1--What is the title of your latest release?
BEFORE YOU KNEW MY NAME
2--What’s the “elevator pitch” for your new book?
Before You Knew My Name is about the connection formed between a young murder victim, and the woman who finds her body – as told by the dead girl herself.
3--How did you decide where your book was going to take place?
The story takes place in New York. As a setting, the city provided the perfect mix of anonymity and possibility that I needed for Alice and Ruby’s trajectory, both separately and together. It also meant I had an excuse to live there for a few months under the guise of research!
4--Would you hang out with your protagonist in real life?
I’d drink a Manhattan with Alice, and some Grey Goose with Ruby, for sure. And I can definitely see myself joining Lennie’s Death Club.
5--What are three words that describe your protagonist?
Alice is curious, vulnerable, and brave. Ruby is contradictory, vulnerable, and loyal.
6--What’s something you learned while writing this book?
Oddly, the thing that seemed to take up the most time was researching how to work a vintage Leica camera, like the one Alice brings with her to New York. But in terms of something that really impacted me, and informed the tone of the novel, it was learning more about the "Missing White Woman” syndrome, and the bias that can lead to prioritizing one kind of victim over another. Especially when it comes to which cases get the most media attention, resources, and public sympathy.
7--Do you edit as you draft or wait until you are totally done?
I tend to do both at once, which means I’m constantly in danger of editing myself right off the page. I genuinely enjoy the editing process; I love reshaping scenes and being able to step back and see the story become what I intended it to be. But that first messy draft, just getting it done, is so, so important.
8--What’s your favorite foodie indulgence?
I’m all about carbohydrates, and anything potato. My dear friend Clinton makes the most delicious Moussaka, and, for better or worse, I’m also partial to every kind of chip.
9--Describe your writing space/office!
Bed! I am an ergonomic nightmare because I have a lovely little office setup, but I seem to always default to my bed (which is where I’m writing this, btw).
10--Who is an author you admire?
My favorite contemporary writer is Rebecca Solnit. I love her lyricism and view of the world, and I’m inspired by her activism. It was a genuine honor to receive permission to use a gorgeous moment from her writing in the epigraph for Before You Knew My Name.
11--Is there a book that changed your life?
The Color Purple by Alice Walker was a revelation when I read it as a teenager. The intimacy of it, while addressing such universal themes, and the incredible power of Walker’s writing viscerally affected me. A recent novel that did much the same was Betty by Tiffany McDaniel. I was still crying an hour after I finished that book.
12--Tell us about when you got “the call.” (when you found out your book was going to be published)/Or, for indie authors, when you decided to self-publish.
I got “the call” about my first major deal some ten minutes before my home country, New Zealand, went into a major Covid lockdown. The only “person” I could share the news with was my dog, Ruby, who was sleeping next to me on the bed. I’m not sure she fully understood the magnitude of the moment, or why I was dancing about the room at midnight, but she does like to muscle in on media moments these days, ha.
13--What’s your favorite genre to read?
I’m not partial to a particular genre, or rather, I’m open to them all. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of true crime, along with non-fiction that looks at how and why we humans operate the way we do (The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk is my most dog-eared book), but I’m just as likely to be found reading contemporary romance, or a cozy mystery.
14--What’s your favorite movie?
A recent favorite is CODA. I adored that movie and cried the whole way through. As for a lifetime favorite, I couldn’t choose just one, but I especially love movies set in New York, so When Harry Met Sally would be right up there.
15--What is your favorite season?
Autumn/fall hands down.
16--How do you like to celebrate your birthday?
I love birthdays, and I even celebrate my quarter-birthday every three months, although that tends to be just me at the party, lol. Down here in New Zealand, my late January birthday is in the summer, so my favorite place to hang out on the day is with friends and family at the beach.
17--What’s a recent tv show/movie/book/podcast you highly recommend?
Yellowjackets blew me away, right from the pilot. I love that it seamlessly blends so many genres, and the performances are just phenomenal, especially Melanie Lynskey as Shauna. We’ve been friends since high school, and it’s been thrilling to see her get the recognition she so deserves. I’m so proud of her. And I cannot wait for season two.
18--What’s your favorite type of cuisine?
Mexican, with Italian a close second.
19--What do you do when you have free time?
I should say I go for long runs. But the reality is, I mostly like to go on YouTube spirals, finding clips from old favorite TV shows and musicals. Recently, I found a whole swag of montage videos dedicated to 1980s supercouples from Days of our Lives, and I was up until around 2 am reminiscing about my dramatic television viewing habits as a kid.
20--What can readers expect from you next?
I am currently putting the final touches on book two. The story shares the same DNA as Before You Knew My Name, in that it’s a cross-genre novel centered around a kind of gendered crime that is all too familiar in real life. It’s both daunting and exciting to see it take shape (and yes, I am having to try very hard to stop editing myself off the page).
When she arrived in New York on her eighteenth birthday carrying nothing but $600 cash and a stolen camera, Alice Lee was looking for a fresh start. Now, just one month later, she is the city’s latest Jane Doe. She may be dead but that doesn’t mean her story is over.
Meanwhile, Ruby Jones is also trying to reinvent herself. After travelling halfway around the world, she’s lonelier than ever in the Big Apple. Until she stumbles upon a woman’s body by the Hudson River, and suddenly finds herself unbreakably tied to the unknown dead woman.
Alice is sure Ruby is the key to solving the mystery of her short life and tragic death. Ruby just wants to forget what she saw…but she can’t seem to stop thinking about the young woman she found. If she keeps looking, can she give this unidentified Jane Doe the ending and closure she deserves?
Women's Fiction Psychological | Thriller Psychological [Atria, On Sale: November 1, 2022, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781982198992 / eISBN: 9781982199012]
Jacqueline Bublitz is a writer, feminist, and arachnophobe who lives between Melbourne, Australia, and her hometown on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. She wrote her debut novel Before You Knew My Name after spending a summer in New York, where she hung around morgues and the dark corners of city parks (and the human psyche) far too often. She is now working on her second novel, where she continues to explore the grand themes of love, loss, and connection.
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