THE WRONG GIRL by Yvonne Eve Walus, feature
THE WRONG GIRL by Yvonne Eve Walus, feature
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The Big Thrill Discusses THE WRONG GIRL with Yvonne Eve Walus

Book Cover: THE WRONG GIRLA 15-year-old girl is hiding from her biological father in an exclusive boarding school for difficult girls in New Zealand. She and her mother changed their names and hair, but they live with their getaway bags packed. When another girl at the school is found in a coma, the question has to be asked; did the father poison the wrong girl by mistake?

What if someone has gender dysphoria but doesn’t want to be defined as a T in LGBTQ? In a world split into those who cling to the belief that there are only two genders and those who insist you speak your truth and live by it, some people just want to be left alone to get on with the business of being themselves: female body, Y chromosome and an aversion to fitting into well-defined boxes.

Zero Zimmerman is a female police officer assigned to the case because “it’s not a real murder,” and even the police can be chauvinistic at times. She’s a human lie detector, which helps her at work, but not in her private life. Her older sister is in jail, and Zero’s parents secretly blame the wrong daughter.

Author Photo: Yvonne Eve Walus

Yvonne Eve Walus

Yvonne Eve Walus recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss her latest domestic thriller, THE WRONG GIRL.

When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?

The recurring character in my crime fiction is Constable Zero Zimmerman who’s a mixture of very analytic and orderly (almost on the autistic spectrum) but also very good at reading body language and sensing whether someone is telling the truth or not (something an autistic person struggles with). She’s also adopted (her origins are Romani), which creates a special set of demons for her to dela with in her spare time.

Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?

Several years ago, there was a tragic spate of suicides in an exclusive school for boys on the outskirts of Auckland, New Zealand. Nothing was ever made of this in the media, and the police didn’t investigate. I felt that justice hadn’t been done, and this important topic didn’t get enough exposure, so I wrote THE WRONG GIRL.

Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?

I made one of my characters read Harlan Coben 🙂

Because I was writing about teenagers and schools, Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies must have knocked around in my head quite a bit, because I stole a character name from her (Madeleine), as well as the sea setting.

A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?

As a mother of teenagers, I knew I wanted to write about the issues that Generation Z faces: gender identity hype, very real gender dysphoria, the desire to conform to trends, depression, suicide ideation, heartbreak. I’m hoping to start a conversation about our children’s drive to label themselves: gay, autistic, non-binary, vegan, communist, cat lover, city-dweller. In their search for identity, do they create boxes and borders and societies divided?

In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?

I hope the readers are inspired to be curious about other people’s “otherness”, be it autistic or Romani or non-binary. And that they agree that we don’t need to put people into neatly labelled boxes 🙂

What can you share about what you’re working on next?

The next book in the series also features Zero Zimmerman and it’s also set in Auckland, this time on one of the nearby islands.


Yvonne Eve Walus is many things: a Doctor of Mathematics, a business analyst, a wife and a mother. Most of all though – she is a writer, hoping to change the world one book at a time.

Her heritage is inter-continental. The first twelve years of her life in communist Poland taught her never to trust newspapers, how to play the game within the system, to value uniformity, and to ride in public transport squashed between so many people that her feet didn’t touch the ground. The next sixteen years in South Africa’s apartheid taught her never to trust newspapers, how to play the game within the system, to value diversity, and to drive the car fifty metres down the driveway to the letterbox. The years that followed taught her that New Zealand is a fantastic country to live in – consequently, she’s lived here longer than anywhere else.

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