5 questions with Lisa Jewell

5 questions with Lisa Jewell

In Author Conversations by Katie Winters

5 questions with Lisa Jewell

We love any opportunity to get to know our favorite authors better. So a lightning round of questions sounds like a good place to start. Here, we ask five quick questions (with one wildcard) about books, genres, reading preferences, writing style, and their secret to success. 

A blockbuster bestselling author and book club favorite, Lisa Jewell hooks readers with her twisty, psychological thrillers. From her propulsive and unsettling The Family Upstairs to the edgy and addictive Then She Was Gone, we could fill a reading list of the best smash hit mysteries with just Jewell’s titles. Her latest gripping thriller, None of This is True, stars a true crime podcaster who becomes part of the main story on her show when she’s sucked into the orbit of her mysterious subject’s strange, secretive life.

Here, Jewell shares her favorite contemporary domestic thrillers and walks us through her writing process.

1. What are your all-time favorite books?

Lisa Jewell:

Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant
The Stopped Heart by Julie Myerson
After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell
Sleep with Me
by Joanna Briscoe
She’s Come Undone
by Wally Lamb
The Secret History by Donna Tartt

2. What’s your favorite genre to read?

Lisa Jewell: I love to read in my own genre! I love contemporary domestic thrillers, usually written by women. I want to read propulsive books that carry me along and do all the work for me. The age of the smartphone and box sets has killed the part of my brain that used to like to take on challenging books, now I just want to surrender myself to whatever I’m reading.

3. Which do you prefer: ebook or audiobook?

Lisa Jewell: I hate to read on screen. I spend enough of my life staring at screens as it is. And I haven’t really adopted the audiobook either because it doesn’t fit into any elements of my life. I don’t drive very often, or do long commutes, and when I walk the dog, I like to be able to hear everything going on around me and think through sticky issues. The only time I listen to audiobooks is when I’m doing huge stock signings of books and then I absolutely love them.

4. What’s your writing routine or process? 

Lisa Jewell: I write in the afternoons, at my kitchen table. I aim to write a thousand words a day when I’m ticking over and then up that to two thousand words a day when I’m getting closer to a deadline. I’m quite compartmentalised about writing, I can do all the normal stuff alongside it and step in and out of it if I need to. I’m not precious about it. Fifty percent of the work takes place on the typed page, the other 50% takes place when I'm walking the dog or taking a shower. Sometimes writing feels like magic, but 90% of the time it feels quite technical. It’s truly the best job in the world and I hope I get to do it until I drop.

5. How much of your writing success is due to hard work, talent, or luck?

Lisa Jewell: I’m going to say most of it is down to talent. Sorry if that sounds bigheaded! And I'm sure there are readers who would strongly disagree. But as I don’t work particularly hard — well, not as hard as people who have really difficult jobs — and as the “luck” part of my career was a good 25 years ago, I am going to assume that the only reason why I'm still going strong and still being successful is because I'm good at what I do. 

Wildcard: If you could have coffee/tea with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Lisa Jewell: I’m an embarrassment around celebrities and heroes. I can’t construct proper sentences and hear myself talking in a funny voice. If I’m in a room and one of my heroes is also in the room, I will do everything possible to avoid speaking to them. So it would have to be my mum, who passed away in 2005 at a horribly young age. And my sisters would be there too, of course. I can’t imagine a better gathering than that.

For more, check out the list The best Lisa Jewell books, ranked from our Scribd editors.


About the Author: Katie Winters

Katie is an Everand editor who digs weird westerns and hidden histories and never says no to noir. She loves putting her librarian training to work connecting readers with good books. And dancing to Dolly Parton.