Today we’re excited to be kicking off the blog tour for Michelle Painchaud’s Pretending to be Erica. This debut novel is described as We Were Liars meets Heist Society:
Seventeen-year-old Violet’s entire life has revolved around one thing: becoming Erica Silverman, an heiress kidnapped at age five and never seen again.
Violet’s father, the best con man in Las Vegas, has a plan, chilling in its very specific precision. Violet shares a blood type with Erica; soon, thanks to surgery and blackmail, she has the same face, body, and DNA. She knows every detail of the Silvermans’ lives, as well as the PTSD she will have to fake around them. And then, when the time is right, she “reappears”—Erica Silverman, brought home by some kind of miracle.
But she is also Violet, and she has a job: Stay long enough to steal the Silverman Painting, an Old Master legendary in the Vegas crime world. Walking a razor’s edge, calculating every decision, not sure sometimes who she is or what she is doing it for, Violet is an unforgettable heroine, and Pretending to be Erica is a killer debut.
We asked Michelle some questions about Pretending to be Erica, what she read as a teenager, and what’s next for her:
Pretending to be Erica deals with some pretty dark issues at its core (child kidnapping & conning the family of a missing child). Did you ever struggle with that while writing?
Not particularly. Things are only really dark when the characters themselves get dark about it–and for the most part, they handled themselves pretty well. Writing Mrs. Silverman (the mother of Erica) was always a little weepy, because she had been through so much. I just felt plain bad for her.
What was most challenging for you in writing Pretending to be Erica? What was easiest?
The most challenging thing was working out the details of stealing the painting. I’m not an art thief (my chosen profession is easier, in comparison, but not by much), so it was tough researching what sort of security people have these days on safes and the like. The easiest was writing Taylor, Erica’s friend, and Erica interacting. They were just seamless and easy, and I loved them together.
If you were a con artist, what kind of heists would you do?
Is the NSA reading this? Hi, NSA! I’d probably do something simple–house theft? Are any heists simple? The answer is probably no.
What was your favorite book when you were the “prime age” for reading YA (middle/high school)? Did that influence your own writing at all?
I adored Tamora Pierce’s The Lioness Quartet in middle school, and the Jessica Darling series in high school. An odd mix, I know. I don’t know if they’ve influenced me, but dang if I don’t try.
Can you tell us what is next for you?
Ideally I want to sell a YA Fantasy–I’m working on one about a girl who’s body is slowly turning crystalized.
About the author: Michelle Painchaud was born in Seattle but grew up gate-crashing parties in sugar cane fields in Hawaii. Cats and anime take up what little part of her brain isn’t harassed by stories of teenagers kicking ass. This is her first novel. She lives in San Diego, CA.
Pretending to be Erica hits bookstores on July 21, 2015. Mark your calendars, because this is a book you’re definitely going to want to get your hands on! Find it on: B&N | Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads
For your chance to win a copy of your own, enter below!