Awards & Events

‘Pretty Little Liars’ Author Visits the Valley

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AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – The New York Times best selling author of the “Pretty Little Liars” series, Sara Shepard, held a presentation on the importance of writing in her life at the Austintown branch of the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County Tuesday.

The series consists of 16 novels, which are the basis for the popular TV series that was first aired in 2010 and is ending this summer after seven seasons.

“It is weird to see this thing that lives inside your head come alive on TV,” Shepard says. She had no idea how big her novels were going to be when she first started.

The series follows four teenage girls, whose friendship falls apart after the disappearance of their friend. Three years after the disappearance, the girls begin receiving threatening messages from an anonymous person named “A.” The books progress with the girls trying to figure out the identity of “A” as they find themselves in dangerous situations.

Shepard spoke about how writing has always been a significant part of her life, and her favorite part of being an author of the popular series is helping young girls find a love of reading and writing as well.

“I am always happy when someone says ‘I didn’t like reading until I read these,’ ” she says.

The books touch on sensitive subjects such as eating disorders and bullying, which Shepard says she’s received letters from girls who have told her reading the series has helped them cope with similar problems they were having in their lives.

Reading and writing was a therapeutic outlet for the best selling author as a teenager and she hopes young girls can find the same comfort in it. “As long as you’re reading it’s a step in the right direction,” she says.

Shepard enjoys visiting schools and libraries where she can interact with a captive audience, she says. At the presentation she handed out free signed books to participants in the audience who answered trivia questions about the series.

The library typically hosts a best selling author during Teen Read Week in October, but with the Pretty Little Liars TV show ending in a few weeks, the library made an exception, says Cindy Beach, assistant manager of electronic services and programming at the Public Library.

Beach noted that having teenagers and children be able to meet authors helps inspire them to read more, especially during the summer months when school is not in session.

“Reading keeps teenagers motivated during the summer and helps them to transition into the school year,” Beach says.

Pictured: Sara Shepard holding the first book of her series, Pretty Little Liars.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.