30 Mar Meet the Author
What was the inspiration behind HIM?
Eleven years ago we moved from South London to the country. We were renting on this picturesque country estate and it was almost absurdly idyllic – day old lambs gambolling on the drive and a parkland full of deer. Friends would arrive with gifts of freshly laid eggs and my daughter actually danced around a maypole with ribbons with a garland of flowers in her hair. I thought wouldn’t it be interesting to turn the idyll on its head and create something really dark instead?
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Find some other writers to hang out with and share the angst, it helps so much. And don’t give up. It’s too easy to give in to self doubt but if you keep going you will get there.
Do you have a writing routine?
I rent a Wifi less office with two other writers and write between the school hours of nine and three. Amazing how much you can get done without access to Instagram, Twitter and Netaporter.
What is the first book that made you cry?
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
One and a half unless you count the Mills and Boon I wrote at 17
What’s the most difficult thing about writing such diverse characters?
Making them compelling despite their flaws. Jack was the hardest to get right. He’s clearly not a nice guy but his friends love him so he had to be nuanced. It took several attempts to strike the right balance. And Catherine was difficult too since she’s mute in the present day and so it was hard to get her character across.
How do you select the names of your characters?
With great difficulty! I’ve even been known to surf baby names websites. I can’t start writing until I have the right name and it’s really halting my progress with book 3. Having said that, Catherine and Lucian the main protagonists in HIM came instantly.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
Well, it’’s a cop out but I think I’d read! I’d like to be a fiction editor discovering exciting new manuscripts. I can’t imagine working in a world that didn’t involve books.
Which author are you excited to read in 2019?
Laura Pearson’s new novel Nobody’s Wife blew me away. I’m also excited to start reading Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce which is waiting on my kindle.
Do you have any desire to write series or will you stick with standalone stories?
Not unless I stop creating such devastating scenarios for my main protagonists. I can’t imagine following my characters into a second book.
What is your favourite childhood book?
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, I must have read it a hundred times
What are your favourite domestic noir novels, old and new?
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier Her by Harriet Lane The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith The Secret History by Donna Tartt
What influences your writing?
Music is a big influence in HIM and my next novel MINE particularly the Rolling Stones circa 1972. There’s something about the band’s insouciance and natural cool that I want to access. Early days Mick Jagger is my muse!
What’s next for you?
Starting my third novel which I’m really excited about. It’s quite different to the first two and the idea came almost fully formed after a casual conversation with my husband one Saturday.