Friday, April 6, 2018

A Chat With Amelia Brunskill, Author of THE WINDOW

We have with us today Amelia Brunskill, whose debut novel The Window hit shelves on April 3. Keep reading to learn what inspired her to write her story, how she selects her characters' names, and more.

Amelia Brunskill was born in Melbourne, Australia, but she grew up mostly in Washington state where she picked a lot of blackberries, read a lot of books, and failed to properly appreciate the epic beauty of the mountains and the Pacific ocean.

She earned her bachelors degrees in psychology and art from the University of Washington and her master in information studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She now lives in Chicago, where she eats as much Thai food as possible and works as a librarian.
(photo and text taken from Brunskill's
Goodreads profile)

How did you come up with the premise for The Window?

I’ve always loved mysteries, particularly ones in which the protagonist is not any kind of official detective but is in some way personally connected to the tragedy. I also have had a lifelong fascination with twins. So between those two interests, the story slowly but surely began to knit itself together.

Is this a novel I'm going to need to read with the lights on? Do you classify it as a thriller or more of a mystery?

I’m going to go with calling it a thrilling mystery, because it is more about an investigation into events that have already occurred than an attempt to forestall something terrible from happening, which to me is the main distinction between the two genres.

In terms of whether I’d recommend reading it with the lights on, I’d say that while it has some pretty dark subject matter, it has little to no explicit violence, so lights might not be necessary, but a nice warm cozy blanket would not be a bad idea!

How do you like to pick your characters' names?

My process for selecting names:

1) Pick a name for the protagonist.
2) Pick names for everyone else.
3) Realize that half of the names all start with the same letter.
4) Change so that none of them start with the same letter.
5) Realize that two, or more, of them now rhyme in a glaringly obvious and obnoxious fashion.
6) Change so there is no rhyming.
7) Realize I now have two names that are nicknames for each other
8) Change again.
9) Start to reconsider yet again.
10) Eventually, editor must rip the manuscript from my hands so that I stop touching it.

What's more challenging for you as a writer: wrapping up the end of a novel or starting the first chapter?

End of the novel, all the way. First chapters don’t feel too painful for me, but the end of the novel is really difficult because it has to provide a satisfying payoff for everything that came before.

If you had to pick one song that encapsulates the feel of The Window, which song would you choose? 

I listened to the song Breathe Me by Sia on repeat while I was working on The Window. It’s such a beautiful and haunting song, and it felt perfect somehow for navigating Jess's emotional landscape. I’ll always associate it with writing this book.

What is one underrated book you would like to recommend to everyone?

I don’t know if it is underrated as such, but I was utterly surprised and delighted last year by The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy. It’s one of those books that I now want everyone to read, but I can’t remember what initially prompted me to pick it up.

Read it, love it, tell everyone you know about it. It’s a lovely, lovely book. 

Release Date: April 3, 2018

Anna is everything her identical twin is not. Outgoing and athletic, she is the opposite of quiet introvert Jess. The same on the outside, yet so completely different inside--it's hard to believe the girls are sisters, let alone twins. But they are. And they tell each other everything.

Or so Jess thought.

After Anna falls to her death while sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess's life begins to unravel. Everyone says it was an accident, but to Jess, that doesn't add up. Where was Anna going? Who was she meeting? And how long had Anna been lying to her?

Jess is compelled to learn everything she can about the sister she thought she knew. At first it's a way to stay busy and find closure . . . but Jess soon discovers that her twin kept a lot of secrets. And as she digs deeper, she learns that the answers she's looking for may be truths that no one wants her to uncover.

Because Anna wasn't the only one with secrets.
(taken from