I had the tremendous honour of interviewing the fabulous Amy Lloyd about her debut novel, The Innocent Wife.
(CLICK HERE for my full review!)
Lloyd is an incredible writer and I was completely blown away by her book! See the full interview below…
Photo, Amy Lloyd, courtesy of Laura Lewis
AMY LLOYD – EXCLUSIVE AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Are you a fan of puns/jokes? (if so, what’s your favourite?)
What route did Ted Bundy take through the woods? He took the psycho path!
The Innocent Wife is your debut novel! How did it feel finally seeing your creation on the shelves?! What did you do to celebrate its release?
It was surreal and briefly the most pleasing moment of my life. Then all of a sudden it felt terrifying, like one of those dreams where you suddenly realise you are completely naked in public. I felt so exposed!
After a while, popping into Cardiff Waterstones and Tesco Extra to look at my book, I found myself keeping tabs on how many they had. Like, ‘There’s six here and there were six last week. Does that mean they haven’t sold any or that they’ve sold some and then restocked?’ I was starting to get obsessed. I once saw a woman look at my book on the shelf for some time and then move on. I wanted to stop her and ask her what her problem was, ‘It’s got a great cover, an exciting tag line, what more do you want????’
Anyway, long story short, I’m not allowed in Waterstones anymore.
What inspired you to write such an original and modern crime/thriller novel?
It was the popularity of true crime that inspired the book. I was so interested in the way people talked about crimes now, how murder was now sanitised and in the mainstream. That meant that everyone was talking about true crime and getting involved in cases. It wasn’t just lonely weirdos like me anymore! And the way we consume true crime changed and all this got me imagining a worst -case scenario that encompassed all of these modern elements of true crime.
How did you come up with such interesting characters?
I am interested in the darkest parts of the human mind. I’m obsessed with what makes people do bad things and what has stuck with me in all my research of crime and murder is that the lines between good and evil aren’t as clear and simple as they should be. These people don’t stick out, they rarely scare people on sight. They seem normal and live amongst us for years and years before we are even aware they are dangerous.
So I didn’t want to create an obvious villain because it wouldn’t be realistic. There had to be some grey areas. Like, is this person acting this way because they are damaged or is there something more sinister going on? Similarly, I didn’t want a heroine that was strong and likeable and good, because – realistically – would a person like that be so drawn to potential darkness and danger?
No, I’m more interested in complicated people who don’t always do what they should, and this is (I think) what makes them more interesting to most people.
Do you think that Sam and Dennis would have fallen in love if they hadn’t met the same way?
I think Dennis is incapable of really loving anyone and if he didn’t need Samantha he wouldn’t even think of her. And I think Sam would have had a crush on Dennis in any situation but she felt more powerful with him behind bars and so was able to approach him. I think her self-esteem is way too low to have believed he would like her under any other circumstances!
How much of Sam’s past do you think influenced her decisions?
All of it! I like to say that Sam is a symptom of misogyny, not the cause. So her whole life she has absorbed the message that women aspire to be beautiful, to be chosen and loved by men and this is what she thinks will make her happy. Her past mistreatment by her benignly-cruel ex-boyfriend (Mark) has left her full of self-loathing and very vulnerable. She has no friends because she’s been more focused on getting a man in her life and so she has no one there to tell her she’s making a mistake. Only her mother, who feeds in to her negative worldview and makes her push away further. It’s easy to hate Sam but she’s only a product of her environment.
It is very clear you spent a lot of time researching this book! How did your research/writing process work?
Because I’ve read/watched so much true crime over the years, most of it happened organically. Same for researching Florida: I just used my experiences from having been there. I read books and websites about Death Row in Florida so that I could describe it accurately. Then I researched people being released from Death Row and all the problems they had adjusting to freedom.
What was the first thing you did after finishing the first draft of The Innocent Wife?
I would have texted my boyfriend, Rhys, because he’s an author too and would have been the only person to understand how huge that was. I know I was super in to Rekordilig flavoured cider at the time and it was a hot day and I had one of those in the early evening. It felt weird and I was so proud to have finished it but I also felt a kind of sadness because the story and the characters’ lives stopped there. Of course, by the end of edit number 7 I was pretty happy to never have to have anything to do with those characters ever again! Haha!
What motivates you to write?
Mostly it’s wanting to see how the story ends. I have an idea of how it will end when I start but this can change a lot over the novel. There’s this sensation that if I want this book to exist, this story to be told, then I HAVE to be the one who writes it. No one else can possibly do it.
I also have my lovely editor Selina who keeps me motivated when I’m losing spirit. I email her a word count every week and I always want to have a good number to show her and that motivates me to keep going.
Do you have any favourite authors?
My holy trinity are Jonathan Franzen, Donna Tartt, and Bret Easton Ellis.
What are you currently working on now?
Another thriller! Darker and even more complex than the first. I think people are going to feel very torn by the characters in this one and it’s going to tug at some heartstrings. I’m so proud of it and am very much in love with it right now! I’ve nearly finished draft one so ask me again at the end of draft 5 and I’ll probably be feeling a lot less enamoured with it.
Being an author must be stressful at times in addition to all the excitement! What’s your favourite way to relax?
I love to take afternoon naps. I’ll get up in the morning, write straight away then exercise, then write some more and when I’m all out of ideas I get into bed. My cat, Henry, knows nap time and always comes in to join me. He sleeps right by my head. This is all super tragic, I know, but I love it.
The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd is out now in Hardback, eBook and Audio
A HUGE thank you to the fabulous Amy Lloyd for the interview and to Clare Kelly who is a wonderful PR manager! It has been a pleasure working with you both!
See below for how to get your hands on a copy!
Join the conversation: follow the author on twitter @AmyLloydWrites and use the hashtag #TheInnocentWife
Happy reading! Lx