Once A Liar by A.F. Brady
The next gripping thriller from AF Brady…
Peter Caine, a cutthroat Manhattan defense attorney, worked ruthlessly to become the best at his job. On the surface, he is charming and handsome, but inside he is cold and heartless. He fights without remorse to acquit murderers, pedophiles and rapists.
When Charlie Doyle, the daughter of the Manhattan DA—and Peter’s former lover—is murdered, Peter’s world is quickly sent into a tailspin. He becomes the prime suspect as the DA, a professional enemy of Peter’s, embarks on a witch hunt to avenge his daughter’s death, stopping at nothing to ensure Peter is found guilty of the murder.
In the challenge of his career and his life, Peter races against the clock to prove his innocence. As the evidence mounts against him, he’s forced to begin unraveling his own dark web of lies and confront the sins of his past. But the truth of who killed Charlie Doyle is more twisted and sinister than anyone could have imagined…
Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?
A.) I am a psychotherapist, I’ve been working in the mental health field for nearly twenty years, and Once a Liar is my second novel. I draw heavily from my experiences working with individuals with mental illnesses when I write my books, which I think lends a unique authenticity to my work.
My novels are set in Manhattan, where I grew up, a place teeming with interesting and diverse people from whom I draw inspiration.
Once a Liar is the story of Peter Caine, a cut-throat Manhattan defence attorney who has recently gained custody of his teenaged son upon the death of his ex-wife. Peter sees little value in other human beings, which has served him well in his career defending the indefensible. When he finds the tables have turned and he is accused of the brutal murder of his on-again off-again mistress Charlie Doyle, Peter desperately tries to prove his innocence, and along his journey, he finds that the damage his heartlessness has done may be too great to overcome.
Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea, to writing and finally to publication?
A.) I wanted to write a book from the perspective of a sociopath because I found more often than not, literary and media representation of sociopathic stories are told through the lens of those who have been hurt or victimised by the sociopath. I wanted to dig inside his mind and get unsettled in there.
Peter was born of a combination of people I have known in my career, mixed together with a healthy dose of imagination. While I was writing him, I found myself becoming sympathetic to his situation. He’s a cold and unempathetic man, but he has a past, a history that led to his current condition, and he has a future that he seems willing to take steps to improve. Peter took the reins at some point in the writing process and showed me sides of himself that I didn’t know were coming. It was quite a journey.
I was nervous and excited for publication because I knew what a risk I was taking by creating a protagonist that’s hard to sympathize with, but I’m so glad I did. I love stepping outside the box, and my readers have really enjoyed getting inside the mind of a sociopath. It’s unique in that way, but also fast paced and the plot is twisty and complex. It was a pleasure to write, despite getting a little scared of the person I was creating from time to time.
Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?
A.) I love reading books of all genres, and going back to old favourites. I love Jay McInerney, Hemingway (especially Islands in the Stream when it starts to get warm out), anything David Sedaris writes, James Frey, especially A Million Little Pieces, Chuck Palahniuk… I would recommend that everyone read Karoo by Steve Tesich. It’s one of my all-time favourites. I just love the story and the difficult protagonist. I love a journey that’s paved with self-discovery and change.
Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?
A.) As a kid, I loved Winnie the Pooh, and I still do. I loved Swallows and Amazons (Arthur Ransome), Nancy Drew, the Famous Five (Enid Blyton), all these kinds of adventure stories. My grandparents had troves of old books at their house in Greece, so every summer my brother and I would devour everything they had left over from their own childhoods. And my favourite book growing up was My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell.
Q) What are you currently reading?
A.) I am currently in the middle of several books: American Overdose (Chris McGreal) Picking Cotton (Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton), Bright Lights, Big City (Jay McInerney) I reread this one almost yearly, The Plague (Camus) I reread this one almost yearly as well, and I’m just about to start Where the Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens). I’m also reading some manuscripts so I can blurb for other suspense/thriller writers.
Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?
A.) My favourite moment came earlier this spring when a woman reached out to me via email to tell me that she has a very close friend who was diagnosed with a terminal illness and was beginning a bucket list. One of the items on her bucket list was meeting me. I was absolutely floored that my writing had meant so much to someone. We arranged a date and the three of us sat at a diner in Manhattan and chatted for hours about her life, my books, and the impact I made on her life.
Connecting with readers and telling stories that people feel deep down and relate to on some level has always been my favourite part of being a writer, but this one really meant a lot to me.
We are still in touch and are planning on meeting up at the diner again!
Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?
My family has been incredibly supportive, especially my husband. He takes on many additional roles in order to allow me to take the time I need to write. He helps me work out sticky plot issues, and he never gets tired of sitting around over dinner discussing things I’m going to do to my characters. My dog is also omnipresent while I’m writing, and it’s gotten to the point that I can’t complete a sentence unless he’s lying with me.