Friday, June 29, 2018

Wendy Walker Author Interview

Photo Credit: Bill Miles

Wendy Walker is a former family law attorney in Fairfield County, Connecticut who began writing while at home raising her three sons. She published two novels with St. Martin’s Press and edited multiple compilations for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series before writing her debut psychological thriller, All is Not Forgotten. Her second thriller, Emma In The Night, will be released August 8, 2017.

Wendy earned her J. D., magna cum laude, at the Georgetown University Law Center where she was awarded the American Jurisprudence award for her performance in Contracts and Advanced Criminal Procedure. She received her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Brown University and attended The London School of Economics and Political Science as part of her undergraduate studies.

Prior to her legal career, Wendy was a financial analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co., in the mergers and acquisitions group. She has also volunteered at the ACLU, Connecticut Legal Services and Figure Skating in Harlem where she served on the Board of Directors for over twelve years.

Wendy is currently writing her third thriller while managing a busy household.



Emma In The Night is about two daughters of a narcissist mother who both disappear one night. Three years later, only one returns, desperate for help to rescue her sister. Here’s everything you need to know about narcissism to get ready to find Emma!

1. Forget about those girls who look in the mirror too much or that guy who doesn’t call you for a second date. Some people are just arrogant and self-centered. An actual narcissist is a person who suffers from narcissistic personality disorder.

2. While narcissists come across as egotistical and confident, they are profoundly insecure with fragile, fractured egos.

3. The insecurity within the narcissist is formed during infancy and throughout childhood - many professionals believe narcissism is a result of childhood neglect, trauma or “disorganized” attachment with the primary caregiver (inconsistent love and attention).

4. Narcissists are so deeply insecure that they create an alter ego of arrogance and perfection as a shield to protect themselves from the pain of feeling inadequate.

5. Narcissists are completely dependent on the admiration of others to support their façade of arrogance and perfection.

6. Narcissists intuitively learn to attract and cultivate followers who will worship them and support their alter ego unconditionally. They exert control and dominion over other people using techniques similar to mind control to achieve complete submission of their subjects in all aspects of their lives.

7. Cult experts generally view cult leaders as pathological narcissists.

8. Both male and female narcissists can be sexually provocative and promiscuous.

9. Narcissism is a diagnosable condition which falls on a spectrum of mental illnesses called “Axis II Disorders.” These conditions are incurable, although behavior can be modified using “carrots” and “sticks.”

10. Narcissists who become primary caregivers to a child can damage that child and create a new narcissist. The illness can thus become a cycle within families.

1. He makes you feel crazy. Because the narcissist can never be wrong or less than perfect, he will twist and contort every argument and disagreement to make you wrong. You, or someone else, is always the “bad guy.” The narcissist has a fragile ego beneath the façade of arrogance and it cannot tolerate any negative feedback.

2. He is quick to anger when things don’t go his way. The narcissist’s fragile ego is extremely vulnerable to emotional pain so he will protect it by channeling all emotions into rage. This anger can also work to intimidate other people and get them “back in line.”

3. He lacks real empathy. The true narcissist only sees people as tools to reinforce the façade and protect the fragile ego behind it. Other people’s feelings and opinions are unimportant the moment they no longer serve his sole purpose for engaging in the relationship to begin with.

4. He will turn on people who do not unconditionally submit to his dominance and control. If his efforts to achieve this fail, he will cut them out and find a way to cast them as flawed and unworthy.

5. He takes every disagreement or alternative opinion as a personal assault. You are either with him or against him.

6. He cannot stop putting other people down. Friend or foe, the narcissist will bully and degrade everyone in his path, even if done with humorous banter, because his façade is always hungry for validation. If he can find fault with someone else, then he is necessarily better than that person, and this is exactly what the façade needs to survive.

7. No amount of love, affection or praise will ever be enough. Because the façade is just that – a cover for the fragile ego – it is in need of constant fortification. The narcissist requires ongoing validation of the façade to ignore the fragile ego, which is the hidden truth he is burdened to live with.

8. He exploits others and feels entitled to do so. He is the most worthy person in the world and feels entitled to take whatever he can from the people around him. He will not reciprocate kindness or even see that something is owed by him to return a favor.

9. The people in his life are only an extension of himself, especially his children. He will push them to do things that he believes are favorably viewed and admired by others. He is incapable of seeing their worth as individuals.

10. He will make you feel crazy (part 2). If you are a part of his life, he will sing your praises and make you feel adored and admired. But then he will demean and degrade you so that there is no doubt that he is superior and dominant. This can be extremely confusing, and can also make it very hard to leave the relationship be it romantic, parental or professional.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I used to be an investment banker and a corporate litigator. I never thought I would write anything but sales memos and legal briefs until I decided to find a career I could do at home with my kids. I had all kinds of stories to tell, but no training whatsoever!

Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that writing was not just a hobby.
It was never just a hobby for me. I used to call it a hobby with intention because it was always my intention to make it a sustainable career. It took me 17 years to do that! When I first got an agent, I thought I’d made it. When I sold my first novel, I thought I’d made it. Then I learned about the business side of publishing and realized I was not even close!. I didn’t have that feeling again until I got an advance that allowed me to stop practicing law and write full time.

If you could be a character in any novel you’ve ever read, who would you be and why?
That’s easy – I would Stephanie Plum from the Janet Evanovich series. She has more fun than any character I have ever read! Most of the other books I read have tortured, damaged characters and while I love to write them, I would not want to have their lives.

Did you learn anything from writing the EMMA IN THE NIGHT and what was it?
I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in some detail. It is very different from the illness most of us think of when we hear the word narcissism. I did my best to explain it in the book and create characters who exemplified the traits of people with the actual illness.

What part of Cass did you enjoy writing the most?
I loved writing her descriptions of her family life before the disappearance. She was very matter-of-fact about it, and yet extremely hurt. Something about that voice was easy to write.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Emma?

How difficult it is to structure a thriller entirely around a twist and a back story! I must have gone back through it ten times making sure the clues were there but not giving away the ending!

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I just finished a new novel called The Night Before. It will be out next May and I am thrilled with this one! Look for more information on my website and social media – coming soon!

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
John Grisham for sure. Harlan Coben. Lisa Scottoline. Gillian Flynn, and more recently, AJ Finn.

What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?
What life is REALLY like as a writer. I think there is a perception that it is more glamorous and mysterious than it actually is. For me, the reality is stressing out about the next project, my back hurting from slouching over a computer all day, feeling guilty when I am away from my kids at night (most book events are in the evening), and having to always put out social media updates that are personal and upbeat. It is extremely competitive! Sometimes I wish I had a job that ended at 5pm! But only sometimes J

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
As readers, I would ask that if you like a book, post a review or let the author know. We have very thin skin and many people only post when they don’t like a book. It makes our day when we hear something positive from readers of our work!

Tell me about a favorite event of your childhood.
Running wild with the neighborhood kids in the woods behind our houses. We had no sense of time – only adventure. Life isn’t like that for anyone anymore.

What is your favorite restaurant in town and why?
I love a place called South End because the bartender makes the best cosmopolitans! It’s where I go with my girlfriends to decompress.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?

Can I get away with not brushing my hair?

Favorite things to do alone?
Sit on my chaise lounge with a tray of yummy food, a glass of wine, and a new episode of a show I can’t wait to watch.

What are the 5 most beautiful things in the world, and why?
My children because they fill me with love. Rainbows because they are rare and fleeting. The ocean because it is powerful beyond reason. Friendship because it is chosen and nurtured. And, of course, a story that makes you feel something deeply. There is nothing better than being moved emotionally.

If you could live in any period in history, what would it be and why?
Right now is just fine with me! I wouldn’t want to give up any of my modern conveniences and I have no idea what the future holds.

From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back...

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn't add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister's return might just be the beginning of the crime.


"Twisty...a thriller that keeps readers guessing." —The New York Times

"In this searing psychological thriller...Walker's portrayal of the ways in which a narcissistic, self-involved mother can affect her children deepens the plot as it builds to a shocking finale." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"A tense thriller explores the bond between sisters and family dynamics that give new meaning to the term 'dysfunctional'...This thriller aims right for the heart and never lets go." —Kirkus, Starred Review

"Both twisted and twisty, this smart psychological thriller sets a new standard for unreliable narrators." —Booklist, Starred Review
You can purchase Emma in the Night at the following Retailers:


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