Interview: Demetra Brodsky, Author of Last Girls

Hi book nerds! Today is another special day. Today, I’m sharing my interview with Demetra Brodsky! Demetra is the author of Last Girls, an upcoming YA thriller from Tor Teen that follows three sisters as they, and the people in their compound, prepare for the end of the world. It will be released May 5, 2020!

Last Girls was a wild ride and it immediately earned a spot as one of my favorite reads this 2020! I can’t wait for everyone else to read this book!

But for now, let’s get on with the interview!

Tell us about yourself!

demetra3I love to write twisty stories about dark family secrets. I love all genres of books and film. I’m a Leo. An overthinker, tough, sarcastic, and sometimes intolerant, but sensitive. I’m honest & loyal to a fault. Because of that, I spend way too much time wondering if I’ve been misunderstood or misjudged. It happens. I don’t have much of a filter. I have ADHD. My mind processes a million thoughts per minute. It’s my superpower. I never consider it the sign of a faulty mind because it drives my creativity. I’m an Oxford Comma enthusiast. An overachiever who greatly appreciates praise for a job well done. I don’t like bias & favoritism. When I see it used intentionally, it often changes my opinion of a person irrevocably. I love to compliment others & let them know I see their strengths & efforts. I check in on my friends & peers because I genuinely care about each and every one of them. I try to comment back on posts. When I’m not writing, I paint, exercise, draw, knit, read. I’m a Pinterest devotee. I have an art degree. My DIY project list is never ending. I used to write poetry. I’ve been thinking of taking it up again because my mind is overflowing. I have 40+ indoor plants. I’m desperate for a garden and chickens. I love hiking, camping, bike rides, fire pits & boogie boarding, basically anything that takes me outdoors. I love craft beer & cocktails & lattes, margaritas & tacos. I drink too much tea. I have 2 dogs & 3 tattoos. I’m from New England (MA), which becomes fairly obvious once you’ve met me. I’m a first generation, bilingual, Greek-American. My parents came to the U.S. separately & met here. I’ve been a waitress, coat check girl, false tooth model maker, Graphic Designer, Art Director, & Director of Exhibits and Creative Services for a natural history museum. I collect shells, stones, fossils, bugs, & feathers. You can learn more about me by following me IG. I hope you like my posts there once I get through the launch madness of Last Girls. For a few more weeks I’ll be sharing blogger posts and reviews there. I hope you like those, too, and they help you decide if you’d like to read Last Girls.

What can people expect from your latest book Last Girls?

Last Girls is a story about three sisters being raised as doomsday preppers, but it’s also about family, Shakespeare, the Pacific Northwest, group dynamics, loyalty, art, homesteading, friendship, isolation, fear, murder, politics, but most of all it’s a story about sisterhood and hope.

What was your inspiration for writing Last Girls? How did it come to you?

I’d love to say I had this unforgettable ah-ha moment. The truth is, I was curious about the lives of doomsday preppers. Not the variety that are sensationalized on television, but the ones who homestead and try to live mostly off the grid. It was a combination of that and an episode of Criminal Minds titled Amplification that dealt with a jilted scientist creating a pathogen to use as a biological weapon. My research spread into military history until I had the makings of my own thriller. Being the youngest of parents’ three daughters, I’ve always wanted to write a book about three sisters. I love a good power trio.

What was the easiest/most fun part in writing this book? What was the hardest?

I guess the easiest part of writing Last Girls was the sister’s interactions and relationships. I answer why more in depth in the next question. The runner up for easiest, though, was Toby. I love to write boy POV, and have done it several times. The most notable being my debut novel, Dive Smack. Even though I don’t have a brother, I had lots of male friends in high school and throughout my adult life and it was easy for me to draw on those friendships.  The hardest was the fight scene in the third act. Because I wrote Last Girls in first-person present tense it was difficult to get the action of multiple characters onto the page all from Honey’s perspective.

I loved the Juniper sisters! How did you create their dynamic sister relationship? 

Writers have to put something of themselves in their characters, even when they’re not carbon copies, so we can draw from our own emotional experiences. I have two older sisters so I was able to draw from a lifetime of those sister sibling relationships. The three of us could not be more different from each other so I took special attention as to not give Honey, Birdie, and Blue similar emotional characteristics to each other. I had to be able to differentiate their voices in my head and dig deep into my psyche to find their voices. I hope that spilled onto the pages for you, the uniqueness of each of the girls, despite their close relationship. Honey is ruled by big R responsibility and curiosity. She’s not one to take answers at face value, nor is she quick to trust. I struggle with some of those traits myself. I have a strong drive to finish and see things through, to keep promises, and do what’s right, and protect the people I love. And like Honey, I have the heart of an artist. I’ve made so many paintings that I’ve given away or left behind. If I’m being honest, I’m also impulsive like Birdie. Quick to anger, but able to admit when I’m wrong. And like Blue, I have a deep love for animals and a need to find solace in my own thoughts. It helped a lot that I’m the youngest daughter of three in my own family, so sister sibling dynamics was easy for me to slip into while developing their characters. 

The plot twists and foreshadowing (especially Blue’s statements) in Last Girls were extraordinary. How did you go about creating these and incorporating them into the story?

This is such a great question. I always loosely outline my stories before I write them, leaving enough wiggle room for the characters to veer off on their own. Blue was tricky, though. I actually wrote her prescient statements as she came up into each scene. Sometimes, I would get stuck there because I wanted it to seem vague and weird sisters weird, but also make sense for what comes lately. Because I knew what I wanted to happen at each turning point in both Honey and Toby’s chapters, I was able to keep adjusting things in the outline as I went along that would make sense to the final outcome, dropping breadcrumbs in those moments for readers to pick up on and keep in their pockets. I had to keep a legal pad of notes for myself, too, chapter by chapter as I went along.

I’ve mentioned before that I believe Last Girls would make a great movie! If ever Last Girls will truly become a movie, who would you like to be cast as your characters?

I love dreaming about who would play my characters. This is always so much fun.

Diana Silvers

Diana Silvers as Honey

Honey is protective and loyal. I loved Diana Silvers’s performance in Booksmart. She’s has the right mix of confidence, responsibly, and sarcasm to back up Honey’s traits.

Emily Rudd

Emily Rudd as Birdie

I haven’t seen Emily Rudd in much but she gives me a false ingénue vibe that I think would work well for Birdie if she were able to balance Birdie’s rebellion with her fierce and romantic nature. To me, Birdie would be the hardest to play because she feels everything so viscerally.

India Eisley

India Eisley as Blue

I think India Eisley plays quiet, contemplative characters really well, illustrated by her performances in My Sweet Audrina, I Am The Night,  and Underworld Awakening.

Cole Sprouse

Cole Sprouse as Toby

Without ruining too much of the plot for anyone who hasn’t read Last Girls, just trust me when I say Toby gave me serious Jughead Jones vibes while I wrote him. Not the comic book Juggy. I mean, the brooding, smart Riverdale Jughead.

You can visit the Last Girls Pinterest board to see more!

Are you working on anything new right now? Tell us about it! 

I’m currently outlining an adult Greek Mythology story, which is a revision and re-imagining of the first YA book I ever wrote. It also contains a power trio, and you won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve spent a long time developing the villain. As a first-generation Greek-American, this story is very near and dear to my heart and I can’t wait until the day I can share it with readers.

Buy Last Girls

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository | Mysterious Galaxy (Signed optional)

Follow Demetra Brodsky

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

There you go! This was such a great interview and I loved Demetra’s answers. She shared deeper insights to the writing process behind Last Girls, new projects, and more! I’m so, so grateful I had the chance to ask her these questions.

What do you guys think? Are you adding Last Girls to your TBR? Tell me in the comments!

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