Melissa Slade had it all: beauty, money, a successful husband, and beautiful twin babies. But, in the blink of an eye, her perfect life became a nightmare—when she found herself on trial for the murder of her little girls.
Jonathan Hunt covered the original Slade Babies case for the local newspaper. Now that new evidence has come to light, Jon’s boss wants him back on the story to uncover the truth.
With Melissa’s appeal date looming, time is running out. And, as Jon gets drawn deeper into a case he’d wanted to forget, he starts to question Melissa’s guilt.
Is Melissa manipulating Jon or telling him the truth? Is she a murderer, or the victim of a miscarriage of justice?
And if Melissa Slade is innocent, what really happened to Ellie and Amber Slade?
Bestselling author Diane Jeffrey took some time out of her busy schedule to speak with The Big Thrill about her latest thriller, THE GUILTY MOTHER:
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
This book is told from multiple points of view: there are three narrators.
I based the physical appearance of the character of Melissa, a convicted murderer, on Cameron Diaz!
The character of Kelly, who is one of the journalists, wasn’t part of the plan. She just took on a life and voice of her own.
I love Jon and miss him terribly now I’ve finished writing the book. Jon is Kelly’s boss and the main character. He tries to juggle being a single dad with work and cuts lots of corners. He’s quick to judge people, but often calls himself into question.
What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?
I had to do lots of research—I was way out of my comfort zone! I also had to get inside the head of a man (!) as one of my narrators is a male journalist. That was challenging and a lot of fun!
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
I think its originality lies in the fact that it is a little back to front. The first question we ask ourselves is not who’s the murderer? but has murder actually been committed? And if so, by whom? And if not, what happened? It’s also a little different from my other two psychological thrillers as it has a courtroom theme.
Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?
The plot came first, but the twist only came when I was about halfway through the book.
I set it in Bristol, in the UK, as I love this city, have fond memories there and know it well.
The characters took shape after the plot and the setting.
What’s the one question you wish someone would ask you about this book, or your work in general?
What are your goals?
I have two: I would like to see my work in translation and also on a bookshelf other than my own! As I live in France but come from the UK, this isn’t as easy as it sounds at all!
Diane’s debut psychological thriller, Those Who Lie, was a Kindle bestseller in the USA, Canada, and Australia and spent several weeks in the top 100 Kindle books in the UK.
He Will Find You, set in the Lake District and Somerset and published in August 2018, is her second novel.
THE GUILTY MOTHER, Diane’s third book, published on August 2, 2019, will be in paperback and audio on October 17.
Diane is an English teacher. When she’s not working or writing, she likes swimming, running, and reading. She loves chocolate, beer, and holidays. Above all, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.