Tag: The Marriage Pact

The Marriage Pact paperback cover reveal

The Marriage Pact paperback cover reveal

I’m so happy to share the paperback cover of THE MARRIAGE PACT. The paperback will be released on April 10, 2018.

The Marriage Pact was reviewed earlier this month by Marisha Pessl for the New York Times. Pessl unpacks the changing nature of the modern literary thriller in Our Villains, Ourselves: A Modern Thriller Roundup.

In Michelle Richmond’s THE MARRIAGE PACT (Bantam, $27), a different kind of evil is in play, this one just as intangible and pernicious. Giddy and in love, two Bay Area newlyweds, Alice and Jake, receive a Molotov cocktail of a wedding present: an invitation to join “The Pact,” a hush-hush society-cum-cult, the details of which are pitched to them “Glengarry Glen Ross”-style by Vivian, a beautiful woman in a yellow dress with a politician’s pivot and spin.

The Pact is a “fellowship of like-minded individuals” dedicated to ensuring the survival of that exotic, captive animal known as your marriage. It was founded by an Irish woman named Orla who, sequestered on a remote island, wrote a step-by-step system for matrimony, one that is “highly effective, scientifically based.” Pact members will act unilaterally to keep you and your spouse together and happy, no matter what…It’s a fun, can’t-stop-eating-the-potato-chips kind of premise…”

I’d love to hear what you think of the new cover! You can hit the “contact” tab to send me a message, or leave a comment on my Facebook page.

The Story Behind The Marriage Pact

The Story Behind The Marriage Pact

Where do novels come from? The ether? The collective unconscious? Some combination of events, relationships, experiences, and books in the writer’s past? I imagine it’s different for everyone, but one thing I do know is that every novel has to begin with a spark: an idea of character, situation, or premise that makes one think, “This could be a novel.” Once a novel takes off, once you get past page fifteen or so–for me, anyway–it begins to come from somewhere else. Then, it becomes a matter of characters acting and reacting to their situations; it becomes a matter of orchestrating the plot in a way that creates tension. But the spark, that frisson of idea that sets the whole thing off, is another matter. The spark always comes first.

So what was the spark for my new psychological thriller, The Marriage Pact? It really was a combination of three different things.


Inspiration #1: LOVE

I’ve been married for 16 years (thanks, Kevin!), and I’ve written about marriage (and divorce) before in novels like Golden State. This time, I wanted to write about two people who are deeply in love and trying to make it work. I didn’t want to write a story of husband against wife, but rather a husband and wife together, struggling against a powerful outside force.

Inspiration #2: CULTS

The second inspiration was my longstanding fascination with cults–in particular, organizations that lure people in with the promise of helping them to live fuller, happier lives and be better versions of themselves. Some fashion themselves as religions, while others purport to be self-help movements. I wanted to explore why educated, reasonable individuals get drawn into these organizations and become so enmeshed that they leave behind family members, spend massive amounts of money to take seminars or courses, and even sign extreme contracts committing themselves to the organization for life and beyond.


The third piece of the puzzle was The Federal Criminal Code, a massive tome, comprised of over a thousand pages of tiny print. The book, issued annually, outlines every crime you can think of, along with many you can’t, and the corresponding penalties. I wondered: What would happen if there were strict rules for marriage, and penalties for those who broke the rules? What if there was an organization that took marital “crimes” as seriously as other types of crimes? I wanted to put that concept under the microscope, take it as far as I could, and see what happened.

I talked about inspiration and more with Joe Hartlaub for Bookreporter. Read the author interview.

Did you enjoy this post? Get my twice-monthly newsletter in your inbox.

P.S. The Marriage Pact is on the Entertainment Weekly Must List this week!

Get The Marriage Pact.