Eva Hansen wakes in the hospital after being struck by lightning and discovers her mother, Kat, has been murdered. Eva was found unconscious down the street. She can’t remember what happened but the police are highly suspicious of her.
Determined to clear her name, Eva heads from Seattle to London—Kat’s former home—for answers. But as she unravels her mother’s carefully held secrets, Eva soon realizes that someone doesn’t want her to know the truth. And with violent memories beginning to emerge, Eva doesn’t know who to trust. Least of all herself.
Told in alternating perspectives from Eva’s search for answers and Kat’s mysterious past, Christina McDonald has crafted another “complex, emotionally intense” (Publishers Weekly) domestic thriller. Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell’s I Found You and Karin Slaughter’s Pieces of Her, Behind Every Lie explores the complicated nature of mother-daughter relationships, family trauma, and the danger behind long-held secrets.
This month The Big Thrill welcomes USA TODAY bestselling author Christina McDonald to discuss her thrilling new suspense novel, BEHIND EVERY LIE:
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
BEHIND EVERY LIE is set on Whidbey Island, a place I used to visit (and still love!) when I was a child. The island is connected to the mainland by a bridge that spans Deception Pass. This bridge is the motivation behind a bridge that features in my first book, The Night Olivia Fell.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
Great role models motivate us to do great work, and there are so many role models who influenced my career as a writer. I could never list them all, so I’ll stick to a few in my genre.
From Heather Gudenkauf I learned how to include innovative twists that are not only relevant to plot, but that have high emotional value.
From Mary Kubica I learned how to tell a captivating story with characters readers care about.
From Lisa Unger I learned how to effectively plot for the domestic suspense genre as well as to peel back the layers of a character and really get in to their motivations – good and bad.
One of the themes in BEHIND EVERY LIE is can you be broken and whole at the same time?
This is such a relevant question for all humans, but particularly those who have suffered traumatic events in their life that make them trust themselves less. Throughout BEHIND EVERY LIE I work to prove that you can be strong and brave and broken and whole all at the same time. It’s called being human.
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
Domestic suspense is all about the secrets kept by the people we think we’re closest to. In BEHIND EVERY LIE, my two main protagonists are hiding huge secrets with devastating repercussions. As secrets are revealed, the tension is ramped up so the reader begins questioning their own version of the truth.
What attracts you to this book’s genre?
I think one of the things that attracts me to the domestic suspense genre is that families and their complicated dynamics are such a rich mine to explore. When it comes to family, our skin is very thin and we have very high expectations, so emotions ride high.
Also, it’s the genre I enjoy reading. I’m not an adrenaline junkie in real life, but I love not knowing what’s going to happen, that breathless anticipation of just *needing* to turn the page to find out that next plot point.
Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?
Plot always comes first for me. Then I sit down and sketch out who I think my characters are, their defining characteristics, and how the story will change them. Usually once I’ve written the book I look back and realize how much more I need to fill out my characters. It means a lot of edits, but it’s just the way my brain works! I have to get to know my fictional people, and like with real people, that takes time.
Christina McDonald is the USA TODAY bestselling author of The Night Olivia Fell (Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books), which has been optioned for TV by a major Hollywood studio. Her next book, Behind Every Lie, is out in early 2020. Her writing has been featured in The Sunday Times, Dublin, USATODAY.com, and Expedia. Originally from Seattle, WA, she has an MA in Journalism from the National University of Ireland Galway, and now lives in London, England with her husband, two sons, and their dog, Tango.
To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.