~ What inspired you to write your first book?
I worked in biotechnology and then as a high school science teacher before writing my first book. I had always loved reading and writing, but I also loved science, and I pursued biology as my first career path. But I kept being drawn to the odd stories, the things that science couldn’t definitively explain yet. So my first book idea stemmed from my background: it was based on a what if science angle, and it was about high school-aged characters.
Since that first book, I now find inspiration everywhere. For All the Missing Girls, I was inspired by the setting, an idea for the main character, and a structure—this idea that I wanted tell the unwinding of a mystery, where the main character would need to go back into the past for answers. That was the kernel of the idea that eventually gave rise to All the Missing Girls.
~ Can you share a little of your current work with us?
All the Missing Girls is the story of two women who’ve disappeared ten years apart, and whose cases are linked by the same group of friends in a small North Carolina town. And it’s told in reverse, from Day 15 to Day 1.
~ What books have most influenced your life?
As a kid who loved both science and reading, Michael Crichton had a big influence on me. I loved his thrilling plots, but even more than that, I loved how each of his books circled around this ethical science what if question.
~ What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
The biggest challenge with bringing All the Missing Girls to life was finding the right way to approach the structure—to have the story flow forward, even as it was being told backward. There was a lot of trial and error involved before I landed on what felt like the right direction.
~ What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The middle of a book is always the hardest part for me. Beginnings are always fun for me, because I’m discovering the characters, the setting, and the story. At this stage, it feels like anything is possible. Then comes the middle, when I realize that I really need to step back and figure everything out. Endings are exciting again, because by that point, I know where I’m trying to get, and I can see how to get there. Middles are always a challenge, but it’s also the stage where the book comes to life, all the pieces finally coming together, giving the story shape.
~ Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Yes, definitely. I’m a big fan of the thriller and suspense genre. Most recently, I really enjoyed Erica Ferencik’s, The River at Night.