Westport author debuts revenge thriller

If someone ruined your life, how far would you go to seek revenge? This question is the premise of Emily Liebert’s latest novel and debut thriller, “Pretty Revenge,” which was published on July 2.

Eighteen years after Jordan destroyed Kerrie’s life, Kerrie sees her on TV and remembers the trauma from her childhood all over again. Seeing Jordan — now rebranded as Jordana — on TV talking about how she’s looking for an assistant for her crème de la crème wedding concierge business to help her plan the wedding of the century provides Kerrie with everything she needs to know to seek vengeance on Jordana. In “Pretty Revenge,” Kerrie trades Connecticut for Manhattan, makes herself over and recreates herself as Olivia to become Jordana’s assistant and blow up her life.
When explaining “Pretty Revenge,” Liebert said Kerrie had always looked up to her neighbor Jordan for being a pretty, older girl on the street. After Kerrie witnesses an incident through the window at Jordan’s house, Kerrie decides to help the older girl.
“When Jordan stays over that night, she steals something and sets something into motion that she doesn’t do intentionally, but she ruins Kerrie’s life and throws her off course,” she said.
Liebert said she was inspired to write “Pretty Revenge” because she wanted to try something new. The Westport author said her previous books (“You Knew Me When,” “Facebook Fairytales,” “When We Fall,” “Those Secrets We Keep” and “Some Women”) focused on female friendships and romantic relationships.
“I wanted to write something edgier and came up with the idea of getting revenge on someone who did something to you and that nugget kept spiraling. I loved the idea of seeing something through a window, I could walk around my neighborhood and I could witness something through a window; I liked that so I decided to put them together,” Liebert said.

Jordana and Kerrie are not exactly the best people, both have wronged others in their efforts to improve their situations. When discussing her protagonists, Liebert described writing about them as a dance.
“I have a theory that if everyone knew everything anyone ever said about them or thought about them, you’d be horrified. I try to make it so they’re real but not unlikeable and that you felt sympathy for one or both of them in some way,” she said. “It was a dance to make sure that they were authentic but that you didn’t hate them.”
When asked what inspired Liebert to have Jordana run a wedding concierge, she said she loved the element of irony it added to the story.
“She doesn’t necessarily practice what she preaches, [but] she really is good at choreographing these phenomenal events and weddings. I thought it would be a fun industry to put her in because it would bring in other big characters,” Liebert said.
Now that she’s finished her first thriller, Liebert said she’s working on her next project, a second suspenseful novel about a missing woman, which is expected to be published next summer.
As part of the promotion for “Pretty Revenge,” Liebert teamed up with KBShimmer to release two nail polish colors, a shimmery silver named Jordana and a hot red for Kerrie, based on her protagonists. Liebert said she typically teams up with a cosmetics company or even a spa to use a product to promote her books.
While her book was released earlier this week, Liebert will be having a book launch for “Pretty Revenge on July 10 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Mitchells in Westport. During the book launch CNN’s New Day anchor Alisyn Camerota will discuss the book with Liebert before her book signing. For more information about the book and the launch, visit emilyliebert.com.