Emily Freud’s debut novel, My Best Friend’s Secret, was published by Quercus on 22 July 2021.
Emily kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about My Best Friend’s Secret.
It is a twisty psychological thriller about a girl called Kate who has just got her life back together after a period of chaos. She has a gorgeous home, a job she’s passionate about, and a lovely fiancé. Her old best friend comes back into her life and threatens Kate’s newfound and fragile happiness. Kate remembers nothing of their last drunken night out, the night Becky broke off their friendship without warning or explanation. With Becky back in her life, Kate is desperate to make amends for the past. But slowly the perfect life she has created begins to crumble.
2. What inspired the book?
I got the idea on my wedding day. I was 5 years sober at the time. As I was standing looking at myself in the mirror in my white dress, I couldn’t help thinking – what if just as I was about to get my ‘happy ending’ everything fell apart. That stayed with me until I came to write the book which opens with my main character Kate being stood up on her wedding day.
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?
I am a total panster. I like the magic of not knowing where you’ll end up. To me, a first draft feels like running around a dark house, opening all the doors. Myriad possibilities, any number of which might deliver me to the moment where all the threads tie up at the end of the book.
Next up, my favourite part: The Edit. I’ll go back with a better understanding of the layout, shutting some doors, leaving others wide open. Unlocking the ones I didn’t notice the first time round.
4. Is there anything about the process of publishing a book that surprised you?
Probably all the online marketing side of things and social media. I attempted not to go on Twitter to begin with, but I’m so glad I gave it a go. I’ve met such lovely authors who have been so supportive. Book Twitter is lovely!
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I’m not sure I’m at the phase of life where relaxing is much of an option! I have two children under four, so they keep us very busy. I also work in television in development coming up with new ideas to entertain – writing treatments and brainstorming etc. I love swimming in the ladies’ pond on Hampstead Heath. That is my go-to place when I really need to get away from it all. I also love taking myself off to the cinema on my own. And dancing – I miss it so much! My husband is a DJ and one of our first dates I went and watched him play in a club and snogged him behind the decks.
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
Are you seriously asking me to pick ONE? Probably something by David Sedaris. He always reminds me to laugh at life. I went to see him speak at Cadogan Hall quite a few years ago and as he was signing our book, he told me the most random story about a Romanian curse and then wrote “I shit in your mother’s mouth” as the dedication. My mum found it very funny.
7. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
As a debut author I am very new to being asked questions. In fact, at work, I am usually the one doing the asking, so it does feel quite strange being the focus.
I suppose when I am interviewing people I always like to know when they were happiest. I would probably say now. Especially after a mammoth writing session, playing with my kids with one of my husband’s playlists running in the background.
About the Book
Kate Sullivan has a beautiful home, a job she loves and a handsome fiancé: all she’d ever dreamed of since getting sober and painstakingly piecing her life back together.
But a chance encounter with her old best friend Becky threatens Kate’s newfound and fragile happiness. Kate remembers nothing of their last drunken night out, the night Becky broke off their friendship without warning or explanation.
With Becky back in her life, Kate is desperate to make amends for the past. For the closure she craves, Kate needs to know what she did that ruined everything. But what if the truth is worse than Kate could have imagined?
You can find My Best Friend’s Secret on the Author Spotlight shelf at Bookshop.Org (this is an affiliate link. I may earn a few pence if you buy through there).