Q: How did you come up with the idea for Don't Look for Me, and for your characters Molly and Nicole?
A: The book actually began with a personal experience. I was driving back from my son's soccer game four hours from my home in southern Connecticut. It was at a difficult time in my life as a single mother, so I was already emotionally stretched. The game had been horrible with rough play, bad ref calls, and unusually cruel jeering from the other team's classmates.
I realized for the first time as a parent, that I could not protect my children from everything bad in life. I felt powerless, and on top of everything else, it was overwhelming. I was halfway home and had to stop for gas near this very depressed and neglected town. Standing at the pump, unable to stop my spinning thoughts, I saw a long road flanked by cornfields.
Out of nowhere, I had this flash of a thought to just leave everything and walk down that road. Of course, I didn't do that and the thought left as quickly as it had arrived. But the rest of the way home, I wondered where it had come from and if, perhaps, I could take this experience and build a character and a story that would capture that moment.
It turns out, thoughts like these are very common! They result from our fight or flight instincts taking over when we are in distress. Normally, our rational brain does what mine did and quickly sweeps them away.
But I thought - what if a woman had such devastating pain that it overpowered rational thought and caused her to act, putting her in harm's way? That was how Molly came to be. Nicole was then the next piece - the person who would come to look for her!
Q: You alternate between the two women's points of view. Why did you write Molly's scenes in first person and Nic's in third person?
A: I wanted the reader to be in Molly's head so they would feel very close to her and truly understand what she had been through and was going through now. Also, because the scenes with her are very limited in terms of exposure to the outside world, much of what happens is through conversations and internal thoughts and those, I believe, read better in first person.
Q: What do you think the novel says about motherhood?
A: Motherhood defines us. Regardless of the other pieces in our lives, if our children are not okay, then we are not okay. Not completely. They say that a mother is only as happy as her least happy child, and I believe that is true. It is human nature. That's why I gave Molly the backstory she has. I needed her to be broken and despairing so the reader could experience her healing and getting her fight back.
Q: How was the book's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?
A: It took a lot of back and forth with my editor and agent to get the right title. It started as Walk Away but we felt that could be misinterpreted as a marriage or relationship story. When we came up with Don't Look for Me, I actually went back into the manuscript and wrote that phrase in a few times to make it work!
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am about to dive into a revision and reworking of a book I wrote last spring but put on hold to promote and also to write an Audible Original which is now available, called Hold Your Breath. It's a novella and it spins off of my break-out thriller All Is Not Forgotten. It is a stand alone piece, but anyone who is familiar with the main character, Dr. Alan Forrester, will love to see where he ended up three years later!
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: You can find everything you need to know about me and my novels at wendywalkerbooks.com and also on social media. I am on Instagram and Facebook at wendywalkerauthor, and Twitter at wendy_walker. Thanks!
--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Wendy Walker.