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Barbara Copperthwaite

CRIME AUTHOR

10 Things I Look For In A Psychological Thriller #amreading

What does a writer of psychological thrillers look for when choosing one to read? Why, the same as everyone else, of course!

Photo by Olivia Snow on Unsplash
Photo by Olivia Snow on Unsplash

A killer hook

People’s time is precious, and even stories that play out slowly must drag people in quickly, otherwise they move on to the next book. I love a slow-burning tale, personally, and it’s the style I write, but they have to have an opening that intrigues, or has lots of actions, so that I MUST keep reading.

Her Last Secret opens with a prologue from a mother fearful for her family’s future, and of her own actions. In the next scene, the police have been called to a home on Christmas Day because shots have been fired. What do they find at the scene? Who fired the gun? And why? The answers to these questions can only be revealed after the story hurtles back to one week before and slowly reveals a normal family on the edge of destruction.

Fear in the familiar

The most successful psychological thrillers are those where the author takes the everyday – marriage, family, sibling rivalry, the workplace, affairs – and turns it into something chilling. Why? Because it’s all too easy to imagine it might happen to us, too.

I’ve taken a mundane train journey and stared aimlessly out of the window at the houses flashing by, just like Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train. I’ve celebrated finding an unexpected fiver in my purse, like in my novel, Flowers For The Dead. I’ve driven past someone who had broken down on the motorway (though never a lone woman) and felt guilty because I haven’t stopped, as in B.A. Paris’s The Breakdown. Seeing how something I’ve done can unravel and destroy someone’s life in a book makes it all the more terrifying…

I know someone like that!

The best characters don’t have to be likeable, but they do have to be relatable. Psychological thrillers don’t tend to feature tough cops who can take a beating and shrug it off. They have people like you and me in them, or every-day folk we may have met. Once again, as we see something so familiar falling apart, or revealing an unexpectedly dark side as the story continues, it gives us goosebumps because we feel so very close to the action.

A stroppy teenager, a mum trying her best against the odds to make Christmas special, a dad struggling to provide for his family, all feature in Her Last Secret – and then you see behind their facades as everything goes wrong. That feeling of ‘there but for the grace of God’ creeps in…

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Make me feel

A continuation of characters being relatable is that it’s easier for readers to invest emotionally in them – and so CARE what happens to them. I need to care, otherwise it doesn’t matter what perils the characters are put in. The reason why so many people love Adam from Flowers For The Dead? Because, despite him being a serial killer, readers feel sorry for him, and care for him. Who’d have thought!

Say what? – Unreliable narrators

Psychological thrillers often present something initially that, by the end of the story, turns out to be nothing like it seemed. An unreliable narrator is frequently the key. Can we really trust what they are telling us? Can they trust themselves? Often, we are trying to pick out what has really happened alongside them – and that drive to work out the truth is what keeps us reading. Before I Go To Sleep, by S.J. Watson, Sometimes I Lie, by Alice Feeney, and Behind Her Eyes, by Sarah Pinborough, are brilliant examples of how well this can work.

Floored by flaws

It’s hard to beat a great character flaw. From a drink problem, to hiding a dark secret, from memory-loss, to post traumatic stress disorder (used to brilliant effect in Nuala Ellwood’s My Sister’s Bones), they all offer a fascinating and realistic device for characters to get in their own way, and cause all manner of complications as they try to solve the mystery surrounding them.

Give me a moral dilemma

This is a personal favourite of mine: the moral dilemma. If a character is wrestling with a tough decision, the reader will be doing so alongside them. There’s nothing I like better than thinking: ‘Eek! What would I do in that situation?’ You only have to read The Darkest Lies to know that I enjoy it as an author, too!

Suspense that makes me breathless

Action is great, and necessary, but non-stop chases, thrills, spills, and dead bodies can end up losing their impact. A great psychological thriller has incredible suspense, where each page turned is like the slow turning of a screw, and you find yourself becoming more and more tense, anticipating what is going to happen next while wanting to shout ‘no!’ Wow, that is great writing. I bought Try Not To Breathe, by Holly Seddon, as an audiobook, but was so desperate to get to the end that I bought it to read instead! The Gift, by Louise Jensen, gave me goosebumps.

Get in the reader’s head

When I write, I want to make my readers check their doors are locked, or hug their children a little tighter. I want to make them cry. That’s only possible if I can get inside their heads – and when I’m reading a psychological thriller, I want to look over my shoulder along with the character, and feel what they are feeling. The tension should be so great it’s palpable.

Do the twist

Who doesn’t love being completely blind-sided by an unexpected plot twist? Behind Her Eyes had the hashtag #WTFThatEnding – and deservedly so, as no one saw that coming! One of the best compliments I’ve had from an early reader of Her Last Secret is that it should have that hashtag, too! Twists don’t have to come at the end of a book though, just look at how Clare Mackintosh’s I Let You Go got everyone talking thanks to a corking twist halfway through her story.

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Publication day, intrigue & cover love #writerslife #HerLastSecret

‘A swirling mass of intrigue designed to screw with the readers’ head’

Publication day, eh? How can I best describe it? Rollercoaster? Blur? Whirlwind? They don’t really come close to summing up the joy and terror of it, so I’m going to steal a fabulous description from someone who reviewed HER LAST SECRET.

‘It’s like waiting to be hit by a train, only to find it’s being driven by a fire-breathing dragon, and followed by a handful of armoured tanks!’ Beady Jan’s Books wrote, in a frankly incredible 5* review of the book.

I think she’s also summed up publication day for me. It was such an incredible day, full of congratulation messages and obsessive checking of Amazon ranks. By the end of it I was tired, happy, and felt exactly as if I’d been hit by a train driven by a fire-breathing dragon, followed by a handful of armoured tanks…in a good way. A very good way, when it includes receiving a lovely bunch of flowers from my publisher, Bookouture.

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SHOUT OUT

I’ve absolutely got to give a huge shout out to the bloggers who have got behind Her Last Secret so enthusiastically. I’ll be sharing their reviews over the coming days, because they are simply too stunning for me not to. So far, over the last few days, I’ve been likened to Ruth Rendell, Agatha Christie, and, er, genital herpes, because I’m everywhere at the moment!

Thanks in no small part to them, Her Last Secret is sitting at Number 10 in Amazon’s Hot New Psychological Thrillers Releases. Speaking of hot, it’s also a #HotBook in Facebook’s THE Book Club.

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JUST 99p!

To celebrate all this good news, Her Last Secret is currently just 99p (click here to find out more). For less than a cup of coffee or a soggy sandwich, you can read the book that bloggers are calling: ‘a swirling mass of intrigue designed to screw with the readers’ head.’ And who wouldn’t want that? Need another reason? How about so you can join in the discussion with A Haven For Books, who wrote: ‘I want everyone to read this book so that we can discuss how crazy and brilliant the final twist is.’

Every single one of the reviewers who took part in my blog tour were fabulous, and there are many more who have given Her Last Secret incredible reviews, too. As I mentioned, I’ll be linking to all your reviews over the coming days.

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COVER LOVE

On a final note… While the focus has been on Her Last Secret, behind the scenes FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD, which is now two years old, has received a bit of a spruce up. What do you think of the cover? I may be biased, but I have to say, I love it!

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Thank you for stopping by! x

 

 

Paperbacks, publication & Friday 13th #writerslife #HerLastSecret

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It’s a good job I’m not superstitious, isn’t it, as tomorrow, Friday the 13th, HER LAST SECRET is published. I’ve never been particularly superstitious, although I do walk around ladders, but this seems common sense to me – I’m always worried it might slip and fall on me if I walk beneath it. But, I’m keeping everything crossed, knocking on wood, throwing salt over my shoulder, and anything else I can think of to ensure that Her Last Secret is a success. Wish me luck!

The paperbacks arrived yesterday. There is something very ‘real’ about holding your own book. After months of writing, editing, approving the title and cover, and promoting, it can feel as though the book will never actually be out. Then – WHAM! – suddenly it’s here, and I’m holding Her Last Secret in my hands.

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The audiobook is up on Audible to pre-order today, too, in readiness for tomorrow. It’s always exciting hearing characters being brought to life!

It’s not all about tomorrow, though; there is plenty of excitement today. From Enid Blyton & C.S. Lewis to Peter Swanson, I share my author influences with Bloomin’ Brilliant Books – and reveal how the books I hated studying as a teen have now become some of my favourites. Find out more by clicking here.

There is also a fabulous review on Rachel’s Random Reads, where Her Last Secret is described as ‘twisty‘, and ‘compelling, unputdownable‘. She says the book left her breathless, and her review certainly took my breath away.

‘Frankly, I’m still opened-mouthed at the finale,‘ she writes. Go on, check it out for yourselves by clicking here.

In the meantime, I’ll be spinning much of today trying to find four-leaf clovers in a bid to make Friday the 13th lucky for me. Any suggestions gratefully received!

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What’s Their Secret? Today it’s MY TURN to confess! #HerLastSecret

To celebrate #HerLastSecret going on sale, I’ve asked authors to share their secrets with me, and I’ve had a fantastic time reading everyone’s confessions. But today, with just two days to go until publication day, it’s time for the spotlight to fall on me as I spill the beans… 

Secret writing ritual…

The first thing I do is put music on. The type of music depends on the type of scenes I’ll be writing. For Flowers For The Dead I listened to classical music constantly, as it helped me get into Adam’s head more. When I was writing The Darkest Lies I actually mainly listened to bird song, babbling rivers, waves, and so on, as being immersed in the sounds of nature helped create the brooding landscape the book inhabits. Her Last Secret involved manic dance music and old school club classics, for some reason.

Tunes sorted, I need to have a glass of water or a pot of fruit tea beside me, then I set my timer for one hour and write. After an hour, the timer goes off, and I have a 15-minute break where I do some yoga stretches, play with my dog, and make myself another cuppa before setting the timer again.

Secret writing snack…

Anyone who spends any time following me on social media will know the answer to this is no secret. I am powered almost exclusively by cake. And hot chocolate. I also like to chew gum while writing because, for some bizarre reason, the more I chew the faster my brain works. Hey, I never said it made sense…

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Secret celebration when I finish a WIP..

I like to buy a bottle of champagne and toast the book when I type The End (I never type The End until it’s ready to send to my editor). I always thought the day to celebrate would be publication day, but I’m too terrified by that stage to celebrate anything, so I like to get my champagne moment in early.

‘Guilty secret’ read…

A hangover from my days as a journalist is that I have to start my day checking all the main news websites. All of them. Even the ones people hate. Know your enemy, that’s my motto.

‘Guilty secret’ tv programme…

Heck, there are so many! I’m addicted to Hollyoaks, but someone else has already had that as their guilty secret tv, so instead I’m going to say The Santa Clarita Diet, an America horror-comedy that features a lot of gore and a lot of laughs.

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash
Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Shared secret…

Okay, this is going to sounds crazy, but I swear it’s true…I was once followed by a cloud. I was walking along on a hot summer’s day, the sun beating down on me. Then I felt a spot of rain. And a couple more. I looked around, thinking it was a sprinkler just slightly reaching me, but couldn’t find anything. I hurried on, but could still feel these drops of water. I looked all around me, but couldn’t see anyone else, or a sprinkler… Then I looked up. In a bright blue sky, there was a single small cloud right above me, being blown slowly along in the same direction I was walking. I had to stop walking and let it pass on, otherwise I’d have continued walking beneath my own, personal rain cloud!

Secret peek into your new WIP…

HER LAST SECRET is out on Friday. Yep, Friday the 13th – lucky for you, but unlucky for the Thomas family. Here’s a look at the prologue…

PROLOGUE

A lifetime can flash by in a moment. A moment can last a lifetime.

Right now, everything seemed cradled in the pause between breaths. It wasn’t so much that the world was in slow motion, more that Dominique’s senses were so heightened that she could note every detail: the look on her eldest daughter’s face; the desperation that made her husband’s voice hitch; the squeak of her youngest child when she got excited or scared. She thought of all those things, examining them. Wondering whether to smile or cry at their memory.

Dominique had spent most of her life hiding from herself, from others, from her past. Now, she felt secreted in a between-world, like the moment before waking. She needed to make a decision. Should she remain and carry on hiding, her life sliding away like water through cracks in the pavement; or should she act?

There were consequences to actions, though. Prices that must be paid.

She exhaled. Decision made.

The time had come to expose all the secrets, no matter what.

If only she had the courage to do so. If only the family was strong enough to survive it. If only she didn’t do something stupid herself.

Secret Santa… (If I could give a happy ending to any character who would it be, and what would I do?)

I’ve been really impressed with some of the answers other authors have given to this question, so do check them out. Tara Lyons even wanted to give a happy ending to one of my characters, Adam, the troubled serial killer from FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD, who readers can’t seem to help themselves from feeling sorry for.

I’m going for a character from Charles Dickens’s classic, OLIVER TWIST. Poor Nancy gets beaten to death by her boyfriend, Bill Sykes, when all she is trying to do is keep Oliver safe and not drop Bill in it. Instead, I’d like to a rich, handsome, kind relative of Oliver’s to spot Nancy, and fall for her good heart. He’d marry her, transform her life, and treat her like a queen. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Of course, it would ruin a huge part of the book…

What character would you love to give a happy ending to? I’d love to hear!

Facebook Header - Pre Order Her Last Secret

Only TWO DAYS days to go until HER LAST SECRET is published! Friday 13th October will be lucky for you – unlucky for the Thomas family…
To pre-order or find our more, use the links below.
UK
US

Some secrets you can never tell.

Everyone thinks the Thomases are the perfect family: grand London house, gorgeous kids.

They don’t know wife Dominique is a paranoid wreck.

They don’t know husband Ben is trapped in a web of deceit.

They don’t know daughter Ruby lives in fear of the next abusive text.

But someone knows all their secrets.

Can the lies that bind them destroy them all?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Sometimes I Lie, and The Girl on the Train will be captivated.

See what readers are saying about Her Last Secret:

OH MY WORD! This is a fantastic read!… I was totally immersed in the Thomas family’s story… Outstanding, I highly recommend!’ Chat About Books

‘Absolutely superb, she’s only gone and done it again – did NOT want to put this book down!!’ Donna’s Book Blog

‘I absolutely loved this well-written emotional rollercoaster, the twists in the story keep you hooked, trying to work out what happened that night. Highly recommended.’ Nicki’s Life of Crime

‘Wow what a fantastic book, totally thrilling and captivating! A tangled web of lies and secrets is masterfully woven in this psychological thriller…I was hooked right from page one…a big fat 5 stars from me, I totally recommend this book.’ Bonnie’s Book Talk

‘This is one hell of an engaging read…I am blown away. I cannot recommend this enough; it is without a doubt a must-read book. Giving it a massive 5 stars.’ Chelle’s Book Reviews

Praise for Barbara Copperthwaite:

‘It grips you by the throat and doesn’t let go. A tense, edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting ride’Robert Bryndza, author of The Girl in the Ice and Cold Blood

‘Vividly written and absolutely gripping. I couldn’t put it down!’ The Genre Reader (5 stars)

‘There are plenty of twists and turns that will keep you guessing, leading all the way to a jaw-dropping ending that left me spinning.’ Novel Deelights (5 stars)

‘Gripping and shocking. Had me completely enthralled in the action…a story that got under my skin.’ Rachel’s Random Reads (5 stars)

‘A dark, compelling and unforgettable read that had me hooked. The final paragraph haunted me, long after I had finished reading.’ Brew and Books review (5 stars)

Addictive, Thrilling, Captivating! I could not put this book down, it captures your interest from the very first page until the very last.’ Book Reviews by Nicole (5 stars)

‘It really did make for some very emotional reading…There was a twist which totally rocked me.’ By The Letter Book Reviews

‘Plenty of red herrings and twists…If you like psychological thrillers, you’ll love it.’ Consumer reviewer (5 stars)

‘Spellbinding’ Reviews are in for Her Last Secret #PublicationCountdown

There are just three days to go until HER LAST SECRET is published. As I count down, the nerves grow, so it’s wonderful to see early reviews such as this one, from Rosepoint Publishing.

‘Heartily recommended for any who enjoys a progressive thrill ride into suspense or psychological thrillers,’ it reads. To see the review in full, click here.

I’m so grateful to everyone who takes the time to read and review my books.

Another fabulous review has come in today from Brew and Books Reviews, which writes: ‘A spellbinding read. Her Last Secret is a slow burning psychological thriller, that gradually quickens in pace to a delicious and explosive conclusion.’

To read the review in full, click here.

Rosepoint Publishing

Her Last Secret by Barbara CopperthwaiteTitle: Her Last Secret (a gripping psychological thriller) by Barbara Copperthwaite

Genre: Currently #586 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Suspense, Psychological

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: To be released October 13, 2017

Source: Bookouture and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Her Last Secret I don’t think the cover reflects one of the characters, so…(?)

I loved little Mouse and held my breath. My favorite character, Mouse, so young, sweet, innocent of the drama going on around her and started holding my breath almost immediately, waiting to find out what happens to Amber. And the drama?

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What’s Their Secret? LEIGH RUSSELL @LeighRussell confesses! #HerLastSecret

To celebrate #HerLastSecret going on sale, I’ve asked authors to share their secrets with me… Today it’s crime fiction queen LEIGH RUSSELL.

Leigh Russell has sold over a million crime fiction novels, and writes full time. Published in English and in translation throughout Europe, her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson titles have appeared on many bestseller lists, and reached #1 on kindle. Leigh’s work has been nominated for several major awards, including the CWA New Blood Dagger and CWA Dagger in the Library, and her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson series are in development for television with major television production company Avalon Television.
Leigh writes the Lucy Hall mystery series published by Thomas and Mercer.
Find out more about Leigh on her website http://www.leighrussell.co.uk where news, reviews and interviews are posted, with a schedule of Leigh’s appearances. Contact Leigh via her website, follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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Secret writing ritual…

If I told you that, I’d have to kill you…

Secret writing snack…

Chocolate.

Secret celebration when you finish a WIP…

Although it feels like I ought to celebrate finishing a book, I usually feel completely flat and deflated after the excitement of writing, and mentally exhausted. That can rapidly slide into a feeling of hopelessness. The only cure for that is to start writing another book…

‘Guilty secret’ read…

Anything, as I always feel I should be writing.

‘Guilty secret’ tv programme…

We always seem to miss series when they come out. At the moment we are engrossed in watching the box set of Breaking Bad. But with four ridiculously busy people involved, it’s very difficult to find an evening when we’re all free to watch together.

Shared secret…

When I was small I had to wear glasses for a lazy eye. I’m still a bit lazy but you’d never guess!

Secret peek into your new WIP…

A brief extract from Geraldine Steel Number 10:

“Too many killers were caught because they attempted to destroy evidence. That was stupid, because forensic examination could detect microscopic traces of blood and DNA invisible outside of laboratory conditions. Far better to leave no clues.

Driving back to his lock up garage, he started to plan his next outing.”

Secret Santa… (If you could give a happy ending to any character who would it be, and what would you do?)

Geraldine Steel would find happiness with… and if you’re following the series, you can complete that sentence however you like!

THANKS FOR THOSE GREAT CONFESSIONS, LEIGH!

Facebook Header - Pre Order Her Last Secret

Only six days to go until HER LAST SECRET is published! Friday 13th October will be lucky for you – unlucky for the Thomas family…
To pre-order or find our more, use the links below.
UK
US

Some secrets you can never tell.

Everyone thinks the Thomases are the perfect family: grand London house, gorgeous kids.

They don’t know wife Dominique is a paranoid wreck.

They don’t know husband Ben is trapped in a web of deceit.

They don’t know daughter Ruby lives in fear of the next abusive text.

But someone knows all their secrets.

Can the lies that bind them destroy them all?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Sometimes I Lie, and The Girl on the Train will be captivated.

See what readers are saying about Her Last Secret:

OH MY WORD! This is a fantastic read!… I was totally immersed in the Thomas family’s story… Outstanding, I highly recommend!’ Chat About Books

‘Absolutely superb, she’s only gone and done it again – did NOT want to put this book down!!’ Donna’s Book Blog

‘I absolutely loved this well-written emotional rollercoaster, the twists in the story keep you hooked, trying to work out what happened that night. Highly recommended.’ Nicki’s Life of Crime

‘Wow what a fantastic book, totally thrilling and captivating! A tangled web of lies and secrets is masterfully woven in this psychological thriller…I was hooked right from page one…a big fat 5 stars from me, I totally recommend this book.’ Bonnie’s Book Talk

‘This is one hell of an engaging read…I am blown away. I cannot recommend this enough; it is without a doubt a must-read book. Giving it a massive 5 stars.’ Chelle’s Book Reviews

Praise for Barbara Copperthwaite:

‘It grips you by the throat and doesn’t let go. A tense, edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting ride’Robert Bryndza, author of The Girl in the Ice and Cold Blood

‘Vividly written and absolutely gripping. I couldn’t put it down!’ The Genre Reader (5 stars)

‘There are plenty of twists and turns that will keep you guessing, leading all the way to a jaw-dropping ending that left me spinning.’ Novel Deelights (5 stars)

‘Gripping and shocking. Had me completely enthralled in the action…a story that got under my skin.’ Rachel’s Random Reads (5 stars)

‘A dark, compelling and unforgettable read that had me hooked. The final paragraph haunted me, long after I had finished reading.’ Brew and Books review (5 stars)

Addictive, Thrilling, Captivating! I could not put this book down, it captures your interest from the very first page until the very last.’ Book Reviews by Nicole (5 stars)

‘It really did make for some very emotional reading…There was a twist which totally rocked me.’ By The Letter Book Reviews

‘Plenty of red herrings and twists…If you like psychological thrillers, you’ll love it.’ Consumer reviewer (5 stars)

What’s Their Secret? JAN ELLIS @JanEllis_writer confesses! #HerLastSecret

To celebrate #HerLastSecret going on sale, I’ve asked authors to share their secrets with me… Today it’s JAN ELLIS, author of A London Affair, The Bookshop Detective, and many more.

Hello readers! My background is in non-fiction publishing and ‘An Unexpected Affair’ was the first fiction I had written since the age of about seven. Fortunately people enjoyed it, so I wrote ‘A Summer of Surprises’, which continues the adventures of my bookselling heroine, Eleanor Mace. Now these novellas are available to enjoy in one luscious, paperback volume! I’m also thrilled to present a brand-new title – ‘The Bookshop Detective’ – in which Eleanor ends up doing some sleuthing from her quiet corner of rural England.

As if that wasn’t excitement enough, my stories ‘French Kisses’ and ‘A London Affair’ are now also out in one gorgeous paperback book.

To discover more, please visit my website http://www.janelliswriter.com or follow me on Twitter @JanEllis_writer and Facebook. I look forward to sharing gossip with you there!

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Secret writing ritual…

I have to distract myself at regular intervals by playing Solitaire on the computer.

Secret writing snack…

I’m quite partial to a Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer with a cuppa.

Secret celebration when you finish a WIP…

I don’t celebrate until it’s all done and I’ve had my first positive review.

‘Guilty secret’ read…

My sister-in-law gave me a pile of Take a Break magazines. I’m hooked!

‘Guilty secret’ tv programme…

The Apprentice. Car-crash telly at its best.

Shared secret…

I speak a few words of Flemish.

Secret peek into your new WIP…

I have a couple of things on the go, including a short ghost story: ‘The girl’s shawl partly concealed her face. Silently, she raised one arm and pointed towards the lane where the fog was at its thickest.’ Good, eh?

Secret Santa… (If you could give a happy ending to any character who would it be, and what would you do?)

Every time I read Tess of the d’Urbervilles, I shout at Tess not to shove that note under the door mat. She and Angel Clare should have married and had lots of chubby-cheeked offspring together.

THANKS FOR THOSE GREAT CONFESSIONS, JAN!

Facebook Header - Pre Order Her Last Secret

Only six days to go until HER LAST SECRET is published! Friday 13th October will be lucky for you – unlucky for the Thomas family…
To pre-order or find our more, use the links below.
UK
US

Some secrets you can never tell.

Everyone thinks the Thomases are the perfect family: grand London house, gorgeous kids.

They don’t know wife Dominique is a paranoid wreck.

They don’t know husband Ben is trapped in a web of deceit.

They don’t know daughter Ruby lives in fear of the next abusive text.

But someone knows all their secrets.

Can the lies that bind them destroy them all?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Sometimes I Lie, and The Girl on the Train will be captivated.

See what readers are saying about Her Last Secret:

OH MY WORD! This is a fantastic read!… I was totally immersed in the Thomas family’s story… Outstanding, I highly recommend!’ Chat About Books

‘Absolutely superb, she’s only gone and done it again – did NOT want to put this book down!!’ Donna’s Book Blog

‘I absolutely loved this well-written emotional rollercoaster, the twists in the story keep you hooked, trying to work out what happened that night. Highly recommended.’ Nicki’s Life of Crime

‘Wow what a fantastic book, totally thrilling and captivating! A tangled web of lies and secrets is masterfully woven in this psychological thriller…I was hooked right from page one…a big fat 5 stars from me, I totally recommend this book.’ Bonnie’s Book Talk

‘This is one hell of an engaging read…I am blown away. I cannot recommend this enough; it is without a doubt a must-read book. Giving it a massive 5 stars.’ Chelle’s Book Reviews

Praise for Barbara Copperthwaite:

‘It grips you by the throat and doesn’t let go. A tense, edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting ride’Robert Bryndza, author of The Girl in the Ice and Cold Blood

‘Vividly written and absolutely gripping. I couldn’t put it down!’ The Genre Reader (5 stars)

‘There are plenty of twists and turns that will keep you guessing, leading all the way to a jaw-dropping ending that left me spinning.’ Novel Deelights (5 stars)

‘Gripping and shocking. Had me completely enthralled in the action…a story that got under my skin.’ Rachel’s Random Reads (5 stars)

‘A dark, compelling and unforgettable read that had me hooked. The final paragraph haunted me, long after I had finished reading.’ Brew and Books review (5 stars)

Addictive, Thrilling, Captivating! I could not put this book down, it captures your interest from the very first page until the very last.’ Book Reviews by Nicole (5 stars)

‘It really did make for some very emotional reading…There was a twist which totally rocked me.’ By The Letter Book Reviews

‘Plenty of red herrings and twists…If you like psychological thrillers, you’ll love it.’ Consumer reviewer (5 stars)

What’s Their Secret? SAM CARRINGTON @sam_carrington1 confesses! #HerLastSecret

To celebrate #HerLastSecret going on sale, I’ve asked authors to share their secrets with me… Today it’s SAM CARRINGTON, author of Saving Sophie and Bad Sister.

Sam Carrington lives in Devon with her husband and three children. She worked for the NHS for fifteen years, during which time she qualified as a nurse. Following the completion of a psychology degree she went to work for the prison service as an Offending Behaviour Programme Facilitator. Her experiences within this field inspired her writing. She left the service to spend time with her family and to follow her dream of being a novelist. SAVING SOPHIE, her debut psychological thriller, published in September 2016. It became a Kindle eBook bestseller, with the paperback hitting The Bookseller Heatseeker chart at #8. Sam was named an Amazon Rising Star of 2016. Her next psychological thriller, BAD SISTER, publishes in October 2017 in ebook and December in paperback. 

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Secret writing ritual…

I always start my writing day with social media – it’s like I can’t settle into my WIP before I’ve checked tweets! Then I must turn my swivel chair around three times before I open the manuscript document on my laptop … no, just kidding. I don’t think I have much of a ritual when writing, I’m more likely to when editing – like doing anything and everything other than open the manuscript!

Secret writing snack…

Ooh, so many! Oreo Thins, Dairy Milk chocolate and wotsits are the faves at the moment. Sometimes all at once.

Secret celebration when you finish a WIP…

Definitely some bubbly! Not so sure that’s a secret…

‘Guilty secret’ read…

Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code. A lot of people I know slated it – but I read it on holiday years ago and thought it was really interesting and nothing like I’d read before.

‘Guilty secret’ tv programme…

I have a few of those! Recently I binge-watched Helix on Netflix – I had to watch while hubby was out as he hates sci-fi programmes, so I did series one in two days!

Shared secret

I was once in The News of The World newspaper – it was Michael Winner’s column – my name was his headline! All to do with the ‘guess whose eyes’ competition. I was so certain I was right I emailed him saying if I was wrong, I’d run around my garden naked.

I was wrong … you can guess where he went with that…

Secret peek into your new WIP

My next novel is Bad Sister – it’s my second psychological thriller, and is out as eBook NOW!

Quick teaser:

The heat pressed against her face.

On it. In it. Her cheeks felt like they were burning inside as well as out.

The little boy stood motionless beside her, his scorched pyjama bottoms trailing the pavement. His dark unblinking eyes stared up at the leaping flames erupting from the upper floor, then his attention turned to the bedroom window.

At the man screaming there…

Secret Santa… (If you could give a happy ending to any character who would it be, and what would you do?)

Hmm, interesting one! I’m not sure I’ve read that many books with characters who have had unhappy endings. I think I’d have to bundle up some good cheer and a happier ending (if it’s even possible!) for Amy and Nick Dunne from Gone Girl, though. What would I do? Give them each a new spouse!

THANKS FOR THOSE GREAT CONFESSIONS, SAM!

Facebook Header - Pre Order Her Last Secret

HER LAST SECRET is out on Friday 13th October. Lucky for you – unlucky for the Thomas family…
To pre-order or find our more, use the links below.
UK
US

Some secrets you can never tell.

Everyone thinks the Thomases are the perfect family: grand London house, gorgeous kids.

They don’t know wife Dominique is a paranoid wreck.

They don’t know husband Ben is trapped in a web of deceit.

They don’t know daughter Ruby lives in fear of the next abusive text.

But someone knows all their secrets.

Can the lies that bind them destroy them all?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Sometimes I Lie, and The Girl on the Train will be captivated.

See what readers are saying about Her Last Secret:

OH MY WORD! This is a fantastic read!… I was totally immersed in the Thomas family’s story… Outstanding, I highly recommend!’ Chat About Books

‘Absolutely superb, she’s only gone and done it again – did NOT want to put this book down!!’ Donna’s Book Blog

‘I absolutely loved this well-written emotional rollercoaster, the twists in the story keep you hooked, trying to work out what happened that night. Highly recommended.’ Nicki’s Life of Crime

‘Wow what a fantastic book, totally thrilling and captivating! A tangled web of lies and secrets is masterfully woven in this psychological thriller…I was hooked right from page one…a big fat 5 stars from me, I totally recommend this book.’ Bonnie’s Book Talk

‘This is one hell of an engaging read…I am blown away. I cannot recommend this enough; it is without a doubt a must-read book. Giving it a massive 5 stars.’ Chelle’s Book Reviews

Praise for Barbara Copperthwaite:

‘It grips you by the throat and doesn’t let go. A tense, edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting ride’Robert Bryndza, author of The Girl in the Ice and Cold Blood

‘Vividly written and absolutely gripping. I couldn’t put it down!’ The Genre Reader (5 stars)

‘There are plenty of twists and turns that will keep you guessing, leading all the way to a jaw-dropping ending that left me spinning.’ Novel Deelights (5 stars)

‘Gripping and shocking. Had me completely enthralled in the action…a story that got under my skin.’ Rachel’s Random Reads (5 stars)

‘A dark, compelling and unforgettable read that had me hooked. The final paragraph haunted me, long after I had finished reading.’ Brew and Books review (5 stars)

Addictive, Thrilling, Captivating! I could not put this book down, it captures your interest from the very first page until the very last.’ Book Reviews by Nicole (5 stars)

‘It really did make for some very emotional reading…There was a twist which totally rocked me.’ By The Letter Book Reviews

‘Plenty of red herrings and twists…If you like psychological thrillers, you’ll love it.’ Consumer reviewer (5 stars)

Sneak peek inside HER LAST SECRET #preorder #thriller

*** SNEAK PEEK ALERT ***

As publication day for HER LAST SECRET edges ever closer, I thought I’d give you all an EXCLUSIVE sneak peek at its opening. If you like what you see, don’t forget you can pre-order it right now and it will be delivered to you on Friday 13th!

PROLOGUE

A lifetime can flash by in a moment. A moment can last a lifetime.

Right now, everything seemed cradled in the pause between breaths. It wasn’t so much that the world was in slow motion, more that Dominique’s senses were so heightened that she could note every detail: the look on her eldest daughter’s face; the desperation that made her husband’s voice hitch; the squeak of her youngest child when she got excited or scared. She thought of all those things, examining them. Wondering whether to smile or cry at their memory.

Dominique had spent most of her life hiding from herself, from others, from her past. Now, she felt secreted in a between-world, like the moment before waking. She needed to make a decision. Should she remain and carry on hiding, her life sliding away like water through cracks in the pavement; or should she act?

There were consequences to actions, though. Prices that must be paid.

She exhaled. Decision made.

The time had come to expose all the secrets, no matter what.

If only she had the courage to do so. If only the family was strong enough to survive it. If only she didn’t do something stupid herself.

CHAPTER ONE

CHRISTMAS DAY

Squad cars blocked the normally peaceful Burgh Road, in Blackheath, London. The blue lights were switched off but, had they been on, wouldn’t have looked out of place among the festive illuminations strewn over trees in many front gardens, lighting up the dark hours pre-dawn. The handsome redbrick houses were all large, neat, detached, built for affluent Victorians during the heady decades before the First World War. The period properties were what kept Blackheath such a desirable address still.

Along the tree-lined street there were few net curtains to twitch at the gathering crowd of police officers. Instead, neighbours peered, bleary-eyed, around blinds, or pulled back wooden shutters that matched the original sash windows of their homes. Adults shooed their little ones away, but stayed rooted to the spot themselves, clinging to each other for safety behind the glass. The children probably didn’t need much persuading to stay away, overjoyed at an excuse to unwrap their presents without their parents wearily trying to go back to bed just a little longer.

Christmas had indeed come early for them.

Chief Inspector Paul Ogundele checked his watch – 3.47 a.m. – and got out of his car to take charge of the scene. He noticed how some neighbours, bolder than their counterparts, edged to their front door and stood watching, poised to bolt at the first sign of trouble. He’d have to remind uniformed officers to send them back inside for their own safety.

According to a laminated poster still attached to a fence, Burgh Road had been closed a week earlier, too; that time for a festive street party for neighbours to get to know one another and to allow youngsters to play in the road without fear. Cheery, multicoloured bunting still hung from lamp post to lamp post, dripping in the pouring rain. Below it, in swags, was yellow police tape.

Outside the cordon, paramedics hunched in their ambulance, steaming up their windows as they waited to be told when it was safe to do their jobs. They wouldn’t be setting foot anywhere until the police’s armed response unit had finished securing the place and given them the nod.

Chief Inspector Ogundele took it all in in a second. He ducked under the tape and strode over to a uniformed officer standing stoically, pretending she didn’t notice the waterfall running in front of her face from her hat.

‘Sergeant Hussain. What’s the situation?’

‘Gunshots were reported at 3.20 am by a Mr Alan Jackman, of 17 Burgh Road. At least two shots fired within his neighbour’s home at Number 15. Mr Jackman told the control room during his 999 call that his neighbour has a shotgun and regularly goes clay pigeon shooting. He also says he heard “shouting and one hell of a row” which woke him immediately before he heard gunfire.’

As the officer spoke, she indicated over to a man in his early fifties whose pallor matched his prematurely grey hair. He was still in his blue towelling dressing gown and matching pyjamas, but stood defiantly to attention at his front door, as though afraid of showing weakness. Especially in his new, bright yellow Simpsons slippers.

‘Residents have been warned to stay indoors, sir,’ added Sergeant Hussain.

The chief inspector made a noise of impatience. People so rarely listened to orders, curiosity generally overcoming fear. Some residents even held up their mobile phones, filming the excitement and no doubt live-streaming it on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media they could think of.

‘What do we know about who lives in the building?’

‘Number 15 belongs to Mr Benjamin Thomas, 48, and his wife Dominique, 44. According to the neighbour, they have two children, Amber, who is between 7 and 9 – the neighbour isn’t sure, and Ruby, a teenager of about 16. Checks have confirmed that Mr Thomas has a licence for a shotgun, which is kept on the premises.’

Had Benjamin Thomas had an accident? Discovered burglars and taken a potshot ? Or perhaps been shot at by armed thieves? Did the gun go off by mistake? Or had he gone crazy and killed or injured his wife, children and himself? Murder/suicide was a terrible thing, and rare, but not unheard of by any stretch of the imagination. At this time of year there was generally a spike in domestic abuse, due to people being in close proximity for longer periods than they would be at other times of the year.

Just what had happened to the family inside Number 15?

Need to know what happens next? Pre-order HER LAST SECRET here:
UK🇬🇧http://amzn.to/2eOtJtF
US🇺🇸http://amzn.to/2jhcE0G

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