Simon and Ingrid Greene are faced with a life-changing trauma when their grown daughter disappears in Run Away (Grand Central, Mar.).
Is it fair to say that Simon and Ingrid Greene are ordinary people who must do something extraordinary?
Yes. In some ways, Run Away is the classic Hitchcockian dilemma of the “ordinary man/woman in an extraordinary situation,” albeit with a modern take and a pretty big twist. In the end, you’ll stay with Run Away because you care about Simon and Ingrid. If you don’t, all is lost.
Run Away is full of shocking twists and turns. Were the majority of these revelations in your initial draft or did you layer them in during the revision process?
I almost never come up with twists during the revision stages. The best revelations, I think, have to be organic. You can’t force them. That final bombshell on the last page? I knew it before I wrote the first word.
Have you ever broken down, been overcome with emotion, while writing a particular sequence?
Not often, but I will confess to you that as I typed the final words of Run Away—and man, I know how corny this will sound—I realized that my cheeks were wet. Gah, ugh, gag! But true.
Both you and Simon have wives who are pediatricians and a child entering college. Did these parallels play any kind of role in the authenticity of Simon’s journey?
Always. I never really bought the expression “Write what you know,” yet I always seem to gravitate in that direction. It isn’t really a conscious choice. My four kids have all read Run Away—and they had a blast accusing one another of being the most troublesome fictional child.
Are there any aspects of Run Away that differentiate it from your previous works?
I do think Run Away may be my best novel yet. Part of writing a novel is trying to reach a state of Nirvana you can never achieve—so you try again. My viewpoint is the most skewed, but as I sit here today, I think Run Away is richer in some ways than past novels. I wanted that ending to linger and haunt the reader.
You recently said on Twitter: “One Yes can make all the No’s disappear.” What was the most important “yes” in your professional life?
Hard to say, really. Even a small “Yes” has a ripple effect, while the more obvious ones may have been foregone conclusions. But I tweeted that phrase to buck up those trying to get published who may be feeling down. Every writer faces rejection. It’s hard out there. Perseverance goes a long way.