Kristen Bird launches her debut novel, The Night She Went Missing.
Author Interview + Book & Author Info + Author Pet Corner!
The Night She Went Missing by Kristen Bird
“A great new voice in suspense…Perfect for fans of Big Little Lies who thrive on stories of deceit in the suburban world.”
—J. T. Ellison, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Her Dark Lies
“Pitch perfect suspense…The best debut I’ve read this year.” –Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author
An intriguing and twisty domestic suspense about loyalty and deceit in a tight-knit Texas community where parents are known to behave badly and people are not always who they appear to be.
Emily, a popular but bookish prep school senior, goes missing after a night out with friends. She was last seen leaving a party with Alex, a football player with a dubious reputation. But no one is talking.
Now three mothers, Catherine, Leslie and Morgan, friends turned frenemies, have their lives turned upside down as they are forced to look to their own children—and each other’s—for answers to questions they don’t want to ask.
Each mother is sure she knows who is responsible, but they all have their own secrets to keep and reputations to protect. And the lies they tell themselves and each other may just have the potential to be lethal in this riveting debut.
To purchase The Night She Went Missing, click on any of the following links: Amazon & Bookshop.org
Author Interview with Kristen Bird
Your debut, The Night She Went Missing, highlights the maternal drive to protect one’s children. What drew you to that dynamic for your first novel?
When my three daughters–eleven-year-old Macie and eight-year-old twins Sadie and Ruby–were toddlers, crossing the parking lot at the grocery store was a monumental feat.
I would hold both of the twins’ hands as they tried to pull me in opposite directions and tell Macie to grab onto my shirt as we took small steps toward the door. I was so excited when a fellow parent would leave me the bright red cart with the two buckled seats in the parking lot at Target.
As they continue to grow, I’m with them less, so it’s harder to protect them physically–and nearly impossible to protect them emotionally—but the drive remains. As a writer, tapping into this desire to protect a child at all cost was easy to do.
Tell us about Catherine, Leslie, and Morgan:
Catherine is mother to Emily, an eighteen-year-old girl found floating in Galveston harbor—unconscious but alive—ten weeks after she disappears.
Catherine is determined to find out what happened the night her daughter went missing. Leslie and Morgan are both mothers of teenagers who attended the Mardi Gras party on the night Emily disappeared, and these women are determined to keep their children from being accused of a crime they are convinced their children did not commit.
Describe Galveston Island and the community where the novel is set—how does that environment play a role in the book?
I lived in Galveston for a couple of years in my twenties, and while I was there I came to appreciate the tragic and storied history of the island as well as the variety of reasons people come to this town.
Before the 1900 storm, the island’s main stretch on Broadway was compared to elite cities like New York and Paris, but after the hurricane killed more than eight thousand people, many citizens decided to rebuild elsewhere. Today, a mixture of academics, medical workers, students, patients, and those catering to the tourism industry live on the island.
One of my friends there was a virologist who worked in the level-three lab at UTMB. One day she told me that the lab is located on an island so that the city can close off the causeway, the ferry and the one other road that allows people onto the mainland. Though I can’t substantiate this claim, I’ve thought ever since that Galveston is the kind of place where a suspense novel needs to happen.
What was the road to publication like for your debut?
My first attempt at a novel was right after my undergrad, but I had no idea what I was doing and couldn’t quite finish it.
I wrote my first full-length novel as part of my creative writing thesis in my master’s program when I was in my mid-twenties, and I wrote one other novel in brief spurts over a period of several years after my twins were born.
The Night She Went Missing was my first attempt at a psychological suspense novel, and I wrote it rather quickly (for me) over nine months. This is also the book that caught the eye of my agent. We edited together for about five months before she took it on submission in April 2020 just after the pandemic lockdowns began.
I remember the lack of certainty about anything during that time, so I was really excited and grateful when my editor at MIRA decided to take on my debut novel.
What are you reading these days?
I’m currently reading Chandler Baker’s The Husbands, and I’m also listening to Sophie Cousens Just Haven’t Met You Yet. I’m teaching Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half, and my high school seniors are loving that one as well!
What are you working on now?
I’m editing my second novel, this one set in the Appalachian foothills. The book opens with three sisters standing around a grave, Alabama clay beneath their fingernails. The novel is the story of what brought them to this place and what comes next.
Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers:
Do something you enjoy that doesn’t involve writing. Regardless of the reception of my novel, I know that on Friday night, I’ll be eating pizza and watching a movie with my husband and three daughters. This kind of routine helps keep me from succumbing to the anxiety of publishing.
Brilliant advice, and best of luck with the launch of your debut!
Author Pet Corner!
Holly is a three-year-old lab mix rescue.
Kristen Bird lives outside of Houston, Texas, with her husband and three daughters.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in music and mass media before completing a master’s in literature.
She teaches high school English and writes with a cup of coffee in hand. Her debut psychological suspense novel will be published in 2022.
To learn more about Kristen, click on her name or photo or any of the following links: Facebook, Instagram & Twitter
Elena Taylor is the author of All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio book format at all your favorite bookstores and on-line retailers.
For more information on All We Buried, click on the link here to visit the home page.
Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator 2020
Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery 2020