Friday, September 30, 2022


Sarah Bonner: 

Think about a time when your spouse/roommate/sibling/colleague/friend “borrowed” something they shouldn’t have: your favourite sweater, the last of the coffee, the donut you’d been saving for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, your car, that guy you’d already said you liked. What did you say when you found out? Did you whisper five little words under your breath: I will [expletive] kill you


Now picture a scenario where things got a bit out of control. Where you accidently followed through on that promise…


Welcome to Megan Hardcastle’s life. Her husband was having an affair with her sister; Leah having yet again stolen something that was rightfully Megan’s, another pilfered thing in a string of thefts stretching back to their rather tumultuous childhood. But this time Megan didn’t just whisper the five words under her breath. Now she has a dead body on her hands and she desperately needs a plan…


What would you do? Would you confess and take the punishment, spend the rest of your life in a jail cell for sororicide? Or would you try to get away with it? You don’t need to answer. At least not out loud anyway. 


But how do you get away with murder? Megan has a brainwave: if no one knows Leah is dead, she can’t be accused of killing her. Sounds so simple. But people don’t just disappear without someone asking questions.


Luckily— well, in relative terms at least— Megan has one advantage most of us don’t; Leah is her identical twin, a perfect copy. What if she lives both of their lives, makes the world believe Leah is alive and well and still living her glitzy life as an influencer and writer. Meanwhile, Megan can think of a better long term solution. It’s just bonkers enough that it might actually work.


This is the premise for my debut novel, HER PERFECT TWIN. It’s a psychological thriller with a bit of a difference. It’s not a ‘”whodunnit” or a “howdunnit”, you literally watch Megan kill her sister in chapter two! Nor is it a “whydunnit”, maybe Leah doesn’t deserve to die but she’s hardly the loving twin Megan deserves. No, the whole book hinges on a different question: can she get away with it? And for that I needed to make you, as the reader, root for her. 


You must want her to get away with murder. Something we’ve all been told is the worst thing a person can do, the most heinous of all crimes. Writing HER PERFECT TWIN was certainly a challenge! So how did I do it?


Before I did anything, I went on a hunt for examples from other writers, other stories with sympathetic (or at least sympathetic enough) killers at their heart. Think Dexter and his “dark passenger” in Jeff Lindsay’s novels. Or the titular sister in Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, the Serial Killer: who maybe needs to find a healthier way to deal with her problems, but whose motivations are understandable. Or the couple in My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing who are trying to spice up their marriage with a murder habit which spirals out of control. 


Satisfied that it was possible to get the reader to root for the murderer. I started to write, keeping three fundamentals at the forefront of my work.


The first thing was to make her “normal”, a relatable character whose life is bound by the same worries we all have: her job, her relationship, her sick mom in a care home. Remember when I asked if you’ve ever whispered those five fateful words? Of course you have, and so has Megan. Because she’s just like you


The second was to bring her to life on the page, to make the reader like her, to want to be friends with her. I chose to use a really close first person point of view, telling Megan’s story as it unfolded in real time, as if you’re sitting on her shoulder. You get to experience everything, with no filter or sugar coating. In other words, you are now an accomplice. Now you really want her to get away with it!


The last and final thing was to create an actual villain. Yep, Megan might be the killer but you need to get to know Leah before you judge. I peppered the novel with flashbacks to the twins growing up together so you really get a feel for how Leah spent her whole life making Megan’s a misery. Oh, and you also need to meet Megan’s husband. I won’t give away too many spoilers, but the Hardcastle’s marriage is far from sunshine and roses. 


So, does Megan get away with killing her twin? Obviously you’ll have to read the book to find out! But I will say that her perfect plan to live both their lives faces an obstacle Megan didn’t see coming. It’s March 2020. All our lives are about to change as Covid sweeps across the globe and forces nations into lockdown. How can she live a double life when she’s stuck at home with her husband? And what if he knows far more than she thought he did?


Sarah Bonner lives in Sussex with her husband and very spoiled rescue dog. She’s worked in finance and project management for the last fifteen years, but the pandemic gave her the opportunity to revisit her teenage dream of writing. Her Perfect Twin is her debut novel and she’s brimming with ideas for more twisty psychological thrillers.





1 comment:

Hyba said...

Wow, this sounds deliciously suspenseful and fascinating! I'll keep an eye out for this book next time I'm shopping for reads.