortion had to happen? When I read a part of the book, it seemed like abortion wasn’t that big of a deal. I don’t know if other people felt this way, but I just want to know why it had to be part of the story.
    I still thought it was an amazing book, and that you did really well. I love your books, and hope you continue writing!

  • Dear Aubrey,
    Thanks for asking. The abortion in PRIZED is a pivotal issue for several characters, and Gaia’s decision has serious consequences. The reason why it’s part of the story is because that seemed like the honest and only way to tell it, considering the characters and setting. I hope that makes sense. I’m glad you’re questioning aspects of your reading.
    All best,

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