The Wicked We Have Done is a New Adult debut novel from Sarah Harian, just published by Headline in eBook format on March 18th. It sounds right up my street and I hope I'll be able to read it very soon, but for now here's a summary of the book to tell you more:
Once a sinner, always a sinner...
Twenty-two-year-old Evalyn Ibarra had taken the normality of her life for granted, until the moment everything changed. Now, convicted of a horrifying crime, she will be one of the first to experience a new kind of punishment.
In the darkness of the Compass Room - an experimental prison - the morality of convicts will be tested, and they will be punished according to their performance. In order to stay alive, Evalyn must relive the events of the fateful day that has brought her here.
Consumed by her own struggle, she never expects to make friends amongst her fellow inmates, let alone fall in love. But in this new and terrifying world, such allegiances are dangerous - because no one will escape unharmed.
As part of the UK blog tour I have a great guest post from Sarah herself, where she talks about morally grey characters. I hope you enjoy reading it, and you can also check out the book trailer below!
When I wrote The Wicked We Have Done, I had two shelved novels under my belt. In one of them, my protagonist was your standard special snowflake. She was a chosen one, both scared of her abilities and wanting to do them justice. In my other manuscript, my narrator was a victim attempting to overcome her past through positivity. They were both good girls.
Creating the characters for The Wicked We Have Done was a sort of sick, screwed up break from all of my previous projects. The book challenged me to create people that were dark, twisted, and lovable.
Evalyn Ibarra is a twenty-two-year-old college girl convicted of shooting up her school. As punishment, she must enter the Compass Room, an advanced technological prison that will uncover if she’s as wicked as her crime made her out to be. If she’s morally good, she’ll escape alive. If she isn’t, then the Compass Room will kill her.
The world of The Wicked We Have Done gave me the chance to explore the mindsets of darker characters, and also morality in general. What makes a person good? What makes them evil? Could I write a story about a group of convicted, morally gray characters that people could relate to?
Throughout the story, Evalyn reveals bits and pieces of her past through flashback—scenes of her life before the crime. She’s in a good relationship with her best friend and boyfriend, and she’s doing well in school. She’s also wary of bad people, or anyone who could potentially do harm to those she loved.
In the past, Evalyn is a genuinely good person.
When she’s thrown into the Compass Room, she interacts and even befriends people who’ve committed horrible, violent acts. She must even rely on their help for survival.
I was inspired to humanize bad people in this book for many reasons, but one in particular was I wanted to write something that challenged the way our society dichotomizes everything. In our world, you’re good or bad, conservative or liberal, gay or straight, educated or ignorant. So many of us don’t want to think beyond the binary. Therefore, if you’re a criminal, then you’re a horrible person.
Evalyn experiences this sort of rejection from the media, society, and even her boyfriend. She embarks on her journey through prison completely alone, until she realizes that the criminals she’s with have been stigmatized like she has. They aren’t as horrible as the world thinks they are either. They’re multi-faceted and capable of love and fear.
I wrote the characters in THE WICKED WE HAVE DONE in a way that I hope will challenge readers to think about the complexity of morality. I fell in love with them, and I hope you do too.
The Wicked We Have Done is now available in eBook priced £2.49
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