by Nicole Maggi
February 3, 2015;
ISBN: 9781492603566; $9.99; Trade Paper
Sourcebooks Fire– Young Adult Fiction, Mysteries & Detective Stories
Ages 14-17, Grades 8-12
Georgie’s new heart saved her life…but now she’s losing her mind.
When Georgie Kendrick wakes up after a heart transplant she feels…different. The organ beating in her chest isn’t in tune with the rest of her body. Like it still belongs to someone else. Someone with terrible memories…memories that are slowly replacing her own. Georgie discovers her heart belonged to a teenage girl who lived a rough life on the streets. Everyone thinks she committed suicide, but only Georgie knows the truth. And now Georgie has to catch a killer--before she loses herself completely.
Fans of Lisa McMann and April Henry will devour this edgy, gripping thriller with a twist readers won’t see coming!
Nicole Maggi wrote her first story in third grade about a rainbow and a unicorn. After working as an actress in NYC, she now lives in Los Angeles with her family and two oddball cats. Visit her
Interview with the author: Nicole answers my questions:
1. Where did you get the idea about the donor heart?
I’ve always been fascinated by this phenomenon of cellular memory, that organ recipients retain something from their donor, whether it’s a taste for a certain food or the memory of who killed them (which is a documented case of a 10-year-old recipient who helped solve the murder of her 10-year-old donor). When I first started working on the story, I knew I wanted to write about a girl who goes on a journey into a world she’s never imagined to find out who her donor was. Working from there, I chose to make the main character, Georgie, from a world of privilege and that the journey she goes on is into an underbelly of society that she’s never had to confront before. I knew the donor had to be her complete opposite; someone who absolutely inhabits that underbelly. From there, the character of Jane Doe grew into a trafficked girl, someone caught in a web of darkness that she’s unable to escape. Most importantly, I wanted the donor heart to change Georgie, for the better.
2. Do you believe organs can take on attributes of the donor?
I do, actually. Even though there’s no real science to back up the idea of cellular memory, there are enough cases of people reporting personality changes, memories, and even sexuality to make me a believer.
3. What was your favorite book as a child?
CHARLOTTE’S WEB. It broke my heart over and over.
as a teen?
This gets harder, but I’ll have to go with The Song of the Lioness Series by Tamora Pierce because those books are the reason I’m a writer.
as an adult?
Okay, that’s like impossible. But if I had to list just one I’m gonna go with GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell. I’d grown up on the movie (it’s one of my favorites) but I didn’t read the book until I was in my late twenties. That book…I just can’t even talk about how incredible it is. The character of Scarlett O’Hara is one of the richest, deepest, most complex, flawed and beautiful character ever committed to paper.
4. If you had to compare your style with any other YA writer, who would you compare yourself to?
That’s really hard! I hope I don’t sound too egotistical but I think maybe Maggie Stiefvater. She’s a very lyrical writer and I think I am too.
5. What YA author do you read and say, "WOW!"
Libba Bray. She’s such an amazing writer. I’m always floored by her. I read A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY over one weekend at a beach house. I was there with a bunch of friends and while they were off committing various acts of debauchery I was lying on the living room floor, reading. I’ve loved all of her books but I think GOING BOVINE is a magnificent achievement. Also, she’s a fabulously awesome person in real life.
6. What's more scary: going onstage to a packed house or having a manuscript in front of editors?
Having a manuscript in front of editors BY FAR. Yes, I get nervous before I go onstage, but once I’m out there, the nerves disappear. When I have a book out on submission I can’t sleep, my stomach is in constant knots, I’m checking my email every ten seconds and jumping every time the phone rings. It’s AWFUL.
7. After the Twin Willows trilogy, where do you see your writing going?
I’m actually in the middle of writing the third book in the trilogy, so it’s hard to see anything beyond that at the moment! After I finish the trilogy, I’ll be writing another thriller for Sourcebooks. It’s a spy novel that will be more along the lines of THE FORGETTING. I’d also love to get back to writing historicals someday. My first two novels (still unpublished) were historical fiction and I really love living in a different time period through my characters.
8. If you could do anything other than write or act, what would you see yourself doing as a career?
I love art history. I took this amazing art history class when I was in college with a renowned art historian, and she actually encouraged me to pursue it as a career. I didn’t do that…and a small part of me wishes that I had. Hey, there’s still time, right? If this writing thing doesn’t work out…
9. Are you a dog person or a cat person?
I love dogs but I’m allergic to most of them. So by default I’m a cat person. We have two, named Sawyer and Hurley (yes, after the LOST characters). They are both very beautiful and a little odd.