Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner. No affiliate links included. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
I love discovering new authors. I especially love when those authors have large back catalogues. Lisa Gardner is one of those authors. When I read and enjoyed Find Her early last year, I knew I’d search out the other books.
To mark the publication of her latest novel, Right Behind You, Lisa Gardner took some time to answer my questions.
What drew you to crime fiction?
I’ve always loved a good puzzle! From a dark and stormy night to who dunnit, I love it all. Having a job where I can now interview detectives and learn more about criminal minds is amazing to me. I love plots (and characters!) that are ambiguous, and keep even me, as the writer, guessing.
Your novels obviously involve a lot of research. Do you map out your plot completely beforehand or is it shaped by the things you learn and people you interview?
I start with an idea, generally something inspired by true crime, such as the spree shooting in Right Behind You. Then I meet with experts, from homicide detectives to fugitive trackers, to learn what real world procedures they’d use to handle such a case. I also ask them what they would do if they were the criminal, say the shooter on the run. Trust me, you ever want to know the perfect crime—ask a cop. A dash of this, a twist of that, and I have the beginnings of a great novel. But I don’t map out all the details and I never know the ending—that’s what writing is all about.
Right Behind You is the 7th book in your FBI profiler series. You also have the Detective D.D. Warren series and the Tessa Leoni series. Each book can be read as a standalone. Is it difficult to make them accessible to new readers while having a story arc for your protagonists?
I always joke I’m a non-series, series writer. I never meant for the characters to continue on. But they grow on you, and next thing you know they have more story to tell. Plus readers get excited. Right Behind You brings back FBI profilers Rainie and Quincy after readers begged to see them again. So I write big, self-contained twisted plots with characters you may or may not see again, designed to keep my readers happy. Phew!
Writing is a solitary process. Do you have a routine so that you don’t get completely lost in the world(s) you’re creating?
I love writing at oh-dark-thirty, before I have a single logical thought in my head. Then I return to the real world, get my child off to school, that sort of thing. More writing time. Maybe a break to take the dogs for a walk, enjoy the gorgeous mountains where I live. Some days I’m brilliant. Some days I have no idea how I’ve survived this long in the biz. But the deadlines keep me honest. Every June 30, better have another novel!
I love hearing what people are passionate about reading, even if they can’t narrow it down to a favourite. Which book do you wish you could thrust into the arms of strangers and demand they read it immediately?
One single book? Come on, there are entire series that need to be discovered! Karin Slaughter’s Will Trent books. Lee Child’s Jack Reacher. Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X. I also love young adult books so that brings us to Sarah J. Maas and Suzanne Collins. Can I thrust a library into the arms of a stranger? Pretty please?
Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner is published by Headline and is available in hardback and ebook format. The paperback edition will be published on the 19th October.