Title: He’ll be Waiting
Author: Liz Alterman
Publisher: Willow River Press
Release Date: April 6th, 2021
Page Length: 366 Pages
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Age Range: YA
Rating: 4/5 Stars ⭐️
What would you do to remember? What would you give to forget?
When Tess Porter agrees to pick up her boyfriend’s college pal at the airport on a snowy December night, she has no idea she’s about to embark on the most dangerous ride of her life.
Two days later, the 17-year-old wakes up in a hospital with broken bones, unable to remember how she got there. Her parents are acting strange, and neither James, her boyfriend, nor her best friend, Izzy, has visited.
As she struggles to physically recover, Tess wrestles with haunting questions: What happened? Will her memory ever return? And what if she’s better off not recalling any of it?
Q- Hi! Thank you for doing this interview with me! We’ll start off with some basic things to get to know you! Was being a writer something you always wanted? If not, what inspired you to be one?
A- Hi! Thanks for asking. Yes, I always wanted to be a writer. Reading is my favorite hobby. When I was in early elementary school, I’d gather some blank pages and try to write stories. Then I’d ask my mom to help me fold and staple them together so they resembled a “real” book. Looking back, I don’t know which was worse: my over-the-top dialogue and flagrant use of exclamation points or my attempts at illustration. I still can’t draw, but I’d like to think my dialogue’s getting better! I love getting lost in a story and my goal is to offer readers that escape as well.
Q- What encouraged you to write a mystery-thriller?
A- I’ve always been drawn to the mystery-thriller genre. Growing up, I collected Nancy Drew mysteries and never missed an episode of “Charlie’s Angels.” So even though most of my career has been spent writing fact-based articles (with a few humor pieces on the side), I really wanted to try my hand at crafting something suspenseful.
I have three teen sons and at the time I began working on He’ll Be Waiting, I asked my older two if they’d read it and give me their feedback. I really wanted to make sure the teen characters sounded authentic. My middle son is a pretty reluctant reader so when he stopped putting up a fight about reading pages and asked what was going to happen next in the story it inspired me to continue writing.
Q- Who’s your favorite author? And what’s a book that holds a special place in your heart?
A- My favorite author at the moment is Meg Mason. I recently finished her latest novel Sorrow & Bliss and just fell in love with her voice and characters. She’s able to convey so much in very short descriptions and sparse dialogue that cuts straight to the heart of the character and the situation. I’m in awe. After finishing that, I raced to buy her memoir, Say It Again in a Nice Voice, and now I want to move to Australia and befriend her.
I adore The Secret History by Donna Tartt. It’s a novel that I always recommend when someone tells me they’re looking for a story that draws them right in and doesn’t let go.
Q- Was any part of “He’ll be Waiting” inspired by real life?
A- Thankfully, it’s fictional. However, a friend and I were swapping scary stories one snowy night a long time ago and—without giving too much away—she shared a tale about how doing a simple favor went horribly wrong. That seed stayed with me for two decades and eventually grew into He’ll Be Waiting.
Q- What type of books do you love to read the most?
A- I love reading thrillers. I enjoy the twists just as much as studying how the author crafts the story—when to give the reader clues and when to hold back. There’s such an art to that balance. I also love memoirs. I think it’s brave and fascinating when people are willing to share their experiences and what they’ve learned by opening themselves up in that way. I’m a big fan of funny essay collections as well. One of my favorites is Will Not Attend by Adam Resnick, who reminds me of a darker but just as funny David Sedaris.
Q- If you could co-write with anyone, dead, alive or fictional, who would it be?
A- That’s such an interesting question! Collaborating can be challenging since each person brings a unique vision to the project, so I’d probably want to co-write with someone fun who can laugh at themselves and not get down when life gets in the way and you’re behind on your word count. I’d have to pick Sally Hepworth because I find her novels to be such addictive, quick reads. I follow her on Instagram and she’s so funny and real and willing to share so much about her life and her writing process. I have a feeling I could learn a ton from her and have a blast doing it!
Liz Alterman lives in New Jersey with her husband, three sons, and two cats.
Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Parents, McSweeney’s, and other publications.
She spends most days microwaving the same cup of coffee and looking up synonyms.