Karen Osman is an award-winning writer and best-selling author. Following her win at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Montegrappa Novel Writing Award 2016 with her crime-thriller novel, The Good Mother, renowned literary agent, Luigi Bonomi of LBA Books, secured a three-book deal with UK-based publishing house Head of Zeus. Since then, The Good Mother, which was published in October 2017 and her second novel, The Home (September 2018), were both number one bestsellers. Her third book, A Perfect Lie, was published in August 2019. As our Author of the Day, Osman tells us all about A Perfect Lie.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Perfect Lie is about.
The Perfect Lie is a psychological thriller novel. The main character is Claire and tells her story both as a teenager in the ‘80s and today as a successful lawyer, mother, and wife. She takes on a case about a 19-year old girl who has been raped. As the case develops, she is reminded of an incident she would rather forget, and she finds her perfect life starting to unravel when she realizes she is being hunted.
Was there anything in particular, an incident or something you read, that made you want to tackle this?
I was interested in this idea of reputation and keeping up appearances. I wanted to delve deeper into this concept and what the impact is when we focus more on appearances rather than truth.
Tell us more about Claire Carmichael. What makes her tick?
The most important thing to Claire is her good reputation. She is a person who has grown up believing she can have it all and indeed from the outside she does. However, I believe Claire is very typical of the challenges working mothers face today.
Readers say that the book had a lot of twists. Did you plan them all out before they started writing?
Yes, I’m quite a big planner when it comes to writing books. I plan the outline and then chapter by chapter. During writing, it doesn’t always follow exactly, but I find planning reduces writers’ block.
What drew you to start writing psychological thrillers? What appeals to you about the genre?
I write them because I love reading them! I think they appeal to the fast-paced nature of today’s society and for me personally, I like the challenge of working how who did what and why!
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
It’s not really a secret but I do presenting as well, mainly for my own online show, Karen’s Bookshelf, which is all about books. I interview authors, make book recommendations, and run a monthly book club. You can see it at: https://www.karenosman.com/karensbookshelf
What is the hardest thing about being a writer?
The hardest thing for me is finding the discipline to write when I have a lot of other things going on. I’m a mother to two young children, and also run a business, Travel Ink. Saying that, I’ve learnt to be very focused with my writing and the busier you are, the less time you have to procrastinate!
Is there an underlying message you wish to relay about basic human nature through your characters?
That good and bad aren’t always so clear cut and we can find ourselves in circumstances that drive us to do things we would never have imagined.
Your previous book, The Good Mother, was a bestseller. What has most surprised you about the response you've received from readers about your work so far?
I think many authors suffer from a bit of imposter syndrome and sometimes I still find it hard to believe that I’m a published author! Reader reviewers are so important, and my goal is to entertain and give the reader a relaxing break from everyday life. When my readers contact me and tell me how much they’ve enjoyed the books, it’s such a great feeling.
Do you consider yourself a disciplined writer? Do you have a schedule that you stick to, or is it more in the moment?
When you have a deadline, you have to be disciplined. I have a writing schedule and usually write first thing in the morning when I’m at my best. I try and write every day too.
Do you suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do to combat it?
Some days are harder than others but that’s why I try and plan the book as much as possible in advance in order to avoid writer’s block. The most important thing is getting the words down on paper – you can always edit later.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on my fourth book which is also a psychological thriller and will hopefully publish in 2020.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Either on my website at KarenOsman.com or on Instagram @karenosmanauthor