About the Author
Michelle Frances graduated from Bournemouth Film School in 1996 and then from the Masters program at the American Film Institute, Los Angeles, in 1998. Returning to London, she has worked in film and TV for 16 years as a script editor and producer. She is currently Head of Development at BBC Wales Drama, producers of Doctor Who, War and Peace and Sherlock. She works across a number of in-house shows and also oversees book adaptations. The Girlfriend, her debut psychological thriller, has been optioned by The Imaginarium Studios and translation rights have sold in nine foreign territories.
The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances is a gripping is a chilling debut psychological thriller, it was based on the fall-out following an unforgiveable lie. … How does the author keep track of all the small leads throughout the book that … The Girlfriend is her first novel.
She loves your son. She wants your life. How far would you go to protect your son?
Laura had it all. She had a successful career, she was married to a rich husband, with a twenty-three year-old son, Daniel, he was one of the nicest who was kind, handsome, and talented. Then Daniel had the misfortune of meeting Cherry. Cherry was a young, beautiful and smart, but she hadn’t led the golden life, LAURA had but she wanted it.
Cherry is young, beautiful and smart but she had not had the same opportunities as Daniel. But she is determined to take the life Laura had lived from her. Cherry comes to the family wide-eyed and wants to be welcomed with open arms, but Laura suspects she’s not all that she seems.
But when tragedy strikes, a decision was made and a lie is told. A lie so terrible it changes their lives forever . . .
The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances is a gripping and chilling debut psychological thriller – the story of a mother, a son, his girlfriend and an unforgivable lie.
A girl. A boy. His mother. And the lie she’ll wish she’d never told.
The section below, the Author answers questions from members of the Public:
Meet the Author of THE GIRLFRIEND
1 What Made You Want To Write This Book?
ANS: A notion struck me one day: what might be the one thing that would keep two lovers apart who were supposed to be together?
2 – What would set them on completely different paths for the rest of their lives?
ANS: – And the answer that came back was: if one of them thought the other was dead. At the time I had recently become a mother and was experiencing fierce, tiger-like waves of protectiveness towards my new baby, and a character was born: a mother who would protect her child, regardless of what it took, if she was convinced he would come to harm if she did nothing. The more I thought about it, the more it raised question and debate with me; just how far would a mother go to protect her child? And how would she justify it? Protecting your child is such a powerful, animalistic thing to do and I also wondered how anyone could not? I was excited to explore this conundrum further but then there was also such a strong counterpoint to this tiger mom – Cherry.
In my late teens, for a short while I worked in a high street bank. It was mind-numbing work in the back office, processing the daily transactions by literally typing in the day’s debits and credits into a large machine. It was something I’d fallen into as I desperately needed to earn some money and the expectation was that I would have to remain in the ‘machine room’ for a considerable time before I might expect to be promoted. Soon after I started, as a graduate and joined a Fast Track scheme and I’d watch as she spent only few weeks working in each section of the bank, moving swiftly on after getting a taster of each area, and was exempt from working out what I was beginning to see as my ‘sentence’.
She was being groomed for a high-level job, which she would get after only six months – and all because she had a university degree. If you couldn’t afford to study for a degree you had to spend years on each desk and crawl up the promotional ladder – regardless of how intelligent, capable and ambitious you were. This struck me as deeply unfair, particularly as it transpired I had achieved much better grades at school than she had. Cherry is smart – probably smarter than most girls her age and yet, if she were in this scenario, she too would be held back – just because she couldn’t afford to attend university.
I wanted to create a character that looked at ways of bypassing the system, of being intelligent enough to educate herself in areas that made her fit into the world she wanted to belong to. And I wanted her to come up with a clever plan that would make her leap many places up the snakes and ladders board of life, and in honesty, who could blame her?
3. How Did You Decide On The Title For Your Novel?
This book has had a number of titles along its journey. It started as THE LIE, but around the time of sending the MS out to publishers, another book with the same title was quite prominent in the market and so my agent suggested we change it to create some distance. So it became CHERRY (and I had visions of a luscious fruit on the cover, perhaps with a hologram showing a rotten side – I had restrictions on budget!)… but then my UK publishers, Pan Macmillan, pointed out quite rightly that this title made the book sound like it might be a YA novel. And they cleverly came up with THE GIRLFRIEND.
4. Do you work out the whole book before you start writing?
I always have a rough idea of where the story is going for the entire novel (but don’t necessarily know the ending) and will break the beats down further as I come closer to them. I like a book to evolve as I go along – the characters will often determine just what happens.
5. Who’s your favorite villain in literature?
I know this is a popular choice but I think Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley is utterly beguiling and strangely has the ability to raise strong empathetic feelings in a reader, even though he’s a killer.
6. Who’s your favorite hero in literature?
I’ve recently read Bernadine Evaristo’s Mr Loverman – an absolutely enchanting and hilarious story of 74-year-old Antiguan born Barrington Jeddiah Walker. It’s a story that explores Britain’s older Caribbean community with its cultural myths and fallacies and it’s both controversial and courageous.
7. How’s your own relationship with your mother-in-law?
Put it this way, there’s a body under the patio. Only joking! She’s wonderful.
Meet the Cast of THE GIRLFRIEND
LAURA, the Mother
Laura grew up privileged, but longed to spend more time with her busy, affluent parents. This pushed her to have a closer relationship with her son, even as her own marriage begins to crack. She has a very successful career in television production, and has even won a few awards for her work. When Daniel tells her about his new relationship, she is ecstatic, and can’t wait to meet the woman who won his heart. But after meeting Cherry, Laura starts to notice little things. There is something about the possessive way Cherry touches Daniel, and inconsistencies in the stories Cherry shares.
Before she knows it, Laura finds herself making a choice and telling an unforgiveable lie.
DANIEL, her Son
Daniel is the only living child of Laura, and her husband Howard. He studied medicine at Cambridge, and after returning from his worldwide travels he sets his sights on moving out of his childhood home. He meets Cherry while searching for an apartment, and after purchasing the first property she shows him, he asks her out on a date. He has a devil-may-care attitude, and loves classical music.
He finds himself caught between the love for his mother, and the love for his new girlfriend Cherry.
CHERRY, his Girlfriend
Cherry grew up in a low-income neighborhood, but that only helped feed her ambition. She’s fluent in French, Italian, and Spanish. When she wasn’t given the same opportunities because of her background, she studied the area, embellished her resume slightly, and earned a realtor job at a top agency. She hides part of her background, because she fears Laura’s judgement. She isn’t going to let anything, or anyone harm her relationship with Daniel. After a serious accident, she unearths an unforgiveable lie.
This is Michelle Frances Debut Book, and from what I have read so far, it has all the Elements of a cracker, excitement, intrigue, gripping action. She has also sold the Translation Rights to nine foreign territories.