Hayley Krischer is a journalist and author of young adult fiction. Her debut novel, Something Happened to Ali Greenleaf, was on the shortlist in the New York Times, a Book Expo buzz book pick for 2020 and selected for the 2021 Rise: A Feminist Book Project List from the American Library Association.
She is a regular contributor to the New York Times and has written for the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Marie Claire, The Rumpus, Lenny Letter and many other outlets.
Hayley Krischer lives in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, with her husband, two kids, one dog, and three cats.
Voyage: What was the inspiration behind your novel, The Falling Girls? What made you want to tell this story?
Hayley Krischer: A sort of tornado of inspiration came about for this book. One, I had read an article in Elle about the murder of Skylar Neese, a 16-year-old girl from West Virginia. Without giving too much away, the story stuck with me. Why would someone who knew her kill this young girl? Two, I’ve been obsessed with the movie Heathers since I was in high school. Heathers allows the dark side of all of us come through and touches on how we might feel about our friends—which isn’t always so nice! So I wanted to explore that dark side in The Falling Girls. Third, I’ve had my share of female friendship breakups and I tend to think they’re more painful than my breakups with boyfriends. We expect our friends to know us and care for us. We don’t expect them to leave us or stab us in the back.
V: When you write your stories, what is the one thing you hope readers will take away?
HK: I hope they understand that my characters aren’t perfect. Sometimes they’re very unlikeable and that’s what I love most about them. I see all sides to girls and women, not just the good side. We all have parts of ourselves that we’re not proud of. I hope my readers will take away the humanity of my characters.
V: What was the hardest scene of The Falling Girls to write?
HK: Some of the arguments between Shade and her best friend Jadiswere by far the hardest and most painful to write. I felt myself hurting for both of them.
V: If you could tell your younger writer self anything, what would it be?
HK: Don’t be ashamed about what you write. I’ve been writing flawed characters since I was seventeen years old. I used to be embarrassed about these characters. I used to think who would love them? Who would care? But you know what? I learned a lot of people care and a lot of people relate. You cannot worry about what other people think when you’re writing. That includes people you know.
V: What are your writing must-haves?
HK: Ah, that changes all the time. Sometimes if my house is loud I need my noise cancellation headphones (a necessity when everyone was home this year because of the pandemic); I need my dog under my feet so I can rub her belly; I must have Scrivener or I can’t keep track of what I’m doing; and I have to have a stack of books next to me so I can shuffle through them and get inspiration!
Head to our Instagram page (@voyageya) to hear Hayley read the first page of The Falling Girls! Find Hayley’s video under the IGTV tab.