Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Q&A with Gillian McAllister




Gillian McAllister is the author of the new novel Just Another Missing Person. Her other novels include Wrong Place Wrong Time. She lives in Birmingham, England.



Q: What inspired you to write Just Another Missing Person, and how did you create your character Julia?


A: I was interested in the idea of police corruption, but, rather than a police officer simply being “bad” or wanting to gain something, I thought about how a normal woman could become corrupt. That's where Julia was born, really. I thought about what I would do if I had a child under threat, and I thought I'd do anything - even take a bribe. 


Q: The novel features three characters who would do anything for their only child. What drew you to that dynamic?


A: I’ve always been interested in writing about parenthood. I think from a pure writing perspective it really ups the stakes of what people will do to move the plot along! But I think it’s just the most insanely interesting situation: your whole life is about yourself until you have a child, and then suddenly you happily put them before you. 


Q: In our previous Q&A, you said of Just Another Missing Person that it “has the best midpoint twist I've ever come up with!” Without giving anything away, can you say anything about how you came up with that twist and why having it occur at the book's midpoint worked for you?


A: I really wanted to do a proper twist, one based entirely on an assumption that the reader makes. And, once you’ve read it and know the twist, you’ll know it can’t be sustained for the whole book, and that it is much more satisfying for the reader to witness the fallout from that twist, too! 


Q: Did you need to do any research to write the novel, and if so, did anything particularly surprise you?


A: I had to do a lot of reading about police procedure, and a cop read my work too. A lot of the flavour and the colour is his. What surprised me most of all is that working in a police station largely is like any other office, with all the moaning, office banter and watercooler chat, just with added crimes! 


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I have just delivered my ninth UK novel to my publishers. It’s about a siege, and I’m so very excited for it. 


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: That I've already started outlining my next book! 


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Gillian McAllister.

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