13 Minutes is highly likely to be in my Top Ten for the year (to see why that is I have handily reviewed it a bit further down) but first up I’m really really pleased that Sarah Pinborough took time to answer a few questions for me, thank you so much Sarah – and here is what she told me.
Tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write this kind of story – a little different for you.
Well, it’s a bit different for me but not that much – I have written crime, and I have written YA so mixing the two isn’t such a leap. Especially, I guess, as everything I write tends to be a bit different from what came before. I wanted to write a YA about female dynamics because The Death House very much centred on boys. I’d seen a documentary about the murder of an American schoolgirl called Skylar Neese and I used that as my launchpad. The story is obviously very different but that was my starting point.
The psychological aspects of the relationships between the girls in 13 Minutes are really intriguing – did you draw on any of your own experiences or that of others? Not that I’m suggesting you had such twisted friendships…
Ha! I was at an all girls’ boarding school from the ages of eight to sixteen so I think I’ve seen, been, and experienced everything in the range from downright bitch to perfect angel. Female friendships in your teenage years are fascinating because they all come with an edge. I think that’s part of the problem with most women’s friendships until you’re in your thirties maybe. For some reason we’re always competing with each other. I guess it’s all those centuries of conditioning that leaves young women not always entirely trusting other women even when they love them.
Tash is completely fascinating – especially with reference to the social hierarchies within the school environment – I’m interested to hear your thoughts on that dynamic, especially in the modern social media age.
To be honest, I can only really make it up as I imagine it might be. Anyone in their forties who thinks they understand what it’s like to be teenagers in the social media age is crazy. Just as teenagers look at us like we’re aliens, it goes both ways. We may understand the emotional and hormonal side of being young because we can (almost) remember it, but we can’t possibly understand what it’s like to be immersed in that world. It’s why – although of course social media is used and referenced in 13 Minutes because it wouldn’t be realistic if it wasn’t – I’m not overly explicit with it. I focus more on the emotional relationships rather than the online ones.
Lots of exciting things coming up for you soon – can you talk a little about your next project/s?
The book after this is a psychological thriller called Behind Her Eyes which I’m really proud of and excited about. It’s about a woman who becomes friends with the wife of the man she’s having an affair with. She fascinated with both of them and begins to think there’s something very wrong in the relationship. With a touch of weird thrown in! It comes out here from HarperFiction in Spring 2017, and will be out in the US – I think at the same time – from Flatiron (MacMillan). We’ve sold it to nearly 20 other territories and we’re in conversation with several film studios, so it’s all a bit weird and exciting.
In the reading stakes, are there any novels coming out this year that you especially are looking forward to?
The sequel to An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, and the final in Justin Cronin’s The Passage trilogy are my must haves. And of course if Paula Hawkins has a new one out – THAT.
Thank you so much!
About the book/My Review
(Advanced review copy read in 2015)
I was dead for 13 minutes.
I don’t remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this – it wasn’t an accident and I wasn’t suicidal.
They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I’m sure of it. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try to kill me. Does it?
13 minutes is a brilliantly constructed YA crime novel – and psychological thriller- that has some incredibly fascinating characters, that magical Sarah Pinborough touch when it comes to getting all up inside your head and is also as addictive as chocolate. More. More addictive than chocolate.
Tasha is pulled from the water and revived – she can’t remember why or how she ended up there but is starting to distrust her closest friendships. She turns to her ex best friend Becca to help her discover the truth, but the truth could be darker than either of them can imagine.
Teenage female friendships – can be some of the closest and most intense of our lives, with 13 minutes Sarah Pinborough casts a wry and realistic eye ( and a very twisted one but then there is an absolute truth in that somewhere) over this and gives us added intrigue. I seriously could not bear to put this down until I found out what had happened to Tasha that night next to the river and why. There are some really insightful observations along the way and boy some of this is thought provoking and pretty scary but madly excellent reading with the kind of twisted dark heart that really appeals to me.
It is a tangled web, gorgeously done to get maximum impact every step of the the way – Ms Pinborough always uses language to the best effect, digging you into the narrative and gripping tightly every step of the way. This is no exception, 13 minutes was impossibly good at just enveloping you into the lives of these girls and those around them. The ending was typically haunting and overall this was, well, just damn terrific. One of my favourites of the year.
You can purchase 13 Minutes by clickety clicking HERE
Follow Sarah on Twitter HERE
Or visit her website HERE
Happy Reading Folks!