Was Jared inspired by a real person?
Yes and no, I am lucky enough to not have had to deal with any kind of stalking, but I do (like most women) have the experience of that guy who just doesn’t get it when you give a polite no. Fortunately, my guy was more lost puppy than bipolar stalker and after a few firmer no’s he got the hint. There are a couple lines of Jared’s that come directly from our text messages, so they helped me ground Jared’s point of view in something real.
Where did the idea for the book start?
The book idea didn’t actually start off with a stalker. I was looking through images (which I do all the time) and found an image of an abandoned tent in the woods. That got me thinking about who was in it, where they went and why. Laura doesn’t pack herself a tent, but that set-up turned into her little pile of items she left at the trailhead, things to make it look like she was gone for good. Then I just had to figure out what she was running from.
Is Laura’s hiking spot a real place?
Sort of. Lincoln is an actual town outside of Boston and there are several hiking areas nearby that could feasibly be Laura’s disappearance location. I don’t have a particular one in mind and am not sure that any are surrounded by such meandering roads as she deals with though I am familiar with many areas between Massachusetts and New Hampshire that could fit the bill, small scenic roads are easy to come by out here so I envisioned all the best parts of them for her journey.
Which character did you enjoy writing more?
I wrote most of Laura’s chapters first (until the timelines merge) and I expected to enjoy her most. She is a planner and analytical like I am. But when I started getting into Jared’s head, he came so easily. It was so enjoyable to let his deluded worldview paint a picture on the page. He has become my favorite character I’ve written so far. He’s an awful guy but was awful fun to write.
Why use two different points of view?
I like to write in 3rd person (he/she/it) and it was natural to begin that way with Laura, but when Jared came onto the scene he really took over and I felt like I needed to be as close to him as possible—he had to be 1st person. I think it is very effective to understand his delusions this way by really seeing his thought process play out. Since it’s not very common to mix the two in one book, I thought about putting Laura into 1st person as well, but it felt unnatural. She is so closed off from the world that getting in her head seemed wrong. This is where the benefit of self-publishing came in. I didn’t have to make a choice that would be safer for the market, so I stood by what felt right for the characters.