Another interview is about to start, so grab a cup of your favorite beverage and let’s begin our chat with Merry Jones!
1. What do you believe are some challenges that are faced while writing Domestic Suspense?
Most of my books have been straightforward “suspense” or “thrillers.” This one, WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW, is more character driven, taking place within the context of family, childhood, marriage and friends. Digging deep into characters’ minds, lives, pasts and secrets was a challenge, but also great fun.
2. What character do you relate to the most in What You Don’t Know?
Tommy, the brother of the protagonist and also the victim of childhood bullying is the character who touches me most. He’s not always nice, by the way. In fact, he can be really odd and even mean. But still, he appeals to me because he remains himself, refusing to bend to pressure, and because…he’s Tommy.
3. Do you have a playlist for the book that we can listen to?
No playlist. In fact, I don’t want any music while I write. It distracts me, demands too much of my attention. I prefer quiet.
4. If you could have any celebrity play as the characters who would they be and why?
Nora as an adult would be Anne Hathaway or Julia Roberts, of course. Her husband would be Colin Farrell or Tom Hanks. The Senate Candidate would be Colin Firth. As a girl, Nora would be Mackenzie Foy. Tommy would be Stanley Halsey or Mark L Young. Not sure anyone knows all these younger actors—I found them online and wanted to hire them on the spot.
5. What book do you think has influenced your writing?
Oh, too too many to name, starting with Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Winnie the Pooh, and Baba Yaga as a child.
I guess the book that most influences me is either the book I’m currently reading or the one I have just finished, the latest being The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman. Her writing is beautiful, precise and moody, and she inspires me to stretch my mind and try new things. But I’m a fickle reader, loving whichever book I’m with at the moment.
6. When do you usually write?
I try to write in the morning, but it usually ends up being early afternoon. I need 3-4 hours, can’t do short stints.
7. What are your top 5 favorite books?
Can’t name them any more than I could name my favorite child or friend. Each is so different and affects me, as a reader, in different ways. Each is its own kind of love.
8. Are you currently working on anything else?
Yes, always. I’m working on another novel, this one about a feud between two sisters, one living, one dead. I also have mystery about human trafficking that should come out sometime this year.
9. What inspired you to write What You Don’t Know?
It started with childhood memories. In Middle School, I’d witnessed repeated bullying of a boy. Even though I wasn’t the “victim,” the cruelty affected me long term and deeply, as did the guilty fact that I did nothing to step in or stop it, day after day. WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW grew out of that bullhying.
In all my books, I focus on themes that feel “true” to readers. Bullying fits that requirement, especially when expanded to include spousal abuse, which is ultimately a form of bullying.
WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW is, in essence, the story of a woman who is both witness and survivor, and of the price she pays to move forward.
10. And lastly, book or movie?
During the pandemic: Movie. No patience for reading.
Otherwise: BOOK, no question.
Then again, why only one?
Fantastic answers! Thanks so much,Merry, where can readers find more about you and your books?
Merry Jones is the author of over twenty books of fiction, non-fiction and humor. Her domestic thriller WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW won honors as a Finalist in The 2020 Book Excellence Awards, and her suspense novel, CHILD’S PLAY, was a winner in the American Book Festival, 2019. Her work has been translated into seven languages, she taught writing at the college level for over a dozen years, and she has been a frequent contributor to GLAMOUR, AMERICAN WOMAN, CHILD and other magazines. Jones is a member of the Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and The Philadelphia Liars Club, with whom she cohosts the weekly ODDCAST podcast and a monthly WRITERS COFFEEHOUSE.
Nora Warren hides her dark side well because she’s had years of practice.
The wife of a lawyer and mother of two girls, she slides under everyone’s radar, never revealing what she really is—a murderer.
At least, she feels like one.
Nora’s plagued by the secrets surrounding her older brother’s suicide decades earlier. Yet she lives as though he never existed.
Now, in her thirties, Nora suspects her husband, Dave, is having an affair with her friend, the wife of a leading US Senate candidate. When her friend’s body is discovered—another apparent suicide—Nora is left with haunting secrets and choices that dredge up her grim nature, the side of herself that no one ever sees. Will she act on her impulses? Mustn’t she?
How far will Nora go to protect the life she has built for herself?