In 2003, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Winter disappeared. Eleven years later she is replaced. A young woman, desperate after being arrested, claims to be the decade-missing Bec.
Soon the impostor is living Bec's life. Sleeping in her bed. Hugging her mother and father. Learning her best friends' names. Playing with her brothers.
But Bec's welcoming family and enthusiastic friends are not quite as they seem. As the impostor dodges the detective investigating her case, she begins to delve into the life of the real Bec Winter"and soon realises that whoever took Bec is still at large, and that she is in imminent danger.
Told in a split narrative, you see two very different girls navigate the same family and friends with one ominous question lurking in the back of your mind: what really happened to Bec Winter?
In this chilling psychological thriller, one woman's dark past becomes another's deadly future.
Anna Snoekstra was born in Canberra. At the age of seventeen she decided to avoid a full time job and a steady wage to move to Melbourne and become a writer. She studied Creative Writing and Cinema at The University of Melbourne, followed by Screenwriting at RMIT University. After finishing university, Anna wrote for independent films and fringe theatre, and directed music videos. During this time, she worked as a cheese monger, a waitress, a barista, a nanny, a receptionist, a cinema attendant and a film reviewer. Anna now lives in Melbourne with her husband, cat and two housemates and works full time writing.
Author: Anna Snoekstra
Interview with Anna Snoekstra
Question: What inspired the story of Only Daughter?
Anna Snoekstra: For a long time before writing Only Daughter, I was fascinated with the idea of imposters. I'd seen the Ingrid Bergman film Anastasia, based on the true story of a woman who pretends to be the long-missing royal Anastasia Nikolaevna and found the deceit riveting.
After a bit of research, I was surprised that the impersonation of missing persons has happened countless times throughout history. Martin Guerre in 16th century France, Walter Collins in Seattle in the 1920s. Even more recently is Nicholas Barclay in 1990s Texas. I spoke to a Sydney-based Missing Persons Detective about her experiences. We talked about how a situation like this would play in modern day Australia.
I find the idea of becoming someone else captivating and was really interested in the way a person could play tourist in someone else's life.
Question: How does it feel to have sold film rights to Universal Pictures?
Anna Snoekstra: It's literally a dream come true! It wasn't something I ever even thought was a possibility this early in my writing career. Working with Universal and Working Title has been fantastic. After so many years of the only person reading my writing being my mum, it felt very strange.
Question: What was the best part about creating the character of Rebecca (Bec)?
Anna Snoekstra: Bec was so much fun to create. The best part was probably how it let me reminisce on how it felt to be sixteen: the heightened emotions, the sensitivity, and the ability to live squarely in the present. It was really nice to look back at that time and remember how I saw the world, what was important (friendship and Friday nights) and what wasn't (anything after high school!).
Question: How difficult was it to write in a split-narrative?
Anna Snoekstra: I loved it! I wrote all of Bec's chapters first and then wrote the imposters sections. Then I put them together and started editing. The bigger plot points of the story were planned, however, as I wrote the book aspects changed as I got to know the characters. I also added a lot of extra detail in the edits, when I had both of the narratives written side by side it was fun to play with the way they intersected.
One of the things I found a little tricky was how different the characters were. Bec was easy, but the imposter was a lot harder, as she is a very manipulative person. I'm not manipulative naturally so I had to do a lot of research to find out the best ways to manipulate people to get what you want. Let's just say there are a lot of very weird websites out there!
Question: What do you enjoy most about writing psychological thrillers?
Anna Snoekstra: I enjoy the psychological thrillers genre because of its most basic property: the thrilling aspects of the story come from the psychology of the characters, rather than outside forces. I'm very character focused, I absolutely believe the character should propel the plot, not the other way around. Psychological thrillers are a great way to take a character, pull them inside out, see their darkest flaws in order to see their greatest strengths, and find out, in the most extreme situations, what they are really capable of.
Author: Anna Snoekstra
Interview by Brooke Hunter