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Barbara Copperthwaite

PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLERS TO GIVE YOU SHIVERS

Letter to myself 5 years ago

Are YOU a winner? Find out now! #booklove #ThePerfectFriend #HerLastSecret #FlowersForTheDead #summerreads

Running my giveaways over all social media has become something of a tradition now, done every time I bring a book out. They’re always such fun, but I think this one has been the best yet – and that’s thanks to all of you who entered. Across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and my blog, you’ve come together and entered in your droves. In fact, this competition has had more entrants than any other competition I’ve run!

It’s been lovely to see new people commenting and joining in – and that’s what this is all about: my way of saying thank you to all my readers for their support, and also a chance for us to get to know each other a little. It was particularly interesting hearing which character from any book you’d be, given a chance, as well as getting into brilliant discussions about middle-aged woman as main characters, or giggling over the silly spot the difference. As for your reaction when asked to describe THER PERFECT FRIEND in three words…well, I was blown away by what you said!

FIVE lucky winners have been chosen at random out of the countless entries. Here’s a quick reminder of what I’m giving away:

ONE lucky winner will receive a SIGNED COPY of The Perfect Friend.

TWO lucky winners will receive a SIGNED COPY of Her Last Secret.

ONE lucky winner will receive a SIGNED COPY of Flowers For The Dead.

ONE very lucky winner will have a CHARACTER NAMED AFTER THEM in my next book. *

Winners should contact me by either private messaging me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or sending an email to InvisibleAuthor@outlook.com Anyone named as a winner who has not contacted me by midnight UK time on Monday 13th will lose their prize, and another winner will be chosen in their stead.

* Please note that the character will have your name but will not be based in any way upon you or any person living or dead. Any similarities are coincidence. They may be a good person or a bad person – they could even be a killer. So be prepared! The part they play may be large or small. Entry into the competition is taken as agreement to these conditions. Thank you.

***AND THE WINNERS ARE***

 

You're all winners!-2

Beth Toale, Jo Robertson, Gillian Lillford, Aisha Ahlaam, and Pia Mortensen CONGRATULATIONS! I can’t wait to hear from you.

Thanks again to everyone who entered. Have a great weekend xx

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PhotoFiction: Val Penny shares #writing inspirations @valeriepenny @crookedcatbooks #authorinterview

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Authors reveal the images that inspired 100,000 words

THIS WEEK: Val Penny reveals how Edinburgh provided the perfect setting for her detective series…

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ABOUT VAL

Val Penny is the author of The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. The first In the series, ‘Hunter’s Chase’, was published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018 while the sequel, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’, will be published on 09.09.2018 and the third in the series, Hunter’s Force follows shortly. All books are available to order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and The Edinburgh Bookshop.

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VAL SAYS: Thank you for inviting me to your blog today, Barbara. I am very excited because my second crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’ is published by Crooked Cats Books and available to pre-order from Amazon.

The story is set in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. I think setting is very important to a novel and did consider creating an imaginary town for my story. However, I lived in Edinburgh for many years and know the city well. I definitely saw my main protagonist, Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson, as a city policeman. Also, Edinburgh is a beautiful city and it is lovely to ‘research’ by walking around my favourite places! TO READ IN FULL, CLICK HERE

The controversial rise of the middle-aged female protagonist + GIVEAWAY #ThePerfectFriend #amwriting #prime

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When I wrote The Perfect Friend I didn’t think twice about my main character being a woman of 44. She needed to have been through the mill and have life experiences that had left her emotionally scarred. So Alex Appleby came into being, mother of twins, former wife of Owen, who in her struggles to come to terms with the disintegration of her family has developed adult-onset anorexia. Her vulnerability leads to her forming a claustrophobic friendship with Carrie Goodwin, 24, who she quickly thinks of as almost a surrogate daughter. And who she decides she needs to look after and protect no matter what…

I didn’t suspect I was doing anything controversial at the time. Then I read comments from Fay Weldon, respected author and playwright of hits such as The Life and Loves of a She Devil. Recently she wrote a blog post about middle-aged main characters, claiming that publishers tend to turn away novels about middle-aged women because they are ‘depressing’. She adds they ‘are probably wise to do so.’ (To read her post in full, click here).

Photo by Alessio Lin on Unsplash
Women don’t disappear from life at 40. Photo by Alessio Lin on Unsplash

Is she right? She is an author with far more experience, at a far higher level, than me – yet I can’t help disagreeing. It seems ridiculous to discount an entire section of society on the grounds of age and/or gender. Women don’t disappear in real life at the age of 30, so why should they in books? (As an aside, I’ll add that I dislike the term middle-aged, but have used it here for ease of understanding and for want of a better term. In the context of this post, I’m using middle-aged to cover anyone aged 35 to 65.) There wasa time when books with female characters were almost exclusively below the age of 30 or, on occasion, a much older woman such as Miss Marple. But not now. The ‘middle-aged’ female protagonist is becoming more common – isn’t she?

I decided to do some research among my fellow authors. Recently I was talking about it with Jo Furniss, author of best-seller All The Little Children and The Trailing Spouse.

‘I think the popularity of domestic thrillers in particular have made the 40-something woman not just visible, but irresistible. It’s the age when women have it all going on; challenges coming at them from every direction,’ she says.

Photo by Lorna Scubelek on Unsplash
The irresistible lure of the 40-something woman. Photo by Lorna Scubelek on Unsplash

‘It’s a time when life, potentially, swerves to the dark side. By their 40s, many women have committed to their major life choices; a partner, a family, a career. But it’s also the age when you realise that you’ve taken a vast gamble, dumped all your chips on black or red, and with hardly any genuine control over who comes up trumps.

‘That love-of-your-life; is he what he seems? Those kids; you’d give up your life for them. Your hard-won career; a secret from the past could ruin all that. The stakes are high. You have everything to lose. Life begins to get serious at 40, and that’s too much for novelists and readers to resist.’

I can definitely relate to what Furniss is saying. From my own life experience, I can say there’s something about the old trope ‘life begins at 40’, and the urge to take gambles. When I was approaching my 40thbirthday I decided to change direction, turn my back on journalism, and instead become a writer of fiction. There was a drive to achieve it ‘before it was too late’, and as I am a woman in my forties it seemed logical that I write about them, too. This is particularly evident in Her Last Secret, which centres around Dominique as she tries to stop her family from falling apart with explosive consequences, and The Perfect Friend, where Alex struggles against adult-onset anorexia and losing touch with her husband and children.

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So in addition to there being a lot riding on this time of life, as Furniss states, and therefore there being a lot of potential storylines to explore, is there another reason for the increase in middle-aged female characters at the heart of books? Perhaps it’s in part about the rise of female authors coming to writing success in their 40s.

This theory is something Weldon also tackles in her post. ‘We now have a sorry state of affairs in which older women, who tend to be the only ones with the time, energy, experience and patience to write novels at all, have an uphill struggle trying to get them published.’

At no point did my editor or publisher comment that The Perfect Friend might be a hard sell to readers because of my main character’s age. Furniss hasn’t had problems, either. Perhaps we have simply been lucky. Weldon has a further word of caution, though: that readers simply aren’t interested in women of a certain age.

‘Readers come in all sizes, sexes, shapes and ages, but all prefer their novels to feature young women rather than old,’ she writes. ‘This applies particularly, alas, to older women, who are by far the more prolific readers of fiction. (Men tend to prefer non-fiction – histories, biographies, science, car mechanics.)

‘And older women, my theory is, prefer to identify with themselves when young, not as they are now, in the days when they were sexually active, agile of limb, and not afraid of adventure. It makes for livelier reading.’

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Is Weldon correct? Would The Perfect Friend be better if Alex were a decade younger? Is the fact that Carrie is 24 what has saved the book? Do readers simply not want to know about middle-aged women? A quick scan of my reviews shows that not one person has mentioned anything critical about the characters’ ages. It’s hit the Top 50 on Amazon USA, reached Number 21 on Amazon UK, and sat at No 1 on Kobo, so sales have been healthy.

My experience isn’t unique. KL Slater is the bestselling author of psychological crime thrillers, including Safe With Me, Blink, Liar, The Mistake and The Secret – and she’s convinced that age doesn’t put people off.

She says: ‘Judi, in Liar, is in her late fifties and still battling menopause symptoms among other personal problems. I received lots of messages from mature female readers who loved her! I enjoyed exploring stereotypical views of older women through the character of Judi, of what they’re capable of and, in particular, how they are so often side-lined or at worst ignored. Judi managed to set a few people straight.’

Far from being ‘depressing’, this new breed of character is breaking taboos – and being applauded for it.

Photo by Catherine McMahon on Unsplash
Middle-aged women are breaking taboos and celebrating life. Photo by Catherine McMahon on Unsplash

Under A Cornish Sky author Liz Fenwick believes that attitudes have altered among readers.

‘When Under A Cornish Sky came out there was a clear spit in reviews. The younger ones loved Demi, the 26-year-old character, while the older readers adored the 60-year-old protangonist,’ she says.

But she noticed a changed when One Cornish Summer was published. ‘There has been a big shift, with many of the younger readers really rooting for Hebe, the 54-year-old, and the older ones feeling for Lucy, who is 28.’

So the theory that readers aren’t interested in characters of a certain age isn’t holding up. In addition, not all authors creating main characters in their 40s are doing so simply because they are themselves.

‘My protagonist in my psychological thriller, Where The Missing Go, is a woman in her 40s, though I am still in my 30s,’ says Emma Rowley. ‘It worked because I needed her to have accumulated all of the trappings of ‘adulthood’ – husband, house, a teenager – and be struggling with what it meant when they were lost or threatened in some way. I wanted the stakes to be as high as they could for her.’

There it is again, that thought of a character having a lot to lose. A middle-aged woman fits this perfectly.

Rowley agrees with Fenwick that changes in society and perceptions of how we age are adding to this shift in attitude over main characters.

Photo by Shashank Sahay on Unsplash
Could this be the dawn of a new era, where woman of a certain age emerge from the shadows of stories, to take centre-stage? Photo by Shashank Sahay on Unsplash

‘It makes me wonder if we are seeing more older heroines partly as a reflection of the fact it is taking the younger generation longer to achieve the traditional markers of adulthood: perhaps 50 years ago she would have been in her early 30s and be playing the same fictional role?’ she says.

This was the driving force behind Jennifer Joyce’s decision to include an older female character in her latest book. She writes rom coms that usually feature characters in their early 20s and 30s, but knew she wanted to try something different this time.

‘The book centres around three single mums, and this particular character had decided to go it alone using IVF and a donor after the breakdown of her long-term relationship and then have a baby. It made sense that she would be slightly older than my main characters usually are,’ she says.

Susanna Beard, whose latest book, The Truth Waits, is out in November, and features a woman of 45, feels strongly that books should reflect the reality. She says: ‘As the population ages, it’s much more balanced to have stories about middle-aged people and older.’

The rise of the strong middle-aged female man character may be controversial at the moment, but it’s also unstoppable as society and perceptions change. Rather than being ‘depressing’ this age group is a previously ignored resource that can provide drama, emotion, mystery, and insight. Ultimately, as long as the story is good, who cares about the age of the characters?

 

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GIVEAWAY! How to enter

From 28 July until 8 August inclusive, my posts on this blog will be followed by a question about the content. Find the answer, and then either comment on the post or email InvisibleAuthor@outlook.com

Every person who answers correctly will be entered into a prize draw. The competition closes at midnight UK time on Friday 3 August. The winners will be chosen at random and announced on Friday 10 August.

** Today’s question is: How old are Alex and Carrie, the characters in THE PERFECT FRIEND? Let me know! **

What am I giving away?

ONE lucky winner will receive a SIGNED COPY of The Perfect Friend.

TWO lucky winners will receive a SIGNED COPY of Her Last Secret.

ONE lucky winner will receive a SIGNED COPY of Flowers For The Dead.

ONE very lucky winner will have a CHARACTER NAMED AFTER THEM in my next book. *

WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

As well as this competition, check out Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, for more ways to enter over the next seven days. You can enter as many times as you want!

* Please note that the character will have your name but will not be based in any way upon you or any person living or dead. Any similarities are coincidence. They may be a good person or a bad person – they could even be a killer. So be prepared! The part they play may be large or small. Entry into the competition is taken as agreement to these conditions. Thank you.

About THE PERFECT FRIEND

TPF-YELLOWHR

My name is Alex, and my world has been shattered.

My husband has left me.

My children won’t speak to me.

My friend Carrie is the only person I have.

She’s the only one I can trust to keep all my secrets.

She’d never do anything to let me down.

Would she?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page.

THE PERFECT FRIEND is available on: AmazoniBookstore; KoboGoogleplay

HER LAST SECRET makeover + GIVEAWAY #booklove #ThePerfectFriend #mustreads #HerLastSecret #psychologicalthriller

The makeover fairies at Bookouture have waved their magic wands over HER LAST SECRET – and come up with this incredible new cover. What do you think? I absolutely LOVE it. The ice-cold blue catches my eye and draws me in, and there is something so sinister about the branches reaching across the image, hemming the woman in until it feels claustrophobic. Whatever her secret is, it’s all-consuming and terrible, the cover seems to be telling me…

Covers are so important to me, and I firmly believe they make a difference to readers, too. What do you think? For example, when I saw the cover of THE PERFECT FREIND, I couldn’t have been happier – not just because it’s an eye-catching yellow, but of the way it so cleverly encapsulates the atmosphere of the content.

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The title is The Perfect Friend, but of course things are never going to be that simple in a psychological thriller. The colour captures the brilliant friendship at the heart of the book, but look closer at the shade of yellow chosen, and it’s slightly deeper than sunshine, hinting at the clouds that will soon be rolling in, and the storm ahead. The woman stands with her back to the reader, oblivious to the danger coming her way, and the fact she is viewed through the smashed hole in the picture gives an almost voyeuristic feel. Someone is watching her. 

Then of course there is the sinister fracture running through the entire image, including the title itself, splintering reality for the characters involved. Finally, the clever touch of red in the tagline acts as a siren of danger. This is echoed in the new cover for Her Last Secret.

About HER LAST SECRET

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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 tear them apart?

Buy now:

UK 🇬🇧 http://amzn.to/2eOtJtF
US 🇺🇸 http://amzn.to/2jhcE0G

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GIVEAWAY! How to enter

From 28 July until 8 August inclusive, my posts on this blog will be followed by a question about the content. Find the answer, and then either comment on the post or email InvisibleAuthor@outlook.com

Every person who answers correctly will be entered into a prize draw. The competition closes at midnight UK time on Friday 3 August. The winners will be chosen at random and announced on Friday 10 August.

** Today’s question is: What’s the name of the family that feature in HER LAST SECRET? Let me know! **

What am I giving away?

ONE lucky winner will receive a SIGNED COPY of The Perfect Friend.

TWO lucky winners will receive a SIGNED COPY of Her Last Secret.

ONE lucky winner will receive a SIGNED COPY of Flowers For The Dead.

ONE very lucky winner will have a CHARACTER NAMED AFTER THEM in my next book. *

WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

As well as this competition, check out Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, for more ways to enter over the next seven days. You can enter as many times as you want!

* Please note that the character will have your name but will not be based in any way upon you or any person living or dead. Any similarities are coincidence. They may be a good person or a bad person – they could even be a killer. So be prepared! The part they play may be large or small. Entry into the competition is taken as agreement to these conditions. Thank you.

Meet Alex & Carrie: creating the characters in The Perfect Friend (+ GIVEAWAY) #booklove #amwriting #mustreads

Just who are Alex and Carrie, the two women at the centre of The Perfect Friend? It’s been such fun getting under the skin of these two women. Their backgrounds, complexities, similarities and differences have been burned into my brain to such an extent that I now feel almost as if they are real and have chosen to reveal themselves to me, rather than being creatures of my own creation.

Alex is clearly vulnerable, struggling every day to deal with what life has thrown at her, to come to terms with decisions she has made that haven’t always been wise. She is 44, and empty nest syndrome has triggered the anorexia that ravages her body and mind; all she wants is to be a wife and mother once again.

Quote from psychological thriller THE PERFECT FRIEND, by Barbara Copperthwaite

Despite her fragility, I admired the strength she shows every single day to try and inch her way back to normality and put her problems behind her – and let’s not forget her desperation to make amends for the past. She is haunted by guilt, and that is the driving force behind all of her decisions. Somehow, she is determined to make things better and rectify her mistakes, no matter what the emotional cost; that means that sometimes, despite the good intentions, wisdom isn’t informing her new choices.

Quote from psychological thriller THE PERFECT FRIEND, by Barbara Copperthwaite

Carrie is her polar opposite, and being almost half Alex’s age, is like a surrogate daughter to her. Despite her youth, she’s tough in the face of a terminal diagnosis, and always positive, refusing to give in to what life has dished out for her. Nothing and no one are going to daunt her or stop her doing what she wants, and she encourages Alex to relax, enjoy herself, and be more ‘glass is half full’.

But when mysterious threatening messages are delivered to her, it’s clear there is more to her than meets the eye. Alex’s interference means Carrie is blissfully ignorant of what’s going on. Instead, Carrie continues to concentrate on trying to improve the life of a woman she’s grown so close to she almost thinks of her as family. But will Alex’s good intentions cause more harm than good? Will their friendship end up destroying one another?

Quote from psychological thriller THE PERFECT FRIEND, by Barbara Copperthwaite

Carrie was incredible to write, and in many ways empowering. She’s a survivor, just like Alex – they are two sides of the same coin. I don’t write about helpless women being in jeopardy and needing to be rescued. I create women who deal with jeopardy and save themselves and those they love, whatever it takes. Sometimes that means making morally dubious or down-right dangerous decisions. Inserting suspicion, then paranoia into the relationship between Carrie and Alex, and using them to prise open the cracks in their friendship into chasms was a fascinating experience as I discovered how each woman reacted.

Quote from psychological thriller THE PERFECT FRIEND, by Barbara Copperthwaite

Female friendship is built on commonality and the exchange of secrets, on making ourselves vulnerable in order to let someone in. Exploring how lies can be used to protect ourselves or others, or produce devastating harm, is a theme throughout the book.

Quote from psychological thriller THE PERFECT FRIEND, by Barbara Copperthwaite

Would I get on with either woman in The Perfect Friend if I met them, I found myself wondering. Knowing them as I do, with all their secrets laid bare to me, yes, I think I would. Both are a curious mixture of tough yet vulnerable, and it would be wonderful to sit down with them and chat. Alex would talk gently, always watchful and wary, but once drawn out she’d become more talkative. Carrie would be the entertainer, suggesting we do shots, or go dancing, or do something crazy. She’d make me feel instantly at ease and ask me all about myself. It would be lovely. But could I trust what they tell me? Ah, now that is a different story…

About THE PERFECT FRIEND

TPF-YELLOWHR

My name is Alex, and my world has been shattered.

My husband has left me.

My children won’t speak to me.

My friend Carrie is the only person I have.

She’s the only one I can trust to keep all my secrets.

She’d never do anything to let me down.

Would she?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page.

THE PERFECT FRIEND is available on: AmazoniBookstore; KoboGoogleplay

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GIVEAWAY! How to enter

From 28 July until 8 August inclusive, my posts on this blog will be followed by a question about the content. Find the answer, and then either comment on the post or email InvisibleAuthor@outlook.com

Every person who answers correctly will be entered into a prize draw. The competition closes at midnight UK time on Friday 3 August. The winners will be chosen at random and announced on Friday 10 August.

** Today’s question is: According to this post, if I met Carrie for a drink, what sort of drink would she buy me? Let me know! **

What am I giving away?

ONE lucky winner will receive a SIGNED COPY of The Perfect Friend.

TWO lucky winners will receive a SIGNED COPY of Her Last Secret.

ONE lucky winner will receive a SIGNED COPY of Flowers For The Dead.

ONE very lucky winner will have a CHARACTER NAMED AFTER THEM in my next book. *

WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

As well as this competition, check out Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, for more ways to enter over the next seven days. You can enter as many times as you want!

* Please note that the character will have your name but will not be based in any way upon you or any person living or dead. Any similarities are coincidence. They may be a good person or a bad person – they could even be a killer. So be prepared! The part they play may be large or small. Entry into the competition is taken as agreement to these conditions. Thank you.

14 Books To Read Before You Die + GIVEAWAY #booklove #ThePerfectFriend #mustreads

As bucket lists form a part of the storyline in The Perfect Friend, I thought I’d have a bit of fun and put some authors and book bloggers on the spot. I asked probably the toughest question anyone can ask a bookworm: what’s the ONE book you’d recommend someone should read before they die? The answers are fascinating – and I’d love to hear your thoughts, too…

Authors

Liz Eeles

Today’s answer – tomorrow’s might be different – is The Time Traveller’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. The poignant ending reduced me to a blubbering wreck.

Richard Parker

Catch-22 is just so damn clever. It’s one of those books where you relish every single word.

Valerie Dickenson

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is my recommendation.

Pam Howes

For me, Georgia, by Lesley Pearse. It inspired me to write.

Vikki Patis

Oh God. If I had to choose, it would have to be Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.

Tilly Tennant

The Book of Lost Things, by John Connolly – it never moves from my top five no matter what else I read!

Graham Smith

HMS Ulysses is the perfect mix of character, pace and plot.

Emma Robinson

The book I’d recommend people to read is Small Island, by Andrea Levy, because it’s a fantastic story with great characters and stirs compassion in your heart. The one book I want to read before I die is The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I studied Dostoevsky at university but this one escaped me!

Clare Wartnaby

I’ve been thinking about this ever since you first asked me and I still can’t decide! Maybe The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver?

Patricia Gibney

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. I read it years and years ago and really would love to read it again. I can remember the vivid descriptions of the trenches of World War One. It’s atmospheric and heart-breaking.

 

Bloggers

Joanne Robertson, My Chestnut Reading Tree

This is such a tough question! I’m going to be very boring and recommend Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None. I read it when I was 10 and it’s probably the book that affected me the most ever! It was my first ever experience of twist.

Linda Hill, Linda’s Book Bag

I would like to recommend Mary Anne Sate, Imbecile, which is by Alice Jolly, because it is a book that will pass by the majority of readers, but it’s the most extraordinary book I’ve ever encountered. It’s over 600 pages, yet it’s totally accessible!

Shell Baker, ‘Chelles Book Reviews

The Wronged, by Kimberly Chambers – because me and my family are in it and its bloody class!

Anne Williams, Being Anne

This might be a bit of an unexpected one, but I’d like to recommend The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova. It’s years since I read it, but it made a mighty impression – despite everything tellingme it wouldn’t be a book for me. It’s a slightly frightening 700 pages long, but has a cracking story (although I’ll admit it does slow in places, but I rather like that) and far more information than anyone could ever want to know about East European vampires. I found it mesmerising.

 

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GIVEAWAY! How to enter

From 28 July until 8 August inclusive, my posts on this blog will be followed by a question about the content. Find the answer, and then either comment on the post or email InvisibleAuthor@outlook.com

Every person who answers correctly will be entered into a prize draw. The competition closes at midnight UK time on Friday 3 August. The winners will be chosen at random and announced on Friday 10 August.

** Today’s question is: Tell me the one book YOU would recommend people read before they die? Let me know! **

What am I giving away?

ONE lucky winner will receive a SIGNED COPY of The Perfect Friend.

TWO lucky winners will receive a SIGNED COPY of Her Last Secret.

ONE lucky winner will receive a SIGNED COPY of Flowers For The Dead.

ONE very lucky winner will have a CHARACTER NAMED AFTER THEM in my next book. *

WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

As well as this competition, check out Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, for more ways to enter over the next seven days. You can enter as many times as you want!

* Please note that the character will have your name but will not be based in any way upon you or any person living or dead. Any similarities are coincidence. They may be a good person or a bad person – they could even be a killer. So be prepared! The part they play may be large or small. Entry into the competition is taken as agreement to these conditions. Thank you.

About THE PERFECT FRIEND

TPF-YELLOWHR

My name is Alex, and my world has been shattered.

My husband has left me.

My children won’t speak to me.

My friend Carrie is the only person I have.

She’s the only one I can trust to keep all my secrets.

She’d never do anything to let me down.

Would she?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page.

THE PERFECT FRIEND is available on: AmazoniBookstore; KoboGoogleplay

A look to the future + GIVEAWAY #ThePerfectFriend #writerslife #summerreads #amreading #amwriting

With The Perfect Friend still riding high, I’ve started writing what will be my sixth book after a character and scenario entered my head that was too delicious to resist.

I’m not a plotter, instead I tend to write key scenes as they come to me, all the time thinking about how the book will develop and where the scenes will slot in. The opening scene is always so important to get right, and I’ve been frustrated that it wasn’t appearing in my mind, but the other day I went out for a jog and…hey presto, there it was suddenly.

Having enjoyed beginning the writing process of my last book in a notebook, and finding it much easier than feeling intimidate by a blank screen on my laptop, I’ve done the same with this one. Now, though, I’m ready to hit the keyboard hard.

So what can I tell you about the book? Well, inevitably not a lot! All I can give you is this…

Journalist and much-loved wife Ruth Sherwood has been dead for two years when she is arrested for stealing a sandwich. When she takes off her coat at the police station, she’s covered in blood…

That’s as much as I can say!

The research for this has been fascinating so far – and I’m scaring myself in the process, although possibly not as much as I am my partner.  There’s no title for it yet, but it will be out in early 2019. In the meantime, if you’re looking for something to read, why not try The Perfect Friend, my latest psychological thriller.

october-comps-2

GIVEAWAY! How to enter

From 28 July until 8 August inclusive, my posts on this blog will be followed by a question about the content. Find the answer, and then either comment on the post or email InvisibleAuthor@outlook.com

Every person who answers correctly will be entered into a prize draw. The competition closes at midnight UK time on Friday 3 August. The winners will be chosen at random and announced on Friday 10 August.

** Today’s question is: When first writing my books, do I prefer to work on a laptop or in a notebook? Let me know! **

What am I giving away?

ONE lucky winner will receive a SIGNED COPY of The Perfect Friend.

TWO lucky winners will receive a SIGNED COPY of Her Last Secret.

ONE lucky winner will receive a SIGNED COPY of Flowers For The Dead.

ONE very lucky winner will have a CHARACTER NAMED AFTER THEM in my next book. *

WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

As well as this competition, check out Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, for more ways to enter over the next seven days. You can enter as many times as you want!

* Please note that the character will have your name but will not be based in any way upon you or any person living or dead. Any similarities are coincidence. They may be a good person or a bad person – they could even be a killer. So be prepared! The part they play may be large or small. Entry into the competition is taken as agreement to these conditions. Thank you.

About THE PERFECT FRIEND

TPF-YELLOWHR

My name is Alex, and my world has been shattered.

My husband has left me.

My children won’t speak to me.

My friend Carrie is the only person I have.

She’s the only one I can trust to keep all my secrets.

She’d never do anything to let me down.

Would she?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page.

THE PERFECT FRIEND is available on: AmazoniBookstore; KoboGoogleplay

The importance of setting – and why I chose Tynemouth for THE PERFECT FRIEND (+ GIVEAWAY!) #ThePerfectFriend #summerreads

Deciding on the setting of a book is always so important. It helps to create the atmosphere that will inform the entire story; for me, location is almost a character itself, and getting it right is key. I generally choose a place where I’ve lived, such as Blackheath or Colchester, even the fictional village of Fenmere was geographically based on the village where I’d grown up in Lincolnshire. So what made me choose Tynemouth for THE PERFECT FRIEND, given I’ve never lived there?

I’d actually spent five months working on a completely different book, before abandoning it. Much of that time had been spent being ill and having medical tests, and the whole experience left me physically and mentally exhausted. I couldn’t face doing on more work on that manuscript. In fact, I confided in my friend, Julieanne, that I feared I’d never write another book. All I’d had were some thoughts about the kind of character I’d like to write about, but no clue how to make it into a book, and certainly no plot.

Julieanne is my oldest friend, we’ve known each other since we were thirteen, and she instantly came up with an incredible offer. She was going away for half term, which meant her house in Tynemouth would be empty.

‘Come over, use it as your own, and get away from everything,’ she said.

So, after a four-hour drive I found myself in Tynemouth, wandering along the beach with my dog, Scamp by my side. My mind wandered as much as my feet, aimless thoughts drifting as I was soothed by the hypnotic sound of the waves. There was a pile of kelp on some rocks, tangled as rope and as thick as my wrist, and from nowhere they inspired an image. It flickered to life, building into a scene. Words bloomed, imagery slotting into place. I needed to write this down – quick.

After hurrying to my friend’s house, I looked at my laptop. My stomach churned with nerves at the thought of opening it. Instead, I pulled out a notebook I’d brought with me, and within seconds my pen sped over the pages.

Over the following days, I went for long walks, covering between eight and ten miles a day while wandering around North Shields, Tynemouth, Cullercoats Bay, Whitley Bay, and St Mary’s Lighthouse. The notebook came with me everywhere, but I never once tried to think of anything, instead enjoying the beautiful scenery and the relaxing atmosphere – and that was exactly why the ideas raced through me. I stopped regularly to write in it, popping into local cafes and pubs to sit down, refuel, write down ideas, then walk on. By the end of the week I had a notebook full of scenes, two fascinating protagonists, and an intricate idea for a book that really excited me.

So many of the places I visited appear in The Perfect Friend – even the hot chocolate inspired me (if you’ve read The Perfect Friend, I’m sure you know the scene I’m talking about). More than anything, though, I hope I’ve captured the atmosphere of Tynemouth and surrounding area, with its rugged beauty and hypnotic sea. Without Tynemouth the book wouldn’t exist, so it only seems fitting that it should be the setting for The Perfect Friend.

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GIVEAWAY! How to enter

From 28 July until 8 August inclusive, my posts on this blog will be followed by a question about the content. Find the answer, and then either comment on the post or email InvisibleAuthor@outlook.com

Every person who answers correctly will be entered into a prize draw. The competition closes at midnight UK time on Friday 3 August.. The winners will be chosen at random and announced on Friday 10 August.

** Today’s question is: What first inspired me when I reached Tynemouth? Let me know! **

What am I giving away?

ONE lucky winner will receive a SIGNED COPY of The Perfect Friend.

TWO lucky winners will receive a SIGNED COPY of Her Last Secret.

ONE lucky winner will receive a SIGNED COPY of Flowers For The Dead.

ONE very lucky winner will have a CHARACTER NAMED AFTER THEM in my next book. *

WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

As well as this competition, check out Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, for more ways to enter over the next seven days. You can enter as many times as you want!

* Please note that the character will have your name but will not be based in any way upon you or any person living or dead. Any similarities are coincidence. They may be a good person or a bad person – they could even be a killer. So be prepared! The part they play may be large or small. Entry into the competition is taken as agreement to these conditions. Thank you.

About THE PERFECT FRIEND

TPF-YELLOWHR

My name is Alex, and my world has been shattered.

My husband has left me.

My children won’t speak to me.

My friend Carrie is the only person I have.

She’s the only one I can trust to keep all my secrets.

She’d never do anything to let me down.

Would she?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page.

THE PERFECT FRIEND is available on: AmazoniBookstore; KoboGoogleplay

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