My Friday Read this week is the addictive twisty thriller, The Perfect Twin, by Sarah Bonner. Let’s find out a bit about the book then have a chat with Sarah. 😉
When Megan discovers photographs of her estranged identical twin sister on her husband’s phone, she wants answers.
Leah already has everything Megan has ever wanted. Fame, fortune, freedom to do what she wants. And when Megan confronts Leah, an argument turns to murder.
The only way Megan can get away with killing her twin is to become her.
But then lockdown hits. How can she continue living two lives? And what happens if someone else knows her secret too?
Your book sounds gripping, Sarah. And I understand that it’s your debut novel. Have you always wanted to be a writer?
As a teenager I did a lot of theatre and had a dream of being a playwright. But then life took over and I ended up becoming an accountant! Fast forward fifteen years and I started writing as a creative outlet (obviously not much creativity is encouraged in finance!) and fell in love with it. When Covid hit, I took an offer of redundancy and thought I would try to finish the novel I’d been working on for almost two years. But then I had a flash of inspiration for a story about identical twins and decided to run with it. Fourteen weeks later I’d written Her Perfect Twin and started querying agents!
Has any author inspired you?
I’m a voracious reader across a variety of genres and find myself constantly inspired. However, probably the most significant inspiration is from the thriller/suspense writers I grew up reading: Dean Koontz and Stephen King most significantly. I think they gave me an enduring fascination for the dark and the evil which seeps into my own writing and is why I prefer to write thrillers.
What do you like writing most?
I write in a fairly conversational voice and in the first person, so the reader feels like the protagonist is talking directly to them as if they were a close friend. I love that this narrative style allows me to get deep into the mind of the characters I write and means I often see the world through their eyes. My favourite part of the process is definitely that first messy draft as you dig down into who they are and why they act in a certain way: it’s a lot of fun!
Do you have a special place for writing?
Before Covid I had a lovely desk for writing with a fancy chair and a big monitor screen. Then my husband was forced to work from home and so I was relegated to balancing my laptop on my knees on the sofa! I’m also a fan of writing/editing in bed, especially in the winter! I think it’s good though as it means I am comfortable writing anywhere.
Are you a pantster or a plotter?
A bit of both! I tend to write an early outline/synopsis to make sure there is a strong enough story to carry a whole book. Then I will just start writing and see where that takes me. I find I need to get to know a character before I can finalise the plot, so I’m writing their story, rather than trying to make up a character who would fit the story I’ve already decided on. Once I’ve done a rough first draft, I will then plot it all out in huge detail on a massive white board so I can ensure it all fits together in the end.
That sounds a great way to work. Is your writing ever inspired by your family or real life incidents?
Of course! But only really for the smaller things. The main characters and story arc is fiction, but I will draw on real life to add some flavour, for example by borrowing anecdotes from real life. And I always try to sneak in a cameo for Lily (who is my rescue collie)!
What are you writing at the moment?
I’m currently having a short writing break, after submitting my second adult novel to my editor and finishing a YA thriller. It’s important sometimes to take a breather, to catch up on some reading and find a few new anecdotes to share in future books!
What inspired you to write this book?
Her Perfect Twin started life as a short story about one identical twin trying to pass herself off as the other, but I always felt like Megan had a much bigger story to tell. Then I remembered a conversation about how difficult it must have been to maintain a double life during lockdown, and I realised that was the key to turning Megan’s story into a novel.
What time of the day do you write best?
I try to write during ‘office hours’ as that is when my husband is also working. However, I often find inspiration strikes me in the evenings (especially when I’m writing the first draft) and when that happens, I tend to lean into it.
What are your hobbies?
Like many people who turn their hobby into a job, I struggle with this question! Up until a year ago I would have said ‘writing’ but that sounds odd now! I read a lot and enjoy long dog walks and catching up with friends and family. My husband and I also love to play blackjack and try to go to Las Vegas at least once a year.
What advice would you give to other writers?
The best advice anyone ever gave me was to read more. My writing gets exponentially better the more I read, and especially when I read widely. Oh, and take all those rigid commandments around writing with a pinch of salt: things like ‘you must write every day’ can be hugely de-motivating if they don’t fit with your other commitments. Just write when you can and when you enjoy it.
Great advice, Sarah. Thanks for talking to us today and congratulations on the publication of your novel.
Sarah grew up in Salisbury, dreaming of a career as a writer and performer. Instead, she became an accountant! After a fifteen-year career, she decided to answer her original calling and completed her first novel, Her Perfect Twin. She lives in West Sussex with her husband and very spoiled rescue dog.
Karen King – Writing about the light and dark of relationships.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Karen-King/e/B0034P6W7I