Talking Thrillers with M. M. Dewil: The Helper


Mukunda Michael Dewil lived as a monk in North India for several years before moving to Hollywood to write and direct feature films such as Retribution, Vehicle 19 and The Immaculate Room. He now lives in Alachua, Florida, with his wife and two boys.

The Helper, M.M. Dewil's first novel, will be out June 18th. We recently had the immense pleasure of chatting with Dewil about this propulsive and compulsively readable psychological thriller. Get the inside scoop on it here, before you hear about it around the watercooler!

TFx: What do you think is the most compelling aspect of your new novel THE HELPER?

Dewil: It would seem obvious to say “the twist.” When it popped into my head it was so clear and well-formed and utterly unexpected, I knew instantly I had a once-in-a-lifetime thing here. But I actually think that Mary Williams, our central character, is the most compelling element of the story. Her transformation is very complete and satisfying and it seems that most readers are resonating with her complexity and humanity. I really found her in the writing process and her arc seemed like a fitting climax to the story.

TFx: As an author, how do you maintain a reader’s interest throughout an entire novel?

Dewil: You need tension. Not just tension like, will she escape from the burning building or will the detective find the killer? But rather each scene needs an element of something unresolved: somebody who wants something, something that is not being said, something that is unexpected, even if it’s as simple as a waitress who brings a wrong order. Harmony is not the friend of the thriller writer. The more tension, the more subtle and nuanced the tension is, the better.

TFx: You’ve written and directed Hollywood films with movie stars like Kate Beckinsale, Paul Walker, Ryan Philippe and many others. What’s the novel writing process like compared to the film directing process?

Dewil: Movies, even if you are the writer and the director, are still art by committee, while writing a novel is a more singular process. So more than likely the artist’s voice is going to be stronger in a novel and less tampered with. I also feel that in a novel readers can deeply absorb themselves into a story and their imaginations can create a full immersive world. In a movie a lot of that imagination is taken away from them…. they are shown a lot of things that are normally created in the mind’s eye of the reader. It’s why it’s often hard for movies to be as good as the novels they are adapted from. It’s hard to compete with the rich world readers can create in their heads.

TFx: Tell us something that readers might be surprised to know?

Dewil: I believe in the descending process of inspiration. In other words, inspiration is not something we can reach up and grab, rather it falls upon us like grace. Our only job is to be at our desk writing when/if it does. Accepting our need for inspiration should naturally lead to a humility, acknowledging how dry our work can be without it. This humility is in turn the very attractor of our muse. This important quality can transform what often seems like the hard labour of ditch-digging into poignantly exquisite art.

Get M. M. Dewil’s latest release, The Helper, out now on Amazon

From award-winning Hollywood writer and director M. M. Dewil, The Helper is a bare and addictive psychological thriller perfect for fans of Gone Girl and The Push.

Mary Williams—faced with unexpectedly losing her job and the possibility of losing custody of her daughter as well—answers an unusual help wanted ad. When an ailing man offers her an outrageous proposal that could solve all her problems, Mary takes fate into her own hands and accepts, agreeing to the extraordinary thing this man is asking.

It’s a decision that changes everything.

Because what Mary thought was true is in fact a lie, and now she faces a new reality that is far more disastrous than anything she could have imagined.

Relentless and propulsive, The Helper is a compulsive page-turner fueled by lies, deceit, and revenge. Punctuated by biting wit and satirical social commentary, Dewil’s debut gives us a peek behind the lie that was once the American dream and explores the story of one woman struggling for footing in the modern world.

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