Tuesday, May 25, 2021

"You Will Remember Me"

Hannah Mary McKinnon was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a successful career in recruitment, she quit the corporate world in favor of writing. She now lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons.

McKinnon applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, You Will Remember Me, and reported the following:
From page 69:
“Let’s go inside,” I said, pushing the thoughts away. There were more pressing things to worry about. Ash was home now, that was what mattered. “We’ll figure things out, okay?”

Ash followed me as I unlocked the front door and stepped inside the house. I expected a sudden rush of memories to hit him, like I’d seen happen in the movies, but instead, Ash wandered around in bewilderment. He picked up a driftwood bowl I’d made, seemingly without having any idea it was one of my first-ever projects, and one he’d once fished out of the garbage, insisting it was great and I should keep hon­ing my skills. Next, he glanced at the pictures on the walls, and still—nothing.

“Where did you get your clothes and shoes?” I said, pointing to his enormous sneakers and baggy jeans.

“I, uh, stole them from the trailer.”

“Did the trailer belong to a clown?” I said with a smirk and Ash half smiled.

“I feel like a ruddy clown. The last clown out of the clown car.”

“Ash,” I whispered, trying not to gasp. “Your dad used to say that all the time.”
This is my second time doing the Page 69 Test, however, I think it may have been more accurate for Sister Dear, my fourth novel which released in May 2020 and for which I did this exercise, too. In the text above, taken from my fifth book, psychological thriller You Will Remember Me, Maya has just been reunited with her estranged stepbrother, Ash. Ash is suffering from amnesia and doesn’t remember anything about himself or Maya, hence his bewildered state as he sets foot in the family home for the first time in two years.

While the Page 69 Test gives the reader a tiny glimpse into Ash and Maya’s relationship, it’s not indicative of the direction the story will take. This scene reveals little about what either of them is thinking or how they’re feeling. This isn’t a bad thing—after all You Will Remember Me is a suspense novel with twists, turns, and uncertainty. If readers could see everything coming by page 69, I fear I wouldn’t have done my job as a crime author properly.

Certainly, writing a character with amnesia was tricky. Having multiple point-of-view characters (there are three) is always more complex than having one protagonist as you have to develop the character more quickly and with fewer words. Having said that, I’d completely underestimated writing a point-of-view character with memory loss. You can’t give them any backstory they’re aware of or memories to recall, nor can you have scene after scene of somebody telling them about their history. It certainly stretched me as an author, and I hope readers will be intrigued by what happened to these three people in the past, what dark secrets they have between them, and the explosive conclusion when everything is exposed.
Visit Hannah Mary McKinnon's website.

Q&A with Hannah Mary McKinnon.

My Book, The Movie: You Will Remember Me.

--Marshal Zeringue