Today (25th of January 2018) is the paperback publication of Elle Croft’s ‘The Guilty Wife’. It came out on Kindle on the 1st of December 2017 and has stormed up the top 20, has a bestseller banner, and has already been reviewed in The Sun and Bella magazine.
I am not even a bit surprised, it’s a great book with proper page turn-ability. Seriously, once you start ‘The Guilty Wife’ put everything else on hold.
1. TGW deals with some uncomfortable and often taboo topics like adultery. What inspired you to tackle such themes?
I can’t say I consciously set out to tackle taboo themes, but that’s certainly how things ended up. When I first started writing The Guilty Wife, the only thing I knew for sure was that my main character, Bethany, would be framed for a murder. An affair – one that had to be kept a secret at all costs – seemed like the perfect way to cause maximum trouble for Bethany (as well as providing opportunities for the real killer to manipulate her). So my decision to write about adultery was for the sake of my plot, rather than to make any kind of statement!
2. Bethany Reston could be described as unlikeable, what was your motivation behind writing a character like that?
Some of my favourite books are about hugely unlikable characters (like Libby Day in Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places), but that’s part of what I love about them. I don’t subscribe to the idea that all women are nice, or pleasant (in the same way that not all men are physically strong and love sports), so I like exploring complicated, messy women when I write. And as controversial as she may be, I enjoyed the challenge of writing a character like Bethany. She’s not always likeable, but as someone who’s a serial people-pleaser myself, it was liberating to get inside the head of someone who doesn’t play by the rules!
3. What comes first for you plot or character? And how do they evolve?
Plotting is the biggest challenge for me when I write, so I focus on developing that and making sure I know where the story is going before I work on my characters. Both plot and characters tend to change and evolve as I write, and as I learn more about the key players in my story. When it comes to character development, your tips have been some of the most helpful for me so far, Niki – you suggested that I write out the last ten years of each person’s life, and that made a huge difference for me in understanding my main characters. So thank you!
4. Have you always written?
I’ve always loved writing, but I haven’t always written. I wish I’d known when I left high school that writing was something I could pursue as a career – but I didn’t, so I worked in more traditional jobs (hating each one, I might add). Eventually I realised how much I missed being creative, and so I started writing a blog. That rekindled my love for storytelling, and eventually led to me writing The Guilty Wife. So it was a little long-winded, and there was a break in there where I put my writing aside, but I’m so glad I found my way back to it.
5. Are there any books and or resources that you found useful?
I read Save The Cat by Blake Snyder when I was writing The Guilty Wife and it was a game-changer in terms of plot development. Although it’s a screenwriting book, I highly recommend it for understanding pace, useful plot devices, and the arc of a character’s journey.
I relied heavily on Google to answer questions about how to get published, and what to expect from the process, and during my searches I found an article written by author Delilah S. Dawson about the steps it takes to be published. I clung to every word of that piece, and it’s been the most useful, no-nonsense resource on the publishing process that I’ve seen so far.
6. Do you have any advice for writers starting out?
Read. A lot. Across all genres. Write. A lot. Even when you don’t feel like it. Especially when you don’t feel like it. Finish your first draft without worrying how awful it is. And get Freedom (an app that blocks your Internet access). You’ll thank me later!
7. What are you working on now?
I’m currently editing my second novel, The Other Sister, which comes out later this year – and once I’m finished working on that I’m itching to get started on novel number three!