Rebecca McKanna, author of 'Don't Forget the Girl' - Debut writer discusses fictional true-crime, getting sucked into the story, and what being published feels like

Rebecca McKanna has published short stories in anthologies and quarterlies. Something about one idea made her want to write a full novel. 'Don't Forget the Girl' is about Bree and Chelsea, trying to discover what really happened to their best friend Abby Hartmann. Her presumed murderer, the serial killer Jon Allan Blue, is about to be executed when a flurry of interest in the case makes them turn to a true-crime podcaster to tell Abby's story before it's too late.

We discuss the balance of why people glamourise evil, and what serial killers are really like. Also, why she started writing short stories, what she's learned from being published, and how she researched enough to write fictional true-crime.

You can hear how she managed to tell a good story while making a point about how we view serial killers, also why she starts writing calm and slow before feeling the story pull her in, and how she balances a day job teaching with writing on the side.

Get 10% off the software Plottr, at

Support the show at


Hosted on Acast. See for more information.

More from Writer's Routine

  1. 40:54Femi Kayode, author of 'Gaslight' - CWA nominated writer discusses writing through a Nigerian lens, chapter titles giving control, and being in the perfect place Dec 08, 2023
  2. 50:20Katie Marsh, author of 'How Not To Murder Your Ex' - Crime writer talks about switching from romance, trying to clear distractions, and taking 2 months before startingDec 01, 2023
  3. 49:29Terry Hayes, author of 'The Year of the Locust' - Acclaimed bestseller talks about using song lyrics, cutting hundreds of thousands of words, and the pressure of the second novelNov 24, 2023
  4. 40:20Freya Berry, author of 'The Birdcage Library' - Bestseller discusses writing hard and often, leaving space in the story, and giving yourself a year to writeNov 17, 2023
  5. 01:00:16Denzil Meyrick, author of 'Murder at Holly House' - Bestselling writer discusses the baggy middle, avoiding distractions, and not being limited by genre Nov 10, 2023
  6. 51:14Dann McDorman, author of 'West Heart Kill' - Novelist and Emmy-nominated News Producer discusses twisting the genre, putting the reader in the mystery, and how news affects storiesNov 03, 2023
  7. 48:05D.L. Douglas, author of 'Dr. Spilsbury and the Camden Town Killer' - Historical crime writer discusses switching genres and names, structuring challenges, and a busy yearOct 26, 2023
  8. 53:41Claire Daverley, author of 'Talking at Night' - Debut writer discusses forgetting genre, dealing with rejection, and preparing the moodOct 19, 2023
  9. 41:45Sarah Moorhead, author of 'The Treatment' - Speculative fiction writer discusses keeping busy, thinking of genre, and the classic What If?Oct 12, 2023
  10. 49:07Nick Hunt, author of 'Red Smoking Mirror' - Travel writer discusses blending experience into fiction, debut novels, and how to travel and write for a livingOct 06, 2023