Let’s get to know Ann Aguirre, author of The Third Mrs. Durst.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
I have no work to do. In the morning, I order breakfast from Le Pain Quotidien and get their special scramble, which includes eggs, bacon, tomato, peppers, and onions. It’s served with sourdough toast. I have a chai latte and then I decide what book I’m going to read while lounging in the sun on the terrace. I’ll either finish the book or end up napping. Either one is a good outcome. My pets will come and snuggle with me at some point (two cats and a mini dachshund). When it gets too warm outside, I’ll come in and have lunch, something simple that I can just pull out of the fridge. Then I feed the pets their lunch.
In the afternoon, I play video games. Hopefully Bioware has something new out. And at night, I’ll be watching an amazing Korean drama with my family. Then I’ll take a long, romantic bath with my husband, and then… well. I think I can fade to black here. Perfect day!
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
The current political situation, primarily. I think we’re all tired of seeing people victimized. The Third Mrs. Durst is a revenge fantasy, written for every survivor who never got justice, let alone revenge. Plus, we’re all tired of seeing evidence that rich, cis white men can get always with almost anything. In this book, I flip the script and it was so satisfying to walk on the dark side and let myself punish all the rich, terrible men who hurt people and get away with it and who start to believe they’re above any reprisal. Not in this story, pal.
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
Found family is definitely a theme I come back to. While people can’t choose their biological families, they can choose who they bond with and who they surround themselves with throughout their daily lives. In my stories, characters may often be estranged from their actual families due to ideological differences or sometimes their families are dead. But I tend not to write lone wolves, so there will be others occupying mentor roles or standing in for siblings. Friends say a lot about who you are, and I like to explore the bonds that we determine for ourselves, who we love and why, and what keeps us loyal, no matter what.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Oooh, this is fun. Marlena is like…Cinderella mixed with Machiavelli. Add a touch of Imperator Furiosa, and you have Marlena. She’s got the rags to riches mystique, she’s cunning and careful and she plots against her enemies like Machiavelli. (This is one of my favorite quotes by the way and it’s so apropos: “A man who has a small injury will want revenge, yet a man who is dead will not.” The longer version of the quote, paraphrased, is that it’s best to crush your enemies so badly that they can never rise against you. And that’s Marlena to the bone. Furiosa represents Marlena’s willingness to fight all the way to the wall, even putting her own life on the line, if necessary. I hope readers love following her story to the conclusion!
Tell us a bit about yourself. / Where do you see yourself in five years – this is the time to dream big!
This is something I haven’t talked about, but I’ve always dreamed of writing games as well as fiction. In five years, I hope I’ll still be writing stories that people enjoy, but by then, I would like to have diversified to create more interactive entertainment as well. I do have some irons in the fire in that regard so we’ll see how well I do at spinning these dreams into reality, like Rumpelstiltskin with his straw and gold. Thanks so much for inviting me! It’s been a pleasure.
This wife is no trophy.
Marlena Altizer Durst lives in her husband’s shadow. He controls her every move—what she wears, the food she eats, and the friends she’s allowed to make. If she disobeys, there are…consequences. And he has all the power.
To outsiders, it seems that she leads a fairy-tale life. But nobody ever wonders if Cinderella was happy after she married the prince. Marlena has traded freedom and safety for luxurious imprisonment, and most days, that seems like a bad bargain. Death may be the only exit she’s allowed. Just like his first wife. And his second. Unless she flips the script.
Some people just need killing.
Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling
author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature.
She writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens,
and has published forty-two novels and novellas with
Penguin, Macmillan, Harlequin and others.
Before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. She likes books, emo music, and action movies.
Connect with Ann online