Lundrigan’s skill­fully bal­anced blend of psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller and haunt­ing coming-of-age story is infused with creepy, small-town atmos­pheric sus­pense.… [Her] writ­ing is both ele­gant and darkly humor­ous, deliv­er­ing bareknuckle social com­men­tary that will appeal to fans of Gillian Glynn, Karin Fos­sum, and Laura Lippman.”

Amer­i­can Library Association’s Book­list, Starred Review


The Sub­sti­tute (House of Anansi, Spi­der­line) Now Available!

When­ever I’m work­ing with a char­ac­ter, the ques­tion I always want answered is Why? No mat­ter how ugly an action might appear on the sur­face, I want to under­stand my character’s rea­sons or moti­va­tion. If I had to boil down my drive to write (and some­times, it’s a slog!), it is this never-ending need to slip into some­one else’s con­scious­ness and to grasp their perspective.

After The Widow Tree was pub­lished in 2013, I took a short break from writ­ing. I felt drained of ideas. The sen­sa­tion reminded me of that head-struck feel­ing after sit­ting for an intense exam. Only it refused to fade. Grad­u­ally, though, I began devel­op­ing ideas about a par­tic­u­lar per­son. This indi­vid­ual did some­thing with such pre­ci­sion and appar­ent cal­lous­ness, I started to lis­ten more care­fully and make notes. Why did you do that? How did you become that way? I began writ­ing in first per­son, as I wanted to move through that trou­bling world and explore. This per­son is, I feel, the most com­pli­cated indi­vid­ual I have ever tacked down to paper.

Peo­ple have asked me: Where do your ideas come from? In the past, I used to attempt a sen­si­ble response, but now I admit, it’s dif­fi­cult to explain. I gen­uinely feel these char­ac­ters are com­pletely dis­tinct from my thoughts and my expe­ri­ences. They come from my imag­i­na­tion, of course, but they are also dis­con­nected from me. I never impose judg­ment. Instead I strive to remain a pas­sive, but very curi­ous observer. I ask a ques­tion, and I see what happens.

The name of my lat­est novel is The Sub­sti­tute. It’s dark and creepy. Some hor­ri­ble things hap­pen, but so much of it is rooted in love — the desire to love, and the desire to be loved. One of the main char­ac­ters is a sub­sti­tute teacher, but the title also refers to sub­sti­tut­ing one per­son for another, one face for another. In this novel, there is so much hid­den, both between char­ac­ters, and even from them­selves. Do we ever really know each other? Do we ever really know ourselves?

If you would like to read an excerpt from the first chap­ter of The Sub­sti­tute, please click here. And feel free to read sam­ples of my pre­vi­ous nov­els: Unrav­el­ing Arva, Thaw, The Seary Line, Glass Boys, and The Widow Tree.

If you have any ques­tions or com­ments, drop me a note through my con­tact page.

Happy Read­ing!





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