I Know Where She Is by S.B Caves
On the tenth anniversary of her daughter Autumn’s abduction, Francine receives an anonymous note containing just five words: I KNOW WHERE SHE IS
When a young woman approaches her the next day claiming to have sent the letter Francine wants to dismiss it as a cruel, twisted joke.
But the stranger knows things that only Autumn would know.
It soon becomes clear that Francine must go to dark places in order to learn the truth about her child’s kidnapping.
She will discover that danger comes from unexpected sources. She will do things she never imagined herself capable of.
But will Francine get her daughter back – or is it too late?
The Start of a Mystery – S.B. Caves
The genesis of the novel started as a single, simple scene, which came to me as I was daydreaming on my walk home from work. An image jumped in my mind of a woman noticing that a letter had been pushed through her letterbox late one night. That’s all I had to begin with, but as I considered it some more, muttering to myself as I walked down the road, I came up with the opening line:
Francine didn’t notice the letter until she was on her way to the kitchen for another glass of vodka.
That opening line felt good to me, and by that evening, I’d hammered out the first 2,000 words of I Know Where She Is. All I knew about the story was that Francine’s daughter had been kidnapped about ten years before, and as far as that letter went, she might still be alive out there somewhere. I thought it was spooky and contained enough mystery to keep me wanting to write it. My logic was that if I didn’t know where I was going with it, then a reader might not either, and that way it could still retain a sense of unpredictability.
I worked obsessively on the story every night for about five months. I was worried that if I didn’t chip away at it consistently, that I’d start to lose the momentum and my enthusiasm would wane. As a result, I think there is a frantic feel to the novel, which sort of reflects the aggressiveness in which it was written.
There are portions of the book that many people will find difficult to stomach, and believe me, they weren’t very pleasant to write either. I struggled through some passages with a strange conflict of conscience, wondering if the novel was too distressing, but knowing that it was a necessary element of the story I was trying to tell. Of course, I wanted the reader to be hooked by the story, but at the same time I didn’t want them to stop reading in disgust. The one thing that really propelled me through those vulgar scenes was the knowledge that it would make the reader root for the main character even more: you want Francine to find the people who have wronged her, and you want her to get revenge.
I Know Where She Is started as a mystery, became a psychological thriller, which kind of morphed into a revenge/action thriller, and by the end, it’s something else entirely. Now, long after the manuscript has been written and edited, I still think about Francine, a woman I concocted in my imagination on a walk home, and who I spent every night over the next five months getting to know.
I hope she’s alright, wherever she is.