|Samantha Downing, photo by Jacqueline Dallimore|
Q: How did you come up with the idea for My Lovely Wife, and for your character Millicent and her husband?
A: It began with a documentary about a couple who kidnapped a woman and held her captive. The idea grew from there, as I tried to imagine what kind of woman would do this, and why? How would they do it and get away with it? How could they have jobs, raise children, all while hiding this dark secret?
As I started to write the book, the suburban life of this family became a real part of the story. There are a lot of elements people will recognize…and others they definitely won’t!
Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you change things around as you wrote?
A: I had some ideas of how it might end, but I don’t outline or plot when I write. Everything is open, really. I find that whenever I try to plan in advance, for me it takes away a lot of the creativity.
Q: Why did you tell the story from the husband's perspective?
A: The book Rebecca really inspired me. I loved the idea of writing a book about someone we never heard from, someone who we only saw through other people’s eyes.
That’s how we all are, right? No one can know what’s it like to be you, we can only know our perceptions of people. As a writer, that concept is fascinating. Millicent can be a lot of things and any of them could be right.
Q: Who are some of your favorite writers?
A: The list is so long. I’ll start with Daphne du Maurier, since I’ve already talked about Rebecca. I love so many of the authors writing thrillers today – Gillian Flynn, Mary Kubica, Jessica Knoll, Laura Lippman, C.J. Tudor, Kimberly Belle, Megan Abbott, Amy Gentry.
And there’s a slew of fantastic debut authors right now as well, including Christina McDonald, Andrea Bartz, and Layne Fargo. We are living in a fantastic time of female-driven and written thrillers. I’m glad to be here now and reading them all.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am working on another thriller, hopefully a very, very disturbing one…but that’s all I can say.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: Let’s see…some random things about me: I’m a black belt in karate, I’m afraid of the dark, I really am a dork, and if I see someone mistreating an animal I will stop and say something. Okay, actually I will yell. And fight if I have to.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb