Behind The Book With Sarah Pekkanen

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Behind The Book With Sarah Pekkanen

A few months back I was lucky enough to do a Q&A with New York Times Bestselling Author Sarah Pekkanen. This summer I was lucky enough to read an early copy of Gone Tonight before I do a Behind The Book Q&A with her. If you don’t have an early copy of Gone Tonight, pre-order the book now. You are in for a treat! I sped through the book in 2 ½ days. 


Q: Sarah the novel Gone Tonight, is a mystery thriller which also has motherhood as the theme. How did you come up with the concept of the book?  

A: There are so many thrillers out there (some of which I’ve written!) where the threat seems to come from the husband, or neighbor, or friend…  but I’ve never read a mother-daughter thriller in which it’s unclear if the danger is coming from one of the women, or from the outside. I also wanted to explore the concept of how mothers completely change identities when their child arrives. It’s almost as if their lives are split into the before and the after – and of course, the only version we truly know of our mothers is in relation to us. In Gone Tonight, it was important for me to build characters well and infuse the storyline not just with tension, but all the other emotions that go into a close relationship as well.

Q: In your acknowledgements section, you said the character of Ruth Sterling is loosely based off of your grandmother Lucille and that the only similarities between them is they dropped out of highschool and became a waitress to support their families. That being said, would Catherine have a few similarities to you? 

A: Oooh, that’s an interesting question! Catherine is more of an enigma than me – I’m the proverbial open book. But we do have one thing in common: We both love investigating mysteries. When something doesn’t add up for Catherine, she tries to delve into the truth. I love that about her – even though it puts her in danger at times.

Q: How long did it take for you to write Gone Tonight? 

A: I believe that in every author’s life, there is one book that’s a miracle. It flows out of your fingertips and requires little re-writing. Gone Tonight was that book for me. I would awaken every morning at 4 or 5 a.m. and run downstairs to the couch to curl up with my dog and laptop and write. I thought about this story nearly every waking minute. All this to explain that it took me only 4 months to write and edit it – a record for me! 

Q: Colleen Hoover said that Gone Tonight was riveting and original for her blurb. How did it feel knowing another author gave rave reviews? 

A: It is such an honor when an author you admire takes the time to read your book and offer praise! I know how busy writers like Colleen Hoover and Harlan Coben are, and the fact that they both read Gone Tonight and offered such incredible endorsements means the world to me.

Q: If Gone Tonight were made into a movie or limited series, who would you cast to play Ruth, Catherine and the other characters?

A: I’ve always loved Connie Britton from Friday Night Lights and The White Lotus, and I think she’d be terrific for Ruth. Another perfect choice would be Kate Mara – who narrates the audiobook of Gone Tonight! So many sharp young actresses could play Catherine, but I’ll cast Riley Keough.