This week’s Author of the Week is the bestselling writer Amanda Craig, sharing her brilliant new read ‘The Golden Rule’. A thrilling read that follows the story of two female strangers on a train that plot together murder each other’s husbands. The Golden Rule masterfully weaves in fairytales, folklore, traditions, whilst commenting on contemporary issues in society, touching on generation rent, domestic violence & gender roles. This is a chat that will let you in on the many inspirations & experiences, some personal, that have led Amanda to write this book & become the prolific voice she is in the literary world today.
What’s in this chat:
- The cover of The Golden Rule is inspired by Cornishware with it’s blue & white accents, although with the large crack acorss the cover suggests this read is not your typical Cornish cup of tea and biscuits, but in fact a thriller.
- Inspired by strangers on a train, the story follows a train trip from Paddington to Penzance where two women – one is wealthy & one is lesser well off, both unhappily married, plot to murder one another’s husbands.
- One of the two women, Hannah is ‘starved out by her husband’, a poor working class girl who grew up in Cornwall to then move on to Durham University as she was a ‘bright’ spark. She marries her college sweetheart, Jake who she later finds out was cheating on her with a rich, attractive woman named Eve. After all of this, Hannah has been left to work as a cleaner to support her young child. Although her other female counterpart, Ginny is looking to take out her husband because her very rich husband is a computer game designer with a lot of money, in which she could inherit.
- Amanda on Weinstein-like behaviour in the professional world that led her to becoming a cleaner. “I do know what its like to earn your living doing manual labour”. The thirty years that took Amanda to write this book.
- “Do you work out?” – Working out versus hard physical labour.
- Amanda on Beauty & the Beast & how it has the plan of a woman to kill a man who she hasn’t met. “There’s a sense we all have to take each other on trust. We have to assume the person we met for the first time is sane & won’t kill us.”
- “Please don’t kill me”, Eastern European greetings that inspired the book.
- Amanda on her love of fairytales, wicked witches, Cinderella & using costume as a key element of the story.
- Amanda & Imogen on the Dior exhibition. “It was so moving, it was like going into a Cathedral.” “This reverence & joy at these exquisite designs.”
- The great class divisions in society & the role it plays in Amanda’s books. Is society more equal?
- “In my lifetime I’ve seen it become more and more eroded” – Amanda on society’s disintegration.
- Amanda on being called a ‘State of a Nation’ novelist. Amanda on Generation rent, domestic violence & gender roles.
- The two years of research that goes into Amanda’s novels.
- Amanda’s process following & ‘bringing back’ characters from past novels.
- Amanda on why old stories resonate with us today. “Because they’re part of us”… “They just refuse to die.”
- Amanda on her fight for plot & story. “They’re part of a great art that people love as readers”. “This is the essence of fiction – its stories.”
- Imogen & Amanda on male writers versus female writers. If a male writes about feelings & more sensitive topics it’s seen as a deeply groundbreaking read. If a woman does, it’s seen as chick-lit.
- Cornwall as more than a place, but a character in the book. Amanda “puts the area on it’s knees”. It’s very dark & it’s very threatening.
- Amanda on juggling work-life balance & her life as a bestselling writer, critic & journalist.
- Amanda’s negative experiences in the publishing & literary world.
- Plus what’s next for Amanda, new books & productivity in lockdown.