New York Times bestselling thriller author Lisa Jewell is the queen of creating suspenseful stories. This November, we’re thrilled to get to know the woman behind amazing books like Then She Was Gone and her latest release, The Family Upstairs. Learn more about this fabulous thriller author below and stay tuned all month to discover her favorite books.
What was the inspiration behind The Family Upstairs?
I was halfway through writing another book (Watching You) and on holiday in the south of France with my family. We were having lunch at a posh beachfront restaurant which had a private shower block running behind it for the use of patrons and members. I saw a very thin woman clutching her children’s hands and dragging them into the showers, looking furtive and a bit panicky. I’m sure there was nothing untoward going on, but for some reason, she captured my imagination. I was so desperate to write about her that I came back to London and asked my editor if I could drop my half-written book and start this instead; she said no! So I had to be very patient.
Which authors do you admire most?
Any author who manages never to drop the ball has my admiration, an author who can sustain a long and interesting career writing what they love, keeping a loyal readership, without writing to a formula. So authors like Stephen King, Marian Keyes, Margaret Atwood, Anne Tyler are inspiring to me. I hope to keep going without losing anything for many, many years to come. Not an easy feat!
What drew you to the thriller/suspense/drama genre?
I read Agatha Christie as a child and then many true-life murder books in my 20s, loved American Psycho, horror films, slasher movies and have an insatiable thirst for stories about terrible things happening to normal people, so it was only a matter of time before I made that move myself. I started writing romantic comedies when I was 27, but I could only write about adorable flatmates eating curry in London for so long. I’ve been lucky in that every editor I’ve ever had throughout my career has been supportive of my move away from romantic fiction toward thrillers.
When going on book tour, what’s one thing you always pack that you can’t live without?
A cardigan and socks, because no matter how warm the places I’m visiting, I always get cold on airplanes.
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