Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Q&A with Maggie Giles




Maggie Giles is the author of the new novel Twisted. She also has written the novel The Things We Lost. She lives in Ontario.


Q: What inspired you to write Twisted, and how did you create your characters Ryan and Mel? 


A: The inspiration behind Twisted is a funny one. Several years ago, one of my very best girlfriends concocted this idea that I write a story about the alternate personalities of our three-person friend group. She was even the one who came up with the names, Jackie, Melanie, and Candy.


While she didn't give me the full idea, she helped shape the first three characters and I built their story from there. The drug, Solydexran, didn't come in until a later draft when I realized what was happening to my characters. It was super fun to write.


Ryan was also a later addition. I decided with the absolute chaos of the story, readers needed a narrator they could rely on. This brought to life the detective who gets presented with all the strange occurrences and he does his best to try and piece it all together. Ryan started as a sort of guide to the reader.


Q: Without giving anything away, did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way? 


A: I had some idea of how I wanted the original story to end, however once the pieces started to fall into place I realized it wasn’t totally plausible and I realized there was more to the story than just Twisted.


As such, when I first wrote Twisted’s ending, I was certain that this was the end for all my characters; that was until Blaine’s story came front and center in my mind and I realized it wasn’t finished.


So I went ahead with adjusting the ending and starting on the draft for Twisted’s follow up novel, Wicked.


Q: The writer Lyn Liao Butler said of the book, “Twisted is the perfect word to describe the way you'll feel as this thriller reaches that OMG moment when you finally figure out what's going on.” What do you think of that description, and how was the book's title chosen? 


A: Honestly, I think it’s perfect. When I finished writing Twisted, I had no idea what to title it. I struggled to really pinpoint what to call the piece after so much chaos had happened and there were often times that readers were trying to piece together the clues.


When I landed on Twisted it just worked. And once I got it in my head there was no going back!


Q: Did you need to do any research to write the book, and if so, did you learn anything especially surprising? 


A: I am constantly researching when writing a new novel. Sometimes it is just to make sure I have the landscape and geography correct but oftentimes, as I write thrillers and suspense, I spend a lot of time trying to understand and navigate the legal system. I have worked closely with Toronto Police Officers and RCMP officers to make sure the procedure I write about is correct and believable.


Another thing I focused on throughout this novel was prescription medication, how it is prescribed, and the processes that medication goes through to get approved. I was definitely intrigued to learn more about drug trials and the hoops they have to jump through.


Q: What are you working on now? 


A: I am currently working on a new suspense novel that follows a woman who is about to be sentenced to life in prison and the twin sister of one of her victims. It’s been a lot of fun to write, having these two opposing characters play off of one another.


I am also about to start working on our round of edits for Wicked, which comes out October 2024 and is the sequel to Twisted.


Q: Anything else we should know? 


A: A little fun fact about me, I have aphantasia. Aphantasia is the inability to visualize. Otherwise known as image-free imagination. People with aphantasia don’t create any images of familiar objects, people, or places in their mind’s eye, not for thoughts, memories, or pictures of the future. We lack this visual system completely. 


This means that I am often a very "bare-bones" writer. My strength is dialogue and plot. The description, the things that make you visualize, I always have to add that in later. Often I am looking at pictures or listening to sounds to make sure I get the description down right. I’d love to know if any readers get this sense while reading my books!


I also love hearing from readers. Check out my website at and feel free to send me a note! 


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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