Conflicted Feelings Do Not Disappear

Gordon MackKinney Author Interview

Tell Anyone You Want That I Was Here follows an up-and-coming journalist as she’s called back to her hometown where she partners with an unpredictable sheriff amidst the town’s opioid crisis. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

Lots of direct inspiration (except around opioids). The fictional town Willigsville is largely based on the small Missouri town, Higginsville, where I spent much of my childhood. The pros and cons of small-town America, such as loyalty and gossip, respectively, came from those memories.

Nikki Hightower is an interesting and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Even the tragic accident in the story is based on a similar event from my childhood. I have long wondered what internal conflict rages inside someone who may or may not have brought about the death or disability of someone else. How would that internal battle ever be settled? Even when Nikki learns the truth of what happened all those years ago, conflicted feelings do not disappear.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The obvious themes: dealing with one’s past, American small town values, when to defer to versus defy authority. Additionally, Nikki struggles to choose a path to her future. She’s torn between the expected path toward a high-profile job versus something lower profile that might be more fulfilling. So many of us struggle with that. So many writers do.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The new book is speculative fiction, imagining a time “a few decades” into the future when state-sanctioned euthanasia has gone mainstream. I explore what that feels like for a protagonist ushering people “across the bridge.” The story explores what it means to be alive, both here and in the next life. No, it’s not a religious book.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Up-and-coming journalist Nikki Hightower has almost landed her dream job at the Chicago Tribune when family tragedy calls her back to the last place she wants to be: Willigsville, her hometown in rural Missouri.

Ten years earlier, on high-school graduation night, Nikki drove one of two cars involved in a bizarre crash that killed the town’s “princess” and left Nikki’s best friend with permanent brain damage. The townspeople blamed Nikki. Only two people took her side: her father, owner of the local newspaper, and Sheriff Joe Ransom who always viewed law enforcement as a form of creative expression.

Nikki returns to Willigsville, trapped between conflicting goals: escape the town’s condemnation or stay to uncover the truth of the crash. She partners with the unpredictable sheriff amidst the town’s greatest crisis, a tsunami of opioid addiction and overdoses fed by a brutal drug cartel and its local operatives. Meanwhile, rumors swirl of the sheriff’s corruption.

The past and present collide as Nikki realizes that her survival depends upon whom she chooses to trust.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on December 31, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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