Today sees the release of Missing Me - the third book in Sophie McKenzie's action packed Girl, Missing series. I'm looking forward to reading this one soon - I'm just hoping that Jam (the adorable guy from the first two books) makes and appearance!
Now over to Sophie who has written a fab guest post on the character of Madison and some of the inspirations behind the book.
Missing Me (Girl, Missing #3) by Sophie McKenzie
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release date: September 13th 2012
Six years have passed since the end of Sister, Missing and Madison is now a teenager. During a visit to her older sister Lauren, Madison learns that their biological father was an anonymous sperm donor and sets out to track him down. Her search bears fruit sooner than she expects, but is the father she discovers all he seems? As Madison gets drawn into a mysterious investigation involving missing girls and secret hideaways, she finds herself in more and more danger. A tense and thrilling end to the bestselling series, not to be missed!
Guest Post: Sophie McKenzie on Growing up in Someone Else's Shadow:
One of the reasons I wanted to write a third book in the Missing series was to show how Madison develops from the shy, sweet little girl who plays a small but significant role in the first two books, into the teenager who narrates Missing Me.
Part of the appeal lay in the opportunity to explore how Madison has been affected by the (often highly traumatic) events of her early life. But I also wanted to show how she relates to those to whom she is closest. I’d written about these relationships from Lauren’s point of view before. But now I had a chance to give Madison’s take on Annie, Jam and the rest.
As soon as I started thinking properly about how Madison might relate to all the other characters, I immediately realized just how powerful an influence her older sister, Lauren, would be. Their relationship is at the heart of Missing Me – and the book provided an opportunity for me to show the impact of Lauren’s headstrong and confident name, on her little sister.
Madison grows up very much in Lauren’s shadow and, at the start of Missing Me, she compares herself unfavourably to her older sister. Lauren is pretty and sure of herself, whereas Madison feels unattractive and uncertain of what to say or do, even around people she knows and likes. Like Lauren, Madison gets herself into dangerous situations but, whereas Lauren would take risks and make decisions without too much worry or self-doubt, Madison beats herself up for not being as courageous or inventive as her big sister.
Madison is shyer and more thoughtful than Lauren. She has also lived through far greater hardship than Lauren in the early part of her life. As little girls, Lauren simply had to contend with the knowledge that she was adopted, but Madison faced life with a highly neurotic mother who never recovered from her eldest daughter going missing and was overprotective of her youngest from day one. On top of this Madison was bullied by Shelby, the middle sister, lost the one steady support and influence of her childhood: her dad, Sam Purditt and endured kidnap and near drowning on several occasions – and all before she was nine years old.
Missing Me is not the first book in which I’ve written about a girl feeling overshadowed by an older sister. Rachel, in Blood Ties, experiences many of the same insecurities about her own predecessor, Rebecca.
It would be easy to assume from this that I have an older sister – or at least an older sibling – myself but, in fact, I’m the eldest in my family, with just one younger brother. I don’t have any sisters at all!
Perhaps that is why I write about them. Growing up, I always wanted a sister and I am fascinated by sister relationships. While I didn’t grow up in anyone’s shadow, I have observed plenty of people who have. Two examples were very much in my mind when I wrote Missing Me. One is a good friend from school, who felt inadequate following on from her hugely academically successful older brother. She managed to carve a niche – and eventually a career - for herself by becoming the creative one, specializing in art and developing a love of books and music – just as Madison wants to become a writer.
The other example is even closer to the Madison/Lauren relationship and involves the two daughters of a close friend. The age gap between them is similar to the age gap between my fictional characters and it is obvious that the real life younger sister feels intimidated by her older sibling’s success in absolutely everything she touches. A softer, more thoughtful soul, the younger girl actually has many strengths and gifts which her older sister lacks, despite her phenomenal abilities. I’m very fond of them both, but the younger sister with her dreamy imagination and emotional intelligence holds a special place in my heart and was definitely part of the inspiration for Madison’s character in this book.
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