Kelley Armstrong talks about her whip-fast, razor-smart thriller set in the Chicago suburbs about a missing child, her messy first drafts, how she loves ‘dive’ pizza joints and more in WHEREVER SHE GOES


By Leslie Lindsay

Juicy, twisty, can’t-put-down psychological thriller about a child abduction, a questionable narrator with a dark past, and so much more in WHEREVER SHE GOES.

Wherever She Goes

I was completely smitten with WHEREVER SHE GOES (June 25, Minotaur Books) by New York Times bestselling author, Kelley Armstrong, whose work I’ve yet to read. Just how far would YOU go to save a child? How far would you go to prove to the authorities that you are not delusional, that you know what you saw and you are worried about a child in danger? That’s the overarching question of this book, where Aubrey Finch is just sure she saw a boy taken from the playground against his will.

But the officers called onto the case say no one has reported a missing child; end of case. But Aubrey is insistent. She spoke with the boy and his mother just recently at that very park; they exist. The boy is missing. But Aubrey is recently separated from her defense attorney husband and she doesn’t have full custody of their daughter–in fact, she only sees her daughter on the weekends. Something must be ‘wrong’ with Aubrey, right? People start questioning *her* sanity–and Aubrey hears the whispers. Yet she is determined to find the boy.

I loved Aubrey’s tenacity–her strong, determined personality absolutely shines. She’s intelligent, but often makes poor, unwise decisions…yet all of these moments propel the narrative.

WHEREVER SHE GOES is whip-smart, twisty, and such a page-turner. I loved every minute. Plenty of set-up and creepy thrills in this easy but tense read, with plenty of complex characters. Such a fabulous summer read—toss this one in your beach bag right now.

But first, join me in conversation with Kelley Armstrong.

Leslie Lindsay:

Kelley—welcome! Oh gosh—I loved this book. I was supposed to be watching my daughter play soccer, but I kept sneaking in a few paragraphs on the sidelines. I was consumed. What was obsessing you when you set out to write WHEREVER SHE GOES?

Kelley Armstrong:

I’d gone through a reading binge on domestic thrillers—books with wives and mothers as protagonists—and I was inspired to try my hand at one. I knew, though, that I’d have to do a different type of heroine, one with dark past that would give her the skills she needed to solve the crime on her own.

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Leslie Lindsay:

I love that this story takes place in Chicagoland—maybe that’s because it’s the place I call home. But you do not. You live in Canada. How did you choose the Chicago suburbs? And what kind—if any—research did you do on the locale? Is there a park you envisioned? Does Pop’s Pizza really exist?

Kelley Armstrong:

I’ve set another series in the Chicago area, so it’s an easy one for me and a setting I love. I created a fake suburb because one could argue that the police don’t necessarily handle the case well, and I wouldn’t want to put that on an actual force. The park wasn’t based on any one in particular, but the pizza place is a type I love—the ones that look sketchy, but serve the best pizza in town. And if it’s the Chicago area, it had to be pizza 😉

Leslie Lindsay:

“Few crimes are reported as quickly as a snatched kid,” says Officer Cooper. There is something to be said about how compelling we find these human-interest stories of missing children. Why do you think that is? Vulnerability? Relatability? Worse fears? All of the above? Something else?

Kelley Armstrong:

All of the above. For parents, it reminds us of what might be our biggest vulnerability: our children. Stories of snatched children play into a primal fear and therefore, they’re relatable. I’m quick to click on any story of a missing child. If it’s local, then of course I want to see the pictures, in case I can help. But if it’s someplace where I’m unlikely to ever see that child, then when my kids were young, I was looking to see “how” it happened—did these parents do something “wrong” that I wouldn’t do, and therefore, my kids are safe? The problem with the latter is that it blames the victims. It only takes a second, as Aubrey says in the book.

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Leslie Lindsay:

Kelley, you’ve been so prolific in your career. Not only do you have a background in psychology and computer science, but you’re a bestselling author of many books in varied genres. Can you talk a little about your path to publication? What you think you did right and what you might have done better?

Kelley Armstrong:

What I did right was to keep trying to get published. I was lucky enough to find a solid day job (programming) that gave me time to write while paying the bills. Then I just kept plugging away at it. I’m also glad that I expanded beyond my original genre—paranormal fantasy—very early with my Nadia Stafford crime trilogy. That never sold nearly as much as my paranormals, but it gave me a solid base for thrillers when I saw the market wavering and decided to make the jump.

What might I have done better? It’s easy to second guess, and each time I do, I can also argue with myself that I probably made the right choice. For example, I started in a very trendy genre (paranormals) and that definitely hurt me when I branched out—I’m pigeon-holed as someone who writes werewolves and witches. However, my first book, BITTEN, came out pre-trend and I wrote it because I love that sort of book as much as I love non-fantasy thrillers. So, despite frustrations at the pigeon-holing, I can’t regret my choice.


This fast-paced standalone thriller from Armstrong unfolds to reveal complex truths, not only about the boy’s disappearance but about Aubrey’s past.” 

—Booklist


 Leslie Lindsay:

The type of writing you do—at least in WHEREVER SHE GOES—is lightning-fast, whip-smart. So, I have to ask—do you ever get ‘stuck?’ Do you plot everything out or figure it out as you go?

Kelley Armstrong:

My pre-plotting is a mess LOL. It’s pages of random notes. I have a rough idea of where I’m going and how I plan to get there, but it’ll change as I write. For example, the original plan for WHEREVER SHE GOES has Aubrey being estranged from her dad and then reuniting with him. Halfway through the first draft, I realized that subplot was getting in the way so I  decided he’d died years ago. I then just kept writing as if he was dead. Let’s just say I spend a lot of time editing! I write very fast, getting the story out, and then edit, edit, edit.

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Leslie Lindsay:

What is on your summer to-do list?

Kelley Armstrong:

My summers have been jam-packed for years. Between work obligations and family vacations, July and August have been a blur for the past decade. Now that the kids are grown (youngest starts university this fall) we just built our dream summer place in the Yukon, and I’m determined to spend as much time there as I can. Being in such a remote location for the summer means I have an excellent excuse to avoid work-related summer travel!

Leslie Lindsay:

Kelley, thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything I should have asked, but may have forgotten?

Kelley Armstrong:

Nope! Thank you very much for the interview, and I’m thrilled that you liked the book.

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Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

For more information, to connect with the author via social media, or to purchase a copy of WHEREVER SHE GOES, please visit:

Order Links: 

Kelley ArmstrongABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kelley Armstrong is the author of the Rockton thriller series and standalone thrillers beginning with Wherever She Goes. Past works include the Otherworld urban fantasy series, the Cainsville gothic mystery series,  the Nadia Stafford crime trilogy, the Darkest Powers & Darkness Rising teen paranormal series and the Age of Legends teen fantasy series. Armstrong lives in Ontario, Canada with her family.

 

 

You can connect with me, Leslie Lindsay, via these websites: 

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LOVE IT? SHARE IT!

#domesticthriller #psychsuspense #missingchild #kidnapping #murder 

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[Cover and author image courtesy of Minotaur Books and used with permission. Artistic photo of book cover designed and photographed by L.Lindsay. Follow on Instagram for more like this]

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