The Pocket Wife is a beautifully drawn psychological thriller with a truly intriguing main protagonist. I was lucky enough to get to ask Susan Crawford a few questions about it.
- Dana is a very compelling character – tell us what inspired you to start her story?
There is so much in the news that demonizes those with diagnosed mental illness. The notion that they are more likely than most to commit a violent crime is a commonly held belief, making the onus of instability all the more difficult for those struggling to maintain a delicate balance in their lives. Bipolar illness is arguably one of the most perplexing, with its strange, compelling energy and wild creativity that can spin into psychosis or crash into a pit of deep despair. For me, even the word bipolar conjures colors from bright reds to dusky greys. I wanted to tell the story from Dana’s point of view, hoping the reader might experience, to some extent, what she was going through and see the world through her eyes.
- Was there a lot of research involved to get the nuances of bipolar disorder right?
I got them right for Dana, for this particular character in this particular situation, but, just as everyone is different, every bipolar episode is different. The highs and lows might be similar, but the causes, the triggers, the actual experiences fluctuate. I studied towards a Master’s degree in counseling and I still have an interest in psychology, but most of my understanding of bipolar disorder comes from having friends with this illness. I have watched them swing from mania and unbelievable productive energy to the flatness of depression. I have seen their lives shattered.
- Which character was your favourite to write?
This is a hard question to answer. I enjoyed writing Jack’s parts. He acted as a sort of anchor for the story, and it was interesting and challenging to be inside a man’s head. Ronald was really fun to write because he is such a conflicted character. Still, Dana was my favorite. I loved writing her parts because she was so unfettered and so outside the lines that it was very freeing for me as well. She is quirky and weird, but everything she does makes sense, considering her circumstances and what she perceives as truth.
- Can you tell us anything about your next project?
My next book takes place in Boston, Massachusetts. It deals with a fatal late-night car crash and the aftermath, when the particulars of the accident are called into question by a zealous insurance investigator. Was the crash an accident, a suicide or a murder? Told in first person by the dead man’s widow and his girlfriend, the story exposes lies, deceit, and misdirection as it shows the struggles of these two women whose lives were toppled by the death of a man who loved them both.
- One book you recommend to everyone.
There are so many!
- Tea, coffee or other?
Tea. Definitely. I’m drinking a cup right now!
3 people living or dead you would love to have a drink with?
Carl Jung, Joan of Arc, and Sylvia Plath
The Pocket Wife is published by Faber and Faber on the 19th March
Dana Catrell wakes from a drunken stupor in time to see an ambulance pull into her neighbour’s house a few doors down. Celia Steinhauser has been murdered. But Dana was at her house only a few hours ago. Celia wanted to show her a photo – a photo of Dana’s husband with another woman – and Dana has blank spots of what happened to the rest of the afternoon . . .
This is a thriller that makes the reader question everything. Dana, we learn, has a history of mental illness and as she descends into another manic episode, the line between what actually happened and what she has imagined becomes blurred.
A gripping domestic psychological thriller for fans of ASA Harrison’s The Silent Wife and Sabine Durrant’s Under Your Skin, The Pocket Wife will stay with you – as all good thrillers do – long after you’ve finished it.
Find out more here: http://www.susancrawfordnovelist.com/
Follow the author on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/crawfordsusanh
Purchase Information: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-pocket-wife/susan-crawford/9780571321889