• Resolving Problems

Friendship by the Book: Interview with Camilla Way, author of Watching Edie

Published: August 2, 2016 | Last Updated: October 2, 2023 By | 26 Replies Continue Reading
Watching Edie cover

Watching Edie cover

Watching Edie is a new novel by Camilla Way…

Watching Edie (New American Library, 2016), a new novel by Camilla Way, just went on sale today.

This beautifully written, psychological thriller tells the story of two teenage girls, Edie and Heather, who live in the same neighborhood in Wales. Edie, attractive and popular, is a people-magnet who seems to have it all. Heather is awkward, overweight and the target of school bullies. Both grow up in dysfunctional families and form an unhealthy friendship with each other.

With twists and turns, the women reunite after a long hiatus, becoming roommates in their 30s. Edie, then an unwed mother, is suffering from postpartum depression.

The gripping narrative of Watching Edie deftly moves between the past and future as it is told through the voices of the two protagonists in alternating chapters. I wasn’t able to put this book down.

Read my interview with Camilla Way below:

An interview with Camilla Way

Why did you decide to write a novel about the complexities of female friendship?

I think female friendships, especially toxic ones, are fascinating. Our female friends are very important to us, we confide in them, share with them our deepest secrets, so when this friendship is subverted into something dark, even dangerous, it’s horrifying; the thought that the person we’ve trusted with our secrets could turn against us, use their power for their own means, is very scary.

Were the novel or its protagonists inspired at all from real experiences?

It was inspired by a news story about teenage bullying that had horrific consequences. I wanted to explore how such an awful thing could happen, especially between two girls, which was the most shocking aspect of the story, I think. We tend to think of female friendship as caring and supportive so when that bond becomes twisted into something harmful it’s a terrible betrayal.

The novel includes many psychological themes, including trauma, substance abuse, postpartum depression, domestic violence and mental illness. Why did these interest you?

What I’m most interested in is the psychology behind a crime – what leads the person to commit such an atrocity. To explain why my characters behave the way they do it was necessary to explore some pretty dark subjects, it’s a thriller in which a horrendous crime is committed, so there is, by definition, going to be some pretty damaged characters whose pasts and mental states hopefully go some way to explaining why they behave the way they do.

Is it your sense that the friendship between Edie and Heather was unhealthy from the start?

I think Edie and Heather both offer each other something that the other lacks. Heather is unpopular at school and very intense, but she’s sweet and loving and loyal to Edie. Edie is rather self-involved and self-serving, but she’s kind to Heather and offers her friendship and an escape from her unloving home life. I think the friendship is definitely more one-sided from the beginning, with Heather’s adoration for Edie outweighing Edie’s concern for Heather. Throw Connor (Edie’s boyfriend) into the mix, and Edie’s infatuation with him, and the dynamic between the two girls becomes increasingly warped.

How do you explain Edie’s secret? She seems so likable that it was hard to understand how she suppressed such a secret.

I’m fascinated that you found Edie likable – many readers have said how much they dislike her! I wanted to create characters who have a mixture of good and bad traits, as nobody is either completely nice or awful in real life. I try to play with the reader’s allegiance to each character, switching between Heather and Edie the more they learn about them. Hopefully even if you end up disliking one or both of the characters, you will still feel some sympathy or understanding for why they act the way they do.

What friendship lessons do you think readers can take away from this book?

I guess one lesson might be to younger readers, that even when you’re in the throws of first love, no matter how all-consuming and intense that relationship is, don’t cut yourself off from your friends. Edie’s relationship with Connor is so dangerous because she has no one else to turn to.

About the author

Camilla Way is an editor and writer for magazines in the UK. She is also the author of The Dead of Summer, and was born and lives in southeast London.


‘”Friendship by the Book” is an occasional series of posts on this blog about books that offer friendship lessons. To read other posts in the series, use the search function on the right side of the page. 

Disclosure: I received a copy of Watching Edie for review from the publisher but was under no obligation to post a review and any opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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Category: RESOLVING PROBLEMS, Toxic friends

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  1. Watching Edie Book Giveaway | Just Sweep | August 29, 2016
  1. Lynn Baughman says:

    Have they picked the winners for the booh giveaway?

    Lynn Baughman

  2. Sand says:

    I would love to win because I’m always looking for a good suspenseful book!

  3. Candie L says:

    I would like to read this because the title captivated me. Thank you

  4. John H. says:

    Count me in!

  5. Carol says:

    I would like to.

  6. Jennifer H. says:

    I would like to read this!

  7. Francine Anchondo says:

    I like finding new books to read and this one sounds intresting.

  8. Laurie Emerson says:

    I would like to win this book as I find the two characters so fascinating. They really do portray the idea of two opposites attracting.

  9. Denise S says:

    I love to read and this sounds very interesting.

  10. Daniel M says:

    sounds like a good one

  11. Stephanie Liske says:

    I love to read.

  12. susan smoaks says:

    I am intrigued. the trailer makes me want to find out more. i can’t wait to read this book.

  13. Melissa says:

    I love psychological thrillers, and Chasing Edie seems to have an interesting twist! I’d love to read it.

  14. Marianne says:

    I’m interested in the complexities of friendships and how they evolve over time. Both characters seem challenging and I’d like to find out how they manage their issues.

  15. Priscilla S. says:

    I read a bit of everything but psychological thrillers are by far my favorite. I love losing myself in a captivating and complex story, trying to figure it all out along the way. This book sounds right up my alley!

  16. Pearl says:

    Psychological mysteries are riveting for the flawed characters, the multi-layered plot and the well drawn characters. This novel would be unforgettable.

  17. Jenna Hudson says:

    I would like to read this because I can relate to some of the hardships mentioned. Hopefully they can overcome them. I would love to read the book to find out!

  18. Anne says:

    Psychological thrillers are gripping and captivating. The story sounds intriguing and the past and future perspective interests me. Many thanks.

  19. Sharon says:

    This novel explores such serious issues and involves emotions which we deal with everyday. The story sounds enthralling and real. Thanks for this great feature and giveaway.

  20. Debbi says:

    I love a good psychological thriller, especially one involving a complicated friendship.

  21. Lynn says:

    I love psychological thrillers! What allows the human mind to contemplate, plan, and attempt the unthinkable? While it’s not ok to happen in the real world, it does..everyday. We are so much more aware of these horrific events because of media coverage. What makes a person snap? What made it ok in Scott Perterson’s mind to kill his lovely, pregnant wife and dump her body in the Pacific Ocean? What made Casey Anthony seem so apathetic when her precious child went missing?

    Please consider me for this book. It sounds very intriguing! I would curl up on the couch with the cat for a good read!

  22. Sandy says:

    The trailer is very interesting. I love to read and psychological thrillers are my favorites

  23. Tarah says:

    I want to read this book because the trailer already has me wondering what is going to happen and I have ideas forming in my head! That’s the sign of a great book!

  24. Lisa says:

    Hello, Just reading the small bit that is here tells me this book will be one good read. I love to read and mostly read love stories and romance novels. This book has an edge and I can feel that it will take you on a ride of up and down emotions and possibly fear. I would be honored to receive a copy of your book. Please consider me , you may convert me from romance to thriller lol.

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