From The Telegraph:
Suspicion within Daphne du Maurier’s own marriage fuelled the tense, macabre plot of Rebecca, says Matthew Dennison
In 1937, Daphne du Maurier signed a three-book deal with Victor Gollancz. She was 30 years old, the author of four previous novels, including, most recently, Jamaica Inn. She knew already the title of the first of the books she would write for Gollancz: Rebecca. Beyond that point, she had scarcely thought.
On and off for the past five years she had been toying with an idea. Its theme was jealousy.
It came to Daphne the year she married Frederick “Boy” Browning, whom she called Tommy. Tommy had been engaged before – to glamorous, dark-haired Jan Ricardo. The suspicion that Tommy remained attracted to Ricardo haunted Daphne.
She accepted from Gollancz an advance of Â£1,000 – the equivalent of 18 months of Tommy’s pay as a Lieutenant Colonel of the Grenadier Guards – and prepared to set to work.
Nothing came. The paper in her typewriter remained blank. Sluggishly, she wrote 50 pages, all consigned to the waste-paper basket. To Gollancz she wrote a desperate apology: “The first 15,000 words I tore up in disgust and this literary miscarriage has cast me down rather…”