Stephanie Wrobel is the author of Darling Rose Gold, a USA TODAY and international bestseller that has sold in twenty-one countries and was shortlisted for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Wrobel grew up in Chicago and now lives in London. This Might Hurt is her second novel.
Can you describe This Might Hurt in three words?
Belonging. Belief. Betrayal.
This Might Hurt centers around a cult. What research did you do for this book and why do you think people continue to be fascinated with cults?
I spent a good amount of time looking into mentalism, magic, pain, and fear. I also researched everything I could find on real-life cults, including survivors’ memoirs, leaders’ biographies, details about rules and terminology, and the perspectives of abandoned loved ones. Human beings are drawn to stories; we make sense of the world through narrative. That’s why I think cults fascinate us: you have your own mini society. Conflict is inherent, given the power imbalances and social isolation.
Your previous novel, Darling Rose Gold, dealt with a mother-daughter relationship while This Might Hurt deals with the relationship between sisters. Why do you think female relationships are so fascinating to readers and often used in thrillers?
Historically, men have assumed the role of villain in novels much more frequently than women. I think readers are eager to see women depicted in all our gory glory, to confirm that we can be just as manipulative and/or beguiling as men have always been allowed to be.
Who would you like to see play Natalie and Kit in an adaptation?
I would love to see Anne Hathaway as Natalie and Florence Pugh play Kit.
What are some books you would recommend to someone just discovering thrillers?
Tana French is a beloved thriller author for a reason; her prose and plots are equally wonderful throughout the Dublin Murder Squad series and beyond. The Likeness is my favourite of hers so far. I’d also recommend anything by Gillian Flynn to beginner thriller readers. Her characters are deliciously disturbed, the books impossible to put down. And you can never go wrong with Shirley Jackson. We Have Always Lived in the Castle is one of my favourite novels of all time.