Note: My answers contain some spoilers for the book—please don’t read this if you haven’t finished the book!
What do you think really happened to the Lindbergh child?
Sadly, I think the official viewpoint—that the child died during the kidnapping—is the most plausible one. I think the body that was found was probably Charles Lindbergh Jr.
But what about all the discrepancies and oddities connected to the kidnapping?
I do think a lot of them are bizarre. Of all the conspiracy theories that people have come up with, the one that I find most convincing is that maybe Bruno Hauptmann had an accomplice helping him out, who was never brought to justice. But even if that were true, it’s just an interesting detail, not something that makes it more likely that the child might have survived.
Do you think of Charles Lindbergh as a hero?
I have strongly mixed feelings about Charles Lindbergh. I am in awe of what he accomplished as a pilot in 1927. I think he showed incredible courage and determination in his flight across the Atlantic; it is amazing that someone with his background and lack of standing in the flight world at that point even became a contender to win the Orteig Prize. But I am also horrified and repelled by some of the opinions he held and some of the choices he made later in life. He was definitely not perfect, and I think most of us would like to think of our heroes as perfect.
Why didn’t you choose to make Jonah a famous missing child of history like all the other babies on the plane?
I thought about this for a very long time. Ultimately, Jonah does become famous in the future—but he becomes famous for his own actions and courage. Most of the other kids in this series were famous for reasons they had no control over: because they were royalty like Anastasia and Alexei; or because of who their parents were, like Lieserl Einstein; etc. But I firmly believe it is possible to do great things regardless of who your parents are and regardless of where you come from. I wanted to show that in the Missing series. And I loved the idea that the kid who ended up saving everyone was the one that Gary and Hodge had the least regard for, in the beginning.