I am delighted today to be bringing you an interview with the fabulous author Wendy James, whose multi-layered domestic noir novels, with their gripping, twisty plots, complex characters with brilliantly-observed relationships, and sharp commentary on contemporary life, have earned great acclaim and a devoted readership. I certainly always much look forward to reading her books, because I know I’m in for a real reading treat(and I’m not just saying that because as well as being a fellow author, Wendy is a dear friend!) A couple of years ago I interviewed her when her previous book, the extraordinary novel The Golden Child came out; and today, I’m interviewing her about her brand-new novel, The Accusation, a disturbing, suspenseful read which plunges us into a world of small-town secrets and social-media storms, with at the heart of it, a monstrous accusation which will pit two women against each other. But who is telling the truth? Who is lying? As events unfold with frightening rapidity, everyone takes sides…
First of all, Wendy, congratulations on your new novel! It’s a brilliant, gripping and disturbing thriller and very contemporary in feel, yet as you mention in your afterword, it’s inspired by a classic crime novel, Josephine Tey’s The Franchise Affair. Can you tell us a bit about that, and how the idea developed from that initial inspiration, including how it diverges from it?
I don’t think they’ve made us any faster to rush to judgement — I’m quite sure we’ve always done that — but what they’ve done is given us a platform to air that judgement in public – a virtual town square, if you like. It feels like a return to the days when people were publicly shamed, put in the stocks, publicly pilloried — and in some cases had their lives ruined because of the righteous justice of the mob.
It’s very exciting. Fox21 and Temple Hill Productions ( Fault in our Stars, Twilight) optioned the book last year and it’s currently in series development at FX Network in the US. Fingers crossed we get that beautiful green light happening!
More about The Accusation:
Somebody is lying.
After eighteen-year-old Ellie Canning is found shivering and barely conscious on a country road, her bizarre story of kidnap and escape enthrals the nation. Who would do such a thing? And why?
Local drama teacher Suzannah Wells, once a minor celebrity, is new to town. Suddenly she’s in the spotlight again, accused of being the monster who drugged and bound a teenager in her basement. As stories about her past emerge, even those closest to her begin to doubt her innocence.
And Ellie? The media can’t get enough of her. She’s a girl-power icon, a social-media star. But is she telling the truth?
A powerful exploration of the fragility of trust and the loss of innocence, from the author of The Golden Child and The Mistake.
More about Wendy:
Wendy James is the celebrated author of eight novels, including the bestselling The Mistake and the compelling The Golden Child, which was shortlisted for the 2017 Ned Kelly Award for crime. Her debut novel, Out of the Silence, won the 2006 Ned Kelly Award for first crime novel, and was shortlisted for the Nita May Dobbie award for women’s writing. Wendy has a PhD from the University of New England and works as an editor at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University. She lives in Newcastle with her husband and the youngest of her four children, and writes some of the sharpest and most topical domestic noir novels in the country.