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Quickfire author Q&A: Freida McFadden

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

Unless you've been living under a bush in the middle of the Australian outback for the last few years, I'm sure you'll have heard of Freida McFadden.

She's a practising brain injury physician who also happens to knock out the odd bestselling psychological thriller or two in her spare time!

And readers can't seem to get enough of her dark and twisty stories. She talked to me about why she went into medicine rather than writing, how she can't seem to avoid the neighbour's lawnmower when she's writing and how an advert for potting soil might have inspired her next book!

Where do you live?

Boston, Massachusetts

How many books have you published?

Great question! *Goes to count* Sixteen, apparently! Wow, I've been busy.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was nine years old, and OMG, my arms are tired!

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Um no, because "nobody can ever make a living as a writer, you'll just spend your life scrounging for money, why don't you become a doctor instead, honey." Writing has always been a hobby for me, which I did in my free time and occasionally persuaded other people to read. Then when self-publishing became a thing, I was totally on it.

Do you write full-time?

I'm a physician by day and a writer by night (and by lunch break... and by canceled patients... and by boring meetings).

Who are your favourite authors?

Shalini Boland's books are what inspired me to start writing psychological thrillers. I also adore Natalie Barelli and Lucinda Berry. I'm always looking for new authors to love though.

What does your writing day look like?

I don't write on a daily basis because my life is too busy for that. I generally plan in my head for months or longer, and then when my schedule eases up, I write like a madwoman for a couple of weeks until I magically have a book on my hard drive. I can write 10,000 words on a very productive day, but then I have to go throw up.

Do you plan your books in advance or discover as you go along?

I'm 70% planner, but I also let my characters surprise me.

Where do you write?

Wherever my children are not. I love going out to write on my front porch, although literally every time I do, my neighbor starts running the lawnmower. You would think just by chance, ONE of the times I'd be out there he wouldn't be mowing the stupid lawn.

Which has been your most successful book to date?

The Locked Door is currently at the top of the chart on Amazon!

How do you come up with your ideas?

I let the world inspire me. Yesterday, I saw a commercial for potting soil and I was like, YES BOOK IDEA! Short of that, I watch Hitchcock films.

If readers are new to your work – which book of yours do you recommend starting with?

I usually recommend The Locked Door, because that seems like the book everyone is the most fond of.

What are you currently working on?

Right now I'm working on an unputdownable psychological thriller with a heartstopping twist you won’t see coming.

Tell us about your latest release.

The Housemaid is out April 26! It's about a woman who gets a job working as a maid for a rich family, and they all get along very well and become great friends and drink lots of tea and nobody at all gets murdered in the attic. Check it out!

Freida McFadden is is a practicing physician specializing in brain injury who has penned multiple Kindle bestselling psychological thrillers and medical humor novels. She lives with her family and black cat in a centuries-old three-story home overlooking the ocean, with staircases that creak and moan with each step, and nobody could hear you if you scream. Unless you scream really loudly, maybe.

To hear Freida talk more about herself in the third person, visit her website:


Freida McFadden was talking to AJ Wills, the bestselling author of multiple psychological thrillers. He was a journalist for more than twenty years and has been writing full-time since March 2021. He's married to fellow thriller writer, AJ McDine.

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