By Leslie Lindsay
5 juicy stars to this tautly paced, all-encompassing deliciously dark domestic suspense, MY LOVELY WIFE (Berkley, March 26 2019) will capture and ensnare and have you looking twice at your neighbors.
Truly stunning, jaw-dropping, and so engrossing, you simply cannot look away. That’s what debut author, Samantha Downing, is so skilled at in her debut–this is a debut, people!–and you absolutely have to read it.
Here’s the thing: it’s dark. It’s twisted, but on the surface, it’s oh-so-saccharine. Married for 15 years, Millicent and her unnamed husband, the protagonist/narrator have found themselves in a slightly boring marriage. They have two kids, a boy and a girl who are on the cusp of adolescence. It’s a nice life in a nice suburban area of Florida where everyone goes to work and then home for a pre-planned dinner. There’s soccer and tennis lessons and Millicent sells real estate.
But MY LOVELY WIFE (Berkley, March 26) is a powerhouse of a novel. It’s about drama, a marriage, kids out of control, and the news media; it’s also about the folks next door, who just happen to be killing women for sport.
Or, are they? There’s definitely some planning and premeditation. And maybe someone in this partnership is more sinister than the other. Or maybe they’re just in over their head? MY LOVELY WIFE is an effortless page-turner. I simply couldn’t put it down. The way Downing braids past and present and keeps the reader sort of brooding in the past is masterful.
The writing is simple, but the plot is complex, the structure is intense and the pace, relentless.
Plus, the media is RAVING about this book, it’s on many ‘Most anticipated’ lists of 2019, plus it’s Library Reads #1 Pick for March 2019.
Do yourself a favor and buy this book. Now.
But first, please join me in welcoming Samantha Downing to the author interview series.
Samantha, oh my Gosh! This book! So you’re a bit twisted—and I like that. The seed for MY LOVELY WIFE was first planted when you watched a documentary about a husband who abused his wife and forced her into helping him with his dirty schemes to kidnap women and hold them hostage. It sounds like an episode of “Criminal Minds” (one of my top favorite show—so good for helping with plot problems!), can you talk a little more about that?
Absolutely! When I saw that documentary, it struck me that we’ve never seen a woman initiate a crime like this. It’s always a man working alone or a man who has coerced someone—like his wife—to go along with it. I wanted to explore it the other way, and that’s how I came up with the character of Millicent.
And I agree with you about Criminal Minds!
“Wow! My Lovely Wife is a stunner – full of twists, well-drawn characters, and riveting suspense.”
#1 New York Times Bestseller
I’m interested in your writerly journey. It might seem like this book was an overnight success…but can you tell us where you started as a writer? Have you always written? Was this something ‘new’ to you? Can you tell us a bit about getting an agent and how MY LOVELY WIFE was acquired, a sense of the timeline?
I don’t think a true “overnight success” exists, at least not that I know of! I am certainly not. I’ve been writing for over twenty years. It’s been a hobby and a passion, something I’ve always looked forward to doing in my spare time. The publishing industry always seemed like this unsolvable puzzle, so I basically stayed away from it.
I wouldn’t be published if not for a friend of mine, Rebecca Vonier. She is one of my critique partners, and she loved this book enough to send it to a friend of hers who went to school with an agent in New York. He referred me to Barbara Poelle, who then sold MY LOVELY WIFE to Jen Monroe at Berkley on a 48-hour exclusive. It was—and still is—a wild ride!
As a first-time published author, what do you think you did ‘right,’ and what do you wish you had known more about?
So far, what I’ve done right is trust the people who know what they’re doing. I don’t try to tell my agent, editor, publicist or marketing team how to do their jobs. They know how, so I just stay out of their way! Another thing is to be professional about everything—be on time, on schedule, and prepared. Claiming that you are tortured creative soul will get you nowhere in life or in publishing!
What I wish I had known is how long the process takes. The book was purchased almost 18 months ago and is just now being released. Patience is key! Even if you think nothing is happening, a lot can be happening behind the scenes.
Was there ever a period where you were ready to thrown in the towel? And what got you over that hump?
Throw in the towel on writing? Never. Because it was a hobby, I did it because I enjoyed it. Some people enjoy cooking or knitting or playing a musical instrument. I enjoy writing. Why would I stop?
How about research? I am sure you had to do plenty for MY LOVELY WIFE…and gosh, did you worry if the Feds would come track you down based on your browser history?!
I’m pretty sure I would be locked up in a mental ward if someone looked at my search history! There were a lot of things I had to research about dead bodies and preservation of bodies and…well, I shouldn’t say too much. But I do think writers should have their own special browser, so when the NSA or the CIA sees what we’re searching they can just say, “Oh no worries. Just another writer.”
Can you give us a few facts about you—like, what do you do when you’re not reading or writing? If you have any strange obsessions (ahem), and maybe what’s next for you?
Let’s see…I’m a dork, really. I read a lot, I binge-watch good and bad TV, and I have to watch Big Brother every summer. It’s a thing, really. I’m also a black belt in karate, just in case a psychopath comes my way (or a mugger, more likely!). Also, animals. I love all animals and wish I lived in a big country house filled with them, but instead I live in a small city apartment. Someday!
My next book is another thriller and I hope it’s as disturbing as this one. That’s all I can say for now!
Samantha, it’s been such a pleasure. Please tell what I should have asked, but may have forgotten?
Not that I can think of. Just want to say thank you so much for having me! I really appreciate it.
For more information, to connect with the author, or to purchase a copy of MY LOVELY WIFE, please visit:
#1 Library Reads, IndieNext, and Amazon Best Book of the Month in Thriller
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Samantha Downing currently lives in New Orleans, where she is furiously typing away on her next thrilling standalone. My Lovely Wife is her first novel.
You can connect with me, Leslie Lindsay, via these websites:
- Facebook: LeslieLindsayWriter
- Twitter: @LeslieLindsay1
- Instagram: @LeslieLindsay1
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[Cover and author image courtesy of Berkley and used with permission. Artistic photo of book cover designed and photographed by Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram]