New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard talks to Authorlink about her latest book, THE GOOD SON (Mira Books, January 2022). Her novel The Deep End of the Ocean was the first selection of Oprah’s Book Club twenty-five years ago. Ever since Ms. Mitchard has been writing compelling stories about ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances, and the pressures they experience reveal universal truths usually hidden below the surface.
Jackie talks to Authorlink about the challenges of developing THE GOOD SON, why she wrote the novel in first-person, how she labors over every paragraph and how she sees writing as an ongoing learning process.
THE GOOD SON has already received high praise from Kristin Hannah, Scott Turow, Karin Slaughter, Lisa Genova, and others. The book poses a powerful question:
What do you do when your child does something unimaginable? For the mother in THE GOOD SON, the answer is both simple and agonizing: you keep loving him, no matter what.
ABOUT THE NOVEL
Thea Demetriou’s adored and typically good-natured son was convicted of killing his girlfriend in the midst of a drug-fueled episode that left him with no memory of his actions. Four years later, sober, deeply repentant and broken-hearted, Stefan is on the brink of being released and is desperate to reconnect with his family and friends and find a way back into society. But what Thea discovers is that the pain and duress her family faced during the trial and Stefan’s incarceration were only the beginning. While her love for her son is unwavering, she’s overwhelmed by guilt over having her child home alive and well, while another mother suffers from such a terrible loss. And she fears for her family’s safety as they experience the open anger and hostility of a community still reeling from the crime and now faced with the perpetrator free and living in their midst.
WHAT INSPIRED THE NOVEL
Jacquelyn Mitchard was inspired after a chance encounter she had with a woman in a coffee line at a hotel years ago. The woman shared that she stayed in that hotel every weekend when she came to visit her son, who was serving 27 years in prison for killing the only girl he’d ever loved. Mitchard, the mother of young men herself, was aghast as she imagined how that mother must be feeling and what she might have endured, and so the seeds for THE GOOD SON were planted.
WHAT JACQUELYN MITCHARD SAYS ABOUT THE BOOK
“When I set out to write this story,” Mitchard explained, “I wondered whether I would be able to make the characters sympathetic, even though they were sympathetic to me. But what I discovered is that the hallmark is love. Even if the one you love most does the worst possible thing, love is not erased, instead it survives. THE GOOD SON is a tribute to that mother’s love.”
Jacquelyn Mitchard is the New York Times bestselling author of 22 novels for adults and teenagers, and the recipient of Great Britain’s Talkabout prize, The Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson awards, and named to the shortlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was the inaugural selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, with more than 3 million copies in print in 34 languages. It was later adapted into a major feature film starring Michelle Pfeiffer. Her novel Still Summer has also been adapted for a film still in production. She has also an essay collection, The Rest of Us: Dispatches from the Mother Ship, drawn from her newspaper column syndicated by Tribune Media. Mitchard’s essays also have been published in magazines worldwide, widely anthologized, and incorporated into school curricula. She served on the Fiction jury for the 2003 National Book Awards, and was editor-in-chief of Merit Press, a Young Adult imprint under the aegis of Simon and Schuster.
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