Sandie Jones has swiftly moved to the fore of hot thriller writers. Her suspenseful debut The Other Woman was selected by Reese Witherspoon as her Hello Sunshine book club‘s November pick, and has quickly surged in sales in the time since. It’s a dark relationship drama which unfurls the dynamic between a mysterious man, his new girlfriend, and a mother who’s struggling to let go. “It’s spooky season,” Witherspoon said of why she selected the book. “[The Other Woman] has one of the most twisted and entertaining plots.”
“When she told me that Reese had chosen The Other Woman as her Hello Sunshine pick, I went hot, cold, and then burst into tears!” Jones tells EW of the moment after she received the news.
EW caught up with Jones about the selection, dream casting ideas, and more. But that’s not all: The author has also exclusively shared the cover for her next thriller, The First Mistake, with EW, as well as offered up some exclusive details. So if you’re one of the many to be entranced by The Other Woman, here’s a book preview you probably don’t want to miss.
The First Mistake publishes on June 11, 2019, and is available for pre-order. Read on below to see the new cover and read our full interview.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I have to start with the news of Reese picking your book for her Hello Sunshine. How did you find out, and what was the feeling there?
SANDIE JONES: Believe it or not, I was actually in the ladies room at The Goring Hotel in London! I’d had a lovely afternoon tea with my agent and we were about to say our goodbyes. I came out of the cubicle and she said, ‘Have you seen the email?’ When she told me that Reese had chosen The Other Woman as her Hello Sunshine pick, I went hot, cold, and then burst into tears! It’s a very strange feeling to have a book out there; being read by people all over the world, especially when I thought that I’d be the only reader. So to have someone I hugely admire and respect, pick it up and enjoy it enough to tell the world, is truly a dream come true.
Of course, some of her picks go on to hit the screen. Any dream casting ideas for The Other Woman?
To add to all the other bonkers things that have been going on, The Other Woman has already been optioned for a TV series, which I’m hugely excited about. In my dreams, (and with an unlimited budget!), I’d love to see Lily James playing Emily, Henry Cavill as Adam, with the piece de resistance of Meryl Streep as Pammie. Not that I’ve thought it through at all!
With The First Mistake you’ve written another novel of domestic suspense. What about the genre attracts you?
I have always been fascinated by other peoples’ lives and the differences between theirs and mine. I used to think that everybody thought like me, but no two people are the same, and how others approach situations and deal with them can sometimes leave me speechless. But I guess I have the same effect on them! So to write about ordinary people, in extraordinary circumstances, is a joy because there is so much material to draw on. It also allows me to put myself in scenarios and behave in a way I never would, which is great fun.
It’s a hot space for authors right now, particularly among women. Why do you think so many readers are responding to it? Anything about this moment in time?
Timing plays a part, definitely, and right now, we’re seeing a move of change amongst women, who want to stand up and have their voice be heard. Domestic suspense novels are borne out of reality; women are living in abusive relationships, with unfaithful partners, and dark secrets — unfortunately, it’s the way of the world, but all the time we’re talking about it, writing about it and reading about it, it keeps the spotlight on the issue.
The dynamic of the novel is a seemingly familiar one — the husband, the wife, the best friend. How did you want to unpack it?
The tie that binds the three of them together has evolved over time, but at the heart of the story is a triangle that I’ve seen played out in real-life, again and again. When you hold two people so close to you, there’s always a chance that sparks will fly; they could love each other or hate each other, either one could be problematic. But with Alice, Beth, and Nathan, it goes a lot further than that, and as each of their secrets are revealed, the stakes become higher and higher.
Any authors or stories inspire this novel?
Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies) is an author who always manages to strike the perfect balance between the mundane and the histrionics. Even when someone’s been murdered in your street, you still have to get the kids tea! And it’s that sense of reality that I strive for. For The First Mistake, there was a story in my local newspaper that sparked a major thread that runs through the book. I’ve just exaggerated and embellished the idea for dramatic effect. Proving once again, that real-life is always the best inspiration!
Finally, why does this cover fit the novel for you?
I really love this cover. Not only is it beautiful, but it speaks volumes without actually saying anything at all. For me, both as the writer or as a would-be reader, it represents broken promises and broken dreams. It shows a life that was once picture-perfect, but is now shattered, beyond repair. We just don’t know whose life it’s depicting!
More Interviews with Reese Witherspoon Picks:
- Where the Crawdads Sing gives readers a murder mystery in the Southern wild
- The Light We Lost author Jill Santopolo is a huge Reese Witherspoon fan
- Why Still Lives pick may be Reese Witherspoon’s boldest choice yet
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