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Q&A with Alafair Burke, Author of Find Me

Q&A with Alafair Burke, Author of Find Me

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Alafair Burke is the author of Find Me, which is out now.

Alafair Burke is a New York Times bestselling author whose most recent novels include The Better Sister, The Wife, optioned for a feature film by Amazon, and The Ex, which was nominated for the Edgar Award for best novel. She is also the co-author of the bestselling Under Suspicion series with Mary Higgins Clark. She currently serves as the President of Mystery Writers of America and is the first woman of color to be elected to that position. A former prosecutor, she now teaches criminal law and lives in Manhattan and East Hampton.

Here’s the synopsis for Find Me:

She calls herself Hope Miller, but she has no idea who she actually is. Fifteen years ago, she was found in a small New Jersey town thrown from an overturned vehicle, with no clue to her identity. Doctors assumed her amnesia was a temporary side effect of her injuries, but she never regained her memory. Hope eventually started a new life with a new name in a new town that welcomed her, yet always wondered what she may have left behind—or been running from. Now, she’s leaving New Jersey to start over once again.

Manhattan defense lawyer Lindsay Kelly, Hope’s best friend and the one who found her after the accident, understands why Hope wants a new beginning. But she worries how her friend will fare in her new East Hampton home, far away from everything familiar. Lindsay’s worst fears are confirmed when she discovers Hope has vanished without a trace—the only lead a drop of blood found where she was last seen. Even more ominously, the blood matches a DNA sample with a connection to a notorious Kansas murderer.

With nowhere else to turn, Lindsay calls NYPD homicide detective Ellie Hatcher, the daughter of the cop who dedicated his life to hunting the Kansas killer. Ellie has always believed there was more to the story of her father’s death twenty years earlier—and she now fears that Hope’s recent disappearance could be related.

In pursuit of answers, the women search for the truth beneath long-buried secrets. And when their searches converge, what they find will upend everything they’ve ever known. 

Let’s get to know Alafair as she talks favorite novels, writing for the thriller genre, what inspired her to write Find Me and more!

What are some of your favorite novels?

Oh my goodness—too many to try to name—but Mystic River by Dennis Lehane and Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow are two of my favorite crime novels. Where Are the Children by Mary Higgins Clark left an early impression on me. People forget how ahead of her time Mary was with that book. She created an imprint for all the female-centric psychological suspense novels that followed. And outside the crime genre, I adore The Hours by Michael Cunningham.

When did you know you wanted to become an author?

When I was five until I was about twelve. And then not again until I was 29 years old. I was the opposite of kids who wanted to pursue an artistic or other non-traditional profession and have parents who say, “but how will you pay your bills? Be practical.” The more my parents seemed convinced I would be a writer, the more I talked myself onto a more financially stable and predictable path. And yet here I am.

What drew you to the thriller genre?

I have always been obsessed by crime. Even when I was really little, I loved the Encyclopedia Brown books, and then The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Nancy Drew. I liked the suspense, the confusion, and ultimately the solution to the puzzle. With age, my interests moved toward crime in general. I became a prosecutor and still teach criminal law and procedure at Hofstra Law School in New York.

What do you think are some of the key qualities that are needed for a well-crafted thriller?

It sounds simplistic, but a good thriller has to make sense and feel real without being boring. And it can’t just be about the chase or the race or the ticking clock. The reader needs to care about the people who are facing high stakes.

What inspired you to write Find Me?

I have long been interested in memory. My college senior thesis was empirical research into the effects of emotion on memory. I am fascinated by the idea that people can forget entire blocks of their life. The notion of a woman who has built a new life after fifteen years of long-term amnesia suddenly going missing seemed rich with possibilities.  My favorite books are ones where the past works its way into the present. But when the past is one you can’t even recall? Yeah, that’s a good premise.

What are you currently reading and what’s on your TBR (to be read) list?

I am almost finished with Red Queen by a bestselling author in Spain named Juan Gomez-Jurado. It’s terrific. Next up is I’ll Be You by Janelle Brown, who is such a talent.

Click here to order Find Me on Amazon.