Happy Monday, guys!
If you're like everyone else, you've probably been playing Pokémon Go all weekend.
(Just captured my fourth Pikachu - hurray!)
However, you should definitely take a break to check out our guest post from Amanda Panitch, and my review of Never Missing, Never Found! I don't always read mysteries, but I REALLY enjoyed this.
Read on for more!
A guest post from Amanda Panitch
Author of Never Missing, Never Found
June 2016, Random House BFYR
Thank you for taking the time to come on the blog today. I really enjoyed Never Missing, Never Found, and would love to hear you talk a little more about how you created the characters!
Those additions and subtractions mean that Alane becomes a totally different person than my college friend, that Connor is wildly changed from my ex-boyfriend. These characters may have started out as depictions of real people, frozen in the past from when I knew them, but they want different things, have different goals, decide to do things that their inspirations would never do.
My protagonists usually come from me. While they're definitely NOT me (this is especially directed towards readers of DAMAGE DONE), there are pieces of myself woven into them: Julia's fear of driving, her clarinet-playing, her quick judgments of others; Scarlett's very awkward romance, her feeling like a freak next to her pretty and popular sister, her wandering in the woods to find her peace. It can take a while to find their voice and their goals, but these little pieces of myself in them provide a gateway through which I can dive in and get started on that search.
Other characters pop to life during the narrative. While I usually have my main characters sketched out beforehand, sometimes the story decides that it requires somebody new. Scarlett's sister Melody from NEVER MISSING, NEVER FOUND showed up that way: she's one of the main characters now, but the story originally revolved around the relationship between Scarlett and her father; I got to the end of the first draft and realized that the story wasn't right and that Scarlett had been trying to tell me she needed a sibling. Melody then emerged from the past relationship between me and my sister. Minor characters come to be for plot purposes more often than main characters, though: I might need someone to train Scarlett on the cash register, or a police officer to help Dr. Spence in DAMAGE DONE with his mission.
The most fascinating thing about writing fictional characters, I think, is how they seem to have a mind of their own: they're coming from my own mind and exist only by the grace of my keyboard, but they still manage to surprise me and behave in unexpected ways. Almost like real people.
About the book:
Some choices change everything. Scarlett chose to run. And the consequences will be deadly.
Stolen from her family as a young girl, Scarlett was lucky enough to eventually escape her captor. Now a teen, she’s starting a summer job at an amusement park. There are cute boys, new friends, and the chance to finally have a normal life.
Her first day on the job, Scarlett is shocked to discover that a girl from the park has gone missing. Old memories come rushing back. And now as she meets her new coworkers, one of the girls seems strangely familiar. When Scarlett chose to run all those years ago, what did she set into motion? And when push comes to shove, how far will she go to uncover the truth…before it’s too late?
Amazon | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads
Amanda Panitch introduces us to Scarlett, a survivor of a childhood kidnapping. Though she's tried her best to put the kidnapping behind her over the intervening years, mysterious going-ons at her new amusement park job may bring the past back into focus...
I didn't read Damage Done, but I'm going to have to after reading Never Missing, Never Found. Panitch writes a mystery that effectively uses the slow burn; unpacking Scarlett's experiences with her kidnapping, against an unfolding mystery that's taking place in the real-world.
Though Scarlett's summer job at an amusement park should be an entertaining diversion, Panitch does a thorough job of showing readers how danger and dangerous people lurk around every corner. There was an air of dread as she started learning the ropes at work, and Panitch also does a nice job of having readers question whether it's really a problem, or if Scarlett is suffering from paranoia - especially when a new coworker shows up.
My one quibble with the book is with the ending. While I thought that the ending was well-done, and Panitch realistically couldn't have ended it any other way, it also felt like it had been done before. I'm actually fairly certain I've read a similar ending before, so bonus points to anyone who can tell me where I've read it.
But with that being said, the ending actually makes so much sense in the contest of the book. Panitch does a nice job of making sure the characterizations are consistent with the ending, and also provides enough motivation and emotional empathy so that we feel for a very challenging, unfathomable situation.
It's one heck of a way to end the book. Which means, I strongly recommend this for all Panitch and mystery fans.
About the author: