Malvern's Sara Shepard on Her 'Pretty Little Liars' Series
The Downingtown native talks about growing up along the Main Line and writing young-adult books in this expanded-for-web Q&A.
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Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars thrillers have flooded the young-adult market, inspiring an ABC Family series of the same name, which nabbed more than 3.5 million viewers for the first season finale. Between moving to Malvern, penning her ninth PLL installment (due this summer) and beginning work on another mystery series, Shepard explained how her Main Line childhood shaped the twists and turns of four best friends.
MLT: Growing up, you wanted to be a LEGO designer, a Claymation artist and a geneticist. So how did you get into writing young-adult novels?
SS: My sister and I wrote chapters of books together and made movies. We were creative kids, and I was always encouraged by teachers to write. In college, I started out as a biology major because I thought I wanted to go into genetics, but even then I was writing stories in my journal. I switched into being an English major, because I wasn’t sure I wanted to be working in a lab, although writing isn’t much different. It just kind of went from there, but I never thought it would be a career.
MLT: What were some of your favorite literary characters?
SS: My parents always had us reading all kinds of things. As a child, I loved the Roald Dahl books, like The Witches and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. As every teenage girl does, I read the Judy Blume and Paula Danziger books—but, at the time, there really wasn’t a whole lot of young-adult fiction. I was 12 or 13 when I got into reading adult fiction—stuff like The Joy Luck Club, Gone With the Wind and The Catcher in the Rye. Basically, whatever my mom was reading at the time.