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Recently divorced, Grace Wright moves her two small children into a new home to start again and hopes the move will reset her crippling insomnia. Instead she discovers that her next-door neighbor is the only suspect in the kidnapping of five-year-old Ava Boone. Grace develops a fierce obsession with her neighbor and with the family of the missing little girl, and then a body turns up…

Sharon Doering recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, SHE LIES CLOSE:

Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?

I am a character-driven reader and writer. If I fall for a character in a novel, I will follow them anywhere! I love a strong voice. In SHE LIES CLOSE, the basic premise came first, then I focused on character. The plot details slipped into place as I wrote, or I hammered them in during edits.

Sharon Doering

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

SHE LIES CLOSE brings children to the forefront and shows their complexities in a way that is not characteristic of the genre. This psychological thriller also takes a character who is peripheral to the crime and makes her the central character.

Without spoilers, are there any genre conventions you wanted to upend or challenge with this book?

I wanted to write a psychological thriller that had scientific undertones.

Is there a question that you feel is important to you and/or your novel? Write it in below, but be sure to answer it too!

What themes did you want to explore in this book?

I like controversial books that push my perceptions, so I wanted to explore a bunch of controversial themes (in addition to writing a compelling story!).

I wanted to explore how close any of us can be to losing our mind—how many things would have to go wrong in one person’s life to push them over the edge.

I wanted to explore how the sheer volume of worrying news stories can make us hypervigilant.

I wanted to explore our differing perceptions of reality, and how some of that reality can be affected by environmental exposures, viruses, drugs we take.

I didn’t have an end goal to answer these questions, I just wanted to throw these questions into the stew and see what bubbled up.


Sharon Doering lives in the Chicago area with her husband, their three kids, and a peculiarly civilized dog, Indy. In her other life, she was a science professor, a biotech stock analyst, and a xenotransplantation researcher. She has also been a good waitress, a mediocre bartender, and a terrible maid.

To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.