All is not Forgotton – Neil White talks to Wendy Walker.


All is not Forgotton is a haunting and provocative story looking at some very dark themes – and is probably one of the most quietly gripping novels I have read this year. In her non writing  life Wendy is an attorney, her novel falls within the Crime Fiction genre so I could not think of anyone better to interview her than Neil White, British criminal lawyer and crime writer. I’m more than happy to host their fascinating discussion, whilst this is all about Wendy if you havent checked out Neils books yet then you are missing out. I highly recommend his latest trilogy featuring The Parker Brothers but really pick any of them up for great reading. Thanks so much to both of them for coming onto the blog.





Neil: One of the best things about being a writer is getting the opportunity to meet talented and interesting people from around the world, and today my fun continues. Recently, I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker, a debut novel from a Connecticut lawyer that has already garnered high praise and rave reviews, with Reese Witherspoon snapping up the film rights even before the novel had its worldwide release. As I swallow hard on my envy, I can say that I loved the book, different and shocking and thrilling, and I’m feel privileged to have this chat with Wendy.

As a writer from the wilds of northern England, who had a long journey to publication, with years of attempts and rejections before landing my first deal with HarperCollins in 2007, I’m always interested in hearing the stories of other writers.

Wendy, before we get to the real nub of your book and your thoughts on all things writing, what is your story?



Wendy: First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to interview me! It is really great to be out of my writing “cave” and conversing with other authors.

This is my story. I live in Connecticut, which is just northeast of New York City. I went to college at Brown University and law school at Georgetown University. I spent one year at the London School of Economics and I got to travel all around Europe. I have had many jobs from waitressing to investment banking at Goldman Sachs, to commercial litigation and now family law. I have three teenage sons and a large extended family.

After I had my first son eighteen years ago, I decided to stay home to raise my children until they were all in school. I felt lucky to be able to do that and so I took the job very seriously! But after about a year, I started to feel unfulfilled so I started to write whenever I had free time (which was not very often!). I had two more children in five years and all the while I kept writing. I even wrote in the back of my minivan while waiting for them at pre-school! I felt like a time scavenger, especially after I found an agent who thought she could sell my novel. Of course, life is never that straight forward. My first novel, a legal thriller, did not sell. My next two novels, which were women’s fiction, did get published, but they did not result in a lucrative career. By then, I was divorced and my

children were all in school, so I went back to work as a lawyer (after 14 years away from the field). The work I found was in the area of family law and it was a wonderful fit for my life experience. I practiced for five years, eventually opening up my own practice, which focuses on consulting.

After I started practicing law again, I never gave up the dream of making a career as a writer. I used to tell my boys that it was important to always have a dream, but to also be responsible. I did not stop working as a lawyer. But I also managed to keep writing! I signed with a new agent and she loved my concept of a psychological thriller based on memory science. I was a bit nervous about switching genres, but I had always enjoyed suspense and thrillers and I was very interested in this story concept, so I dusted it off and wrote All Is Not Forgotten. It was great advice and I am so glad that my children may get to see my dream come true (fingers crossed) so that they will believe what I told them about having dreams and never giving up – even if you have to keep your day job!

So, after seventeen years of working towards this dream, I am currently writing almost full time- but my legal doors are still open and I still have a few clients.

Neil: Oh, I love that history. Inspiring and interesting, especially the image of you typing away in the minivan, pursuing your dream. Most of all, great to hear that what stands out for you is your desire to tell stories, which you do very well.

I’m a criminal lawyer, and have been for twenty years, but in the early part of my writing career I avoided writing legal thrillers because I was worried about getting obsessed with realism. Although I would never want to write a book with legal inaccuracies, I was worried that I would forget to focus on the interesting parts, the highlights. I’ve got over that worry, and I see that you have written a couple of legal thrillers, but when you came back to crime fiction you didn’t opt for a legal thriller. As a lawyer, what was behind that decision?

Wendy: I had never thought about it that way, but you are exactly right that when you practice law it is hard to get away from the realism. The truth is, most of what happens in court is extremely boring! Interesting cases take years to wind their way through the system and involve countless motions and small, technical rulings that are not central to the main “story” of the case. I did consider writing All Is Not Forgotten as a legal thriller at first because I was very drawn to the legal implications of “memory” altering treatments for victims of crime and criminal prosecutions. Having to choose between justice and forgetting is an extremely compelling set-up for a novel! But in the end, I wanted to focus more on the emotional elements of this dilemma and the impact on individuals and families, rather than how it would play out in court.

Neil: You did the emotional side of it very well. It was very compelling. How was it for you writing it? For instance, the rape of the central character was explicit, but yet it’s real horror was in the matter-of-factness. Was it hard approaching something like that, and how did you avoid crossing the line into it being gratuitous.

Wendy: I was very focussed throughout the novel on my narrator’s voice. The words he chose, the length of his sentences, the cadence and pacing of his thoughts – all of those devices were put to use to convey to the reader (sometimes subliminally) his emotions. When describing the rape, in particular, I kept on task, thinking very carefully about the words that were used. It was not just about describing the facts of the rape to the reader, but making sure the internal conflict of my narrator came through. He is a professional, but this case pushes against that. I honestly never thought about whether I was being too graphic, and I fought very hard to remain detached from the act the words were describing. I know the result was a very disturbing opening to the book because I am asked this question all the time. There are other parts of the book that provoked emotion when I was writing them, but never the parts written in my narrator’s voice. But I was able to maintain a steadier hand when writing Dr. Forrester.

Neil: You pulled it off, I can assure you. In relation to the subject matter, the memory-altering, what interested you in it? It’s such a unique angle. Was it something you came across in your professional life?

Wendy: Actually, I read an article in 2010 in the New York Times about these emerging theories in memory science and the treatment of PTSD with drugs that can lessen the emotional impact of a trauma memory. I had just gone back to work as a lawyer and I was not able to write much at the time. I remember thinking that this would make an incredible set up for a thriller because of the moral, ethical and legal questions that would arise if these treatments were offered to victims of crime. When I was encouraged by my agent to try my hand at a psychological thriller in 2015, I knew immediately that this would be the start. I researched the issue and discovered that this area of memory science had just exploded and that drugs were now being developed with the hope of mitigating, reconsolidating and even erasing trauma memories. I developed the characters and plot in a way that I hoped would explore this fascinating topic.

Neil: It was fascinating, which brings me to the next point: where next? What can we expect for the next Wendy Walker novel?


Yes! I am working on my next psychological thriller. I stayed true to form by focussing on dark, family dynamics that readers will relate to, and the structure is again something different from what we’ve seen before. The suspense comes in many forms as our narrator tells us stories of past and present in a fast-paced, conversational way that builds to a series of reveals. Here is a little bit about it:

Five years ago, two sisters disappeared into the night. Now, one has returned to tell the dark story of years spent on an Island off the coast of Maine. As the FBI searches for the Island and the sister who did not make it out, we learn about the twisted past the girls endured in their own home before they left – and the truth about where they have been comes under scrutiny. Through the voice of our narrator, the sister who has returned, and the testimony of the Bureau’s forensic psychologist, the stories of past and present converge in an explosive and unexpected ending.

Neil: That sounds great! The first thing that stands out to me is the change of location. All Is Not Forgotten is set in a small Connecticut town, which I know is your own part of the USA, and I loved the feel of it. What made you go to Maine?

Wendy: I have spent some time there in the summer and was struck by the remoteness of the islands off shore. Some have houses, some are uninhabited, and even the people who have lived onshore for years don’t really know much about who owns what and who lives where. I needed a location where people could get lost, live off the grid and disappear. Maine fit perfectly! It is also a wonderful contrast to the central location of the plot where everything and everyone is meticulously scrutinized. All of that makes for some really substantive content.

Neil: It’s been great chatting to you, Wendy, and I hope All Is Not Forgotten has the success it deserves. A great book.

Thanks so much!

About the book:


In the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut everything seems picture perfect.

Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch her perfect country club world.

As they seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town – or perhaps lives among them – drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.

You can purchase All is Not Forgotton HERE

Join the discussion on Twitter #TheFearRemains



Happy Reading!


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