From Car Crash to Crawdads
When I first thought about doing this blog, I discarded the idea because ‘everyone’ does it. But then I decided that my choices are different from anyone else’s, and you might just be interested in them. I don’t read exclusively in my genre — psychological thrillers — or even particularly in the broader crime genre. I read (fiction) widely, hoping that I will learn from other authors, no matter what they’re writing about. I’m interested in compelling stories, because that’s w
With a storyteller's eyes...
There are some authors who have a gift for creating a setting in their novels that truly resonates with readers. In writer-speak, ‘setting’ includes both place and time. For example, in Joanna Cannon’s wonderful novel, Three Things About Elsie, the names of her characters are subtly evocative, as is the inspired reference to Battenburg cake on the cover. You know just from these things what era you’re in, or what generation the characters belong to. In The Truth Waits, I men
Dealing with the dodgems
In the days leading up to publication, I could provide a fascinating case study on the ebb and flow of human emotions. My feelings career around like a malfunctioning dodgem ride at a funfair, veering from one extreme to another, from side to side, from fast to slow, jolting my confused brain at every turn. One moment I love my book, with its brand-new, unopened feel, its evocative cover, my name in big letters. My story, which somebody who knows about publishing books - prop
Wrestling with the octopus
When my debut novel, Dare to Remember, a psychological thriller, was published in February 2017, my second book, called The Truth Waits, was well under way. I’d started writing it in that nerve-racking period when I was waiting for responses about my first novel from agents, then from publishers, so, as all that takes quite a long time, I was some way down the line with book two when the excitement of actually having a book published (number one) kicked in and I was thoroughl
You need friends
Dare to Remember is about many things. It’s about recovery, about mental illness, about therapy, about how life turns on a sixpence. It’s also about people needing people, specifically friends. The story concerns Lisa, whose best friend Ali dies in a horrific incident that changes everything. Lisa hides herself away from other people. She lives alone, without even the daily contact we take for granted through work, neighbours, friends. Even the local shop feels threatening t
Free to write fiction
Before I finished my novel, Dare to Remember, I took a creative writing course. I wanted to learn the best way to become a published novelist, and so I soaked up as much knowledge as I could – from courses, books and other writers. Towards the end of the course, our tutor asked us what we had got out of the course. Normally I hate being asked this question, having been on many courses when the truthful answer would have been too impolite, but because the course had been parti
So is it you?
As an enthusiastic attendee at literary festivals, where I doggedly choose the sessions with both new and established authors over the celebrity writers, I’ve noticed a commonality in the questions following an author interview. One predictable question would be: “Is your novel autobiographical?” I’ve heard a variety of responses, from a simple “no” to “well, yes, obviously,” and plenty in between. When I started Dare to Remember I was aware of the common premise that an auth