This blog was featured on 11/27/2019
An Interview with Karen Hamilton
Written by
She Writes
March 2019
Written by
She Writes
March 2019

There are few more gripping genres than the psychological thriller category and The Perfect Girlfriend has all the edge-of-your-seat mayhem readers will love. She Writes got the opportunity to talk with Karen Hamilton about the book Entertainment Weekly calls “twisted page-turner that should appeal to fans of You.

Your debut novel, The Perfect Girlfriend, it has a storyline about stalking and revenge. Where did your inspiration come from?

The idea first came to me when I was changing out of uniform one day before traveling on public transport. I felt this sense of returning to 'anonymity'. It made me think about the faces behind uniforms and it lead to the idea that maybe it was someone who wasn't nice, perhaps someone damaged, who really was changing their whole identity rather than just leaving their professional, work self behind at the end of a working day. 

What research was undertaken for The Perfect Girlfriend?

As well as reading about sociopaths and nature versus nurture, I also read a lot of self-help books. Some of them use very powerful language and I thought about Juliette reading these and twisting their meanings, rather than trying to heal, learn or self-improve.

What books inspired/influenced The Perfect Girlfriend?

I've always loved books by an author called Emily Barr, who I think combines travel and thriller writing extremely well. I love the psychological thriller genre and I read a lot of crime fiction. I do read in other areas too, but crime is probably one of my favorites.

Being published can be quite an experience! What's it been like for you?

It's been truly amazing and I feel incredibly fortunate. I've had so much support from so many people and I wouldn't be in this wonderful position without them. One thing that hasn't changed is the self-doubt, I still work as hard as ever and have days where it feels really difficult. Then, you get some positive feedback or a nice review and it truly helps and means so much.

Have you always wanted to write? When did you first start to write? Who influenced you to write?

I have always wanted to write, but wasn't sure how to go about it. Every time I saw a writing competition, I would get excited and think about entering, but I rarely got round to it for various reasons. It was after having my second son that I realized how fast time really flew and that I needed to follow my dream. I had no idea what to do, other than to write, so I started on 1,000 words a day (as much as possible). I took an online course, went to literary festivals and meet-the-author events and tried to submerge myself into the writing world as much as possible. I wrote two books before I went on the Faber course (but didn't get anywhere with them). On the course, I was lucky to join a very supportive group of people and it was there that I wrote the first draft of what was to become The Perfect Girlfriend.

Do you have a writing routine, and where is your favorite place to write?

I mainly write at home during school hours, however, I always take my laptop out with me if I think I will get an opportunity to write. I take my Kindle everywhere with me as I read and edit on it. I can write anywhere, on trains, in cafes, at children's soft play. I rarely write in the evening (it's always rubbish) I'm much more of a morning person.

Do you have any writing tips?

Write every day if possible (even when you don't feel like it). Join a local or online writing group for support and companionship, there are many ups and downs along the way to publication.

Favorite books?

I think about this a lot because, like most readers, there are so many. Every time I write a list, I always think about the ones I've left out! I like books by Kate Atkinson, Alexander McCall Smith, Dorothy Koomson, Sabine Durrant, to name a few. Old favorites include The Great Gatsby, Rebecca, The Thorn Birds and everything by Agatha Christie.

What's next?

I'm currently writing my second book which is set in a completely different world, but has another damaged, female protagonist at its heart.

Photo Credit: Karen Hamilton

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