Today I’m interviewing Sharon Potts, author of SOMEONE MUST DIE. Thank you for visiting my blog.
- What was your inspiration for the Lynd Family’s complicated relationships?
I believe that our experiences before we become parents greatly affect how we raise our own children. I wanted to write a story about how two people, who grew up during the intense college revolutionary period of the sixties, may have participated in things that not only transformed them directly, but also impacted their ability to relate to each other and to their children.
Right from the start of SOMEONE MUST DIE, we see that there are problems in the Lynd family. Divorce, estrangement, and subjects that are off-limit to discuss—like the past. Aubrey Lynd is working on her PhD in social psychology hoping to understand her family’s messed-up dynamics and navigate her way to a more satisfying life than her parents had. But the family’s inner workings are further challenged when Aubrey’s nephew, six-year-old Ethan, vanishes from a neighborhood carnival. A ransom note makes it clear that the kidnapping is personal. Aubrey realizes that something in her parents’ past may not only be behind her nephew’s abduction, but might also explain her parents’ aloof and challenging behavior throughout her life.
- What research did you conduct for the novel? Do you research a topic before you write a plot or do you start writing and research as the story progresses?
SOMEONE MUST DIE takes place in the present day, primarily in Miami, and is about a family not all that different from my own. (Except mine isn’t nearly as dysfunctional!) The flashbacks are in New York during 1969 and 1970, at a time when I was a college student in New York, so much of the story comes from my own experiences. That said, there was a great deal about the college revolutionary period that I’d forgotten or never knew and it was fascinating to go back and watch movies and film clips of that period. I also took the opportunity to watch “Woodstock” one more time.
I did some basic research before I began writing, really digging into events of that period until I came up with a pivotal idea for my plot. Then I began to write, stopping to research when I felt I needed more vivid or accurate details. For me, one of the coolest parts of researching is that I often discover a fact or incident that works great with my fictional story and I end up incorporating it. Sometimes, this new information will even change the direction of my book!
- How did you choose the setting for your book, Miami (present day) and Manhattan (1969/70)?
I chose Manhattan in 1969/70 for a couple of reasons. First, it was one of the places where the college revolutionary movement was most intense, especially at Columbia University. It was also a familiar setting to me. I was a student at Queens College at the time. I remember the energy as I marched through Central Park in October 1969, one of thousands who participated in the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam. Manhattan can also be daunting and I wanted to contrast that setting with the present day in Coconut Grove, a secluded, jungly neighborhood near Miami where Aubrey grew up hiding from the world.
About the Book
When her six-year-old nephew vanishes from a neighborhood carnival, Aubrey Lynd’s safe, snow-globe world fractures; it shatters when the FBI’s investigation raises questions about her own family that Aubrey can’t answer.
Aubrey picks apart the inconsistencies to expose the first of many lies: a ransom note—concealed from the FBI—with a terrifying and impossible ultimatum. Aubrey doesn’t know what to believe or whom to trust. The abduction is clearly personal—but why would someone play a high-stakes game with the life of a child? The more she presses for answers, the more Aubrey is convinced that her mother is hiding something.
Desperate to save her young nephew, Aubrey must face harsh truths and choose between loyalty to her family and doing the right thing. And she’d better hurry, because vengeance sets its own schedule, and time is running out.
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