Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.
Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.
But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn’t the first victim and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.
The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.
TE Carter’s stirring and visceral debut not only discusses and dismantles rape culture, but it makes you slow down and think about what it is to be human.
Telling contemporary stories that focus on crime
As a reader, one of my favorite genres is crime fiction and mystery. I’m a huge fan of Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins, but also of traditional mysteries like those by Agatha Christie. This extends a bit into my personal life as well, as I’ve always been drawn to dark stories and crime shows on television.
When I started writing, I knew I wanted to write something that I would like to read, but for some reason, I found that writing mystery, crime fiction, and horror – despite being some of my favorite genres – didn’t come naturally to me. Instead, I began delving into contemporary fiction, which I also love. As I started writing, though, I also noticed that my reading preferences found a weird way of looping themselves into the contemporary stories I was telling. In a way, I was creating a mashup of genres I loved and telling contemporary stories that focused on crime.
My debut YA novel, I STOP SOMEWHERE is a contemporary novel at its heart. It’s about the world we live in and the things that happen to young women unfortunately. It’s also a story of a crime, but told in a different way. Instead of being about the crime itself, it’s about the reverberating effects of a crime on the people who experienced it. Ellie, the protagonist, is viciously assaulted and the story mainly focuses on her, but it also shows how this attack reaches her father, the detectives investigating the crime, other victims of the same perpetrators (as well as other victims of sexual assault not necessarily connected to the same parties), and even the reporter assigned to cover this case.
From I STOP SOMEWHERE, I continued writing in this mashup genre that one of my critique partners called a form of introspective crime fiction. My second title, releasing in 2019, is also about a crime, but it’s about a girl whose brother commits a heinous act and how his actions affect her. We frequently see stories in the news and we have a morbid fascination with dark crimes, but on the periphery of that, there’s an entire group of people affected on a daily basis by these things – well beyond the criminals and the victims themselves. In this novel, the story follows her coming of age in a world where anyone who gets a hint of her brother’s actions tries to define who she is because of him. It’s about the assumptions we make about people, as well as how we play a role in each other’s experiences.
This has grown to be an area where I enjoy writing. I like considering how actions echo and how people you forget in the storm of a murder trial, for example, live each day with that hovering over them. It’s not necessarily the same focus on the inner workings of a criminal’s mind or on the criminal procedures to track a murderer, but instead, it’s on the realistic and contemporary effects of crime on regular people. I like the label of introspective crime fiction, because crime drama is often more of a public spectacle. We don’t necessarily take the time to consider the inner conflicts and emotional turmoil it may have in real life, partly because crime fiction and mystery are still forms of escapism. I have enjoyed taking a realistic lens to these news stories and considering the questions we usually don’t ask. I think it’s given me a chance to mesh the genres I love with my own writing style and to create something new. I hope readers agree!
TE Carter was born in New England and has pretty much lived in New England her entire life (minus a few years in high school). She still lives in New England with her husband and their two cats. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found reading classic literature, playing Xbox, organizing her comic collection, or binge-watching baking competitions. If you’d like to know more about TE you can visit her website follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.