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  • Writer's pictureJessica Cantwell

PMS Girls by Lisa Alfano

Do you love a good mystery as much as I do? If so, I highly recommend PMS Girls by Lisa Alfano. You know it is a good book when your fingers fly through the pages. Alfano’s execution of this suspenseful drama is spot on! This story is gripping right from the first chapter. The setup is subtle enough to let you know something is brewing but there is no predictability. Alfano keeps you guessing. Are you intrigued? Well, let’s learn more by talking to the author! But first, here’s the synopsis:

Perpetual Mercy School for Young Women caters to the uber rich and powerful. Attending an all-female elite boarding school filled with bullies and egos can be a trying experience, but for lonely, fifteen-year-old Ari Worthington it becomes a nightmare when she discovers the unimaginable truth about her new, exotic roommate, Bentley "Jess" Jessup. When Jess' psychological games push Ari to the brink of sanity, Ari finds herself drowning in lies and danger, unsure who is friend or foe. Torn between preserving her father's political career and her own self-preservation, Ari must decide if she will be a victim or a survivor. The one thing Ari knows for sure is that "A Worthington never cowers."

J.C. - Welcome, Lisa! I am so happy to talk to you today. Before we start, can you introduce yourself to our readers?

L.A. - Hello, all. I am Lisa Alfano; a lifelong New Englander and author who creates twisted characters living in flawed worlds. As an avid booklover who grew up reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy thrillers, Agatha Christie, and J.R.R. Tolkien, I love stories that not only have interesting, and unpredictable plots, but also realistic and intriguing characters. My husband and I have two grown sons. We are empty nesters with the exception of our oversized (and pampered) Great Pyrenees/Australian Shepherd rescue dog. If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen my dog participating in some of my posts. I write in multiple genres. PMS Girls and my second novel, Fractured Secrets which was just published in February 2022, are psychological thrillers. I also write horror short stories, several of which have been published in anthologies. I am excited to share that I recently signed a contract for a new young adult dark fantasy series; book one is being published in late 2022/early 2023.

J.C. - How did you come up with the idea for PMS Girls?

L.A. - PMS Girls began as a short story about the first time Ari and Jess met as roommates. After I completed the short story, I knew that there was a lot more to Ari and Jess that needed to be explored. One afternoon, I sat down at the beach with my favorite notebook and “interviewed” Ari and Jess. The secrets and details that emerged from those character interviews eventually blossomed into the novel that is now PMS Girls.

J.C. - Ari balances her top-tier social status with a level head and a great sense of humor, unlike the other girls at Perpetual Mercy. What were you like as a teenager?

L.A. - As a teen I was shy, unsure of myself, and not exactly sure where I fit in within the high school clicks, much like Ari. I also played on my high school tennis team and share Ari’s passion for the sport. Thankfully, that is where the similarities between us end. Unlike Ari’s rich, but dysfunctional, family dynamic, I am fortunate to enjoy a wonderful relationship with my tight knit (albeit upper middleclass) family.

J.C. - Enter, Jess, Ari’s new roommate. At first, she seems normal. Then the mind games begin. What research did you do in order to get into her psychosis?

L.A. - When I created Jess, I wanted someone with a strong, confident personality who was also not hindered by moral and societal norms. I did a bit of research in my psychology books and also incorporated some personality traits of young women I have met over the years. I wanted Jess to be over the top, but believable and real and thus, Jess, a narcissist in designer clothing, was ‘born.’ And, I must admit, Jess was such fun to write because of her ‘free-spirited’ soul.

J.C. - You published your first novel at age (enter age). Do you feel you have any shortcomings or advantages when entering the writing community later in life?

L.A. - My first novel was published right after I turned 53. Publishing later in life has had shortcomings and benefits. The shortcomings definitely revolve around social media and its’ importance to reaching readers. I am stumbling my way through learning the ins and outs of social media which is difficult for my tech-challenged brain and my introverted soul. The main advantage of being a debut author at my age is that I do not allow the small stuff to bother me. I understand that my book might not appeal to everyone, and I try not to take rejection personally. I have already had a career in business and have co-owned businesses over the last three decades with my husband, so I understand the highs and lows that come with any venture. Knowing who I am, and my own self-worth has helped me keep all the author stuff in perspective in a way that I probably would not have been able to do when I was younger. Would I like to become a bestselling author someday? Yes, definitely. Is that essential to continue writing and having my stories published? No, not at all. My goal when I write any story (be it a short story or novel) is to create characters and plots that entertain me and my readers.

J.C. - You have a diverse group of girls attending Perpetual Mercy. What character was the most fun to write?

L.A. - I enjoyed the diverse personalities of all of my PMS girls. While I adore Ari, I have to admit that Jess was the most fun to write. Jess is the character who I have the least in common with and I enjoyed exploring her psyche the most. Who wouldn’t want to possess a bit of Jess’ self-confident, F-you attitude sometimes? Jess was definitely the unruliest of the PMS girls when it came to the actual writing process because I was never entirely sure what she would say or do next. Local readers whom I have met also seem to enjoy Jess the most; many tell me they have met girls like Jess in their high schools or college. I find it a compliment to know that I created a realistic character, but also slightly horrifying to think that the Connecticut shoreline has a bunch of Jess’ running about (LOL).

J.C. - Who has been your biggest support system while on this writing adventure?

L.A - My husband and my best friend have been my biggest support system for my writing adventure. My husband encouraged me every step of the way with my writing and has always told me to follow my dreams. My best friend has been my constant cheerleader. She never allows me to give up when doubt creeps into my brain or wallow in a self-pity party when I received a rejection from a publisher. My bestie is my most loyal beta reader too. She has read every story I have ever written (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and always gives her honest opinion.

J.C. - Finish the sentence. In ten years I’d like to …

L.A. - In 10 years I want to still be entertaining readers with my stories and be able to make a living solely from my writing.

J.C. - You are currently working on book two in the series. What can you tell us about it?

L.A. - The sequel to PMS Girls picks up where PMS Girls left off and focuses on Ari’s new outlook on life, her father, and Jess. The reader will hopefully get deeper insight into Jess. However, it is still a thriller so there are twists, turns, and surprises in store for Ari and Jess (and perhaps even a trip back to Perpetual Mercy School for Young Women).

J.C. - Lastly, where can readers find you and your work?

L.A. - Readers can find me at my author website:

I have an author newsletter that I send out twice a month with updates on my various projects as well as free books and giveaways from other authors. You can sign up for my newsletter on my author website.

I am on Instagram (my favorite platform), TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook. My handle for all of my social media platforms: la_alfano

You can also follow me on Goodreads and BookBub and Amazon; just search my name, Lisa Alfano, and you will be able to find me on those sites.

PMS Girls is available in paperback and kindle on Amazon:

It is also available in eBook version at major eBook retailers such as Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Apple:

**You can now read the first 8 chapters of PMS Girls free before you buy on any of the sites with the ‘look inside’ feature.

Thank you, Jessica for allowing me to share a bit about myself with your audience. I love connecting with other booklovers. Readers, I’d love to hear which PMS girl is your favorite, so feel free to reach out and let me know.

Thank you for reading my interview with Lisa Alfano. I will never be a “rich girl” but I do understand the hierarchy of the social status that plays into the plotline and loved reading about it. The characters are so believable, I felt like I was roaming the halls of Perpetual Mercy right alongside Ari. And the banter - absolutely hysterical! Ari and I share a lot of the same thoughts and views when it comes to family, friends, politics, and religion. I highly recommend PMS girls!

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