Liz & Lisa's Book Club: Don't Try to Find Me by Holly Brown

holly_brownIf you are looking for the perfect summer read, you've found it! Don't Try to Find Me by Holly Brown is a page-turner that will stay on your mind long after you've finished reading it. If you're a fan of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn you will definitely love this thriller (out tomorrow, June 8th). And guess what? If you leave a comment on this post, you'll be entered to win a copy! We'll select the winner on July 10th after 8am PST.

The scoop: When a fourteen-year-old runs away, her parents turn to social media to find her—launching a public campaign that will expose their darkest secrets and change their family forever, in this suspenseful and gripping debut for fans of Reconstructing Amelia and Gone Girl.

Don’t try to find me. Though the message on the kitchen white board is written in Marley’s hand, her mother Rachel knows there has to be some other explanation. Marley would never run away.

As the days pass and it sinks in that the impossible has occurred, Rachel and her husband Paul are informed that the police have “limited resources.” If they want their fourteen-year-old daughter back, they will have to find her themselves. Desperation becomes determination when Paul turns to Facebook and Twitter, and launches

But Marley isn’t the only one with secrets.

With public exposure comes scrutiny, and when Rachel blows a television interview, the dirty speculation begins. Now, the blogosphere is convinced Rachel is hiding something. It’s not what they think; Rachel would never hurt Marley. Not intentionally, anyway. But when it’s discovered that she’s lied, even to the police, the devoted mother becomes a suspect in Marley’s disappearance.

Is Marley out there somewhere, watching it all happen, or is the truth something far worse?

Liz & Lisa's Book Club: Don't Try to Find Me by Holly Brown

Holly_brown_author_photo1. Liz & Lisa: Don't Try to Find Me is one of our favorite novels we've read this year. We can't believe this is your debut. Can you tell us a little about your road to publication? How long did it take you to write it, then find an agent, then line up with a publisher?

Holly Brown: Thank you so much!  It feels like I've been living with this book a long time, but it's really only been a couple of years since I first started writing it.  It's gone through a lot of revisions.  Two drafts and eight or nine months in, I found my phenomenal agent, Elisabeth Weed.  Then she gave me feedback for another round of revisions, and there were about three more drafts once I had my editor, Carrie Feron.

I'm lucky to have found such a great team.  I trust their editorial insights, and am grateful that they didn't expect me to have it perfect right out of the gate.  The novel's evolved a lot since I first queried Elisabeth.  There are whole subplots now that didn't exist, and characters who were fairly minor and who turned into major players.

2. L&L: How did you think of the idea for Don't Try to Find Me? And did you come up with the title?

HB: I was driving to work one morning and I happened to catch an interview on NPR.  It was with Tony Loftis, who founded the nonprofit  After his daughter ran away, he used his PR background to mount a social media campaign that helped bring her home, and now he's teaching other parents how to do the same.

Once he said that parents need to be careful not to have any skeletons in their closet because it'll all be exposed in the campaign, I had my idea.

My editor actually came up with the title.  My original title was "Unfounded."  I still think it sounds classy and literary, but "Don't Try to Find Me" is a lot grabbier (if grabbier is a word!  Spellcheck hasn't dinged me so I'll stick with it.)

3. L&L: You're also a marriage and family therapist and you have a toddler. How do you balance your therapist job with your author job with your mom job?

HB: I work three 10-hour days practicing therapy (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday).  I don't leave until 9 a.m. so I have some morning time with my daughter (no evening time, alas!)  Then on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have longer chunks of time together before she goes to preschool.  The balance is as ideal as I can make it for now, though I have to admit, I'm hoping that the book will do well enough to be able to do some rebalancing.  I'm not a particularly materialistic person, but the more money you have, the more control you can have over how you spend your time.  That's an appealing thought.

4. L&L: What are you reading right now?

HB: I'm about to start reading "On Tennis: Five Essays" by David Foster Wallace.  I love his essays in general, and I'm a rabid tennis fan.  So the two together--it's like chocolate and peanut butter.  Or bacon and avocado.  Delicious.  I'm also partway through "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" by Maria Semple (yes, believe the hype, it's great so far!)

5: L&L: Are you working on another book. If so, can you tell us about it?

HB: My next book, "More Than Anything", is also coming out from Harper/Morrow.  Adrienne wants to become a mother more than anything, and after being the victim of an adoption scam once before, she decides nothing is going to get in her way; with an ambivalent husband tortured by their shared past and a hot 19-year-old birth mother with secrets of her own, what could possibly go wrong?

Thanks, Holly!