While working in a cinema at night while writing her first book in the day, Anna Snoekstra never imagined her ideas would make it on the big screen.
Two years later and Only Daughter, a domestic thriller, is not only a published work (Harlequin MIRA, $29.99) but also a movie in the making.
"To be honest, when I got the publisher, I felt quite nervous," Snoekstra tells WHO. "But when the film stuff happened, I was just so surprised. It was amazing. I just couldn't get my head around it but it was just so nice for something so great to happen that I hadn't anticipated."
The Melbourne writer drew on her master's degree about paranoid women films of the 1940's, her love of crime fiction and shows like Twin Peaks, and aspects of her own life to create her tale about an imposter, a missing woman and buried family secrets.
"Most of it was a mix of my experiences while writing the book and my experience when I was a teenager in Canberra and mixing the two," says Snoekstra, 28. "It was kind of a weird feeling because I was 25 when I was writing the book and the imposter character was about 25, and Bec was 16 in Canberra in 2003 and I was, I think, 15 in Canberra in 2003, but then my experiences now were kind of bleeding into both, and my experiences then were bleeding into both as well."
Working Title, the company owned by Universal Pictures that produced The Theory of Everything and The Danish Girl, bought the film rights to Snoekstra's novel, which she originally titled The New Winter, a nod to protagonist Rebecca Winter and a nod to the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock movie Rebecca. Erin Cressida Wilson, the screenwriter for The Girl On the Train and Secretary, is working on the script.
"I know they've been talking about Emma Stone," Snoekstra says of potential casting. "I think she's really cool and I think that her going in a more drama role than comedy could be really interesting. She's got the right kind of physicality for it being quite pale and having red hair, and we talked about Mia Wasikowska, which I kind of like because she's from Canberra as well."
Regardless, Snoekstra is excited for book lovers to get the first impression of the two main women in Only Daughter. "It was fun to have a character that seems straightforward but is actually unreliable," she says, "and then the character in the present day who is lying to everyone but is actually very honest with the reader."
For more about Snoekstra and Only Daughter, pick up the latest issue of WHO on newsstands everywhere.