Mandi Lynn is on the blog today! In addition to being an upbeat voice in the writing community, Mandi creates weekly YouTube videos packed with writing and publishing advice (you can dive into her channel here), and she is also the author of three books: ESSENCE, I AM MERCY, and the just-released, SHE'S NOT HERE.
Check out the official trailer for Mandi's brand-new thriller below!
And now, here's my chat with Mandi!
Hi, Mandi! Welcome and congrats on She's Not Here. Can you share a little about the story and what inspired it?
She’s Not Here is a story about a woman whose father passes away from Alzheimer’s. She ultimately becomes obsessed with the idea of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, meaning she’s willing to do just about anything to get that cure, no matter how unethical.
I started writing the story because both my grandmothers have and had a form of Dementia. My grandmother on my mom’s side has Pick’s diseases, while my grandmother on my father’s side had Alzheimer’s. One of the most heartbreaking parts of the disease is losing them first mentally, then physically. That feeling was what I wanted to translate into the book. I also wanted to translate how, even when someone has Alzheimer’s, there are still sometimes a spark of that person, even if it only lasts for a few moments.
Alzheimer’s plays a big role in She’s Not Here. What was your research process like?
A lot of the research was done through experience. I had gone to a few appointments with my grandmothers. I knew the symptoms because I lived with them. But I also did a lot of reading on books about Alzheimer’s. A huge help was the fact that I also work in a hospital, so I was able to observe and experience things that most don’t. I had the opportunity to interview a doctor on research he had been doing for Huntington’s disease, and a lot of that research sparked ideas for how I could make some concepts in the book work.
What part of the writing process do you find most challenging and how do you tackle it?
Finding the story was the hardest part. I knew the concept I wanted to share, but I didn’t know how to execute. There are three other versions of this book, all with the same theme, but none of them are close to the final product of She’s Not Here. Once I knew exactly what I wanted to happen and who the “bad guys” were, it was smooth sailing.
Tension is the lifeblood of a thriller. What are your tips to manipulate it to keep readers flipping those pages?
Think of what your character wants most. Put that goal within their sight, tease them with it, but always keep it just out of reach. Create road blocks and plot twists, just enough to keep the readers on their heels and above all, always keep them guessing. Take the obvious and twist it.
I’m a firm believer in the idea that every story teaches the writer something new, so what did writing She’s Not Here teach you?
This book taught me a different way of writing. My first two novels were fantasy, so this is the first story I’ve ever written that doesn’t involve magic. It’s also the first story I’ve written in third person, past-tense. Thriller is a huge leap away from what I normally write, but I’ve fallen in love with the genre and I wouldn’t be surprised if I continued to write in it. It’s been amazing to see how my writing style has changed so much over the years.
What are you reading, watching, or otherwise currently infatuated with?
The last book I read that I was completely infatuated with was The Space Between by Dete Meserve. A thriller none-the-less, but if you hand me any good thriller novel I’ll be happy for about a day until I finish reading it.
Can you give us any hints about your next project? Will it be another thriller?
I have a few things in mind for projects, but nothing is set in stone just yet. What’s in the future isn’t a thriller, but I do plan on jumping back into the genre eventually!
And finally, what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far in your writing/publishing career?
Everything takes time. I’m the least patient person when it comes to just about anything, but if publishing and writing has taught my anything, its patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day and either was the “Great American Novel.” Rushing yourself only leaves you stressed and disappointed. Take a breath and enjoy the journey.
Many thanks go out to Mandi for taking the time to tell us more about SHE'S NOT HERE! Be to sure to add this twisty thriller to your Goodreads list, or order your copy (WRITE) NOW from retail sites like Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. And to further support the author (and your community!), don't forget to request this title at your library/local independent bookstore!
For more, follow Mandi on Twitter, and visit her author website at mandilynn.com.
And, as always,