Published October 17 2020 by Bellenden Projects
Someone framed you. How far would you go to prove your innocence?
Pounding on the door. My seven-year-old son shaking me awake. My head fuzzy with sleeping pills. The hallway flashing with blue light. This morning my life will change forever.
Alex Kendrew is juggling single parenthood, work and dating; with a wild, impetuous streak that’s hard to keep in check, she struggles to find a balance and feels perpetually guilty for the choices she makes.
In K.A. Masson’s domestic noir thriller, Alex begins a passionate affair when an old flame gets in touch. But one morning, the police arrest her for his attempted murder. Someone is framing her; can she prove her innocence as the evidence mounts against her?
Alter Ego is a fascinating portrayal of a woman caught between her desires and responsibilities.
At the start of the book, Alex is arrested for the attempted murder of her boyfriend. I was hooked. Then the book flashes back four years to show the makeup of her life leading up to the arrest. When the book picks back up in the present, there are a lot of twists and turns and likely suspects to who might set Alex up.
The author has an easy to read voice. And while I was a little disappointed with the meaningless sexual exploits of the flashback, the domestic suspense story was intriguing.
About the Author
KA Masson has worked in design for over 20 years, bringing to life the words of others. She began writing Alter Ego, her début novel, almost by accident. She emailed the Faber Academy on a day when someone had just pulled out of their ‘Start Your Novel In A Week’ course. Without that stroke of luck, she may never have got further than the first few chapters.
She loves books with a psychological element; My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and the Dublin Murders series by Tana French are among her favourite books. She is fascinated by the crazy things that normal people do, when pushed by anger, fear, jealousy, and hatred.
KA Masson lives in London with her teenage son and their black cat, Slinky.
Q&A with KA Masson
Sherry: This is your first book, can you tell us about your transition to writing?
KA Masson: I hadn’t written anything substantial since my degree dissertation (a long time ago!) but shortly after becoming a parent, I felt something shift in my life. That was partly because of a relationship break-up; the preceding events to that and the fall-out from it were traumatic and made me consider my life and future in a way I never had before.
I remember sitting in bed with my laptop and just starting to write down some of the thoughts that had been preoccupying me. The subject matter, at the time, was living with a depressive partner. I felt stifled by it, by him, and couldn’t see a way out. I had tried so many approaches to get him to deal with his condition – carrot, stick, carrot and stick. Yet nothing worked. Writing about my worries acted like a kind of therapy; I realised that I could go it alone. Those early scribblings didn’t make it into the book, though I do talk about struggling with a depressive partner.
Sherry: How did you come up with the idea for Alter Ego?
KA Masson: Embarking on internet dating for the very first time (in my early 40s!) inadvertently gave me quite a lot of material, as did the friendships that develop between yourself and the parents of your children’s friends. Being a single parent but with a wish to meet a new partner was exciting, scary and more than anything, hugely impractical.
Over time my protagonist’s desires as a woman, as well as the responsibilities of being a single parent, became a strong theme in the book as it began to take shape. As soon I recognised this, I understood that this struggle could be used dramatically. By chance, around the same time I saw an ad for a Crime Writing Masterclass at The Guardian; having attended that, I could see the potential of Alter Ego as a domestic thriller.
Sherry: Are you a plotter or more spontaneous writer?
KA Masson: The writing of Alter Ego was quite spontaneous, the plotting organic, but I had a strong idea of the characters from an early point, and they were my driving force. However, I am beginning work on my second book and, having heard how other writers work, I can see the advantage of detailed plotting. Having said that, what I’m hoping to find is the sweet spot between planning and allowing the story to form naturally, around the framework I’ve put in place.