Last year, Sandie Jones burst onto the thriller scene and took the genre by storm with her riveting debut, The Other Woman. Now, the new queen of nail-biting suspense is back with another delicious take of psychological thrills titled, The First Mistake.
The story follows Alice, a successful businesswoman who lost her first husband, Tom, in a tragic accident years ago. Now, she has a new husband and a new life to boot, but things begin to slowly fall apart when Alice suspects her spouse of being unfaithful—prompting her to turn to Beth, her BFF who helped her after Tom’s passing. The two go looking for answers . . . and from there, the story delivers shock after shock, landing one blind-siding twist after another as Alice realizes that she’s no longer sure what to believe, or who she can trust.
In my review of The First Mistake, I called Jones’ latest “a novel so addicting and hypnotic that it demands to be read in one sitting,” and I stand by that statement. Once you start this one, there is no stopping, trust me.
Just head of her big release, Sadie Jones agreed to go back on the record for our Five Questions segment (she first joined us last year for The Other Woman) and I asked her about everything from how she came up with the story idea for this book to what’s next for her moving forward.
Read the full Q&A below, then make sure to order your copy of The First Mistake, now officially in bookstores.
TRBS: Wow. I have to say, I freaking loved this book. I was a big fan of The Other Woman, and couldn’t put this one down for a second. How on earth did you come up with the story idea for The First Mistake?
Jones: Thanks so much. It’s fair to say that this novel evolved over time – it certainly wasn’t the first idea I came up with! The crux of it was always about a couple and the woman’s best friend, with the central premise being about trust and how it’s often misplaced. It can be abused by those closest to us, a work colleague or a stranger who sells us something under the guise of it being real or genuine. Trust is such an integral part of our everyday lives, that we all hope will never be exploited, yet sadly there are very few of us who don’t know what it feels like when it is. Without giving too much away, I read an article in my local newspaper about an unsavoury group of individuals who were making it their life’s work to gain peoples’ trust just so they could abuse it in the most awful way and it planted a seed!
TRBS: What is your writing process like? Do you know all the twists and turns ahead of time, or do they come to you as you write the story?
Jones: I have no idea where my story is going to go from one page to the next! I only find out the twists and the turns that it’s going to take when I get there. For my third novel, I’ve bought myself a very large whiteboard and am enjoying using lots of different coloured pens to draw arrows and links between characters – I’m not sure that it’s helping me though! My office looks more like that of an unsuccessful homicide team!
TRBS: As someone who has taken the genre a bit by storm, what advice do you have for aspiring novelists?
Jones: That’s very kind, but there’s still so much for me to learn and I’m not sure I’m qualified to give advice as I’ve only been writing fiction for two years. I’ve so often thought about writing a book, but kept putting it off as it never seemed to be the right time. Like most things, thinking about it was harder than writing it. If you have an idea, just get started, and if it’s the right one, you won’t be able to stop. I need to write, more than I want to write and if you have that feeling inbuilt, you can try and ignore it all you like, but it’ll get you in the end, and then you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
TRBS: Who are some of your favorite authors, and what was the last great book that you read?
Jones: I love Harlan Coben, Clare Mackintosh and BA Paris. Two recent reads that standout are Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier and The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North. Both thrillers, but at opposite ends of the spectrum.
TRBS: Lastly, now that The First Mistake is out, what’s next for you?
Jones: There are so many exciting things going on, that it’s really hard to keep up and take it all in. The Other Woman has been optioned for TV, so I’m hoping that there will be some news on that shortly. I’m also working on a third, as yet, untitled novel, which will follow in the domestic thriller footsteps of The Other Woman and The First Mistake, and hopefully out this time next year.
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.