Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hello! I'm Philippa East, a fiction writer of psychological suspense novels published by HQ/HarperCollins. My debut, Little White Lies, was released in 2020 and shortlisted for the CWA "New Blood" Award, and my second book, Safe and Sound was released in February 2021. Safe and Sound opens with the discovery of a body in a small London bedsit. This tenant, Sarah Jones, was - by all accounts - a pretty, charismatic and full-of-life young woman. So is it possible that her death went completely unnoticed for ten whole months? I live in the Lincolnshire countryside with my husband and a cat called Mimi, and in my day job, I work as a clinical psychologist and therapist.
Can you tell us what you are currently working on?
Yes, absolutely! I am currently working on my third book, which is due for release with HQ next year (2022). It's another mystery-thriller, which again explores the psychological and emotional issues "one step to the side of a crime". This book focuses on the Goodlight family, whose teenage daughter - a star violinist - disappears following a dazzling performance at the semi-finals of Young Musician of the Year.
What six books will you take to the Island?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. To me, this is an absolute masterwork of psychological-thriller fiction. I have probably read it at least three times already, but I learn more every time I do. So I'll take this book to enjoy and study so as to level up my craft for when i can get back to dry land and my own writing.
Time Regained by Marcel Proust (from the In Search of Lost Time series): I'd have the whole series if I was allowed, but I'll go with this one (the last in the series). I find I can completely slide into the conversational style of Proust's work and be completely swept into another time and place. I think it would help me feel I was in good company, despite being shipwrecked!
Del Del by Victor Kelleher. This YA book is one of my favourites from my teenage years. It's the story of a bereaved family whose young son Sam starts to display increasingly bizarre and disturbed behaviour. For me, it's an incredibly powerful example of a deep family drama, which also touches on the genres of psychological thriller and ultimately horror. It is a deep inspiration for the books I write now, and has a special place in my heart.
The Shining by Stephen King. What a masterwork again! There is so much to appreciate with this book, from the characterisation to the story structure, and of course the tension and building horror. Maybe I'd have to make sure I only read it in the daylight hours though...
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In my view, this novella is an absolutely perfect work, and each time I read it (at different ages and stages of my life), I discover something new in it. It feels as though this book delves so deeply into the human heart that I can't help returning to it time and again.
Weirdos From Another Planet by Bill Waterstones: This was the first Calvin and Hobbes book that I ever read. I think I would need these comic strips to help me keep my sense of humour on the island!
What disc will you take to the Island?
Night Swimming by REM. It's a beautiful, reflective and haunting song that I could listen to on repeat as I drifted off under the stars. I think the lyrics can be interpreted in many different ways, and they create such evocative mental imagery that the song would be an ongoing source of comfort and inspiration to me through the lonely island nights
What luxury item will you take to the Island?
All the necessary equipment to make a proper cup of tea (with milk). I don't think I could cope without the civilising influence of tea.
Oh no! Denied!
Okay, in that case can I have a really comfy bed to read in? I do most of my reading in bed, propped up on half a dozen cushions, and I think I would benefit from a similar luxury on the desert island
Which fictional character will you meet on the Island?
I think... Anna Karenina. She was a woman out of her time, and I wish we could meet and talk feminism in the 21st Century!