Trust Me, I'm Trouble by Mary Elizabeth Summer (Blog Tour Guest Post & Giveaway)

Welcome to my tour stop for Trust Me, I'm Trouble by Mary Elizabeth Summer! I love spy/espionage/action adventure stories! They're just so fun. You can check out all the stops on the tour here. Check out the book and author info, a fabulous post about the places that influence stories, and a giveaway below...

Trust Me, I'm Trouble (Trust Me, #2)Trust Me, I'm Trouble
YA Suspense, Thriller
Hardcover & ebook, 368 Pages
October 13th 2015 by Delacorte Press


The sequel to TRUST ME, I’M LYING

Staying out of trouble isn’t possible for Julep Dupree. She has managed not to get kicked out of her private school, even though everyone knows she’s responsible for taking down a human-trafficking mob boss—and getting St. Agatha’s golden-boy Tyler killed in the process. Running cons holds her guilty conscience at bay, but unfortunately, someone wants Julep to pay for her mistakes . . . with her life.

Against her better judgment, Julep takes a shady case that requires her to infiltrate a secretive organization that her long-gone mother and the enigmatic blue fairy may be connected to. Her best friend, Sam, isn’t around to stop her, and Dani, her one true confidante, happens to be a nineteen-year-old mob enforcer whose moral compass is as questionable as Julep’s. But there’s not much time to worry about right and wrong—or to save your falling heart—when there’s a contract on your head.

Murders, heists, secrets and lies, hit men and hidden identities . . . If Julep doesn’t watch her back, it’s her funeral. No lie.

(Affiliate links included.)

Also in the Series


Guest Post
Chicagoland: How Real Places Influence Story
By Mary Elizabeth Summer

From the first day I decided to write a story about a teenage con artist, I knew I had to set it in Chicago. For me, it seemed logical—con artist --> 1920's prohibition era --> Chicago. I'm not even sure that's historically accurate, but it felt right to me. In the interest of full disclosure, I have never set foot in Chicago. Everything I've written in terms of setting comes from what I've been able to glean from three sources: Google, Google Maps, and people I know from Chicago. So, before I begin to break down all the places I co-opted for use in the Trust Me series, I want to issue my official disclaimer that I am using all these places fictitiously. I have taken very liberal license with their locations, their layouts, their services, their history, etc. Don't quote me on anything, as it could be patently untrue. Having said that, I did try to stick as close to possible to reality, because I loved the aesthetic of such a fantastical tale of a teen con artist Robin Hood being set in places that actually appear on maps, that readers may even recognize. So now that I've talked all around the issue, let's take a little tour of Julep's haunts. Café Ballou
Cafe Ballou Compilation
I love coffee. It's the one part of Julep that is in any way like me. So when I decided that Julep's hang-out had to be a coffee shop, I searched and high and low for the perfect Chicagoland café. I ruled out a bunch as being too slick and pretentious. I ruled out anything that was a chain. I wanted authentic, Chi-town joe, and I wanted it believably in the neighborhood of a downtown school. When I stumbled onto Café Ballou, I knew I'd found the right place. To this day, if I ever make it to Chicago's shores, the first place I'll visit is Café Ballou. Many of the story's best scenes take place in the Ballou—the kissing Murphy scene (one of my personal favorites), the meeting with Skyla scene, and all of Mike's "barista" scenes, to name a few. I liked the setting so much, in fact, that when it came time to wrap up book one, I decided to give Julep's shiny, new PI firm office space above it. St. Agatha's
St. Ignatius Compilation
The next most important place for Julep is her high school, St. Agatha's Preparatory. St. Aggie's is not a real place, but I used a real school (St. Ignatius College Prep) as inspiration. I picked St. Ignatius because of its urban location and its private-school mystique. When I first started looking into it, I became so excited by their programs that I half-seriously tried to convince my wife to move to Chicago so our then newborn daughter could eventually go to school there. It's a great institution with lots of history, and I confess, I fell a little in love with it. The Brockman Room is based pretty faithfully on the Brunswick Room (pictured bottom middle). And I tried to make the quad sound similar to St. Ignatius' quad. I also took full advantage of the adjoining chapel, especially in Down to the Liar and Trust Me, I'm Trouble. But I also took a lot of liberties with the details. St. Agatha's is only loosely based on St. Ignatius. A particularly striking example of this is the dining hall. I always base the dining hall in any school in my stories on the dining hall at my alma mater, Wells College, which is nothing like the dining hall in St. Ignatius' pictures. But overall, St. Aggie's bears a pretty strong resemblance to St. Ignatius College Prep. And I count myself immeasurably lucky that such a school existed exactly where I needed it to be! Bar 63
Bar63 Compilation
And speaking of luck, you won't believe what happened with this bar. But to do this story justice, I have to back up to when I first started writing Trust Me, I'm Lying. There's a scene toward the beginning of the first book where Julep remembers the first time her father took her to see his friend (and bookie) Ralph Chen. In the brief flashback, we first hear Julep’s father’s famous catchphrase, "You, me, and sixty-three." The funny thing about that catchphrase is that I just stuck it in as a placeholder until I could think of something else. I never intended for it to make the final cut. But when I went back to revise the scene, I couldn't think of anything I liked better, so it stuck. I didn't even know what he meant by it until much later. Pantsing, I tell you. Pure pantsing. Now comes the fun part of the story… While I was drafting and researching book two, I decided I needed Julep to go to a bar for a clue about her mother. I intended it to be a one-and-done setting—no need to return to it or make it a big deal for the book. But as I was tooling around Google, looking for a likely bar in Chicago that would fit the specs I needed, lo and behold, I came across the actual, real Bar 63. As in, "You, me, and sixty-three," the catchphrase I completely made up out of nowhere as a placeholder because I couldn’t think of anything better. And just in case you skeptics out there think I may just have come across it accidentally when researching for book one, made a subconscious note of it, and then forgot…Bar 63 did not exist when I was drafting book one. It didn't open until 2013, a full year after I finished (and sold) Trust Me, I'm LyingThe "L"
L Compilation
The "L" is practically Julep's third home. Growing up broke, it is her main form of transportation. Several of Julep's "thinking" scenes happen on the "L," specifically the more heartfelt ones where she has to make a decision about taking a different path. But I chose the "L" for more than plot logic and metaphor. I chose it because it's so quintessentially part of the fabric of Chicago. I can't think of Chicago without thinking of the "L." I wanted Julep woven into that fabric as well, and what better conduit could there be than traveling through the city under her own steam, using a century-old train system? Meigs Field
Meigs Field
Like Bar 63, finding Meigs Field happened all backward. But before I can tell you the story, you need to know what Meigs Field is. Once the busiest single-runway airport in the U.S., it was destroyed in 2003 by the mayor of Chicago. He ordered city crews to destroy the runway in the middle of the night by gouging giant X's in it. He did it to end a years-long feud he had with people who wanted to preserve the airfield rather than turn it into a park. The Chicago Tribune characterized the move as authoritarian, saying Daley ruined Meigs Field because he wanted to and because he could. So now that you know all that, keep in mind that I did not know it when I decided to set the formal dance in an airplane hangar. I had no idea Meigs Field even existed. I just decided I didn't want to do the traditional dance-in-a-gym scene. Most of the scenes in both books take place in unusual locales, because I find it more interesting to have plot play out in unique settings. So when I had a dance and no place to put it, I picked the last place I'd expect to find a dance—an airplane hangar. I literally plucked the idea out of nowhere. Then began the research. I knew I didn’t want O’Hare—I wanted something smaller, something a little more believable as a dance venue. So I Googled (ah, Google) and found Meigs Field. More specifically, the Friends of Meigs Field website. And it all just fell into place.
"People don’t generally believe themselves to be evil. Just strong," I remember him saying. "And they think that the world owes them something."
The story of Meigs Field made the meaning behind that final clue possible. And honestly, it couldn't have worked better if I'd actually planned it that way. I'm not sure if this kind of setting kismet always happens to authors, or if Chicago and I just somehow share a special bond. But in my experience, setting can have a tremendous impact on story, especially if you keep an open mind and an eye out for the unexpected.

About the Author

Mary Elizabeth Summer contributes to the delinquency of minors by writing books about unruly teenagers with criminal leanings. She has a BA in creative writing from Wells College, and her philosophy on life is “you can never go wrong with sriracha sauce.” She lives in Portland Oregon with her wife, their daughter, their scaredy-dog lab/pitbull mix, and their evil overlor—er, cat. Mary Elizabeth is represented by the incomparable Laura Bradford of the Bradford Literary Agency. TRUST ME, I’M LYING is her debut novel.

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