When asked about her writing process, Sebold said, "I don't outline and plan, I just work with what I unattractively call 'the subconscious stew.'" Of her daily writing habits she says, "I wake up very early in the morning. I like to start in the dark, and I never work at night, because my brain is evaporated by 4 p.m." (source)
Alice Sebold says: "whereas in Lovely Bones the rape and murder scene was the first thing I wrote, in Lucky [Sebold's nonfiction account of being raped and the aftermath] it was the last; the first chapter in Lucky is the last part I wrote." (source)
Sebold's debut book, Lucky (1999) is a well received piece of nonfiction about Sebold's rape and the aftermath, including Sebold testifying against her rapist in court, and sending him to prison. You can read a little of Lucky on Google Books.
Dead narrators, like Susie, are become a popular conceit, especially in novel's featuring young adults. (source)