Barbara Copperthwaite



July 2017

The moment things make sense #writerslife #amwriting #firstdraft

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

‘Suddenly and from out of nowhere, everything becomes crystal clear again’

There comes a point in the writing of every book when the clarity you started off with becomes muddied and cloudy, so that you’re left unable to see the way forward.

When that happens, all it’s possible to do is blindly edge forward, feeling your way. You take wrong turns, bump into a few dead ends, and wonder if you will ever reach your destination.

Then there are those fabulous moments where, suddenly and from out of nowhere, everything becomes crystal clear again. Bits of story that felt as if they would never make sense, coalesce into signposts, pointing the way to the end.

Photo by Raul Petri on Unsplash

That’s what happened this week to me. Clarity has returned, things are coming together and making sense, and I’m almost ready to write the concluding section of my horribly messy first draft. For me, this is one of the most exciting moments of writing. I’m still working things out, and the book is still revealing all kinds of secrets to me. I feel heady as I rush towards my conclusion.

Apart from writing, I’ve been very quiet (no time for anything else, I’m afraid!). Last week on my Facebook page, I asked which fictional character you’d go on a date with. Boy, did that get a lot of answers! Luther was a very popular one, I can tell you. This weekend, we’re chatting about the last book that made you cry – have you read a book recently that moved you to tears?



BLOOD TYPE: Joel Hames @joel_hames #writingtips #writerslife


CRIME AUTHORS SPILL THEIR GUTS ABOUT WRITING. Every Thursday top-notch authors of psychological thrillers and crime fiction share their writing secrets – and the secrets to their success – with you and me.

“That someone else read your book and likes it – it never ceases to amaze me.

This week: Joel Hames

Tell us about yourself…

I’m Joel Hames, I’m 43 years old, with a wife and two daughters, I live in rural East Lancashire, and I started writing a few years ago after a career in law and finance.

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That’s the boring stuff over with.

I love reading – anything and everything. And I love writing. I studied English Lit at university, and despite working in very different fields for a long time afterwards, I always felt writing was what I was born to do. I didn’t think I’d end up writing crime, but that’s the direction my mind seems to bend in. I like looking for the hidden angle, the surprise, the message between the lines, the secret that was always there, just below the surface – which may account for my love of the cryptic crossword. My first novel was Bankers Town, a no-holds-barred semi-fictionalised account of crime and death in the City against the backdrop of the crisis of 2008. I was delighted with its reception, but went for a broader readership with my next novel, The Art of Staying Dead, which took a down-on-his-luck human rights lawyer and plunged him into a prison riot and a political conspiracy. The novella Brexecution followed, a black comedy thriller written in eight days following the referendum in 2016, and I currently have one novel (Dead North) with my agent, another (No One Will Hear) completed, and a third in the outlining stage.

When I’m not writing I like cooking, watching TV, and burning off all that food, drink and sloth by practicing mixed martial arts.

How do you go about plotting your book?

I’m very much a planner. There are scraps of paper all over the house, audio recordings, ideas I come across in the “notes” on my phone months after I’ve finished a draft – and when I find them in time they all make it onto a handwritten one-A4-page-per-chapter outline that eventually morphs into a OneNote file. I’ve tried Scrivener…TO READ THE INTERVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

‘Thought-provoking’ #BookReview TATTLE TALE, Sarah J Naughton @SarahJNaughton @BenWillisUK


‘This tale leads the reader along a well-trodden path – but the destination isn’t the one that’s expected.’


Packed with twists and turns, this gripping revenge thriller will make you question whether we can ever really trust the ones we love.

One day changes Jody’s life forever. She has shut herself down, haunted by her memories and unable to trust anyone. But then she meets Abe, the perfect stranger next door and suddenly life seems full of possibility and hope.

One day changes Mags’s life forever. After years of estrangement from her family, Mags receives a shocking phone call. Her brother Abe is in hospital and no-one knows what happened to him. She meets his fiancé Jody, and gradually pieces together the ruins of the life she left behind. But the pieces don’t quite seem to fit…


I liked the writing style, but admit that after the initial rush of ‘what the heck is going on?’ I wasn’t sure I would enjoy Tattletale. I couldn’t make out where it was going or what it was trying to say, and it frustrated me.

Then I reached the tipping point of the story, where little things started to fall into place, and I began to suspect that my frustration was exactly where the author had wanted to lead me. The two…TO READ IN FULL, CLICK HERE

Life in the writing cave #writerslife #amwriting #amediting



How the heck have I managed to write four books?

Things are suspiciously quiet at the Copperthwaite writing cave. The only thing coming from it is the sound of furious typing (and, inevitably, the sound of me eating cake and gently swearing as I drop a crumb that has to be winkled from beneath a key). I’ve had my head down for the last few weeks, trying to catch up after lagging behind on things. And finally I feel like I’m making progress!

I’m writing my fifth book at the moment, and have been busy plotting, planning, rewriting bits that don’t work, adding in more twists and turns, and having fun with farm implements. Yep, you read right, farm implements. I’ve really been letting my imagination run wild!

Yesterday I sent the proofs of my fourth book off, which was an incredible feeling. How the heck have I managed to write four books? Every time I reach this stage with a book, I feel as though it is someone else’s work; as though I have written it in my sleep, or during some kind of out of body experience. I think that is possibly why many authors talk in terms of their book being their baby – writing is a little like giving birth, because the experience is so painful we block it out and tell ourselves it wasn’t that bad really 😉

In blogging news, I was really honoured to be mentioned on Mrs Bloggs’ Books’ #20BooksofSummer As well as The Darkest Lies, there are some wonderful books on the list, so do check it out – Mrs Bloggs has a fabulous summer of reading ahead of her! To read her post in full, click here

And finally, today the lovely author Jane Cable is being interview on Jen Med’s Book Reviews. She shares the books that have influenced her since childhood, her strange crush on a fictional character (read it to believe it!) and so much more. And nestled in among all those fabulous books, is Invisible.

‘I was completely gripped and continually chilled by this brilliantly drawn story,’ says Jane. How lovely!

To read Jane’s brilliant interview in full, head over to Jen Med’s Book Reviews by clicking here.

Thanks for reading my catch up. What have you been up to this week? x

The Darkest Lies FINAL

‘One to watch’ #BookReview THE SECOND SISTER, @ClaireKendal ‏@HarperCollinsUK


‘So dark it has a black hole at its heart’


It is ten years since Ella’s sister Miranda disappeared without trace, leaving her young baby behind. Chilling new evidence links Miranda to the horrifying Jason Thorne, now in prison for murdering several women. Is it possible that Miranda knew him?

At thirty, Miranda’s age when she vanished, Ella looks uncannily like the sister she idolized. What holds Ella together is her love for her sister’s child and her work as a self-defence expert helping victims.

Haunted by the possibility that Thorne took Miranda, and driven by her nephew’s longing to know about his mother, Ella will do whatever it takes to uncover the truth – no matter how dangerous…


I was a fan of Claire Kendal’s The Book of You, so was eager to read her new novel, The Second Sister. Wow, this is a psychological thriller so dark it has a black hole at its heart.

It starts off in intriguing fashion, feeding… TO READ IN FULL, CLICK HERE

Win a SIGNED copy of The Darkest Lies

Fancy a signed paperback of Amazon and USA Today bestseller The Darkest Lies? Then head over to my Facebook page Author Barbara Copperthwaite and check out my pinned post. All you have to do it like, comment on, or share that post to enter, and I’ll pick one lucky person at random on 21 July.
Good luck, everyone!

The Darkest Lies FINAL

‘Compelling, claustrophobic and horribly believable – a great read!’ B.A. Paris, author of Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown

A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.

Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.

Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.

Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk?

As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…

A completely gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Fans of The Girl on the Train, The Sister and Before I Let You In will be captivated.

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

To find out more about THE DARKEST LIES, click here

‘Brilliant’ #BookReview THE LATE SHOW, Michael Connelly @Connellybooks ‏@BenWillisUK


‘Plotting is tighter than a drum skin’



Los Angeles can be a dangerous city – never more so than in the dead of night. Detective Renée Ballard, once one of the department’s young hotshots, now works ‘The Late Show’, the notorious graveyard shift at the LAPD.

It’s a thankless job keeping strange hours in a twilight world of tragedy and violence, handing over her investigations as the sun rises, never getting closure.

Some nights are worse than others. And tonight is the worst yet. Two cases: a brutal assault, and a multiple murder with no suspect.

Ballard knows it is always darkest before dawn. But what she doesn’t know is how deep her dual investigation will take her into the dark heart of her city, her department and her past…

If you’re already a fan you’ll love THE LATE SHOW. If you haven’t read a Connelly book yet: now is the perfect time to start.


I’m going to have to whisper this, as it shames me, but I’ve never read a Michael Connelly book before. There, I’ve said it. This is despite hearing amazing things about his writing, and also the fact that I love the Bosch series on tv. Sorry. The plus side of this is that I came to The Late Show with fresh eyes and no set expectation. I won’t be doing that any more though – my expectations are now sky high.

I fell for the writing immediately. Each sentence is tightly packed with information, yet never feels forced or over-written. Emotions are hinted at, but rarely baldly stated. This is a brilliant writer at work, giving a masterclass in how it’s done.

The plotting is tighter than a drum skin, and is filled with… TO READ IN FULL, CLICK HERE

‘Skillfully woven’ #BookReview SOMETIMES I LIE, Alice Feeney @alicewriterland @HQstories


‘So many twists it makes corkscrews look straight’


My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me.

1. I’m in a coma

2. My husband doesn’t love me any more

3. Sometimes I lie


If you need characters to be likeable in order to engage with a story, then this probably isn’t for you. You won’t like the characters, mainly because you won’t have a clue who is telling the truth, or who is telling a version of events that is totally warped to suit their means. Seriously, this book has so many twists it makes corkscrews look straight.

This is not a book to be…TO READ REVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

The good, the bad & the bestsellers: June round-up #writerslife #author


When I saw The Darkest Lies sitting at Number 1 in Psychological Thrillers in Canada, I couldn’t even speak.

June was a crazy rollercoaster of a month, and now I’m stepping off the ride, breathless, dizzy, wondering if I’ve dreamed it all, and thinking: ‘I want to go on it again!’ So many crazy dreams have come true, so many things that I didn’t believe possible. Each time I bring a book out, I worry that it won’t do as well as the previous book – but somehow it does even better.

I’ll start on a personal note, though, if I may. June has been a tough one health-wise. Those of you who have followed my blog and on social media will know I’m often hounded by niggling little illnesses, and now doctors are running tests to see if there is an underlying cause for this. It is impacting on my work, just at the very moment when my writing career is really taking off and I want to dedicate every waking hour to it. But I can’t. Having to take a step back is frustrating, but necessary in the long-term. I hope you’ll bear with me.

Good news has far outweighed bad news, though. THE DARKEST LIES has really flown in June, becoming an Amazon bestseller in four countries, as well as hitting the top 50 Kobo chart. INVISIBLE and FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD have also received a boost as a result – becoming genre bestsellers again in the UK and US, and entering the charts for the first time in Australia and Canada. Pictured below are my two self-published books sitting in the Top Ten of Amazon’s Noir chart in America, at numbers 5 and 9. What an unbelievable moment of pride that was!

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As for The Darkest Lies, I’ve had to take pictures of its success, as it doesn’t seem real at the moment. Did I dream it all? Here’s a countdown (just imagine the Top of the Pops music playing right now, lol).


In my home country, The Darkest Lies reached Number 28 in the Kindle store, sitting at number seven in the genre charts. It was also snapping at the heels of Paula Hawkins’ latest release, peaking at Number 3 in Hot New releases. Meanwhile, in two separate genre charts – Psychological Fiction and Crime, Thriller, and Mystery Series – it hit the Number 1 spot in Hot New Releases.

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America really embraced my new novel. The Darkest Lies sat comfortably at Number 49 in the entire Kindle store, as well as Number 3 in Psychological Fiction, and also Number 3 in Psychological Thrillers. It was also Top Ten in Suspense.

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A real ‘pinch me, I must be dreaming’ moment occurred when I suddenly entered the Top 100 authors Thriller authors in America – check me out, just behind Liane Moriarty. How mad is that?!




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The good old USA had one more incredible surprise up its sleeve for me, though. The Darkest Lies became a USA Today bestseller. Honestly, I often reference dreams coming true, but it never even entered my head that this might happen. I didn’t even realise until another author kindly let me know – thank you, Patricia Gibney! And thank you, America!

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When I saw The Darkest Lies sitting at Number 1 in Psychological Thrillers in Canada, I couldn’t even speak. That’s how shocked I was. I still can’t believe it. I have to keep looking at the photo, and even then, it feel as though it has happened to someone else and not me.

The book also reached Number 1 in Hot New Releases in Psychological Thrillers, as well as reaching Number 48 in the entire Kindle store.


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Hitting Number 11 in Psychological Thrillers in Australia is yet another moment of pride that I will never forget. I’m keeping everything crossed that my next book does even better – Top Ten, I’m coming to get you!

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So, there you go. What a month! I count myself very lucky that my dreams are coming true. As I edit my next book, I am keeping everything crossed for the future, too.

Have you read The Darkest Lies? What did you think of it? I’d love to hear from you! Here’s a link to Amazon, if you’d like to leave a review x CLICK HERE



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