I think the hardest part of writing this book was sitting down and doing it. Not only had the world gone into lockdown but so had my brain. The only words I was interested in were, flatten the curve, social distancing, super spreader, cohort, quarantine, ventilator the frigging ‘R’ number. They went round and round in my head, fed by my addiction to the news until it got to the stage I could have given Dr Tedros A Ghebreyesus from the W.H.O. a run for his money.
What saved me? The deadline. My usual enemy became my friend. I had to leave the madness and possibility of a career as an epidemiologist to one side and return to my desk with my imagination. Up to now, I was used to going away for a few days to start of a novel. I would clear the mind, leave all distractions behind and get stuck into building a story. But with restrictions in place that wasn’t going to happen. And while home might be where the heart is. It isn’t where the muse is. So coupled with the possibility that it could be all in vain. This could be it…The Apocalypse! I found it a lot harder to concentrate. Eventually, I got there. I hedged my bets, put my faith in the world’s scientists and I wrote a novel.
Her White Lie tells the story of two old friends coming together when a body is found in the house they shared years earlier while in college. From the start it’s obvious they’re hiding something. They are no longer friends and they do not trust one another anymore.
When I started planning Her White Lie, I wanted to step a little closer to the psychological thriller genre. I would describe my previous three books as being in the domestic thriller category where someone’s ordinary life is turned upside down by something that happens out of the blue. The protagonist might meet a lunatic along the way but they themselves would be fairly grounded. The idea of being inside the head of someone who was not reliable, intrigued me. I have always loved an unreliable narrator. I remember being blown away by The Sixth Sense twenty years ago and more recently, The Silent Patient.
Her White Lie was also my first time to write from two different points of view. I have read books in the past where it was often hard to differentiate between the voices of the different characters so I was conscious and focused on making the voices identifiable. As both the main characters were women of the same age who had grown up together, I knew I would have to concentrate on their attitudes instead of the vernacular to separate them. (Also, making one of them a bit unbalanced helped). I definitely found having two different point of views made it easier to play with the plot. It allowed for more menace and possibilities and misunderstandings.
Normally, I’m one of those writers who has to have a fairly good outline of the plot from start to finish before I can put pen to paper. What I’m not always certain about is who the killer is. I like the possibility of it being any of the characters and it’s only when I get near the end of the story that I decide who done it. I think if I don’t know… well the reader won’t know either. In Her White Lie, this was not the case. Weaving the killer into the plot early on was necessary and may result in readers thinking they know who the killer is. But there are plenty of reasons to doubt and plenty of questions to be answered. And twists!
All in all, writing Her White Lie proved to be a bit of a god send. It helped me escape from the world that was under fire around me. And the lockdown itself was not without it’s merits. Maybe I would not have written Her White Lie if there was no lockdown. Maybe I would not have chanced the two-person point of view or introduced a scene that another time I might have thought would be too controversial. Maybe the lockdown empowered me to take chances. To live more bravely. To appreciate that I’m here now and I must make the most of it because I won’t go on forever.
I like to think it did that.
(c) Jackie Walsh
About Her White Lie:
Her dream wedding might become a nightmare
Tara Moore feels like the luckiest girl in the world. She’s finally found the man of her dreams, and after the fairytale wedding, she’s leaving Dublin to start a new life in Australia.
Until Avril Ryan’s body is discovered in a house that Tara lived in three years ago.
Tara doesn’t know Avril, so why was she the last person Avril called? How has she become the number one suspect?
But what the police don’t know is that Tara’s past conceals her own dangerous secrets. And as the detectives start digging and old friendships come to light, Tara begins to wonder who she can trust.
Will her wedding day become her last?
A twisty, unputdownable psychological thriller packed with suspense. Fans of T.M. Logan and Samantha Hayes will be completely gripped.
Order your copy online here.