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  • Writer's pictureHelena Smrcek

In Mood for a Thriller

Shari Lapena, a Canadian novelist, living in Toronto, is the internationally bestselling author of The Couple Next Door, A Stranger in the House and An Unwanted Guest.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena is a domestic thriller that will keep you wishing you hand nothing on your calendar for the next three days unless you speed-read for fun.

The stakes are high –a missing baby. We meet a wife questioning her sanity, and a husband determined to save his family, as Shari takes us on an emotional journey filled with fear, anxiety and deep loss.

I not only find Shari’s fiction gripping but also enjoy reading about her own story of becoming a bestselling author. It is inspiring, encouraging and perhaps an even a little challenging.

In an interview with Kate Newton, she shares with surprising honesty:

“I think every writer has an avid interest in psychology. I didn’t study it formally, but I’ve done a lot of reading on my own. And I watch what’s going on around me, and I talk to people. I’m a sharer—I tend to be fairly honest about how I’m feeling, I don’t hide difficult things...I think I might have tapped into my own feelings there. I had many miscarriages before I had a live baby, so I remember feeling the way Anne felt when well-meaning friends brought their babies around and I had just lost mine.”

She told Goodreads about her struggles to become an author:

“I find with a lot of writers, we just kind of shuffle from thing to thing because we really want to be writers. Until we actually settle down to become writers, we're just kind of trying on other things. I worked full-time for many years, and then I had a baby; I wanted to stay home with him. He would nap in the afternoons. I always wanted to be a writer, and I thought, "I finally have the time—I'm just going to write a novel." I sat down and just started without any kind of plan, and I came up with Things Go Flying. I was doing it all in secret. My husband knew I was writing this book, but no one else. Once I got started, I never had trouble selling books or getting agents. But my literary books themselves didn't sell well. Literary fiction in Canada is kind of a tough go unless you're one of the really big names.”

She continues:

“My process seems almost different with every book. With Stranger, I had a much harder time because everybody was watching. [Couple] had done really well, I was on contract, I only had a year to get the book done, I wasn't used to working with lots of editors. I had that difficult-second-book thing they say you get when you've had a book that's a hit. It took me a while to get over it. But once I got into it, I was able to work without a plan and go where it needed to go. Then I had to go back and rework the beginning quite a lot.”

I love the result, hours of entertainment for the readers. Can't wait for the next one.

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