Rebellion, a secret society, best friends, revenge, invention, and love braid together in FWWIV’s plot and race to leave their mark on the reader. FWWIV’s four protagonists – Izzie, Viv, Graham, and Harry – learn all too well that with rebellion comes consequences, some more gut-wrenching than others.
My first two novels, THE CREEPING and THE TELLING, were standalone YA thrillers, of the whodunit variety. Twisty crimes were committed and heroines hunted down villains. Romance, friendship, mystery, and thrills abounded. FIRST WE WERE IV is more in the vein of WE WERE LIARS or a take on PRETTY LITTLE LIARS meets FIGHT CLUB. They’re not hunting a monster, they create one.
FWWIV follows four best friends – Izzie, Viv, Harry, and Graham – who invent a secret society, the Order of IV. The rules: Never lie, never tell, and always love each other. They make a pledge and perform a ritual under the blood moon. They play vigilante-pranks on their seaside town, stunts that punk everyone but ultimately improve things.
Events take a dangerous turn when other teens at school want in. Others have appetites for giving the figurative finger to authority. And our four heroes have secrets and grudges. What starts for fun, morphs into a rebellion. The Order of IV takes on a broken and unjust world. They set out to teach their small town that there are consequences for allowing the death of a runaway teenage girl to go unsolved.
Opening with the arrival of the police, evidence of an accident or murder, and the statement “First we were four. Now we are three,” the story jumps back to relate how their secret society ratchets dangerously out of control, leaving the mystery of what happens to one of them (and to which one) to pull readers through the book. FWWIV doesn’t hide from its consequences, it lays them up front, as the book’s central mystery.
Without consequences and stakes in thrillers and mysteries, there’d be no tension. And although writing the conclusion to FIRST WE WERE IV was heartbreaking – these characters came alive for me – to be true to their rebellion, the impact of it, there needed to be consequences, good and bad. I owed them that. They earned them. My hope is that readers will judge for themselves if the risks Izzie, Viv, Graham, and Harry took were worth the price they paid.