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Hannah Mary Mckinnon publishes new bestselling thriller

And she's telling us all about it!
You Will Remember Me | Hannah Mary Mckinnon published her book
You Will Remember Me | Hannah Mary Mckinnon published her book 'You Will Remember Me' on May 25th | Photo courtesy of Hannah Mary Mckinnon

Hannah Mary McKinnon, resident author, bestselling novelist, and Oakville mom, comes back with her brand new thriller novel 'You Will Remember Me' which is listed as a bestseller on the Toronto Star.  Published by MIRA books (HarperCollins) on May 25th, the novel tells the tale of a man who wakes up on a beach in Maryland with no recollection of who or where he is. When he finds his way back to his hometown in Maine, his search for the truth only leads to more questions.

"Three characters are intertwined in You Will Remember Me," explained Hannah. "The man from the beach who has no memory, Lily, who is searching for her boyfriend who went missing, and Maya, who is trying to find her estranged stepbrother Ash for some time now.  Is he Lily's boyfriend, Maya's stepbrother, both, or neither?" 

The book comes out exactly one year after Hannah's previous publication of the celebrated novel Sister Dear which became a 2020 Canadian national bestseller featured in the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail. 

If you wonder who Hannah Mary is, let's end the suspense! (pun intended)

  • Hannah has conquered the Thriller storytelling space with five novels, including bestsellers Sister Dear and Her Secret Son. 'You Will Remember Me joins the list as of today.
  • Hannah Mary was born in the UK to British and Swiss parents and grew up in Switzerland. She previously worked in IT recruitment and became the CEO of her firm before moving to Canada, where her writing journey began.
  • Hannah Mary lives in Oakville with her husband Rob, who runs the local electrical contracting company Electrilight, and their three teenage sons who attend grades 11 and 12 in Oakville.
The Latest Chapter! (And how it came to be)

Right on the heels of previous Bestseller 'Sister Dear' - Hannah has published 'You Will Remember Me', which dives into the territory of amnesia (and everything deserving of a well-crafted thriller). A 2018 incident inspired the novel when a Toronto man went missing from a Lake Placid, New York ski hill, worrying his wife, family, and friends. Six days later, he showed up in Sacramento wearing just his ski gear, suffering from amnesia. News stories like these are often the genesis for Hannah Mary’s novels, from which she builds entirely different characters and plot lines.

Radio | Hannah Mary
Radio | Hannah Mary's Bestselling novel 'Sister Dear' was inspired by a radio segment. Incredible news stories are often the genesis for Hannah Mary’s novels, from which she builds entirely different characters and plot lines. | Photo courtesy of Alessandro Cerino.

“I’m a heavy plotter. I generally have a beginning and an end in mind, but that's all, so this is where the creative journey really begins. I’ll first break the potential story down into large plot points and then turn those into smaller stepping stones. For me, that’s how a 90,000-word manuscript feels achievable. I know authors who don’t plot ahead of time, but I much prefer having a map of where I think my characters are taking me," explained Hannah Mary.

"Then there's the research as well. To write something in this capacity, I consulted psychologists, read up on the matter itself, and even looked up famous cases such as one when Agatha Christie vanished. I like visualizing my characters as well. They become so fully fleshed out that they could walk into the door, and I would greet them. 

Community, Roadblocks, And More

In addition to the challenges of being a novelist, thriller, and captivating storyteller, the present economic and sociological climate is uncharted territory thanks to the pandemic. That said, Hannah has shifted seamlessly to the online world in many different ways, including:

  • Hosting First Chapter Fun - an online initiative to read the first chapter of a new book twice a week with contemporary and fellow author Hank Phillippi Ryan.
  • A host of Instagram lives, Facebook lives, Zoom events, and other forms of virtual communication that ramped up last year and again in the weeks before launching You Will Remember Me.
  • Engaging with the outpour of support and engagement that has come about with online communities, particularly with the launch of You Will Remember Me (and Sister Dear).

"I’ve been fortunate to spend more time with my husband and sons these past 15 months. I already work from home, so that part of the pandemic impact, thankfully, wasn’t an adjustment for me. I’m often out on ‘plot-walks’ in the neighbourhood, and it's lovely to spend time on the trails and watch the seasons change."

Hannah also mentioned that the publishing process is truly remarkable and is always a magical moment, no matter the number of times and familiarity she has with the process. “Holding your novel in your hands for the first time is truly wonderful,” she says.

Considering the online nature of events, the seamlessly integrated communications channels that go into planning and promoting her work and events to meet the community - the pandemic has only accelerated many different elements of Hannah's storytelling career. "I love online events for many reasons. I also believe they help individuals with geographical or physical constraints because those barriers fall away, making things more inclusive in that sense, although I understand there are technological barriers that still remain.”

Many have voiced interest in gathering for an in-person event post-pandemic, and Hannah Mary is looking forward to meeting her readers. However, she plans to continue making online appearances.

Hannah also had some advice for aspiring authors around town:

  1. Permit yourself to write a rubbish first draft. It is not the first draft then anyone will ever see. You cannot edit a blank page.
  2. A good thriller is not wanting to put the book down. It's not about which character is morally good or bad, but if the reader wants to turn the page.  
  3. Join a writers critique group. It works wonders for your craft.
  4. Start. As you develop the story, the character evolves, the story evolves, things start falling into place.
  5. Read Your Work Aloud!

For more from Hannah Mary and to follow developments of 'You will Remember Me', check out her website or catch her on First Chapter Fun every Tuesday and Thursday!