How did you become a writer?
I’ve scribbled in journals ever since I was a kid, and started a lot of books in my twenties that I couldn’t figure out how to finish. It was a hobby. I never thought I could make a career out of writing until I got my Master of Fine Arts at Hamline University. That’s where I learned how to finish books, and found mentors who guided me on the path to publication.
But you’re also a CPA. I didn’t think accountants wrote thrillers.
One of them does.
Why are your books all set in the Midwestern United States?
The simple answer is that I grew up in the heartland and the plains, forests, and lakes of Minnesota have always been the landscape of my imagination. A lot of literary attention gets paid to the coasts while the middle, the ‘flyover country,’ is often overlooked. But here’s the thing: people reveal themselves when they think no one is looking, and that’s where the best stories live. I wouldn’t rule out other settings in the future, but I’ll always seek out places where the shadows feel bigger.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Honestly? Everywhere. I’ve been inspired by newspaper articles, childhood stories, and secrets from across the world. Inspiration is only the starting line of the race when it comes to writing a novel, and by the time I’ve finished a book the inspiration feels almost incidental. It’s not the beginnings that matter so much as where we go from there.
Do you base your books on events from your own life?
Do I have secret relationships, disappear into the wilderness, and/or murder people? No. My life is pretty pedestrian and not at all useful for writing thrillers. Occasionally I’ll toss in an Easter egg for friends or family, but my characters and stories are entirely fiction.
Mejia is a Spanish surname. Do you identify as Latinx?
I identify as mostly Irish and Northern European. I’m a Montgomery by blood and a Mejia by marriage. For readers specifically looking for Latinx writers, I highly recommend checking out Crime Writers of Color to find your next favorite book.
What’s your favorite drink?
Wine is for winter, beer is for summer, but a Hendricks and tonic with a twist is always in season.
What do you like to read?
I’m always ready for a good mystery or thriller, but like to mix it up with fantasy, romance, classics, and popular science.