Karen M. McManus earned her master’s degree in journalism at Northeastern University before writing the thrillers One of Us Is Lying and its sequel, One of Us Is Next. Her latest novel, The Cousins (Delacorte), examines the legacy of the Story family, a matriarch’s disinherited children, and the lengths her three grandchildren are willing to go to uncover the secrets at the heart of the family’s many fractures.

In this interview, McManus discusses the inspiration for the characters in this book and the family members she was closest to growing up. She shares the person with whom she most identifies in this cast and details her favorite writing practices. She assures us that she is a good secret keeper, as are several of the characters in The Cousins, and reflects on revisiting writing after cultivating an early passion for it at just 8 years old, especially with an eye for engaging reluctant readers. 

From the Kirkus review: “The three Story grandchildren—Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah—receive letters from the grandmother they’ve never met, inviting them to spend the summer working at her island resort….In classic McManus fashion, perspectives shift, providing insights into the three cousins’ distinct stories and personal motives while maintaining a steady pace that leaves readers flipping pages. Every twist is gasp-inducing, and the ending will satisfy some and make others yearn for a sequel….Another McManus novel worth pulling an all-nighter for.”