Richard and Judy ask Peter Swanson

Richard and Judy ask Peter Swanson

We have to ask – was this book in any way inspired by an incident in your own life when someone cheated on you – and if so, is this your vicarious revenge?!?

What? No one has ever cheated on me! Well, that’s not exactly true, and I’ll admit that I did dredge up some of those gut-punch feelings when you find out that you’ve been cheated on and lied to, but honestly, I wouldn’t say that these personal experiences were an inspiration. Fortunately, my life has been blessedly free of psychopaths, love triangles, and murder.

Did you feel at all sorry for Miranda or her handyman lover?

A little bit for each of them, but just a little. Miranda was handed a warped view of the world by a bitter mother, so I feel a little sympathy for her because of that. But many children get bad advice from their parents, and learn to forge their own way. Miranda is taught that money is the only route to happiness, and she really takes that twisted world view and runs with it, way further than she should have. About Brad, the handyman, I feel bad for him only because he is in so far over his head, and he has no idea. He still thinks he’s the quarterback of the football team, but he’s actually become the football.

Do you think Lily was born psychotic or became so after exposure to the likes of the odious Chet?

I like to think that Lily was born bad, but maybe that’s just the novelist in me. I do think she was born different. As her father says: she was like a little wild animal. Human ideas of morality don’t really register with her. I thought of Lily the other day because I take a regular walk through my neighbourhood and I always see the same sweet ginger cat in front of its house. She’s friendly, likes to be rubbed under the chin, and scratched on the head. But just yesterday I saw that same cat systematically dismantling a baby bunny it had caught. That’s Lily, I think.

And for your next trick . . . ?

Another thriller. It’s about an apartment swap. Two cousins who don’t know one another swap their homes – the man to London, and the woman to Boston. The woman – who does have a vivid imagination – begins to think that she’s staying in the apartment of a serial killer.