The author of the record-breaking “Silent Patient”, Alex Michaelides, has a new and electrifying psychological thriller, “The Fury”.
One morning, isolated ex-film star, Lana Farrar invites a small gathering of close friends for a weekend getaway on her private island, close to the coast of Mykonos. Beneath the façade of companionship simmer old resentments and violent passions. And in just two days one of them will be killed.
But that is just the beginning…
“The Fury” is our February Book of the Month, and for our QBD Books blog readers, we have an EXCLUSIVE Q&A with Alex Michaelides, where he dives into his creative process for his new release, plot setting, characters, and more.
Keep reading to sink your teeth into this riveting author Q&A!
Q&A with Alex Michaelides
- How did you first come up with the idea for the book?
Writing this book was a very organic process. It was originally an idea I had for a movie or a TV series, intended just to be a paragraph long. But then it grew into a short story, then a novella, until I realised that I was actually writing a novel. I had so much fun writing it, I think that’s why I kept going. The idea itself came from Agatha Christie, and her crime classic And Then There Were None. I had always been in awe of that book, as have many other writers and readers. And so I thought it would be a great challenge to try and take it on and do my own version of it.
The other inspiration is the time I spent working in Hollywood as a screenwriter, and all the larger than life characters I encountered there– the writers, the movie stars, the directors. I saw some incredibly bad behaviour from famous people, and I stored it all in my mind, for use later on. When I came to write The Fury, I thought how fun it would be to take those larger-than-life personalities and trap them on a Greek island. And then throw in a murder.
- The location plays a huge part in The Fury, and you have a strong connection to Greece being born and raised in Cyprus. How did you go about selecting it and how do you find the location impacts the overall story?
I have always been fascinated by the Greek islands, particularly of the crazy wind that whirls around them. I was once stranded on Mykonos for a few days, because the wind was too strong to allow a boat to leave. I think the idea came to me then that it would be a great way to trap people on an island, for a locked room mystery. And as you say, I grew up in Cyprus, and so that part of the world feels very real to me. I thought that I could do a decent job of rendering it, and hopefully provide some escapism as well as mystery and suspense.
- Your book ends up twisting a lot of the general crime/thriller tropes, what inspired you to do this?
As I said, no one can really write a book with this kind of setting without being aware of Agatha Christie. She did it first, and I would say she did it best. As a result of this sub genre she created, we all bring a lot of expectations to a story about a murder on an isolated island. What I really wanted to do was to try and do something fresh with it, and subvert all the readers expectations. So I had a lot of fun coming up with the twists. I really wanted to try and turn the whole genre on its head.
- Elliot Chase has a very distinctive narrative voice, how did you come up with this character?
Elliot is the most interesting part of the book for me. Originally, in my first draft, he was just a minor character. The book was written in the third person and Lana, the movie star, was very much the focus. And yet when I read it through, it didn’t come alive for me. So I asked myself who was telling this story, and then I realise that it might be Elliot. And so I rewrote everything from the start, with him narrating it, and then he just took over. I think it was the most creative experience I’ve had.
- Both The Fury and The Silent Patient follow characters working in the arts, why have you chosen to focus on this industry?
I’ve been around theatre and film people my whole life. There is something about them that is so dramatic, and imaginative. I started out as an actor, before I became a writer, and I really felt that I would like to explore these characters. A lot of them are inspired by people I have actually known – who shall remain nameless!
- You’ve said you have more fun writing The Fury than anything you’ve written so far, why is that?
I think because I was quite bold over by the success of The Silent Patient, to be honest. I wrote that book entirely for myself, and I wasn’t expecting the reaction that it had. And then, when you are in that situation, and you are asked to do it again, you sort of freeze. And so inevitably I had a kind of weird relationship with my second novel. I think ideally I would’ve taken a few years off, but that’s easy to say with hindsight. Instead, I wrote a book that I was never completely happy with, and it was very sad and depressing in tone.
So with The Fury, I wanted to write something lighter, faster, pacier – and more fun. And I hope I succeeded. I had a smile on my face most of the time I was writing it.
- Which character in The Fury do you think you’d most likely be friends with yourself?
I think I would have a lot of fun with Kate, as she is such a party girl, such a badly behaving actress. But there’s something sincere and truthful about Lana, and I imagine she’d be easier to hang around with!