Episode 122: Writing Domestic Suspense — Interview with Cate Holahan

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds!

Domestic suspense has been getting a lot of buzz lately, but crafting a great book in this sub-genre is a challenging endeavor.

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing mystery and thriller author Cate Holahan about her latest book The Widower’s Wife. In this episode, Cate gives us a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into crafting a story of suspense and intrigue set in in everyday suburbia.

In this episode Cate and I discuss:

  • How she crafted the point of view for the story and why she chose to use certain characters’ point of view and not that of others.
  • World-building in domestic suspense, and why a close setting (like a house or school) can be especially interesting for writers to explore.
  • The cultural details of the protagonist’s Brazilian heritage (like me!) and the research that went into making the details spot-on.
  • How she wrote the investigator in this story, and why she gave this character’s role a particular twist.
  • The artistry behind the supporting characters of the book, and why she wrote these characters in this way.

Plus, Cate’s #1 tip for writers.

About the Author

Catherine “Cate” Holahan is an award-winning journalist, former television producer, and author. Her second novel, The Widower’s Wife, was praised in a starred Kirkus review as “one of those rare thrillers that really will keep you reading all night.”

Her articles have appeared in BusinessWeek, The Boston Globe, The Record and on web sites for CBS, MSN Money, NorthJersey.com and CNBC. Her first novel, also published by Crooked Lane Books, is Dark Turns. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two daughters, and dog.

To learn more about Cate and her books, visit her website at cateholahan.com or follow her on Facebook.

The Widower’s Wife

thewidowerswifeAna Bacon, a young housewife, tumbles off a cruise ship into the dark and deadly waters, but did she take her secrets with her?

Investigator Ryan Monahan is a numbers man. So when his company sends him the Bacon case, which could net a ten million dollar payout, Monahan doubts that her death is just a tragic accident. But the husband has a substantial alibi and a number of witnesses claim to have seen Ana fall. So the official ruling seems to be substantiated.

Still, the more Monahan uncovers about Ana’s life, the more he realizes how many people would kill to keep her secrets hidden. And the closer he gets to the truth, the greater the odds grow that he, too, will take a fatal fall.

Cate Holahan looks at the dark underbelly of a marriage from the perspectives of the detective and the victim in her tense and enthralling page-turner, The Widower’s Wife.

The links to this book are Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you decide to make a purchase DIY MFA will get a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting DIY MFA!

Link to Episode 122

(Right-click to download.)

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!

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  • Interesting. I hadn’t heard the term domestic suspense as a category of fiction until right now. Will give this a listen!

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