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Today we are excited to welcome back bestselling author, Wendy Walker!
Don’t Look For Me by Wendy Walker is a home run. It’s a psychological drama about motherhood and the bond between parents and children that includes the emotions of grief, loss, healing, family, and courage.
The plot opens with a family of four: wife and mother, Molly Clarke, husband John, daughter Nichole, and son Evan. But their world changed when the family of five became a family of four. After her youngest daughter ran out into the road, Molly accidentally hit her as she was driving home. After the incident, Molly can feel her older daughter’s hatred, her son’s indifference, and her husband’s lack of love, while she is riddled with guilt. The death is on her conscience and has pushed the rest of her family away. Though the investigation confirms she did everything right and the accident was truly that, how can she ever forgive herself?
Five years later, the family still hasn’t recovered. John subconsciously blames her for the accident and has fallen out of love with her. Her middle child and only son, Evan, has decided to escape to a boarding school to play football. Nicole, her eldest, was expelled from high school and has fallen into a never- ending merry go round of alcohol and strange men.
Tragedy hits the family a second time, five years later, after Molly disappears. She was driving home from watching her son’s football game and had an emotional crisis. She decided to just walk away, having come to the conclusion that she was a bad parent. She left her car, cell phone, and a note saying not to look for her. Unfortunately, Molly got into a car with a father and child because a huge storm had begun.
Two weeks later, 21-year-old Nicole, Molly’s older daughter, receives a tip from a woman who claims she saw Molly the day she disappeared getting into a stranger’s pickup truck. Despite the strained relationship between Nicole and Molly since her sister’s death, Nicole decides to investigate. She is trying to overcome the guilt she feels for saying horrible angry words to her mom. Nicole’s need to learn more became the drive to find her mother. She is also trying to decipher who was trustworthy and who was lying. Readers take the journey with Molly, will she escape her captors, and Nicole, will she find her mom?
This page-turning suspense novel is full of surprises. The characters are intense and intriguing. If you have not read Wendy Walker before this is a good book to begin with. Readers will forget their own troubles as they take a journey with Molly and Nicole. Definitely an escape to any troubles people may have.
Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for the story?
Wendy Walker: This is the first book I wrote that had a life moment of mine. A few years ago, when I had anxiety and was stressed, I took this four -hour drive to see my son play soccer. I drove by myself to watch the game. The game was rough, and the kids were cruel, pointing out our team player’s personal attributes. As a mom I was afraid my son was suffering emotionally. I felt powerless. As I was driving back home through this desolate area my thoughts were spinning and I began thinking about the meaning of life. I stopped at this gas station just as Molly had and saw these rolling hills going on forever.
EC: Did you have the same emotional thoughts as Molly?
WW: I had some quick thoughts of what they call an emotional hijacking about leaving everything behind. An emotional part of my brain triggered flight or fight instincts. I quickly dismissed it. But then as a writer, I thought what if this woman was in a really bad emotional state and just walked away from her life.
EC: Did you do any research?
WW: Yes. I found most missing cases are from a walk away situation, driven by ‘I can’t take this anymore.’ During the pandemic, people are doing more of it, disengaging and not communicating with people in their lives.
EC: Molly had severe emotional distress?
WW: Yes. The killing of her child made her feel responsible, her husband seems to be having an affair, her oldest daughter had a major fight with her, and her son acted like a typical teenager. She has a tremendous amount of guilt, which caused her to walk away during a storm. I think Molly’s pain and anxiety is resonating deeply with people. She wanted to be the protective mom but feels she has failed. Overall, Molly is a good solid person, responsible, a bit defiant, and loving.
EC: Nicole also had guilt?
WW: She was baby-sitting her sister when she ran into the street. She told her mom something she now regrets. Nicole was filled with conflict about her mom. She knows Molly is a good mom, but a part of her hates her mom for accidentally killing her sister. I saw her and Molly as the bow and stern of a sinking ship. This is not the story of two downtrodden women. They both had guilt and grief, but readers also see the evolution of both women as they get their fight on and are willing to take all kinds of risks. Nicole is a warrior, loyal, and determined.
EC: How would you describe the girl Molly was kidnapped to take care of?
WW: She is basically a victim as well. But I think she is sociopathic. She has no empathy, is a manipulator and because of the abnormal caregivers she had no socialization. Her personality was formed from her circumstances.
EC: I had to laugh in that the girl, Alice, had to wear a mask-sound familiar?
WW: How bizarre is that. This book was written two years ago, when there was no virus. Alice cannot go outside unless she wears a mask.
EC: Did you have pillow beds like you describe in the book?
WW: Yes. I drew a lot from my parenting and personal life. The moments Molly had with her husband is what I had with people in my life. Regarding the pillow beds, my youngest son every time we went to a hotel chose to sleep on the floor. We grabbed the cushions off the coach and put them together, holding them in place with something.
EC: Can you give a shout out about your next book?
WW: It is an audible book, titled Hold Your Breath. A short original piece that is only on audio format and is out in October. It reprises my character from my book, All Is Not Forgotten, a follow up story with two really big twists. For my next novel, I am figuring out what the secret sauce was to this book since everyone thinks it is my best. Was it the structure, setting, pacing, emotional characters, and/or the atmospheric quality? I guess the next book is a work in progress.
The car abandoned miles from home. The note found at a nearby hotel. The shattered family that couldn’t be put back together.
It happens all the time. Women disappear, desperate to leave their lives behind and start over.
But is that what really happened to Molly Clarke?
‘Gripping … with unexpected twists … a cracking mystery’
‘If you love fast-paced page-turners with relatable, flawed characters, look no further!’
Book Beginnings / First Chapter First Paragraph / Tuesday Teaser!