ISBN 10: 1633796353 / ISBN 13: 9781633796355
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Inhaltsangabe: Dee Aldrich rebelled against her off-center upbringing when she married the most conventional man she could imagine: Patrick, her college sweetheart. But now, years later, her marriage is falling apart and she's starting to believe that her husband wants her gone...for good. Haunted by memories of her late mother Annette, a former covert operations asset, Dee reaches back into her childhood to resurrect the lessons and 'spy games' in which she learned how and when to lie. But just as she begins delving into her past to determine the course of the future, she makes a discovery that will change her life: the money that her mother left behind.


Author One on One with Jamie Mason and Sara Gruen

Photograph by Randall Wood

Photograph by Tasha Thomas

Sara: I was able to read an advance copy of Jamie Mason’s wonderful new novel, Monday’s Lie, and couldn’t wait to sit down with her and dig into a few of the turning points of this riveting story.

The book opens up with a terrific scene: a childhood memory of the main character, Dee, watching helplessly as her mother is whisked away by a soldier in the middle of the night, ultimately not to return for most of a year. Why does the story start there?

Jamie: I think the mental real estate of the age span between 12 and 15 years old is so interesting. At that age, you start compiling a more thorough catalog of memories, stuff you’ll actually recall with clarity throughout your life. With a firmer grasp of what life looks like, our convictions about how everything works start to take shape. And so do our plans for what we hope to have for our own future.

There’s no good time to lose a loving mother, even for just a while. For Dee Vess-Aldrich, when her mother, Annette, is secreted away in the middle of a peaceful night, the loss colors everything about how she views the world and it defines what she wants for her corner of it when she’s in charge.

It seemed important to show right away why Dee is the way she is.

Sara: Annette Vess is a great character and one of the more unusual mothers to show up between book covers. She uses her skills of psychological manipulation and her honed powers of observation in both her work as a black ops asset and also in the games she plays to bond with her children. Is this the chicken or the egg with her? Is Annette like this because of her job, or does she have this job because she’s like this?

Jamie: Annette was a pure joy to write. I think she’s one of those organically magnetic people you sometimes come across. The intrigue would have always come to her, as did so many things in life. But those kind of people, those who sit at the hub of a universe that’s always pulling toward them, have a built-in handicap – greed.

In Annette’s case, it’s not a sinister greed, but I felt (when I was busy making her up) that she was greedy for immortality. She’s far too practical a lady not to recognize that all the immortality she’ll ever have access to is in the minds and hearts of her children. So she gives them as much of herself as she can and this wonderful, if not entirely normal, bond is forged.

So, just like the chicken and its egg, Annette’s life was inevitable and also impossible to diagram out to any satisfaction.

Sara: Annette’s tactics work, though, don’t they? Dee’s close relationship with her brother, Simon, keeps the nuclear family, or what’s left of it anyway, shoulder-to-shoulder against the world. Is this more of a good thing or a bad thing?

Jamie: It’s good and bad. While writing it, I so enjoyed Dee’s love for and reliance on her brother, but at the same time it made it way too easy for Dee to construct her own little reality without the benefit of a wider range of friends and family to ground her. It stunts her potential, until it doesn’t...

Sara: So is Dee’s husband, Patrick, just not very good at getting away with his secrets, or is it the training from Annette and Dee’s birthright of intuition that foils Monday’s lie?

Jamie: I think Patrick’s not very good at it, but not because he isn’t smart enough to be. He might have been able to get by some partners, but he didn’t have a chance against Dee. He doesn’t work well under pressure, and like Dee, he’s a bit of a control freak. Once he’s sure that the handle he thought he had on his life (and his wife) isn’t really there at all, he just loses it.

In a way, Patrick and Dee do exactly the same thing to each other – they set up a picture of life instead of a real life. When it falls apart, as it inevitably has to when you’re trying to plug real people into a scenario in your mind, the two of them handle it in pretty much opposite ways.

Sara: Some say that all books written in the first person are at least a little autobiographical. Any spies in the Mason family tree?

Jamie: Not that you know of. But to be fair, there aren’t any that I know of either.

The only thing autobiographical in Monday's Lie is a version of the coolest stunt I ever managed and which, sadly, no one saw.

I am less than renowned for my coordination. Really, it’s mostly very embarrassing to be me.

One day, many years ago, I was menaced by a horsefly in my kitchen while I was alone in the house, talking on the telephone with my husband. After not a lot of meaningful conversation with my love, but much yelping and flailing with a dishtowel, I’d had enough. And since these were the days when the phone was still anchored in the wall, it was a choice: flee the room or stand my ground against the dive-bombing horsefly.

All of a sudden, some action-hero demon possessed me and I said to my husband, “Hang on a second. I’m going to knock this sucker’s head off.”

I set the phone on the table and took up some Tarantino-heroine’s stance (if only I’d been wearing stilettos!) and waited for my nemesis’s next pass. I didn’t have to wait long. It dove. I struck out with a never-since-duplicated wave of good aim down through my wrist. And as the whipsnap echoed off the kitchen walls, I saw the horsefly’s head, its little wand of a brainstem still attached, hit the floor to my left and the winged rest of it, still twitching, tick against the linoleum to my right, a full five feet away.

Yes. I decapitated a horsefly with a dishtowel four seconds after I called my shot like Babe Ruth.

I was at once lit up like Vegas, triumphant, but also utterly despondent. I would never be that awesome again and no one would ever really know what a thing of beauty that moment was.


So I put a version of it in a book.

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