Guest Post: The Inspiration Behind 'Gone' by Rebecca Muddiman

Tuesday 13 January 2015
Emma Thorley is gone...but not forgotten. GONE is a twisty story of murder, guilt and unintended consequences from an exciting new crime novelist.

250,000 people go missing in the UK every year.

91% of those reported to police are found within 48 hours.

99% of cases are solved within a year.

And 1% stay gone.

Troubled teenager Emma Thorley vanished without a trace eleven years ago.

But now a body has been found...

As news of the discovery travels, the past comes back to haunt all those involved, from the police to Emma's friends and enemies.

Because some secrets cannot be buried for ever... and some dangers never go away.

Today I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Rebecca Muddiman's latest novel, Gone, a truly addictive mystery that had me engrossed from beginning to end. Today Rebecca is sharing the inspiration for Gone, and it makes for very interesting reading so check it out! I am also sharing my review for Gone today and there is a link to that at the end of this post.

I started to write Gone before my first novel, Stolen, was published. It was in that awkward phase where the possibility of being published was out there but nothing was confirmed and I needed something to distract myself. Fortunately, by that point I'd worked out that DI Michael Gardner was a character I loved and wanted him to continue as part of a series so I at least had a starting point. Gardner was going to be in it.

Originally I'd planned on writing a different book. I had what I thought was a really good set up but couldn't get any further so the idea went out the window. (I have now worked out the rest of that story and I'm planning on writing it as the fourth book.) Anyway, I'd done a lot of research into missing people for Stolen and found the subject fascinating and devastating. To me it seemed like the perfect subject for a crime novel. When someone goes missing there are so many unanswered questions - did they go of their own free will or were they taken? Why did they go? Who took them? It sounds cruel, but there are so many possibilities, so many possible answers.

With Stolen, I'd written about a missing child. But Beth was only eight months old when she disappeared so was clearly taken. I knew I wanted to write about another missing person but this time someone older, where things weren't as clear cut. There's a website called which has information on missing people and bodies found that haven't been identified. It's heartbreaking to read and you can't help but wonder what those people's stories are. I'd looked into the numbers of people who went missing each year in the UK and of the 250,000, I learned that 91% are found within 48 hours, some with happier endings than others. 99% of cases are solved within a year. The last 1% stay gone. I wanted to write something about one of those 1%.

The second thing that informed Gone was the character of DI Gardner. I'd hinted at his past in Stolen and intended to weave his story throughout the series. Maybe I'm just too impatient though and I decided to get it all out in the open in Gone. So this meant setting part of the book a decade earlier and further up north in Blyth. And because it was partly set in Blyth, it meant introducing new characters, including DS Nicola Freeman. Like Gardner before her, she was only meant to be a supporting character, but she ended up getting bigger and taking up more space (ironic as she's not very tall).

So there were a number of things that inspired the book. But mostly it was just one question - How could someone just vanish?

Thanks to Rebecca for the guest post.

Read my review of Gone here.

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