Interview with Lisa Gardner, Author of When You See Me - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Interview with Lisa Gardner, Author of When You See Me
By Lisa Gardner

Interview with Lisa Gardner, Author of When You See Me

Coming this week is WHEN YOU SEE ME, Lisa Gardner’s latest in which she teams up survivor-turned-vigilante Flora Dane, Boston detective D.D. Warren, and FBI agent Kimberly Quincy to deliver another edge-of-your-seat thriller. I absolutely loved it (read my review here), and recently, I had the opportunity to chat with her about the novel—read below!


  • Vilma: I’m so excited to talk to you again, Lisa. Last time we chatted about NEVER TELL, which was so fantastic, and now I can’t believe we’re already talking about your newest novel, WHEN YOU SEE ME. It was absolutely amazing and it kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. Could you tell us a little bit about the novel? How did the idea for the story come to you?

    Lisa: Hi Vilma!  It’s always a pleasure.  So, the lowdown on WHEN YOU SEE ME:  Skeletal remains are found in a small town in Georgia.  Was the dead girl a long-lost victim of the notorious predator, Jacob Ness? Or is it something even more sinister?  FBI Agent Kimberly Quincy scrambles a taskforce that includes Detective D.D. Warren and one of Ness’ former victims, Flora Dane to learn the truth.  But when more bodies are discovered, the team quickly realizes nothing in this quaint community is as it seems.

    I got this idea from growing up in Oregon, one of the hunting grounds for Ted Bundy.  While Bundy confessed to killing 30 women, he’s suspected of murdering many more.  To this day, there are families in Oregon whose beautiful dark-haired daughters disappeared in the ‘70s and are believed to have died at Bundy’s hand.  But without any remains recovered, the cases remain in limbo.  What’s it like to have to carry that load?  To know something terrible probably happened, but to never be certain?  That led me to research skeletal remains and mass graves.  Let’s just say the book wrote itself from there.

    Vilma: One of the most satisfying aspects of your novel was to see D.D., Kimberly, Flora & Keith teamed up. They are each fascinating individuals on their own, but working together, challenging each other, having each other’s back — there was so much to unpack there and it was exhilarating to experience on the page. How was the process of penning all those interactions? Could you talk a little about it? Was it easier or more difficult to work with all those voices?

    Lisa: It was really fun to have three strong female characters all in one novel.  It forced me to truly treat them as individuals and not just bad ass Investigator 1 and bad ass Investigator 2.  I love the contrast between D.D. and Kimberly.  Of course, Flora is a force all of her own.

    For the record, one of my favorite characters in the new book is Girl.  Who she is, what she’s gone thru, what she’s going to do next…  She kept me glued to the keyboard.

    Vilma: Flora is one of my favorite characters, and in the past we’ve talked a lot about D.D. and Flora together. I think you referred to them as “two sides of the same investigative coin,” with D.D. seeking justice and Flora, revenge. In this book, however, we continue to see Flora evolve and face her past in a way she hadn’t before. What did you set out to do with Flora in this book?

    Lisa: For me, Flora is all about evolution and growth; that’s the nature of a survivor.  One of the key phrases I learned from talking to survivors is “thriving not surviving.”  That’s what Flora wants to do, but given the level of her trauma it’s not that simple.  In WHEN YOU SEE ME, she takes another major step forward.  I won’t spoil it, but it led to one of my favorite scenes in my entire writing career!

    Vilma: There are always so many twists and turns in your stories, which really contributes to that absorbing, edge-of-your-seat feel to your books. Do you surprise yourself along the way, either with what characters will do, or where the narrative will go? How much is planned versus improvised?

    Lisa: I like to come up with complex crimes, research real world investigative techniques, then improvise madly.  I never know the answer to the riddle in the beginning; that’s what the writing process is all about.  I do my best thinking while walking.  So literally, many of the plot twists for my novel set in a small mountain town in Georgia, took place while hiking my small mountain town in New Hampshire.

    Vilma: What’s next for you? I’m ready to start counting down 🙂

    Lisa: I’ve started a whole new project, featuring an every-day, average, middle-aged woman who helps find missing people, particularly minorities who might otherwise be overlooked.  It’s fun to put a real person with no training into dangerous situations with only her wits to get herself out.  And why exactly is she doing this?  More questions for me to write frantically to figure out!

    Vilma: Thank you so much Lisa! Hope to talk to you again soon with your next book!


    #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner unites three of her most beloved characters—Detective D. D. Warren, Flora Dane, and Kimberly Quincy—in a twisty new thriller, as they investigate a mysterious murder from the past…which points to a dangerous and chilling present-day crime.

    FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy and Sergeant Detective D. D. Warren have built a task force to follow the digital bread crumbs left behind by deceased serial kidnapper Jacob Ness. When a disturbing piece of evidence is discovered in the hills of Georgia, they bring Flora Dane and true-crime savant Keith Edgar to a small town where something seems to be deeply wrong. What at first looks like a Gothic eeriness soon hardens into something much more sinister…and they discover that for all the evil Jacob committed while alive, his worst secret is still to be revealed. Quincy and DD must summon their considerable skills and experience to crack the most disturbing case of their careers—and Flora must face her own past directly in the hope of saving others.

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This post contains affiliate links, meaning I’ll receive a small commission should you purchase using those links. All opinions expressed are my own. I receive no compensation for reviews.

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