Still Missing and the soon-to-be-released Never Knowing. I am thrilled that Chevy could stop by to answer a few questions about her new novel, releasing July 5th, as well as some future projects on which she is working. Also, look for my review of Never Knowing, coming soon.
1. To start off, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island and still call the island home. For most of my adult life I worked in sales, first as a rep for a giftware company and then as a Realtor. At open houses, waiting between potential buyers, I spent hours scaring myself with thoughts of horrible things that could happen to me. My most terrifying scenario, which began with being abducted, was the inspiration for STILL MISSING. After six months I sold my house and left real estate so I could finish the book.
2. Can you tell us a little about your novel, Never Knowing?
All her life, Sara Gallagher has wondered about her birth parents. As an adopted child with two sisters who were born naturally to her parents, Sara’s home life was not ideal. The question of why she was given up for adoption has always haunted her. Finally, she is ready to take steps and find closure.
But some questions are better left unanswered.
After months of research, Sara locates her birth mother—only to be met with horror and rejection. Then she discovers the devastating truth: her mother was the only victim ever to escape a killer who has been hunting women every summer for decades. But Sara soon realizes the only thing worse than finding out about her father is him finding out about her.
What if murder is in your blood?
3. What inspired you to write Never Knowing? How much research was involved in the writing?
My editor and I were talking about what it would be like if you were adopted and found out that your birth father was a murderer, then the story took off in my mind and kept growing. There was a horrific murder in Wells Gray Park decades ago. When I learned about the crime, I was very upset and it haunted me for a long time. Though Never Knowing is not based on that tragedy, the idea of all the remote provincial parks in BC, and the terrible things that could happen in them, resonated with me, so I wanted to explore that.
There was quite a bit of research for this book—definitely more than Still Missing. I had to learn about places I’d never visited, speak to a therapist so I could understand Sara’s anxiety, study the emotions and psychology behind adoption, and consult with the RCMP often about many sections of the book. Luckily I’ve developed some great sources!
4. What was your greatest challenge while writing this novel? The premise is very chilling.
There were a few challenges with this novel. First, I wanted to use the same structure as Still Missing where the main character is telling the story to the therapist, Nadine. So it was crucial that Sara’s voice, personality, and her relationship with Nadine, be very different from Annie’s. Also, telling it in sessions was challenging because this story is much more immediate. Annie was reflecting a lot, whereas Sara’s story was unfolding in the present day. It was also important that I make it clear to people who aren’t familiar with the Interior of BC how vast and remote the area is, so that they understand how John, Sara’s birth father, was able to elude capture.
5. In this novel, we are introduced to some very interesting and intriguing characters. Who was the most fun to write about? Which character presented the biggest challenge? Are any of your characters modelled of anyone you know in particular?
I never base my characters on anyone I know, but I do use my emotions a lot—and feelings that other people have given me. The relationship between Evan and Sara is similar in some ways to what I have with my husband, how we balance each other out, but there are many differences of course. I enjoyed writing about their relationship. John was challenging as he had two sides to him: the one that was doing terrible things and the one that just wanted a family. I needed, like with The Freak in Still Missing, for him to be multidimensional so that the reader could understand his motives. But the biggest challenge was my “twist” as it came to me late in the writing of my first draft and it took many subsequent rewrites to make it work.
6. What are 3 things that are 'must haves' when you write? Do you have any writing rituals?
I always have tea or some sort of beverage on hand and I require complete silence. I often use ear plugs as they also help me calm my mind down.
7. Can you share with us any projects that you are currently working on or plans for the future?
I am currently working on my third novel, which is Always Watching. This one is about Nadine, the therapist from the first two novels. It’s her story—past and present.
8. Favourite authors?
I have so many it’s hard to name them all, but I really admire Ed McBain and Stephen King.
9. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
There aren’t many days when I’m not writing, but I enjoy hiking with my husband and dog, though she’s getting older now so we can’t go far. But I just like being outdoors. In the evenings I love unwinding with a good TV show or movie.
10. Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?
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