Friday, June 27, 2014

Stay With Me: A Q & A with Author Alison Gaylin

Stay With Me coverIt’s a delight to welcome USA Today bestselling author and Edgar Award nominee Alison Gaylin to Thoughts in Progress today to talk about her latest release, STAY WITH ME, the third installment in her Brenna Spector series.

In this latest installment of the Brenna Spector Novel of Suspense, STAY WITH ME (on sale June 24, $5.99, Harper mass market paperback), Brenna’s entire world is turned upside down as she faces her most deeply personal case yet... the disappearance of her own daughter, Maya.

Brenna Spector is a prisoner to her past; she has perfect autobiographical memory—hyperthymesia—which allows her to recall in vivid and remarkable detail every moment of every day of her adult life. Yet, she lacks that clarity when it comes to her childhood, leaving her still trying to unravel the mystery of her sister Clea’s disappearance twenty-eight years ago, when Clea was seventeen.

In STAY WITH ME, her growing obsession with finding out what happened to Clea starts taking a toll on her own teenage daughter, Maya, who’s been growing more and more secretive. Then, when Maya goes missing, Brenna fears her worst nightmare has come true.

As Brenna relies on her P.I. skills to find her daughter before it’s too late, evidence surfaces showing a possible link between Maya’s disappearance and Clea’s. But could a case three decades earlier really be connected to her daughter? Or is someone hoping Brenna will play along in a twisted game that there is no hope of winning… or surviving?

By the end of STAY WITH ME, Brenna’s entire outlook on life is changed, and the mystery of her long-lost sister Clea is finally solved -- but at a devastating price.

Please join me in welcoming Alison as she graciously answers questions.

Mason - Where do you do most of your writing and do you have any writing related rituals or quirks like certain music to listen to or a favorite beverage to drink?
I have an office in my home, though sometimes I like to mix things up and bring my laptop to a coffee shop. Either way, my writing beverage of choice is coffee. (I drink it black.)

Mason - Looking back over your latest release, STAY WITH ME, where there any more surprises than when you finished the other two installments in the series?
Oh, there are so many surprises in STAY WITH ME, it's hard to give a plot summary without spoilers! Besides being the third book in the Brenna Spector series, it's the third in the "Clea Trilogy," so I tried to write a final installment that's both surprising and satisfying. It was fun to write, but also very hard

Mason - Who inspired you to write?
My mom teaches memoir writing. And my dad, a hospital administrator, was a voracious reader who loved mysteries. So when I was growing up, reading and writing were pretty much impossible for me to avoid.

Mason - What advice would you give to a new author wanting to write in any of the various genres available?

Focus not on what you think is going to sell, but on telling a good story. Young readers are just as discerning as grown-ups (possibly more-so) and nobody likes being pandered to.

Mason - In writing the series, did it become more difficult to write each installment or did the process flow easier as the series came about?
Good question! I think it gets easier with each book in a series. I feel like I know the characters better than when I started, which makes it easier to plot stories. But boy, writing is always, always hard.

Mason - Are you currently working on any new projects readers can look forward to reading?

Yes! I'm currently working on an adult standalone suspense novel called WHAT REMAINS OF ME for Harper Collins -- about a 17-year-old girl who commits the "murder of the century" in 1980 and spends 25 years in prison -- only to be accused of another brutal killing five years after her release. The action shifts back and forth between 1980 and 2010, with both mysteries unfolding at the same time, so it's a challenge to write. (Plus, I get to listen to a lot of cool old songs to get in the mood!) It should be out next year, in hardcover.

Alison, thanks for sharing this look at the writing life with us. Your current project sounds as intriguing as STAY WITH ME.


ALISON GAYLIN is the author of the Edgar-nominated thriller HIDE YOUR EYES, as well as its sequel YOU KILL ME and the standalones TRASHED and HEARTLESS, and the Brenna Spector series AND SHE WAS and INTO THE DARK

A graduate of Northwestern University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Alison lives with her husband and daughter in upstate New York.

For more on Alison and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

In addition, you can see Alison on tour in the coming weeks at the following locations:
      July 10, 7 p.m.: River Road Books in Fair Haven, NJ. Event with Megan Abbott.
      August 1, 7 p.m.: Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, NY. Event with Wendy Corsi Staub.
      August 2, 2 p.m.: Westport Library in Westport, CT Event with Wendy Corsi Staub.
      August 9, 7 p.m.: Northshire Books in Saratoga Springs, NY. Event with Wendy Corsi Staub.

Thanks so much for stopping by today during Alison’s visit. Do you enjoy novels that tug on your heartstrings, while they scare you to pieces with suspense and intrigue? Or do you go more for novels that just tug on your heartstrings? 

*This post contains affiliate links.


  1. Alison, thanks again for visiting. This series is intriguing. Wishing you much success.

  2. Congratulations, Alison. Two disappearances that might be related? And a perfect memory? Interesting elements.

  3. The books got easier in my series, too. Plus I learned a whole lot about writing by the last one.

    Congrats on wrapping up the trilogy.

  4. What a great review...... I haven't read her books. I may start at the beginning and try them out.

    Have a super weekend.


  5. Intriguing cover. Thanks for sharing your review. I haven't read any of Alison's books, but I'll have to do so in the future.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.