Though the first installment of her new young-adult series, The Amateurs,
was only just released, bestselling author Sara Shepard says the books has already been optioned for TV.
Shepard's first and most successful series, Pretty Little Liars
— which has spanned a whopping 16 entries, not counting two companion books — has become a popular television show since it premiered on ABC Family in 2010. It is currently in its seventh and final season.
(Freeform) involves 18-year-old high school student Seneca Frazier, who wants to discover what happened to a senior, Helena Kelly, who disappeared and was likely killed five years earlier. By connecting with the victim's sister and other interested parties on an online message board for cold cases, the curious group begins an investigation of its own.
Shepard, reached by phone, says that The Amateurs
is the first book in a planned trilogy. But Shepard, who has already penned the second installment, says the series could possibly be prolonged like her others have been. "Pretty Little Liars
was at first only four books, and then extended to eight and then more, so we never know," Shepard says.
While The Amateurs
retains the mystery elements of her other similar series, it offers a darker tone inspired more by true-crime works like the Serial podcast
, hosted by Sarah Koenig. "There are also a couple of male POVs which is fun to do because most of my characters have been girls," Shepard adds.
Regarding other modern fantasy young-adult novels, Shepard's interests skew toward the dystopian. She has enjoyed the Hunger Games
series and The Thousandth Floor
, by Katherin McGee. "I'm always reading YA — it's part of the job," she says.
Shepard grew up in Philadelphia, and moved back there in 2008 after earning her master's of fine arts at Brooklyn College, in New York. She moved to Pittsburgh in 2012. Her other YA series include The Lying Game
— which was also adapted into a show on ABC Family — and The Perfectionists
. Shepard also has two adult novels, The Visibles
and Everything We Ever Wanted
A free launch party
for The Amateurs
with Shepard takes place tomorrow at the Penguin Bookshop
, in Sewickley, at 6 p.m.
The store is located at 417 Beaver St.