Miranda Rijks is a bestselling author of thirteen psychological thrillers, who started writing fiction after recovering from a rare bone cancer.
Her latest book, The New Neighbour, was published in December.
She's been chatting about plotting, self-doubt, the company of her two black labradors and how strange ideas materialise in her catastrophising brain.
Where do you live?
I live in West Sussex, surrounded by trees.
How many books have you published?
Sixteen of which thirteen are psychological thrillers.
How long have you been writing?
All my life. I wrote stories as a kid, worked in jobs that involved a lot of writing and completed a masters in writing as a mature adult.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes. I was traditionally published for a self-help book and a biography, but I really wanted to write fiction. After recovering from bone cancer, I had one of those now or never moments.
Do you write full-time?
I’ve been a full-time author for the past two years and feel so grateful I am being paid to do what I love.
Who are your favourite authors?
I give a different answer every time I’m asked this question! Vikram Seth, Frieda McFadden, KL Slater, Claire Douglas and many, many more.
What does your writing day look like?
I write on and off most of the day, although there are frequent mundane interruptions for phone calls, emails, walking the dogs etc. I like to write a minimum of 2,000 words a day, but often it’s much more. I find the plotting process more laborious. The writing generally flows easily.
Do you plan your books in advance or discover as you go along?
I’ve very much a plotter. I work with my editor on Zoom to flesh out the story in considerable detail. We call it a beat sheet which can be about 8,000 words. Only when my editor is happy with the beat sheet do I actually start writing. It means that the writing process is quick as I type as fast as I think. I also love that there’s some collaboration along the way as being an author can be lonely. Even though I’ve just written my fourteenth psych thriller, I still go into a well of self-doubt midway through the process!
Where do you write?
At the kitchen table with our two black labs for company. They make sure I don’t atrophy at the laptop as they constantly need letting in and out.
Which has been your most successful book to date?
The Visitors. It’s been an Amazon bestseller a few times. The Arrangement is a close second.
How do you come up with your ideas?
The news, things that have happened to friends or family or just weird ideas that materialise in my catastrophising brain! Sometimes I start with a setting but normally it’s a simple premise. I’m constantly thinking, what if?
If readers are new to your work – which book of yours do you recommend starting with?
It really doesn’t matter. My last book is always my favourite, so I’ll go with The New Neighbour.
What are you currently working on?
I’m manically jotting down ideas for my next book prior to starting the plotting process. It’s that scary but exciting stage of writing.
Tell us about your forthcoming release.
I have a new psychological thriller coming out in early May called The Second Wife. It’s about a fight over an inheritance, family secrets and the consequences of greed. Other new releases include six of my best-selling books being released as audio books between July – October 2022.
Miranda Rijks is the bestselling author of thirteen nerve-shredding psychological thrillers including The Visitors, The Arrangement and Roses Are Red. She lives in West Sussex with her husband, musician daughter and two black Labradors. She started writing after recovering from a rare bone cancer and now she’s addicted to making up twisty tales. When she’s not writing, she’s obsessively knitting (she has a yarn problem!), painting mountains on her iPad and dreaming of living fulltime in a Swiss chalet.
Miranda Rijks 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.