Saturday, May 22, 2021

Hannah Mary McKinnon's "You Will Remember Me"

Hannah Mary McKinnon was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a successful career in recruitment, she quit the corporate world in favor of writing. She now lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons.

Here McKinnon dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, You Will Remember Me:
A few years ago, a man from Toronto vanished from a ski hill in Lake Placid while there on vacation and he showed up six days later in Sacramento. He was still wearing his ski gear, had amnesia and couldn’t remember much, including the cross-country trip he’d made as he’d hitchhiked across the US. Everything worked out for the man in the end, and he found his way home, but it made me wonder—what could have gone wrong? That was the genesis for You Will Remember Me.

My fifth novel is amnesia-driven psychological thriller about a man who wakes up on a beach with no recollection of who or where he is, a woman named Lily who’s searching for her boyfriend, Jack, who went missing after a swim, and Maya, who’s looking for her estranged stepbrother, Ash, who disappeared two years prior, leaving everyone and everything behind. But is the man from the beach Jack, Ash, neither…or both?

As part of my plotting process, I cast my characters and build a photo gallery, but unlike other authors I know, I use hairstyle models, not celebrities. If I cast celebrities before I write the novel, I worry I’ll be influenced by the actors and their body of work, borrowing perhaps too much from the artists themselves or the well-known characters they’ve played. Using hairstyle models means I can fully concentrate on the people I’m creating and develop a their backgrounds and history from scratch.

Now the book is done though, of course I’ve thought about who I might love to see as my three protagonists as I’ve often dreamt of the elusive, “Can we option your book for the screen?” question. Specifically, for You Will Remember Me, Joe Dempsie who plays Gendry in Game of Thrones, or Daniel Radcliffe from Harry Potter would make such interesting choices for “the man from the beach.” I imagine Brie Larson or Elizabeth Olsen as a brilliant Lily, and as for Maya, I see Anya Taylor-Joy playing that role to perfection.

It would be both exhilarating and fascinating to see my book on the screen because—like audiobooks—at that point my work belongs to director, cast, and crew. What a treat to see their interpretation! Wishes can come true, after all, so I’ll keep focusing for this one.
Visit Hannah Mary McKinnon's website.

Q&A with Hannah Mary McKinnon.

The Page 69 Test: Sister Dear.

--Marshal Zeringue