Author Interviews

We’ll Never Tell by Wendy Heard: Blog Tour & Author Interview

We’ll Never Tell by Wendy Heard

Published May 16th, 2023 by Christy Ottaviano Books

Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Horror, LGBTQ

An ambitious and juicy whodunit doused in Hollywood lore, perfect for readers of sexy summer thrillers like The Twin by Natasha Preston and The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson.

No one at Hollywood High knows who’s behind We’ll Never Tell—a viral YouTube channel where the anonymous creators trespass behind the scenes of LA’s most intriguing locales. The team includes CASEY, quiet researcher and trivia champ; JACOB, voice narrator and video editor, who is secretly dating EDDIE, aspiring filmmaker; and ZOE, coder and breaking-and-entering extraordinaire.

Now senior year is winding down, and with their lives heading in different directions, the YouTubers vow to go out with a bang. Their last episode will be filmed at the infamous Valentini “murder house,” which has been left abandoned, bloodstained, and untouched since a shocking murder/suicide in 1972. When the teens break in, they capture epic footage. But someone trips an alarm, and it’s a mad dash to get out before the police arrive—at which point they realize only three of them escaped instead of four. Jacob is still inside, slain and bleeding out. Is his attack connected to the historic murder, or is one of their crew responsible?

A week of suspicions and cover-ups unfolds as Casey and her remaining friends try to stay alive long enough to solve murder mysteries past and present. If they do, their friendship may not survive. If they don’t, the house will claim more victims.

Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours and the publisher, Christy Ottaviano Books/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, for providing me with an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley.

Today is an exciting day because I get to share with you all my interview with author Wendy Heard! I’ve been a fan of Wendy’s since She’s Too Pretty to Burn and always get psyched when I see she’s got a new queer mystery/thriller in the works. I’m thrilled to have had the chance to pick her brain about all things YA, murder mystery, and creating a compelling thriller – something she excels at! Without much further ado, here it is:

First of all, thank you so much for letting me interview you! I’ve been a big fan since reading She’s Too Pretty to Burn, and I adored Dead End Girls! What inspired you to write your latest novel, We’ll Never Tell?

I’m so happy to hear you’ve enjoyed my books! I’ve been wanting to write a book like We’ll Never Tell for years. The idea of the four YouTubers exploring abandoned and off-limits places around LA has made it into a few book ideas, and finally I found their home here! I’ve always been fascinated with places like the infamous Hotel Cecil, which has proven a sort of focal point for dark and spooky happenings. I’m interested in the idea that something so evil can happen in a place that it leaves a psychic imprint, drawing more evil to it. Haunted houses, spooky happenings—this book is my creepy little darling.

As a queer adult who was once a queer teen, I would have loved to read stories like yours growing up. What motivates you to write Young Adult literature?

I truly love teenagers. I love the way they think, the way life happens so fast. I love that they examine systems critically and imagine big changes. I love that they’re flexible and adaptable. I love writing about them! And as a queer person, I too would have loved growing up with so many books featuring queer characters. I definitely didn’t have them, and I love that they’re more available and mainstream now.

What is your favorite aspect of writing for the mystery/thriller genres?

The puzzle. It’s like playing chess with yourself. It’s so hard to come up with plots; they always give you headaches writing them and make you pace around like a serial killer with Post Its all over your walls. There’s nothing like it. Also, I’ve always been a spooky little rat, so it just makes sense that I would write books like this. My favorite thing to listen to as a kid was the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack.

What elements do you think make up a good whodunit?

Okay I love this question. First of all, we need to care about all the potential people who might have done it. We need to care whether they did it or not, and they need to have a compelling relationship with both the victim and the person playing sleuth. They need to have an interesting method of doing the bad deed, and the method needs to be thematic and fit the story; it needs to mean something. (For instance, I chose stabbing for Jacob because Casey’s mother died that way and it added a darker, more personal element to the narrative.) I think there need to be interesting red herrings that are also thematic and that we also care about, and those red herrings need to end up not just being false, but they need to mean something and be true in a different way. I’ll stop there. I could go on about this forever!

What is your process for coming up with your plot twists? Do you build the story around them, or do they come to you later?

It goes both ways. Sometimes I have to write a little before I figure them out, and sometimes the whole story is built around them. For instance, in Hunting Annabelle, the whole book is built around the last act twist. In The Kill Club, I figured it out as I went. In this book, I figured it out after writing a few chapters and brainstorming the synopsis.

Finally, what did you enjoy most about writing We’ll Never Tell?

Jacob!!! I loved writing his chapters so much. He’s my horrible little precious baby. Also, the scary chapter in the house with Dallas and the bones, and the big climactic sequence, and all the 1970s stuff, and the letters, and I loved getting to write the sort of flowery gothic stuff reflecting on the house. Oh, and the Casey parking lot scene. That one had me sobbing. I guess I just loved writing this book. It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had writing something, actually.

About the Author

Wendy Heard is the author of suspense and thrillers for adults and teens, including THE KILL CLUB, SHE’S TOO PRETTY TO BURN, and DEAD END GIRLS. Wendy has spent most of her life in Los Angeles, California, which is on fire more than she would honestly prefer, and can often be found haunting local hiking trails and bookstores. She loves all things vintage and has a collection of thrillers and adventure books from the 80s.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | TikTok

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound

~ Check out the rest of the tour schedule here! ~

Have you read anything by Wendy Heard?

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Let me know!

Liza is a twenty-something book blogger who spends way too much time with her nose in books and feels way too much. She loves cooking, baking, reality tv show watching and, of course, reading. She can be found most often with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Her blog, Literary Liza, features bookish content like reviews, recommendations, and author interviews.

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