MacKids Spotlight: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

MacKids Spotlight: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé


This month’s Author Spotlight highlights New York Times bestselling author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé as she discusses Where Sleeping Girls Lie, her latest YA contemporary mystery about a girl new to a boarding school who discovers dark secrets and coverups after her roommate disappears.

Faridah: I was inspired by two main things. The first being my love for a good boarding school mystery story, especially the kinds of the stories where the school itself is a character. The second was my experience watching the behaviors of boys in college and being so appalled by the ways violence is constantly swept under the rug, and kept an open secret—how traumatic incidents become whispered anecdotes across campus and how complicit so many people are in all of this.

Faridah: Growing up I always loved stories set at these illustrious boarding schools, and I remember as a kid begging my mum to let me attend one of these schools and live out my boarding school fantasies. She, of course, said no, because one, the boarding schools in England are like a kajillion pounds per year in tuition, and two, she said she’d miss me too much. Therefore, I think I write these settings as a way to escape into this almost fantasy-like setting filled with all these charming old buildings and quaint traditions that I couldn’t experience in real life.

Faridah: The first step in my creative process usually involves me stitching together all of the strange notes and ramblings I have been writing for months on a specific story idea. These ramblings can be found on scraps of paper, old receipts, as well as my phone’s very disorderly notes app. And so, I start my creative process by making sense of the pieces of the puzzle I’m building until I get a clear enough picture that allows me to finally plot the story itself.

Faridah: Usually I don’t have favourite characters in my stories, but I am rather fond of the character Basil from Where Sleeping Girls Lie. He is a ray of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy story. I wouldn’t say that I share that many similar attributes as Basil; however, like Baz, I do own a frog hat (because I love frogs).

Faridah: That community is ultimately all we have at the end of the day. People so often don’t appreciate the power of friendship, and I really wanted to highlight how important platonic relationships are.

Faridah: My fourth grade teacher Ms. Hollingberry is, to this day, the best teacher I have ever had. I think about her impact everytime I sit down to write a story. In fourth grade, I had just transferred schools, and you can imagine how difficult that would be for a child, especially one as shy as I was. When I got to this new school and was told I would be in Ms. Hollingberry’s class, I had no idea that this teacher would change my life forever. I used to write short stories and I would show them to her and she would sit down and read them, and I would watch her reactions, the way she’d smile and laugh at my stories. I remember her telling me that when I am a published author, I must call her up and let her know. Ms. Hollingberry was most definitely one of the reasons I had the courage to write Ace of Spades at such a young age.

Faridah: I was such a voracious reader as a teen, and so I think it was really a collection of books that made me fall in love with reading. Some of these books are: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, The Fault in our Stars by John Green, More Than This by Patrick Ness, and Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan—to name a few.

Faridah: Think carefully about all of the books, shows, and movies you enjoy, and think about what about these pieces of media that you enjoyed so much. Then, think about pieces of media that you didn’t enjoy, or things you maybe did enjoy, but felt that there were some negative aspects. Think about those pieces and consider what you didn’t love about them, and most importantly how you would do it differently. These questions help to stretch your imagination and find inspiration.

About Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé:


Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé is the instant New York Times, international bestselling, & award-winning author of Ace of Spades. She is an avid tea drinker, a collector of strange mugs, and a graduate from a university in the Scottish Highlands where she received a BA in English Literature. She also has an MA in Shakespeare Studies from Kings College London. When she isn’t spinning dark tales, Faridah can be found examining the deeper meanings in Disney Channel original movies. Where Sleeping Girls Lie is her latest young adult novel.

About the Where Sleeping Girls Lie:

Where Sleeping Girls Lie

Where Sleeping Girls Lie
Ages 14-18
Out March 19th

In Where Sleeping Girls Lie— a YA contemporary mystery by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, the New York Times-bestselling author of Ace of Spades— a girl new to boarding school discovers dark secrets and coverups after her roommate disappears.

It’s like I keep stumbling into a dark room, searching for the switch to make things bright again . . .

Sade Hussein is starting her third year of high school, this time at the prestigious Alfred Nobel Academy boarding school after being home-schooled all her life. Misfortune has been a constant companion all her life, but even Sade doesn’t expect her new roommate, Elizabeth, to disappear after Sade’s first night. Or for people to think she had something to do with it.

With rumors swirling around her, Sade catches the attention of the girls collectively known as the ‘Unholy Trinity’ and they bring her into their fold. Between learning more about them—especially Persephone, who Sade is inexplicably drawn to—and playing catchup in class, Sade already has so much on her plate. But when it seems people don’t care enough about what happened to Elizabeth to really investigate, it’s up to she and Elizabeth’s best friend to solve it.

And then a student is found dead.

As they keep trying to figure out what’s going on, Sade realizes there’s more to Alfred Nobel Academy and its students than she thought. Secrets lurk around every corner and beneath every surface…secrets that rival even her own.

Read more author Q&As here