Meg Mitchell Moore is the author of the new novel Two Truths and a Lie. Her other books include The Islanders and The Captain's Daughter. She lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Two Truths and a Lie, and for your cast of characters?
A: This story had a couple of different origins. One was the setting. A big part of this book deals with these groups of kids and moms who have all been friends forever.
I’m intrigued by what I’ve noticed, in my own town but also among friends from other places, of friendships among moms and kids overlapping with one another in ways both good and harmful.
I think a lot of this phenomenon has to do with social media, and the idea that we can all sort of keep an eye on what different people are up to all the time. In fact, we can’t escape it!
When I was a kid, if you were left out of something, you may or may not ever find out. These days, kids know. Parents know. And if parents and kids have overlapping social groups, things can get messy. I wanted to play with those social dynamics by bringing an outsider into a big group to see what would happen.
Q: The novel takes place in Newburyport, Massachusetts--why did you choose that setting, and can you discuss how important setting is to you in your writing?
A: The setting is very important to this book. For this book I chose the setting before I created most of the story. I live in Newburyport, and it’s a really wonderful place to be in the summer (even this summer! although of course it’s different than previous years).
I really wanted the town to be almost another character in the story. There were so many places I wanted to pay homage to.
Q: You tell the story primarily from the perspectives of your characters Sherri, Rebecca, and Alexa, but you also include a group perspective from the Mom Squad--why did you choose to include that point of view?
A: I wanted this to be a large group of moms—an even dozen, before the outsiders come in. I wanted them to be snarky and gossipy, but there are so many of them that I couldn’t give a voice to all of them.
By using the collective voice in really short bursts I hoped to a/add some levity, because they are often awful but sometimes in a funny way and b/get across this “groupthink” idea without devoting too much space to it and distracting from the rest of the book
Q: How was the book's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?
A: This title was chosen in a brainstorming session with my editor and a friend when I was in New York City for a book event last year. The friend came up with it. We loved that it’s catchy and intriguing and hints at some mystery (because there are secrets and lies all over this book) and also lets us know not to believe everything we’re told by every character.
In the first draft I didn’t have anyone playing the game, but I did go back and add it in in a few places.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I’m working on next summer’s book, which takes place in and around Owls Head and Rockland, Maine. Most of the book takes place in a family home where three generations are spending the summer when a big secret comes out.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: If you follow me on Instagram @megmitchellmoore you can scroll through recent posts and see many of the actual places mentioned in the book. I’ll be adding more throughout the summer.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb