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Mirrors and that sense of "always looking at yourself from the outside" are a central theme too, inspired by a wall of mirrors in the fashion closet at ELLE.
Having two failed attempts at writing her début at novel behind her, one at 19 ("lost interest") and again at 24 ("fell at the 10,000 word mark") she returned from New York on September 1, 2011 and made a pact with herself that she would have a novel written within a year.
She completed the first draft of Only Ever Yours one year to the day later, ever the good student.
O'Neill attended an all-girls convent from age four to 18 where she encountered a "competitive female dynamic".
Suzanne Collins' best-selling trilogy The Hunger Games sold over 27 million copies and when the first movie adaptation opened it took 4.3m worldwide, surpassing Twilight and making vampires look passe.
The futuristic world that O'Neill imagines in Only Ever Yours is one where girls 'chastities' and 'eves' - are bred to be the perfect homogenous trophy wives - placid, agreeable and beautiful companions to wealthy and powerful men. In Only Ever Yours elements of Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, Orwell's 1984, The Bible and Donna Tartt's A Secret History convene on a teen bubblegum set.
Inspiration struck on a snowy January day in New York. This mental battle of wits was playing out in my head: 'what's the harm? A classroom scene "where a bald woman in black robes was standing next to a teenage girl in her underwear, drawing red circles of shame around any defective body parts, while the rest of the schoolgirls chanted 'fat, fat, fat, fat.'" The idea became the cornerstone of her book.
When the subways shut down O'Neill took refuge in Starbucks and ordered a green tea. She also drew on her experiences volunteering at a children's orphanage in Kolkata in India where she became aware of sex-selective abortions, high rates of female infanticide and the concept of "eve teasing", a euphemism for harassment and molestation of women in public.