MM: One of the themes that I’m always drawn to in a lot of my books is how well you can know another person, and I think that’s something that is very prominent in this, as well. There’s different perspectives of the same events and changing perspectives as the book goes on.
DTH: Did any works inspire you while writing this novel?
MM: I’m really inspired by the different ways stories are told. I’m really interested in sort of what a structure reveals about a story in television and in movies and in books. The movie "500 Days of Summer" was something that came to mind as I was writing this as not really a linear story. It shows the different turning points of a relationship, not necessarily in order, and that was something that inspired this, as well. “Fragments of the Lost” tells the rise and fall of a relationship over the year. But since it’s told in found objects, it’s not necessarily linear — but it hits on those main moments.
DTH: Where do you feel most of your inspiration comes from?
MM: I think a lot of things come from just daily life, things that sit with me for a while or questions I have or themes I’ve been thinking about. With this novel in particular, a few years ago I’d moved and I’d gotten a storage unit when I was showing the house and we put some boxes in it, and we’d forgotten about them for almost a year. It was one of those moments where I came back to it and was reminded of sort of the ability of these tangible objects to launch really vivid memories, and that’s something that really stuck with me that I came back to when I was coming up with this idea. So I’d say they really come from everywhere. Sometimes it's character, sometimes it’s structure and sometimes it’s something tangible like that.
DTH: Do you have any future books in the works?
MM: I’m in the process of revising my next two books. They’re at different stages right now. I have another young adult book that I’ve finished my first draft of, and I have another book for adults that I’m in the process of working on right now. Neither has a title right now.
DTH: Did you always want to be an author?
MM: I always loved writing and reading — I was always a huge reader. But I didn’t know anybody who was an author when I was growing up, and I didn’t really know the path to becoming an author. I also loved science, so I went to school for science and worked in biotech first. Then I became a high school science teacher, so technically it’s my third career, but it’s sort of a passion that I’ve had most of my life.
DTH: What's it like being a New York Times best-selling author?
MM: Just being an author, in general, is wonderful for me. I get to do what I love to do every day. It’s something I’m really passionate about, so it’s been a great journey, and I’m so thrilled to be here.
DTH: Now a seasoned writer, what advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time to when you were writing your first novel?
MM: I think the advice I would give myself is not to fear starting over, not to worry about doing things right the first way, because chances are it’s not going to be right the first way. So just kind of let go of that and tell the story that you’re passionate about. A lot of the work for me is in revision and finding the story in revision. A lot of it is just getting something down on the page to work with first.
DTH: What advice would you offer to students who want to write novels one day?
MM: My advice to students is to both read a lot and to write a lot and to really write what you’re passionate about. I think that to (also) really try and embrace your unique voice, because I think that the things that really makes people stand out are the things that make people different.