9 Things to Know About PLL Author Sara Shepard's New Book, The Amateurs

Sara Shepard is the author behind the hit television series, Pretty Little Liars. But this YA writer has many more stories up her sleeve, including a brand new novel that was released Nov. 1 called The Amateurs.

Seneca Frazier is addicted to the true-crime website, Case Not Closed. Maddy Wright is her best friend from the site—the only issue is they've never actually met before. Brett is an obsessive follower of cold case mysteries. Aerin Kelly's sister went missing five years ago. What do all of these characters have in common? They're determined to find out what happened to Helena Kelly, a missing girl who was never found.

 We sat down with Shepard days before the book's launch at Au Fudge restaurant in West Hollywood, California, to get some inside scoop on her newest endeavor, and this is what we found out:

1. It took Shepard about two years to complete the first book in The Amateurs series, from development—brainstorming and outlining—to completing the novel. "I was sort of developing it for a year, kind of thinking about it, and then the writing process was another year," she told Sweety High. "I feel like this happens with the first parts of a series. I feel like with Pretty Little Liars, the development was a year and the writing was a year. And then it kind of accelerates from there. Like, omg you have to write this in six months!"

2. While you could read the back of the book to get the synopsis, Shepard shared with us the plot in her own words. "It's about four complete strangers, they come together on an online chat site about cold cases and they work to solve a missing girl case that's about five years old," she explained. "Nobody knows what happened, nobody found the killer and they get together and figure it out."

3. While the book's genre can be filed under detective, crime and mystery, the story also deals with many other dramatic themes. "There's a lot of romance, there's a lot of love triangles, a lot of scandal and fun adolescent college years kind of angst," she said. "Stuff people are going through. Identity issues of how well you really know somebody." Sign us up now!

4. Shepard is currently in the process of writing the second book in The Amateurs series and is having tons of fun with it.

5. The U.K. book cover is very different, but just as amazing. Heart-eyes all over these covers.

6. The book was part inspired partially by Sara's love for mystery and crime shows. "I got really into Serial (the podcast) like so many other people did," she said. "I have always loved Dateline and Law and Order. I just thought it would be fun to have young people digging into something the way the Serial journalist did. A lot of my ideas start from pretty random things or like a story that I've heard or something I've been listening to or something that I find interesting."

7. In book two we hear from the villain… whoever that might be. Something tells me it won't be an easy guess.

8. The book made a special little appearance in an episode of PLL.

9. And it should come as no surprise, but, "At the end there's a huge twist," Sara teases. Guess you'll just have to read it to find out what happens!


—Reporting by Dahvi Shira


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