Author Biography: Bradeigh Godfrey is a physician, mom of four, and a writer. Her medical career is focused on caring for veterans with visible and invisible disabilities, and she is passionate about improving quality of life and wellness in veterans through research, teaching, and clinical work. Her debut novel, IMPOSTER, is a psychological thriller exploring sisterhood, secrets, and the neuroscience of memory and trauma (Blackstone, September 13, 2022). She’s an avid reader and book reviewer and can be found on Instagram (@bradeighgodfrey) sharing her latest reads. Bradeigh also co-writes romantic women’s fiction under the pen name Ali Brady (www.AliBradyBooks.net).
TFx: Where did you come up with the idea for this book, and what can you tell us about the plot?
Godfrey: The initial spark was a scene about two sisters driving together in a blizzard, and the younger one tells the other than she has something of life and death importance to share. But before she can, they’re hit by another car. The younger sister is severely injured and unresponsive, but even as she regains consciousness, she can’t communicate. The older sister is convinced that someone hit their car on purpose and that it must have something to do with the “life and death” matter. As she digs into her sister’s past, she begins to realize that maybe she never really knew her little sister at all. Not only that, but she’s still being followed by someone, she needs to figure out what’s going on before it's too late.
TFx: What is the significance of the title?
Godfrey: I love the title IMPOSTER because it has so many layers. The most obvious meaning is that one character in the story develops Capgras Syndrome, a rare neurologic disorder in which the person affected believes that their closest loved ones have been replaced by identical-looking imposters. As soon as I learned about this syndrome, I knew it could be the perfect setup for a thriller. But beyond that, there are multiple characters in the book who are hiding secrets from others, which makes the reader question if anyone else is an imposter. Finally—and probably closest to my heart—the main character, Lilian, is a pediatrician and new mom who struggles with what we often call “imposter syndrome.” She blames herself for a bad outcome of a patient, she’s struggling with postpartum anxiety, and she feels like she’s failed her younger sister. She’s lost confidence in herself and questions if she’s a good enough doctor, mother, and sister.
TFx: What was the hardest scene to write in this book?
Godfrey: The final chapter! It was tricky because this chapter needed to accomplish quite a bit: wrap up several dangling plot threads, give closure to character arcs, and deliver one final twist that the reader is (hopefully) not suspecting. Since the book can be somewhat dark at times, I also wanted the ending to feel hopeful without being tied up so neatly it felt unrealistic. Balancing all of that took finesse and multiple drafts, but I’m so happy with how it turned out, and it seems like readers have been, too.
TFx: Do you believe you should never judge a book by its cover?
Godfrey: For better or for worse, I definitely judge books by their covers! Covers communicate so much information about the book—genre, tone, subject matter—even if the reader is unconscious to that. A good cover is one that gives you a sense of the vibe of the book, pulls you in, and invites you to pick it up and read more. And it may be superficial, but the physical aspect of a book matters to me; I want it to feel good in my hands as I read it, and I’m always a sucker for a book that will look beautiful on my shelf.
TFx: What was the last book you read that had a plot twist you totally didn't see coming?
Godfrey: Since I write thrillers, I can usually figure out where the twists are heading before I get there. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing—I love watching an author expertly weave the plot together. It’s fun to try and guess where the story is heading, and it’s even more fun when you get it right! But I’ll never forget one novel with a twist that left me reeling: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. I vividly remember where I was when I got to the Big Twist—I was standing outside an airport in a line to catch a shuttle bus, and I gasped so loudly that every person in the line turned to look at me. It was one of those twists that I had no idea was coming but when it happened, it made perfect sense.
TFx: Had you always wanted to be a writer?
Godfrey: Ever since early childhood, I was a voracious reader and I loved imagining my own stories. I would write them down and share them with my mom, who obviously thought I was a genius. But for some reason, I didn’t believe that a regular person could ever get published—to me, authors seemed almost mythical, so I figured my stories would have to stay in my head. When I decided to go to medical school, I stopped reading for fun or doing anything creative. It wasn’t until a few years after finishing my residency that I began to read fiction again. Being swept away in the imaginary worlds of these novels felt like coming home to myself. Almost instantly, I began to create imaginary stories in my mind, just like I had as a child. But I spent another several years fighting the urge to write those stories down, because I thought I had no business trying to write a novel. That urge to write built and built inside my head until it felt like the pressure might actually burst through my skull. One day, I sat down and wrote a scene about a car accident (several years later, it transformed into one of the pivotal scenes in Imposter), and the words just poured out of me. I kept writing nearly every day, and I really haven’t stopped.
TFx: How important is research when it comes to your writing?
Godfrey: Very important. During my first draft, I try not to let myself get bogged down by research—other than fact checking a few key points—but in my revisions, I am very detailed oriented. For Imposter, I spoke with multiple experts in several medical and psychological fields, as well as individuals with personal experiences featured in the book. Since this book features real neurologic and psychiatric disorders, I wanted it to be medically accurate but also accessible for a non-medical audience, without bogging down the story with too many details. Finding this balance took quite a few revisions but was a very rewarding part of the writing process.
Get Bradeigh Godfrey’s latest release, Imposter, out now on Amazon
“Spine-chillingly, jaw-droppingly good!" -- Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Local Woman Missing
Two sisters, a lifetime of secrets
Lilian and Rosie were once the closest of sisters, but the untimely death of their parents pulled them apart. Now, three years on, Rosie has reached out to her big sister, asking to meet. Driving on an icy road in the middle of a snowstorm, Rosie admits that she has something important to tell Lilian—a secret she describes as a matter of life and death. But before she has a chance to tell Lilian, a car careens into theirs, with devastating consequences.
Lilian survives unscathed, but Rosie is left with a traumatic brain injury, unable to communicate. Lilian is convinced that someone deliberately rammed Rosie’s car. But why? As Lilian begins to explore her sister’s past, she uncovers disturbing secrets that make her question if she ever really knew Rosie.
The closer Lilian comes to the truth, the more danger she and Rosie find themselves in. But Lilian is certain of one thing: she abandoned her little sister once before and will never do so again. Even if it means sacrificing everything.
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