Sarah Bonner’s debut novel, Her Perfect Twin, was published by Hodder Studio on 20 January 2022.
Sarah kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about Her Perfect Twin
HER PERFECT TWIN is my debut psychological thriller. It follows the story of Megan, who discovers her husband is having an affair with her identical twin. When she goes to confront Leah, their argument turns deadly. Megan must pretend to be both herself and her twin; after all, she can’t be accused of murder if no one knows Leah is dead. But it is the March of 2020 and suddenly the country goes into lockdown. How can she continue to live both lives, and what happens when someone else knows her secret?
2. What inspired the book?
HER PERFECT TWIN started as a short story about a woman trying to decide if she should go on a second date with a guy who thought she was her twin. It was only when I came to write the final few paragraphs that I realised she was pretending to be her sister so no one would suspect that she had killed her! Then I remembered a throw away conversation from the start of lockdown about how difficult it would have been to keep living a double life over that time, and I realised that it might just take a whole novel to tell Megan’s story!
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?
I’m a bit of both to be honest. I once spent more than a year writing a novel that I later discovered had no plot, and so now I like to start with a rough synopsis to avoid repeating that mistake! I also like to map out the logic of the story and ask a lot of ‘why?’ questions early on to stress test the plot. But then I tend to crack on and start writing, and I love seeing where it goes as often the best ideas come when you least expect them. With HER PERFECT TWIN, I had hit a bit of a block and so I thought I’d write a single scene from Chris’s point of view to see if it would help. I think that day I wrote almost 6,000 words and it turned the whole novel on its head (in a good way!).
4. Having been through the publishing process, is there anything about the process of creating a novel that surprised you?
I think the main surprise is just how many people are involved in the process (from editorial to proof reading, foreign rights to marketing and publicity). I never used to read the acknowledgments in a novel, but now I do and appreciate every single person who touches a book in order to bring it up to shape!
I’ve also been blown away by how lovely the whole publishing/writing community is and just how many people out there will offer their support to debut authors. I really feel like I’ve made a ton of wonderful friends.
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
Like most writers, I’m a huge reader! I read a lot of thrillers, but I’m also a big fan of dystopia/post-apocalyptic fiction, romance, book club and even non-fiction. I also have a gorgeous rescue dog who loves a good walk and I’m lucky to live in a relatively rural area. Before covid, my husband and I would travel quite a bit and spent a fair amount of time in Las Vegas (we both love blackjack and people watching!). In fact, that was why Vegas ended up in HER PERFECT TWIN; I needed somewhere I knew really well as I couldn’t travel for research!
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
I very rarely read a book more than once (unless I’m trying to unpick just how the author managed to achieve something!). Can I cheat and pick one author rather than just one book? It would have to be Dean Koontz, whose books were a constant presence as a teenager (my mum was also a big fan, so we’d share copies) and who I credit with fuelling my fascination with stories about some rather unsavoury characters!
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?
I have to confess this is one of my first Q&As, so I’m still very new at this! However, I’m always personally fascinated by what other writers do (or did) as their ‘day job’ and what special skills they think this gives them in their writing. I’m an accountant and project manager by trade; I often find myself using project management tools to keep myself on track and some of that financial knowledge bleeds into my stories!
About the Book
When Megan discovers photographs of her estranged identical twin sister on her husband’s phone, she wants answers.
Leah already has everything Megan has ever wanted. Fame, fortune, freedom to do what she wants. And when Megan confronts Leah, an argument turns to murder.
The only way Megan can get away with killing her twin is to become her.
But then lockdown hits. How can she continue living two lives? And what happens if someone else knows her secret too?