Q: Who/What inspired you to write My Sister Rosa?

A: Many things inspired me. I talk about them in detail here.

Q: How was it different writing a male protagonist? Would you do it again?

A: The biggest challenge for me of writing from Che’s point of view was not that he’s male, but that he’s such an essentially good person and a romantic. Che’s genuinely nice and, well, I’m better at writing more morally, er, comprised characters. Or at least snarkier characters. Let’s just say that his psychopathic sister Rosa’s dialogue was a cinch to write while it took me several drafts to get Che’s voice right. I’m not sure what that says about me.

Q: You did a lot of research on psychopaths for My Sister Rosa do you find yourself diagnosing people as psychopaths now?

A: Ha! Yes. They’re everywhere! BE AFRAID!1

Q: Aren’t psychopaths all serial killers? Why didn’t you write about a sociopath instead?

A: Psychopaths are not all serial killers. There are people who kill who are not psychopaths and there are many psychopaths—the vast majority of them—who do not kill.

As for why I didn’t write about a sociopath, well, I did. Sociopathy, psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder are all the same thing. If you look up sociopathy on Wikipedia it redirects you to psychopathy. Antisocial personality disorder gets its own entry. Probably because that is the term predominately used by psychiatrists and the one in the DSM. But they are all synonyms.

Q: Why didn’t you write the book from Rosa’s point of view? She’s so much more interesting than Che.

A: Poor Che. I think he’s plenty interesting, he’s just not evil. Interesting is not a synonym for evil, you know.

I wrote the book from Che’s point of view because I wanted to write about an evil child from the point of view of their older sibling. I started the book wondering what it would be like to have a younger sibling who was truly evil rather than merely annoying. My Sister Rosa is the answer to that question.

  1. Not really. The highest estimate of Psychopaths in the general population is 10% but most researchers put them in the 1-3% range. []


  1. Julia on #

    I read the 1st chapter of the book on Amazon, and I want it now! Reading from Che’s perspective about his life and Rosa is really interesting. Also, we know that Rosa made her friend, Apinya, do something, but we don’t know what it was, but it made Apinya become scared of her. Also, the way she talks is just creepy, “‘He should be punished.'” Just from reading chapter one, I know this book will end up being a favorite for me. Not only that, but the characters have at the least a basic personality:

    Che-wants to control his sister and go home.

    Rosa-so-called psychopath that is manipulative, dangerous, threatening, and insane. She kind of reminds me of Ted Bundy which is never good. If someone reminds you of Ted Bundy, RUN.

    Sally-cares about Che and Rosa, but thinks they are both physically and mentally healthy since Rosa doesn’t trust her. She seems like a genuine, kind character. Who gave birth to an absolute train wreck of a daughter.

    David-Not much is really said about David in chapter one besides the fact that he sleeps on planes and doesn’t usually like to rush in or out of situations, but take his own sweet time.

    Also, Rosa can hide things really well. Around everyone except Che, she’s a sweet, 10-year-old girl. Around Che, she reveals her strange and somewhat murderous thoughts, even though she hasn’t physically hurt anyone yet. The first entire chapter is mostly Che and Rosa on the plane ride to New York, but we can see some conflict. Since their parents are leaving on business, they get to ride in the business class, and there is a drunk man annoying a woman. This is when Rosa says, “‘He should be punished.'” She tells the flight attendant to help the woman by taking the man to “plane jail.” Oh, and she compliments the woman on her earrings. The flight attendant responds well to her request, but can’t punish the man, so they bring her to 1st class flight. Rosa is mad since the man wasn’t punished at all and thinks that her reward for helping the woman and complimenting the flight attendant would be for the flight attendant to give her her earrings. Then, she whispers something into the women’s ear the drunk was bothering. We don’t know what she says, but the women then grabs her things and leaves for first class. If it was sweet, why did she whisper it? If it was weird, why did she say it? She only shares those thoughts with Che? After the plane ride, we learn that she stole the drunk man’s passport, then threw it out the window as Che grabbed for it or her. She then says, “‘I win.'” This points toward her thinking being good is a game and that she is in a constant game with Che of “will she be good?” If only I had a book blog I would totally get this ARC! I feel like updating my Goodreads So it would count and I could get this one. PUBLISHERS, IF YOU HAVE THE GOODNESS IN YOUR HEARTS, PLEASE.

    • Justine on #

      Wow. You got a lot out of the first chapter! I hope you like the rest of the book as much.

      November is not that far away. Honest. If you can’t afford to buy a copy make sure your local library orders one.

  2. Elise Jardine on #

    Hello, I am from the U.K and I have had my sister rosa in my Amazon wish list for months now, hoping to get it on kindle edition on release day after watching reviews on book tube. I’ve been so excited to read this book, but it’s now only showing as available in the USA 🙁 do you have any plans on making it available for U.K. readers in kindle format or book? I really hope so as I can’t wait to read it!

    • Justine on #

      I’m sorry, Elise, but the UK rights to My Sister Rosa have not sold, which means you can’t buy a My Sister Rosa ebook outside of Australia, New Zealand and North America (and next year in Brasil). Any paper copies sold in the UK will be imports from Australia or the USA. The only way around this at the moment is for a UK publisher to buy the rights to publish the book in the UK. Sorry!

  3. Jan on #

    I just finished My sister, Rosa and loved it! Very well down.

  4. Stan on #

    I finally finished My Sister Rosa and I need more. Are you ever planning on making a sequal? Maybe a movie adaptation?

    • Justine on #

      Thank you so much. Readers wanting a sequel is the best compliment there is. I’m not ruling it out but I do worry that most readers won’t like where a sequel would go.

      As for movies, so far the movie rights haven’t sold. Fingers crossed!

      • Rachel Arrington on #

        Hi Justine,

        I would LOVE a sequel. This story was so fantastic because we don’t often explore psychopathy in children and a girl too. I’m okay with getting mad at a sequel. There were a lot of unanswered questions when this one ended. If I got those answers that would be awesome. There’s definitely more to this story😉


        • Justine on #

          I’m glad you thought so. Wanting a sequel is a huge compliment! Thank you.

  5. Meagan on #

    Theres already a few comments about this but, OH MY GOODNESS I just finished My Sister Rosa! I cant wait to read more of your books. I love how you write your stories, so intriguing, I was hooked when I read the first page. Sequel!!! I think any direction your book goes in will be amazing, because you just can’t put the book down. It’s like “ok one more chapter then sleep” and then another and another. Well you get the point.

  6. Caela on #

    I just finished reading the book. It was on the list of summer reading books for my son, who is going into 10th grade. As I reviewed the list with him, your book jumped out. I ordered it for myself and I am so glad I did!!! The pandemic has been hard and this is the first book I devoured in a long time!!! Can’t wait to read more of your work!

    • Justine on #

      Thank you so much! I’m delighted My Sister Rosa worked for you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? Please read the blog rules, moderation policy, and spoiler policy. Thank you!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.