My background is in behavioural education, though I have been writing since I was a young child because I was too precocious to keep my thoughts to myself. After a significant stretch surfing the slush pile (I do love alliteration!), I was fortunate enough to be signed by my fantastic agent Liza DeBlock at Mushens Entertainment, who gives me classy coffee mugs and tells me my mind is scarily dark. We secured a two-book deal with Headline Accent soon after and celebrated for well over a week in case we hadn’t done it thoroughly enough.
My debut psychological thriller, Believe Me Not, follows Megan, who wakes in a hospital bed to find her baby son is absent from her side. When she begs for news of him, she is told by her husband, sister and doctor that she does not have a baby. She is not in a maternity ward; she is in a psychiatric unit. Determined to prove her son’s existence but unable to trust her own memories, Megan must face some long-buried secrets in her fight to discover the truth. If anyone would like to buy it who is not my mother and help keep me in cheese, wine and coffee for a while longer, it would be appreciated.
Tell us about yourself?
Are you working on something now? Can you tell us about it?
My second novel is called The Waking Hours (working title) and is about a woman who is haunted by dreams of past abuse but is unable to remember the crimes except when she is asleep. Convinced she is accessing repressed memories, she becomes obsessed with bringing the man she is certain was her abuser to justice by any means necessary, even though she can’t be sure her dreams can be trusted. Determined to ignore the misgivings of her friends and family, nothing can prepare her for what she unleashes. The Waking Hours is scheduled for release in March 2023.
Though currently I’m faffing around trying to understand Instagram, wondering why my photos never look as good as everyone else’s, and realising my finger is in the way.
Which six books will you take to the Island?
This is like asking me to choose my favourite dog! Before Kindles were invented, my luggage was 90% books because decisions are impossible...
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
I first read it as I was about to spend my first summer travelling and I wanted a huge book for the long South American bus journeys. It made me want to travel forever. The powerful descriptions made every sight, smell and taste Lin experienced come alive and ignited the wanderlust that has stayed with me ever since.
Carnival of Shadows by RJ Ellory.
His prose is beautiful, poetic and haunting. It made me question everything I thought I knew about the human psyche and how far the power of the unknown can affect it. It immerses you into the shadows of truth, lies and belief. I thought about this book for a long time after finishing it and still had questions to spare.
Polo by Jilly Cooper
Of course Queen Jilly had to make the list! She’s just wonderful. Hard choice here between Riders and Rupert Campbell-Black or Polo and Ricky France-Lynch – I grew up in the horsey lifestyle – but I was a polo fanatic while living in Argentina so I have to side with that. Perdita’s adoration of her horses versus her general disdain for people made her one of my favourites.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
It took me several goes to warm to this one but once I did, I fell in love with Rudy’s boisterous boldness, Liesel’s quiet, courageous dissent, Hans’ innate goodness as a benevolent Death watches over them all while WWII rages. The ending still leaves an aching sadness even after countless re-reads.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This is the book which inspired me to move from literary fiction to psychological thrillers. A brilliant opening, flawed, well-drawn characters and a gilded cage setting where arson seems to be the least of everyone’s problems. I loved the Amazon adaptation as well, I binged it while I was on submission and dared to dream.
Which disc will you take to the Island?
Mr Brightside by the Killers. So many memories of fun nights, good friends, laughter and love and solidarity. Oh, and some hideous karaoke. The fewer memories of that the better.
What will be your luxury item?
A dog (preferably a cockapoo) for cuddles, company and deep conversations. Definitely no help with survival as they’ll eat all the food. Though, to be fair, dogs are necessities not luxuries…
Which fictional character will you meet?
Again, so hard! There are so many detective characters who have fascinated me – Mo Hayder’s Jack Caffery, Jane Casey’s Josh Derwent and Maeve Kerrigan, Margie Orford’s Riedwaan Faizal…the list goes on – but my ultimate choice is quite removed from any of these.
My island companion has to be Captain Alexei Dimitrevic Korolev, William Ryan’s wonderful protagonist of Moscow militia’s CID. Following Korolev through the dark, tense world of Soviet Russia has been a wonderful journey for me and one I’d love to continue. He is a fascinating character with a dry, observational wit he must keep under tenuous control to avoid the omniscient threat of the KGB; an independent thinker who refuses to be indoctrinated and questions everything he isn’t supposed to. I’m fascinated by that period of time, particularly in terms of crime, justice and culture, having lived and travelled widely throughout the former Soviet Union.