Listening In is a series of author interviews, featuring authors whose works have been transformed into audiobooks! We’re featuring Bradeigh Godfrey, author of the chilling psychological thriller, Imposter, narrated by Eileen Stevens and Brittany Pressley.

Listening In #2

Bradeigh Godfrey

Bradeigh Godfrey has spent more than a decade working as a physician specializing in rehabilitation after severe neurologic and musculoskeletal injuries. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children hiking, skiing, and exploring the mountains near her home in northern Utah. Imposter is her first novel.

Bradeigh on Instagram

Please tell us more about Imposter! Why should we listen to it?

Imposter is perfect for readers who like their psychological thrillers heavy on the psychological. It’s about two estranged sisters who reconnect for dinner one night. As they’re driving to the restaurant, the younger sister mentions that she has something to tell her older sister—a matter of “life and death.” But before she can, they’re in a car crash that lands the younger sister in the ICU, unconscious with a brain injury. The older sister has a concussion, so her memories of the crash are fragmented, but she’s pretty sure someone was following them and hit her sister’s car on purpose. But who? And why? And does it have anything to do with that life and death matter her younger sister was going to tell her? As the older sister delves into her sister’s past she uncovers some deep, dark secrets—and realizes that she’s in danger, because someone is still following her. 

You are also a physician. Do you think your medical career influenced the story you’ve written and the characters you’ve created?

While the story is fictional, it incorporates many of my experiences over the years taking care of patients with brain injuries and other neurological issues. I’m fascinated by the neuroscience of memory, how our brain interprets and encodes complex information, and the effect of physical and psychological trauma on that process. The story centers on a real life syndrome that can occur after brain injuries called Capgras Syndrome, in which the person affected believes their loved ones have been replaced by identical-looking imposters. I’ve never met a patient with Capgras, but I knew that it had the potential for an exciting and emotionally resonant story. 

Could you please tell us about your career as an author. What first drew you to writing?

Growing up, I was always reading, creating stories and writing them down. But when I became busy with pre-med courses, then medical school, then residency, there just wasn’t time to read for pleasure or write creatively. A few years into my career, when I was raising my young children, I started to hear a nagging little whisper in the back of my mind urging me to write. As much as I love medicine, it doesn’t fulfill the creative, artistic side of my personality. But for a long time, I ignored that voice telling me to write, because it seemed silly and impossible. Who was I to write a novel? Besides, I was busy enough already. These stories continued to build they felt like actual pressure inside my head, like my skull might burst. One day, during my daughter’s nap, I sat down and started writing. It was such a relief! The words kept flowing out of me, and I haven’t stopped since. 

We’d love to hear about your writing process. Please elaborate!

I spend a lot of time thinking about stories—characters, plots, settings—and ruminating on them, turning them over in my mind until I find an idea that captures my attention. Once I’m excited enough about a story to write three or four hundred pages about it, I start outlining. I begin with the major plot points—the turning points or twists—and once I have those down, I focus on the character’s emotional journey. I’m a firm believer that even in a thriller—which is usually considered a plot-driven genre—you need to have excellent characterization to make the reader care. Once I have the overall story structure and character arc, I get into the nitty gritty and start outlining individual scenes. And then it’s time to write the first draft, which is my least favorite part of the process. My goal at this stage is to get the first draft down as quickly as possible, because once it’s on the page, I find it much easier (and more enjoyable) to spend time revising and refining. 

What drew you to Psychological Thrillers? When did you know this was a genre you wanted to write?

I’ve heard that you should write the book you’d want to read, and I love it when a book completely absorbs my attention, forcing me to keep turning pages, desperate to find out what happens next. I also love books that delve deep into the psyche of the characters—and psychological thrillers do both. Writing in this genre requires skill in both plotting and characterization, and I’m always drawn to a challenge. 

You also write romantic women’s fiction under the pen name Ali Brady. What are the major differences in writing psychological thrillers and romantic women’s fiction?

The most important thing is to understand the readers’ expectations in the different genres. Thriller readers want to try and solve a mystery—and they want to be surprised by unexpected twists and turns. I have to balance dropping breadcrumbs and setting red herrings, and I need to be absolutely meticulous because readers will pinpoint anything that doesn’t make sense. Romance and women’s fiction readers, on the other hand, are looking for well-developed characters and relationships. They want to care about the characters and they want an emotionally resonant ending. I have to nail the character arc, showing that the character has grown and changed in a satisfying way. Writing in both genres has helped me write stronger characterization in my thrillers, and incorporate more surprising plotlines for my romance/women’s fiction.  

Where is your favourite place to write?

 For years, I wrote anywhere and everywhere—at the kitchen table, on my bed, in the corner of a room. But earlier this year, my husband and I turned a small bedroom into a writing office for me. It has lots of natural light, a big desk, a beautiful bookshelf, a reading nook and a colorful wall mural. After so many years of squeezing my writing into any available space, having a room of my own feels like an acknowledgment that my creative work is important and worthy of time and attention. 

Describe your writing style in five words or less.

This is impossible for me. Sorry! This is why I write 80,000-100,000 word books. Because I can’t say anything in just a few words!

Any advice for emerging writers?

If you want a writing career, start acting as if you already have one. You may not be able to write full-time, but you can set aside consistent time on a regular basis to work. Learn about the craft, join a critique group, and get outside feedback from beta readers. When your book is as good as you can make it with your current skillset, start submitting it to agents or publishers. And then, start writing the next book. Professional authors have to maintain this cycle for their entire career—write, revise, submit, start the next book—so you might as well get used to it! It’s also important to develop grit and resilience; this is not a path for the faint of heart. The more authors I meet, the more I realize that everyone faces setbacks and disappointments, so learning to come back after failure is a crucial skill. 

What do you do when you experience writer’s block or reader’s block?

This tends to happen when I’m burned out and need to take the pressure off. If I’ve hit a wall with my writing, I usually take a walk outside. There’s something about walking that seems to jostle ideas loose. If I’m in a reading rut, I turn to something light and not too mentally taxing, like a fun romance or fast-paced thriller, to get me back in the groove. 

What has been the most exciting part of having your novel transformed into an audiobook?

This story and these characters have lived inside my head for so long, and hearing the audiobook brought it to life in a totally new way. The narrators are so talented—they perfectly capture what I imagined in my mind, while also bringing their own style to the story that makes it even richer. I love it.  

Imposter has two narrators. Was this an important feature that you wanted for the audiobook?

I love audiobooks that feature more than one narrator—I think it brings such an amazing energy to the story. Hearing the two different voices in alternating chapters makes it even more realistic and riveting. 

Please recommend an audiobook you absolutely adored!

One of my favorite audiobooks ever is The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. Saskia Maarleveld does a phenomenal job with so many different accents: American, British, French, German, and a massive cast or characters over the course of decades in the story. I was absolutely captivated—listening to it was better than watching any movie. 

What are you reading (or listening to) right now?

I just finished Karin Slaughter’s lastest (Girl, Forgotten), which was excellent, and I’m currently reading The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston. 

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