About the Book
What if you were framed for a murder you didn’t commit? A gripping, addictive thriller for fans of Angela Clarke, Mel Sherratt and Rachel Lynch.
Jennifer Smits is a young mother, married to a hotshot lawyer and living in Amsterdam. Her world explodes when her husband is found dead at a holiday park during a weekend getaway. Convinced that the police have failed in their investigation, she embarks on a desperate quest for the truth – but the deeper she digs, the more she gets enmeshed in a tangled web of lies, spun by a ruthless law firm.
As Jennifer’s search for answers intensifies, her grip on reality weakens. Barely able to manage her patients at the health clinic, or take care of her young son, Jennifer is at risk of losing it all – even her closest friends begin to desert her. And then a chance encounter with a charming stranger sparks a new chain of events that plunges her deeper into a world of threats and corruption. Soon, she begins to fear for her life – but who can she trust, and how far will she go in pursuit of the truth?
This is a gripping, addictive thriller that will make you question everything, including the flaws of forensics. Could we all be framed for a murder we didn’t commit?
I interviewed Julienne Brouwers to talk about her new book Double Deceit and being a writer.
JB: Thank you so much for having me, Jess!
- What do you want readers to know about Double Deceit?
JB: Double Deceit is a somewhat ‘softer’, yet gripping and addictive thriller. Once you start reading you don’t want to put it down anymore (from what I’ve been told). It’s a thriller at heart, filled with many twists and turns, but there’s also a wonderful element of romance, and a deeper message touching on the transient nature of life.
- What was your inspiration for Double Deceit?
JB: My main characters in Double Deceit is Jennifer, a GP, and her husband Oliver, who is a hotshot lawyer. I lived in Amsterdam as a young professional when I started writing this book, when I had my first job after finishing my PhD. Although I didn’t have any children back then yet, my life was in some ways comparable to the main character (although I wasn’t living in such a high-end neighbourhood 😊). I’ve worked in a hospital for about seven years, know quite a few doctors so that gave me enough input for Double Deceit. Every day in Amsterdam I took the train from the financial district, which plays an important role in the book and where Oliver’s law firm is based, and witnessed many of the hotshots that work there.
Jennifer is a girl from the province, coming from a warm but very ‘average’ family. Her husband Oliver has quite a wealthy background and although they both led the urban, young professional life when they met, it turns out their different backgrounds have left a mark on their perspective on life.
- What is your writing process like?
JB: Up until now I’ve started writing with only a very basic outline. In particular with a thriller, this ultimately means going back and forth quite a bit, which is probably not as efficient, but I’ve enjoyed the process of playing it by ear and seeing how the book and characters evolve. I like to write quickly and making a very rough, first draft and then going over it multiple times, rather than trying to getting it all just perfect in one go.
Sometimes, I may be not at home and a few lines will pop up in my mind; I will email them to myself to use them when I crawl behind my laptop again.
4. Do you use any of your experience from your own life?
JB: I think subconsciously, and sometimes consciously, when you’re trying to portray a person with a specific aim (like for example a lawyer), you use a lot of traits of the people that surround you or play a role in your life and compile them all together in your characters. I’ve never had a character fully based on one person though.
5. What is your favorite book or some of your favorite books?
JB: It’s been quite some time since I last read it again, but I absolutely loved Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and reread it a couple of times. More recently I (finally) read The girl on the train and was blown away by it. I watched the movie a month or two later and found that, for me, it matched with the book really nicely, except for the setting being in the New York area instead of London.
6. Who are your favorite authors?
JB: For Double Deceit I was very much inspired by Harriet Evans, even though she’s a novel writer. She uses such wonderful colorful language and when reading her books, as I was writing/translating myself, I looked at the sentences and words from a different perspective. I’ve always loved the books by duo Nicci French when I was younger and enjoy their quick dialogues, something I like to think I have in my books too. The thrillers by Angela Clarke I enjoy very much and have inspired me as well.
7. Is there any genre besides thriller you’d want to write?
JB: I could see myself writing a book for children, or a romantic novel. But I still have enough inspiration for several thrillers.
8. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
JB: This is a hard question, because until now I’ve never been able to dedicate all my time to a book. I would estimate that it takes a year in total all the way from an idea to a ready to be published manuscript, if you’re able to dedicate about twenty hours a week or so.
9. What is your favorite part of being a writer?
JB: The freedom of working whenever it suits you, which works really well for me as I have three young children. Also being able to use your imagination, ‘making up’ entertaining events in the story. For a thriller in particular it’s important to have all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place at the end, which is quite a challenge, but also a lot of fun to do.
10. What is your least favorite part of being a writer?
JB: It can be lonely at times, since you’re working by yourself most of the time, although I also enjoy that aspect. The financial insecurity is also a negative aspect of the job.
About the Author
Julienne Brouwers worked as a pharmaceutical scientist and medical physicist before becoming a writer. She lives in the Netherlands, with her husband and three children, where she has published two successful thrillers, and lived in the UK and US for a total of four years.