In British author Koomson’s All My Lies Are True (Mobius, Mar.), Serena Gorringe and Poppy Carlisle return 30 years after killing their abusive teacher in 2010’s The Ice Cream Girls.
What inspired you to write a sequel?
I’ve always said that I don’t do sequels—my characters always go through so much, I didn’t see the need to put them through more. But the story of Poppy and Serena needed to be updated. Since I wrote it so much has changed in the law and society—we seem to be talking about all aspects of abuse now, not just the physical stuff. We seemed to be much more clued up, so I started thinking about exploring if anything had truly changed in society in those interim 10 years. I only properly decided to write the story after I sat near a couple on a train who were having a very quiet disagreement. The way the man calmly took his partner apart with his words, while the rest of us sat around powerless because he wasn’t shouting or hitting her, was chilling. After that I decided to look again at abusive relationships and how they impact everyone around them, using Serena and Poppy’s story as a framework.
Why did you make All My Lies Are True a next-generation novel?
The whole book is meant to show how those on the outside of abusive relationships behave, so the focus of this book shifted to encompass other people who were closely connected to Poppy and Serena’s tale—Verity, Serena’s daughter, and Logan, Poppy’s brother. All My Lies Are True is very much Verity and Logan’s story as much as it is Serena and Poppy’s.
What was the biggest challenge to show Serena and Poppy through Verity and Logan?
Although Poppy and Serena are the main characters, Verity and Logan take center stage as well. Telling their stories was very much about how the original tale has shaped their lives. But they had to have their own story as well as the one that connected them to The Ice Cream Girls. Logan spent a significant portion of his life without Poppy, so looking at the story from his point of view made sense. With Verity, she is in the first book a lot more than Logan, so it felt like her story anyway. Post–Ice Cream Girls Serena is very much defined by her children, so it made sense to have Verity discover everything about her mother’s past and have to deal with reassessing their relationship. The whole book was a bigger challenge than I expected. With all of my books I want to be authentic and accurate, but with revisiting this one I was under more pressure to get it right because so many people loved The Ice Cream Girls.