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
'A superbly disquieting psychological thriller'
I've borrowed this descriptor from Amazon, because I think it's so apt. Just after I read the book, I saw the play – at the Bridge Theatre, with Joanne Froggatt as Frances. It was brilliant, and really brought this gripping, unsettling novel to life. The story follows a woman called Frances, who’s a newspaper subeditor on the book review pages – an ordinary job, and she seems quite ordinary too. She is first on the scene of a car accident. In the dark, she talks to the woman
Writing fiction, I’ve discovered, has side-effects. Not bad ones, like some medications, but they are unexpected. Like being more observant. Not only do I notice objects in more detail, I notice things I would never have noticed before. Like spiders’ webs: the way they are constructed - not always perfect, but perfectly designed for purpose. The way the raindrops hang in minute rows along the delicate strands, the way the light refracts from them, with a mirror-like effect if
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
"There's so much research to do." Is there, really?
When I was around 17 years old, I mentioned to my father that I’d like to write a novel. I’m not sure whether I was thinking about a career in writing, or if I was simply interested in getting a book published, but I’d always enjoyed creative writing in my English classes at school, and relished using my imagination to make up stories. My father’s response was to say: “Don’t be silly. You won’t be able to write a novel. There’s so much research to do.” I remember at the time
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