Kaira Rouda is the author of the new novel The Widow, which focuses on the spouse of a member of Congress. Rouda's husband, Harley Rouda, served as a U.S. congressman. Kaira Rouda's other books include The Next Wife. She lives in Southern California.
Q: How did your experiences as a congressional spouse factor into the writing of The Widow and your creation of your character Jody?
A: Everything about my time in DC factored into the writing of The Widow. It was a whirlwind two years while my husband was a member of Congress, and I took it all in, as a suspense writer would.
Q: This is your first novel set in DC--do you have any other favorite political novels featuring members of Congress?
A: I loved setting a book in DC - and yes, I’d love to do it again. Stay tuned!
Q: How would you describe the dynamic between Jody and her husband, Martin, and were they based on anyone in particular?
A: You know, the New York Post reporter kept asking me if it was based on a true story. No! The settings are quite real — the characters are all a part of my imagination, including Jody and Martin.
That said, I did become fascinated by the tradition of the Widow’s Mandate, where if a member of Congress dies in office his spouse often completes the remainder of the term - and knew that was a great suspense angle. For most of the history of Congress, for a woman with political goals, the best husband was a dead husband, statistically speaking.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: My next novel, Beneath the Surface, is out in Fall 2023! It’s The O.C. meets Succession on a mega yacht. Can’t wait.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I think that’s it! Thanks for reading and sharing The Widow!
--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Kaira Rouda.