Facebook, ear infections and learning to put on a bra: Before I Go To Sleep author reveals his secrets

Facebook, ear infections and learning to put on a bra: Before I Go To Sleep author S.J. Watson reveals his secrets

Before I Go To Sleep became a hit movie starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Anne-Marie Duff

Monday, May 30, 2016

From wasting time online to in-depth research on the specifics of being a woman, author S.J. Watson (or Steve, to his friends) knows what it takes to write a best-selling novel.

In this entertaining interview with Penny Smith, the writer of Before I Go To Sleep and Second Life explains how browsing Facebook, careful research, and wearing women's clothes, helped him get into the mind of his female characters.  

Before I Go To Sleep was in 2014 adapted into a hit movie starring Nicole Kidman, Anne-Marie Duff and Colin Firth. Like follow-up Second Life, the story's main character is a woman, but Watson said that writing across genders was no obstacle.

"For me it's never felt like a particularly brave decision, because as a writer your job is to think yourself into somebody else's head and write from their point of view," he said.

"I made mistakes. There was one moment near the beginning of the book where my character uses the bathroom, I showed it to a friend of mine and she said 'Steve I don't even use that word in my head'.

"There was [also] one interesting afternoon where I was in my room trying to work out how to put a bra on."

With a third novel due to be released next year, Watson revealed that he tries hard not to 'over-plot' his stories before he begins writing.

"[Before I Go To Sleep] wasn't plotted in advance in any great detail," he said. "I knew the beginning and I sort of knew the end, and a few points along the way.

"My guiding principle is it has to be believable to an educated lay person."