Lisa Unger is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author. With books published in twenty-six languages and millions of copies sold worldwide, she is widely regarded as a master of suspense. Her latest release is Last Girl Ghosted.
Interview by Elise Cooper
Q What’s your exposure to dating apps?
Lisa: I talked with a young friend of mine who uses dating apps. She said there are several choices and wondered how to tell if the choice was correct. I was saddened by that question because I thought people are not shopping for a toaster. Love is not an algorithm.
Q How easy is it to ghost?
Lisa: If they were not the right choice, it is easy to ghost them. They were a stranger before and become a stranger afterwards. Technology is rewriting the primal struggle of searching for a mate. Once upon the dating pool was small, but now it is global.
Q What’s your stance on this technology?
Lisa: It can be one of the worst things. Our brains are being re-wired by technology. I put strict limits on my children. I did not want them to disappear into the technology world. I want them to be able to use it only as a tool, and not lose their creativity.
Q How about social media as a form of communication?
Lisa: Yes, we get information now through texts, emails, social media, and notifications via phone. It affects how we relate and communicate with each other and can be very frustrating like when someone is ghosted. For example, I called my brother and he texted me back. I don’t answer him until he responds through a phone call. There is micro ghosting which is getting a response but on their terms. The other type of ghosting is where someone takes on the identity of someone who dies and lives their life.
Q How frustrating is the world of online dating?
Lisa: I explored this with the short story, House of Crows. It is an exploration of trauma and how it can inform our choices. This is a theme that I’ve explored again and again in my work. The interaction can be fantastical. Someone has a right to say I don’t want to be with you and the other person cannot say anything. They do not have a vote. Then there is the person who can choose to ghost someone making it seem the relationship was imaginary even though there was a real person.
Q How would you describe Adam who ghosted Wren?
Lisa: He decided to go off the grid, acting as a survivalist in the woods. He slipped in and out of the shadows. The reader only sees him through Wren’s eyes. He is smart, a loner, obsessed, mysterious, and well read. He can be considerate, kind, and funny, but there is another side to him where he appears as a predator, dangerous, and a destroyer of lives.
Q How would you describe Wren?
Lisa: Struggling from her dark past, but a survivor. She has found her way going forward with a super successful career and a community of friends. Through her work as a columnist with “Dear Birdie” she can help people go from the darkness into the light. She left her dad’s world of being a Doomsday Prepper and thinking humanity has ended. She does not think that the world failed her, but her father failed her. She did take skills away from him that helps her to survive. She is very kind, loyal, smart, and caring.
Q What about the victims?
Lisa: They are mostly wealthy with a troubled past, have PTSD, and had a childhood trauma. Some have an addiction and prefer to take a break from the world. They fall for the predator fast and heavy. He is like the person who comes to the door with roses not a knife, very unassuming: LOL
Q What about the relationship?
Lisa: It was imaginary, created by Wren. A fantasy of him because she does not know him well enough since they only dated for three months. She is obsessed with finding him to see who Adam really is. He is mostly a figment of her imagination. This story struck a chord with a lot of readers who understood what Wren was going through.
Q How would you describe Bailey?
Lisa: I was not expecting him, but he evolved. He is the complete foil to Adam. He came to the light because he lacks trauma in his past. Bailey is a puzzle solver, someone who cannot let things go. He believes something lost can be found. Basically, a good person. I do not usually have a traditional hero because it is not how I think of the world. But he is probably as close to a heroic figure I have ever had.
Q What about Jones Cooper?
Lisa: He has an analog view of the world. He has been a character in several my books along with his wife Maggie. They first appeared in the book, Fragile. He is a fixer.
Q Isn’t Wren a bit too old to have an imaginary friend?
Lisa: Deeply traumatized children can manifest imaginary friends, like a splinter psyche. Eventually as the child heals, they say goodbye to that comforting figure and integrate the imaginary figure into themselves. Robin connects Wren to the land, the natural world. She represents the place where Wren retreats to something she loved. In some sense she took the persona of Wren’s dad’s good qualities where he taught her skills. She put these in Robin because she could not forgive her dad.
Q Is Jax the exact opposite of Robin?
Lisa: She is a real person that connects Wren to the modern world. She is Wren’s best friend and has helped to ground her.
Q What’s next?
Lisa: It will be my 20th Novel. I do not talk about my stories until they are published. I will say it will be a psychological thriller with bad things happening. It comes out in October 2022.
Review by Elise Cooper
Last Girl Ghosted by Lisa Unger is a gripping psychological thriller. Anyone who wants to be taken on a roller coaster ride should read a Lisa Unger book. This one explores secrets, obsession, vengeance, and social media. The storyline is dark, disturbing yet believable and realistic. It delves into fake identities, ghosting, stealing funds, and the troubling aspects of technology use.
The main character, Wren Greenwood, writes the advice column “Dear Birdie.” Because she has no social life, her best friend Jax talks her into trying the dating app Torch. After a few misses Wren meets Adam Harper, an IT executive, and there is an immediate connection between the two. Things heat up and are getting more intimate until three months into the relationship he stands her up. Then he disappears: profiles deleted, phone disconnected, and no evidence he ever existed. Adam ghosted her.
Wren isn’t one to let things go so she starts digging, realizing she was not the only one who fell for his lines. After being contacted by Bailey, a private detective who is looking for Adam, she discovers that three other girls went missing. Agreeing to join forces, she, and Bailey search for Adam and the three missing girls, both wondering if they are the predator or the prey.
There are so many twists and revelations that the readers’ heads are spinning. The story shows the value of friends.
Lisa Unger's Latest
Last Girl Ghosted
Think twice before you swipe.
She met him through a dating app. An intriguing picture on a screen, a date at a downtown bar. What she thought might be just a quick hookup quickly became much more. She fell for him—hard. It happens sometimes, a powerful connection with a perfect stranger takes you by surprise. Could it be love?
But then, just as things were getting real, he stood her up. Then he disappeared—profiles deleted, phone disconnected. She was ghosted.
Maybe it was her fault. She shared too much, too fast. But isn’t that always what women think—that they’re the ones to blame? Soon she learns there were others. Girls who thought they were in love. Girls who later went missing. She had been looking for a connection, but now she’s looking for answers. Chasing a digital trail into his dark past—and hers—she finds herself on a dangerous hunt. And she’s not sure whether she’s the predator—or the prey.
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