Aurora: What was your inspiration behind The Tenth Girl?
Sara: My strange, beautiful, and brutal Argentine family stories and legends inspired my debut. I grew up hearing so many, and they burrowed deep into my storytelling DNA. I imagine that’s why I love dark fairytales, terrifying twists, and an undercurrent of unsettling strangeness in my work.
What character do you most relate to and why?
I’ll tell you a secret—I wrote a warped version of my dream self into this book, in the form of a secondary character: Yesi. (Secondary feels so cold an adjective for someone who occupies so much room in my head!) She’s witty and loyal as heck (dream combination), but she doesn’t quite have both feet on the ground all the time (she really is a dreamer). When my family members read The Tenth Girl, they all accused me of having a minor obsession with her. The joke is on me, when you find out what happens to Yesi.
Why do you feel books with powerful and relatable characters are so popular and have such a voice right now?
In times of turmoil, it’s a special pleasure to step into the shoes of a character taking control of her life and circumstances. That’s why it was so thrilling and empowering to write Mavi’s story—without any spoilers, let’s just say she aims to escape the impossible many times over.
Please describe the content of The Tenth Girl and what can readers expect from the read.
We open on a milky blue glacial lake in mountainous Patagonia, wind nipping through our coats. Vaccaro School, an old finishing school with a dangerous reputation, hangs over us on a cliff. We follow my protagonist, Mavi, up the hillside and into the mansion, for the most shocking months of her existence. She’ll find love and terror both. Expect atmosphere you can reach out and touch, dark humor, and twists galore.
What’s next for you in the book world?
I’m working on a novel about two sisters who return home to the mysterious volcanic island they grew up on after ten years away. The island draws them deep into the nightmarish mystery of their (in)famous mother’s disappearance when they were children.
Who is your favorite writer right now and why?
Right now, at this very minute, I’d say Nova Ren Suma. Her books about girls growing up and coming to terms with themselves and their most intimate relationships are surreal, beautiful, and raw all at once. I savor every page—and finish them breathless.