I love a thriller and am delighted to be part of the launch celebrations for The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn today with an interview to share.
Published by Harper Collins on 25th January 2018, The Woman in the Window is available for purchase here.
The Woman in the Window
What did she see?
It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.
Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.
But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?
An Interview with A. J. Finn
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag A.J. Can you please tell us a bit about The Woman in the Window?
The Woman in the Window is a 21st-century Rear Window, in which an agoraphobic woman believes she’s witnessed a crime, but can’t set foot outside to investigate—nor can she persuade anyone to believe her.
Whilst the psychological-thriller market is a very crowded one, I like to think that my book packs a strong emotional punch. Writing it was a very personal and often uncomfortable experience for me, as I tried to bring my experience to the character of a woman who has herself lost all belief in the possibilities of life. The Woman in the Window aims to be a suspenseful thriller that doubles as an examination of grief, guilt, and redemption.
I also hope that the book can travel up and across the market. I’ve taken care to craft smart, shapely sentences, much as Gillian Flynn and Tana French do, so that readers feel they’re experiencing so-called ‘literary suspense’.
Where/who does your inspiration come from?
As a writer, I’m inspired by classic film and literature. The Woman in the Window takes its cue from Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954) as mentioned, and my next book owes a debt to The Count of Monte Cristo, another story in which a past crime haunts the present.
Most of my favourite authors are long dead. (Perhaps this is because I work with authors every day…) Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, Charles Dickens—I re-read them regularly. I also love writers of classic British mystery fiction, especially Arthur Conan Doyle, Josephine Tey, and Edmund Crispin. My graduate work at Oxford focused on Patricia Highsmith.
And among contemporary writers, I always make time for Kate Atkinson, Andrea Camilleri, Gillian Flynn, Carl Hiaasen, and Fred Vargas—authors whose so-called crime novels provide an experience beyond mere thrills. I love crime fiction, but I especially enjoy crime fiction with emotional substance and/or psychological depth.
Thrillers are very popular genre all over the world now. Why do you think people are so keen on reading thrillers?
Like much fiction, thrillers provide a form of escape, and in times of political upheaval and global unrest, it makes sense that readers would turn to escapist material. But this genre offers another attraction: In most thrillers, order and justice are eventually restored, and heroes are rewarded whilst villains are punished. That’s an appealing notion for many readers, especially in a world where injustice too often seems to triumph.
(I think you’re absolutely right AJ.)
Are you writing the next book? Can you reveal what it will be about and when can we expect it?
I’m writing the next book right now. It’s a psychological thriller, and I hope to see it published in 2019. In the story, a young woman travels to San Francisco in order to write the biography of a celebrated crime writer who only has a few months to live. The crime writer is most famous for the sensational disappearance, twenty years earlier, of his first wife and teenage son. As the young woman digs into his past, it becomes clear that someone will go to great lengths to stop her from uncovering the truth.
(That sounds amazing! Count me in to read it!)
About A. J. Finn
A. J. Finn spent a decade working in publishing in both New York and London, with a particular emphasis on thrillers and mysteries. Authors he published or helped acquire over the years include Robert Galbraith (aka J. K. Rowling), Agatha Christie, Patricia Cornwell, Carl Hiaasen, Nelson DeMille, and Karin Slaughter.
Now A. J. Finn writes full-time. The Woman in the Window was inspired by a range of experiences: his lifelong love affair with suspense fiction, from the Sherlock Holmes stories he devoured as a child to the work of Patricia Highsmith, whom he studied at the graduate level at Oxford; his passion for classic cinema, especially the films of Alfred Hitchcock; and his own struggles with agoraphobia and depression.
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