If you’re a fan of Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) or Paula Hawkins (Girl on the Train), you have to try Mindy Mejia’s stuff.
Last year, Mejia dazzled readers with Everything You Want Me To Be, a thriller every bit as good as those other books with Girl in their titles. Currently living in the Twin Cities, Mejia has been known to set her books in Minnesota, a place she obviously knows intimately, which shines through in her writing. That’s true once again with her latest offering, Leave No Trace, which takes place near Duluth and follows a young man named Lucas Blackthorn, who went missing at ten years old when he and his father ventured into the Boundary Waters and then vanished without a trace, only to suddenly resurface ten years later.
It’s a thrilling setup and Mejia delivers in a big way, topping herself in the process. A big fan of her work, I was thrilled to have her take part in our Five Questions segment and asked her about everything from where she came up with the story idea to what next year’s book will be about. See all of her answers below, then click here to order Leave No Trace now, available everywhere tomorrow, Tuesday, September 4th.
TRBS: You’ve done it again . . . Leave No Trace is another nail-biting thriller, and as good as Everything You Want Me To Be is, I actually liked this one just a little bit more. How did you come up with the plot idea for this story?
Mejia: “Thanks, Ryan! In 2013 I read the story of the Ho Vans, a father and son who lived in the Vietnamese jungle for forty years, and that’s when the idea of Josiah and Lucas Blackthorn was born.”
TRBS: Like Everything You Want Me To Be, this book takes place in Minnesota. Why did you choose to set another of your books there?
Mejia: “I’m a Minnesotan through and through. I’ve lived briefly in Iowa and Ireland, but Minnesota will always be my home. It’s the landscape of my imagination and the perfect setting for crime novels. We have endless agricultural horizons where no one can hear you scream, cities built on the scars of riots and explosions, and forests as dark and deep as the most sinister fairy tale.”
TRBS: How much research do you have to before actually sitting down to write, and what is your writing process like?
Mejia: “The story triggers the research for me, not the other way around. I start writing into these dark, new worlds and do most of my research on the side, usually reading at night or listening to audio materials in the car. I try to time research trips between drafts so that I have a handle on the specific themes I’m looking to harvest, because that changes the nature of your gaze. For Leave No Trace, I went to the Boundary Waters last summer, then came home and completely rewrote the ending of the book.”
TRBS: Who are some of your favorite writers, and what books are currently sitting on your nightstand?
Mejia: “I love Megan Abbott, Neil Gaiman, Audrey Niffenegger, Harlan Coben, Amy Gentry, and Celeste Ng. Right now I’m reading Jill Orr’s The Good Byline and it is hilarious. I’m compulsively reading it aloud to anyone nearby.”
TRBS: Lastly, now that this book is set to finally hit bookstores, what’s next from you?
Mejia: “I’m coming home to the Twin Cities for my next book. (More Minnesota!) A forensic accountant races to find ten million dollars that’s gone missing from an elite kickboxing gym, and becomes dangerously involved in the toxic marriage between the two powerful owners.”
From the author of the “compelling” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis) and critically acclaimed Everything You Want Me to Be, a riveting and suspenseful thriller about the mysterious disappearance of a boy and his stunning return ten years later.
There is a place in Minnesota with hundreds of miles of glacial lakes and untouched forests called the Boundary Waters. Ten years ago a man and his son trekked into this wilderness and never returned.
Search teams found their campsite ravaged by what looked like a bear. They were presumed dead until a decade later…the son appeared. Discovered while ransacking an outfitter store, he was violent and uncommunicative and sent to a psychiatric facility. Maya Stark, the assistant language therapist, is charged with making a connection with their high-profile patient. No matter how she tries, however, he refuses to answer questions about his father or the last ten years of his life.
But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy who is no longer a boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world.
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.