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Barbara Copperthwaite

CRIME AUTHOR

What’s Their Secret? Frances Vick @franvicksays confesses! #HerLastSecret

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To celebrate #HerLastSecret going on sale, I’ve asked authors to share their secrets with me… Today it’s BAD LITTLE GIRL author Frances Vick.

The only child of parents who worked at a top security psychiatric hospital, Frances Vick grew up receiving disquieting notes and presents from the inmates. Expelled from school, she spent the next few years on the dole, augmenting her income by providing security and crewing for gigs, and being a medical experiment guinea pig. Later jobs included working in a theatre in Manhattan, teaching English in Japanese Junior High Schools, and being a life model in Italy, before coming back to London and working with young offenders and refugees. Her bestselling novel Bad Little Girl came out in February 2017. A new novel will be out in January 2018.
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Secret writing ritual…

I turn off the radio/TV/music and meditate for twenty minutes.

Secret writing snack…

Edamame.

Secret celebration when you finish a WIP…

I listen to a lot of James Brown and drink a lot of fizzy wine

‘Guilty secret’ read…

Nancy Reagan- the Unauthorised Biography by Kitty Kelley

‘Guilty secret’ tv programme…

I watch Judge Judy every day without fail. Love her!

Shared secret…

I climbed Mount Fuji in the dark and got to the summit just as the sun came up.

Secret peek into your new WIP…

It was Saturday. 9 o’clock and not a sound. No-one was getting into their car. There were no breakfast radio shows, no sharp, parental annoyance on the school run, no mutinous mutterings from their children. The woman bent slowly, stiffly, placed Huck on the ground and unfastened the lead from his collar

‘There you go now. Have a run about.’ But the dog seemed dubious, and his breath formed little husky puffs as he sniffed suspiciously at the snow. He looked round at the woman, as if this weather was a personal insult she’d visited on him.

‘Dafty! Go on!’ The woman prodded his backside with one wellington boot. The dog sighed, put up one, hesitant paw, and plunged into the snow.

She smiled,  watching his little tail bobbing up and down. Mornings made her happy. The quiet made her happy. She would pay for it later, she knew: the cold wouldn’t do her rheumatism any good, but it was worth it. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply in the  frigid air.

Huck barked then. It was his ‘Look at this!’ bark.

His tail stood straight as an exclamation point, and he whimpered and growled at something in the snow. As the woman moved forwards she saw a scrap of pink material fluttering near a bone-white foot; then greying brown hair and one, open eye fixed, the eyelashes weighed with snow. The head was twisted, casting an impossible gaze at her own back, and as the woman stared at the face of her neighbour, a frightened sob escaped her, and hearing this, Huck whimpered, and gave one panicked bark. The world started again

‘Huck! Huck, away! Now!’ Together they backed away from the body and moved as quickly as they could, back to the warm house and the telephone.

On the way back, the snow started falling again. By the time the police came, both dead eyes were filled with it..

Secret Santa…

I’d make Billy Fisher get on the train to London at the end of Billy Liar.

THANKS FOR THOSE GREAT CONFESSIONS, FRANCES!

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

There are some secrets you can never tell.

The last thing to go through Dominique Thomas’s head was the image of her teenage daughter’s face and her heart lifted. Then the shot rang out.

They were the perfect family. Successful businessman Ben Thomas and his wife Dominique live an enviable life, along with their beautiful children; teenager Ruby and quirky younger daughter, Mouse.

But on Christmas Day the police are called to their London home, only to discover a horrific scene; the entire family lying lifeless, victims of an unknown assailant.

But when Ruby’s diary is discovered, revealing her rage at the world around her, police are forced to look closer to home for the key to this tragedy.

Each family member harboured their own dark truths – but has keeping their secrets pushed Ruby to the edge of sanity? Or are there darker forces at work?

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 Barbara Copperthwaite:

‘My heart and guts were gripped and squeezed so tight I had trouble reading!…This broke my heart into so many pieces…I was left speechless by the flawless narration and the harrowing emotions that rushed through me until the very end.’ Chocolate and Waffles

‘A darkly addictive and creepy page turner that had me on the edge of my seat…the last few chapters were breathtakingly shocking with developments I hadn’t been expecting and the final pages were absolutely brilliant, leaving me with goosebumps!’ My Chestnut Reading Tree

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

‘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 Last Breath

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

‘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

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

‘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

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

‘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

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What’s Their Secret? Caroline Mitchell @Caroline_writes confesses! #HerLastSecret

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To celebrate #HerLastSecret going on sale, I’ve asked authors to share their secrets with me… Today it’s Caroline Mitchell, author of the DC Jennifer Knight series, and the DS Ruby Preston series, as well as psychological thriller WITNESS.

Originally from Ireland, Caroline lives with her family, parrot and two dogs in a pretty village on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. Published by Bookouture and Thomas & Mercer, she now writes full time and all her books have become number 1 best sellers in their categories.

Her fast-paced DC Jennifer Knight thrillers carry a hint of the supernatural and are weaved from Caroline’s personal experiences in the police and paranormal.

Set in Shoreditch, London, her DS Ruby Preston series is described as “terrifying, addictive serial killer thrillers”.

Caroline also writes psychological thrillers, the most recent, Witness, has been described as “thrilling, tense, exciting, dark and twisted in the best possible way”.

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Secret writing ritual…

Music. I use Spotify every day and have some writing playlists that I listen to on a loop. It really helps me get in the zone.

Secret writing snack…

Not so much a snack as I’m trying to cut down, but I couldn’t write without copious amounts of coffee!

Secret celebration when you finish a WIP…

 A bit of happy dancing, a glass or three of wine, and then a brand new notebook to plot the next one.

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‘Guilty secret’ read…

Twilight. There, I’ve said it! I love the Lindsay J. Pryor Blackthorn novels too. I may have a thing for vampires… 😉

‘Guilty secret’ tv programme…

I used to love True Blood (vampire series). I enjoy anything featuring Tom Hardy (although that’s not much of a secret) and loved him in Taboo.

Shared secret…

As well as being in the police, I also used to breed Cockapoos. I loved having a litter of puppies running around my home. The only problem was, I wanted to keep them all.

Secret peek into your new WIP 

This is an exclusive… my new work in progress features a DI Amy Winter. It’s different from anything else I’ve written and I can’t wait to share more. Watch this space!

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

I would love a happy ending for Heathcliff and Cathy of Wuthering Heights. It’s one of my favourite books.

THANKS FOR THOSE GREAT CONFESSIONS, CAROLINE!

 

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

What’s Their Secret? Fiona Ford @Fionajourno confesses! #HerLastSecret

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To celebrate #HerLastSecret going on sale, I’ve asked authors to share their secrets with me… Today it’s Spark Girl author Fiona Ford

Fiona Ford was born in Cornwall and grew up in Bath. As well as having a thirst for books Fiona had a huge interest in history and adored listening to her grandfather talk about his time in the navy during World War Two. Together they spent many a happy afternoon poring over the large collection of photos he had taken travelling the globe, somehow managing to perfectly capture life during wartime.

Although Fiona went on to develop a successful career as a journalist, she never forgot her passion for the past.

Now, Fiona has combined her love of writing with her love of days gone by in The Spark Girl, the first in a series of wartime sagas.

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Thank you & goodbye #bloggers #BookConnectors #HerLastSecret

Is there room enough to contain so many emotions at once inside a body? On Monday my new book, HER LAST SECRET, was revealed to the world and went on pre-order. Now it’s the countdown to publication day on Friday 13th October. Yes, Friday the 13th. Lucky for me, unlucky for the Thomas family who star in the book.

I’m so excited to finally see months of hard work finally going out into the world. If you haven’t seen it already, here’s the cover and blurb for you.

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There are some secrets you can never tell.
The last thing to go through Dominique Thomas’s head was the image of her teenage daughter’s face and her heart lifted. Then the shot rang out.

They were the perfect family. Successful businessman Ben Thomas and his wife Dominique live an enviable life, along with their beautiful children; teenager Ruby and quirky younger daughter, Mouse. 

But on Christmas Day the police are called to their London home, only to discover a horrific scene; the entire family lying lifeless, victims of an unknown assailant. 

But when Ruby’s diary is discovered, revealing her rage at the world around her, police are forced to look closer to home for the key to this tragedy.

Each family member harboured their own dark truths – but has keeping their secrets pushed Ruby to the edge of sanity? Or are there darker forces at work?

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. 

The reaction on the night was incredible. Huge thanks to:

Jen Meds Book Reviews

Fictionophile

Being Anne 

Emma The Little Bookworm 

Star Crossed Reviews

By The Letter Book Reviews

Chocolate ‘n’ Waffles

Nicki’s Life of Crime

Book Review Café

The Haphazardous Hippo

Chat About Books

My Chestnut Reading Tree

Novel Gossip

Linda’s Book Bag

Donna’s Book Blog

I Love Reading UK

Chelle’s Book Reviews

Damppebbles

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Thanks to all the hard work of all those fabulous bloggers (plus the many others who shared my news through retweets etc), my brilliant readers, and everyone at Bookouture, within the space of a few hours Her Last Secret was sitting at Number 19 in Hot New Releases in psychological fiction. I truly can’t thank everyone enough for being so enthusiastic about my new book.

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My happiness and excitement is tempered with sadness, though. My uncle passed away recently, and yesterday was his funeral, which is why I’m so late with my thanks. He was my Godfather, and I was given the middle name of Lesley in honour of his middle name, Leslie. Yesterday was a day of extreme emotions, when the wounds of loss bled freely. But among all the pain and heartache, there was also so much love, hope and positivity. My uncle enjoyed life, had a never-ending stream of funny stories to share, and laughed all the time. I don’t think I ever heard him have a bad word to say about anyone. Ever. Now, it’s time to continue without him, inspired by his outlook. Rest in peace, Norman Price – and thank you for everything you taught me x

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Writing espionage novels as a female author #GuestPost by Rachel Amphlett @RachelAmphlett

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A short series of guest posts explores what it means to be a female author…

WRITING ESPIONAGE NOVELS AS A FEMALE AUTHOR

By Rachel Amphlett

Back in 2011, I published the first novel in what would become my Dan Taylor series of espionage books under my own name.

I didn’t even think back then that using my initials or a male pseudonym would encourage more readers to discover the book, but it did turn into something that would plague me for a long time afterwards.

By the time I’d brought out book three in the series in 2015, I was beginning to wonder whether I’d made a mistake with the branding of it. Should I overhaul it and lose my own name in favour of a couple of initials?

But I stopped short of doing that, and instead challenged my own doubts.

The first question that sprang to mind was, why was I thinking of changing my name on the books?

Why did I think that readers were put off by a female author writing spy novels?

Dame Stella Rimington has been doing it for years, after all.

I think some of my fears stemmed from my own perceptions about not having the “right background”. I haven’t been employed by anyone’s secret service, I haven’t served in the military, and my own attempts at adrenalin-fuelled pursuits scared the bejesus outta me. (This is coming from someone who went white-water rafting in her early twenties, even though she’s a rubbish swimmer and hates putting her head underwater!)

Photo by Simon Schmitt on Unsplash
Photo by Simon Schmitt on Unsplash

Oh, I read all the right books. My earliest memory of devouring a book that wasn’t written for children was when my grandfather leant me his copy of Jack Higgins’ The Eagle Has Landed when I was about 12 or 13, closely followed by the rest of the spy fiction on his bookshelves including Alistair McLean, Len Deighton, John Le Carre, and Frederick Forsyth.

But, that was as close as I got to the real thing. It was all in my imagination.

As the Dan Taylor series grew, I struggled to find like-minded female writers I could buddy up with to chat about this sub-genre of crime fiction – sure, I was lucky enough to meet Stella Rimington when she was in Brisbane to launch a new book, but I had no-one amongst my close writing friends who were writing what I was writing.

At writing masterclasses and seminars, when I spoke about what I was writing, people’s eyebrows would shoot up, and I’d be asked: why? You’re female. Why are you writing that?

And that was coming from both sexes.

The problem was highlighted by early reviews from male readers, who stated outright that they’d never have picked up a spy novel written by a female writer, but were badgered by a friend or family member to do so and, rather reluctantly in some cases it would seem, had to admit they’d enjoyed it.

The second question was: what could I do to convince readers to give me a chance and demonstrate I knew what I was talking about?

If I enjoyed writing these stories, what could I do to challenge other people’s perceptions and show them that, in fact, my books were as close to real life as I could possibly make them?

When I started to develop the idea for the first book in the series, I read as much military non-fiction I could get my hands on. This included Andy McNab and Chris Ryan’s individual accounts of their legendary SAS escape and evade exploits, and autobiographies by British Army bomb disposal experts.

What was missing from the jigsaw was my own confidence. I wasn’t ready to stand up to those that tried to put me off writing espionage novels – and I was starting to believe them.

So, I started to network – I put the word out amongst family and friends that I wanted to speak with and listen to experts who had lived the life of my protagonist, and could tell me if I was doing something wrong.

Photo by Sofia Sforza on Unsplash
Photo by Sofia Sforza on Unsplash

I learned to shoot – I’d never held a gun in all my life, but a work colleague’s wife was a State champion. They kindly invited me to their pistol club on the Sunshine Coast one weekend, and taught me from scratch so I’d know what it was like for my protagonist when he was shooting a gun.

I tried flying a Black Hawk helicopter simulator, and found out what it was like to be a gunner on one of those aircraft in a virtual reality world that opened up a whole new concept to my writing for me.

And, I keep learning. I read news articles, books, visit museums and talk to curators, and all of this goes into my espionage novels. I apply the same diligence to my new crime fiction series.

My writing’s gone from strength to strength and, slowly but surely, so is my confidence – and readers who continue to discover the series seem to be enjoying the ride.

So, in closing, has being a female author writing espionage novels been a challenge?

Yes, but it’s one I’ve enjoyed facing up to. I’ve learned so much more than if I’d taken the easy route and either rebranded – or, heaven forbid, quit. I believe that if there were any detractors about my being a female author writing this stuff that they’re long gone, and that the people enjoying the stories don’t care at all about my gender.

Readers want a good spy novel to read that’s fast-paced and feels real, and thank goodness because I love researching and writing them!

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Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter series, as well as a number of standalone crime thrillers. Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel’s novels appeal to a worldwide audience, and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Lee Child and Michael Crichton. She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint in 2014, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag in 2017.

‘Heartbreaking…Brilliantly executed’ Review of FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD via @noveldeelights

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‘An utterly creepy, gripping and compelling read’

When someone calls my work ‘heartbreaking’ and ”brilliantly executed’ it’s definitely enough to get me dancing around in glee. So imagine my happy dance when I read those words in a review by blogger Novel Deelights – and whole load more lovely compliments, too!

Novel Deelights is run by Eva, a self-proclaimed bookaholic, who particularly loves crime fiction, psychological thrillers, and police procedurals. Oh, and white wine and boots (clearly a lady of very good taste!). And clearly I can now add my book, Flowers For The Dead, which is described as ‘an incredible character study’ to the list of things she loves.

Eva writes: ‘Barbara Copperthwaite has written an utterly creepy, gripping and compelling read.’

If you’d like to read the frankly fabulous review in full, and also check out her reviews of other books, simply click here.

 

Intricate, subtle, fascinating: #BookReview A PATIENT FURY @sarahrward1 @FaberBooks

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‘Every time you think you have the plot sorted, it slips through your fingers like water’

 THEY SAY

When Detective Constable Connie Childs is dragged from her bed to the fire-wrecked property on Cross Farm Lane she knows as she steps from the car that this house contains death.

Three bodies discovered – a family obliterated – their deaths all seem to point to one conclusion: One mother, one murderer.

But D.C. Childs, determined as ever to discover the truth behind the tragedy, realises it is the fourth body – the one they cannot find – that holds the key to the mystery at Cross Farm Lane.

What Connie Childs fails to spot is that her determination to unmask the real murderer might cost her more than her health – this time she could lose the thing she cares about most: her career.

I SAY

I have to start this review on a personal note, by saying that when my uncle died last week I couldn’t settle on anything. Desperate to lose myself in something, I kept picking up books and putting them down after a few sentences. Then I tried A Patient Fury, by Sarah Ward – and devoured it. Inside its…TO READ IN FULL, CLICK HERE

Womanhood, motherhood, writer-hood #GuestPost by Tracey Scott-Townsend @authortrace

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A short series of guest posts explores what it means to be a female author…

WOMANHOOD, MOTHERHOOD, WRITER-HOOD

By Tracey Scott-Townsend

I was twenty-one years old, a university drop-out – a wannabe writer living on the dole with a wannabe musician, Chris. Our love-at-first-sight and living-together-within-two-months relationship was emotionally abusive. We were probably both depressed.

I became pregnant by accident, having visited my family at Christmas and forgotten to take my Pills with me. I received a pale-pink jumper from Mum and some bangles from my brother. My mum’s friend took me aside and told me Mum did love me. Dad was an incidental presence in the corner, as usual. When he wasn’t at the pub, as usual.

I returned to Hull. By now Chris and I lived in separate rooms in a shared house. His room was the attic. He’d built a tower of used teabags against the wall and the cat litter tray overflowed. I had the downstairs front room with a bay window.

I recall the conception of Alice – I know it was the time I’m thinking of because Chris and I so rarely slept together. Afterwards I went downstairs and took the five contraceptive pills I’d missed.

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Over the next weeks it dawned on me. Still, it couldn’t possibly be true. It couldn’t have happened, not to me! I fainted at a friend’s house and was sick all over the floor. My sister told me to go to the doctor. It was the best news and the worst news. I had trepidations about telling Chris and Mum but underneath the fear flowed a quiet undercurrent of joy. I wanted my baby. Chris was angry. Wanted nothing to do with it.

I started looking for a flat where I could live with my baby. She. I knew it was a girl. Alice. Genevieve. Sarah. Alice Sarah – no, Alice Hannah. Always Alice. I had a picture in my head of sitting on the grass with her in the park. In a telephone box outside that very park I plucked up the courage to tell my mother. I’m not surprised, she responded. Right. When I was fifteen weeks pregnant I telephoned again to ask if I might visit home. During the visit she didn’t mention the pregnancy but my dad did. He took an interest. He thought I should come home where I would have help. I had help already. I fiercely defended my boyfriend.

I returned to Hull. It was an unusually warm spring and I basked in the sunshine, trying in my way to eat healthily. A musician friend of ours was moving to a shared house on the estuary of the River Humber and the North Sea. There were spaces available in the house for unemployed young people. The idea was we would work on the ‘Kes project’ with young offenders – inspired by the Barry Hines novel. The boss owned actual Kestrels. Chris and I were both accepted. I was five months’ pregnant by this time. The property had once been a restaurant and I was given a room which used to be the bar. I painted the walls lilac and primrose. I saved up to buy a swinging cradle.

I wrote and I painted and I grew my baby. Sitting in a ray of sunshine in the communal living room one day the book I was reading leapt off my stomach. I smiled at my little dancer inside.

The ‘Kes project’ never came to fruition – I’m not sure what happened to the kestrels that lived in the outhouse – but the members of our household formed a strengthening community. The year I lived at Kilnsea has stayed with me so powerfully that the location has appeared in three of my four published novels. Blackmore House becomes ‘Blackberry House’ in The Last Time We Saw Marion and Of His Bones and ‘Running Hare House’ in The Eliza Doll. The Eliza Doll is the closest story to my own history. Like me, Ellie moves there with her musician boyfriend while pregnant with his baby. But there the story diverges from mine. The community in Running Hare House runs a successful arts project. And Ellie’s baby is born alive. She names her Rosie.

When I was six months’ pregnant Chris took the handle of the maroon carrycot-pram that had just been delivered and wheeled it through to my room. It seemed he might be coming round to being a father. I spent the final Friday of my pregnancy shopping for baby stuff. Amongst other things I bought a yellow cellular blanket and a pram sheet. On Saturday evening I watched Pamela Stevenson on television talking about breastfeeding her daughter and I knew, I somehow knew I was never going to have my baby. The following day I voiced concerns to my housemates that I hadn’t felt the baby move all day and someone reassured me that this is fairly normal at a certain stage of pregnancy. I went to see my GP who listened for the baby’s heartbeat and it seemed an interminable time before he assured me he had heard it, nevertheless I felt a niggling worry. He referred me for an Ultrasound scan after my Parent-craft class the next day. During the class I spoke up about my concern over the lack of movement and again people said it would be okay. At the scan the radiologist stepped out of the room for a moment without explaining why. I lay, feeling my fingertips going numb. A few moments later she returned with a consultant. “I’m sorry Mrs Wilson,” he said (they addressed every mother as Mrs, back then) “There’s no sign of life down there.”

They thought I’d already been told.

I undertook the long bus journey back to the estuary village. Seeing my face, the bus driver quipped, “Cheer up, it might never happen!”

Chris met me off the bus and led me by the hand through the living room of Blackmore House. A housemate left a tray of tea outside my room. Another brought me a poster of a peacock and a third came to my window with a yellow rose from the garden. We had planned a visit to the local pub, the windows of which looked out on two sides over the salt marshes and the estuary. I insisted Chris went along with the others. Intermittently I awoke in my bed and focused my eyes on the blue lamps on my bedroom wall, and remembered.

Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash
Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash

I spent one last day (my choice) as the vessel for my dead baby. We walked along the cliff above Kilnsea beach. In the absence of a grave, I’ll always think of those now greatly-receded cliffs as her resting place.

The next day we took the bus to Hull’s old Maternity Hospital. Walking down the corridor I heard moans from behind closed doors and thought it was a place where mothers like me came to give birth. (Six years later the midwife who greeted me when I was admitted for the birth of my first son told me that she remembered me from before.)

Chris had to catch the last bus home. During the night a cleaner entered my room. Seeing that I was awake, she asked if I was excited.

Early the next morning the midwives became silent as my daughter was finally extracted after a far-too-late epidural that I hadn’t wanted. Confirming that she was a girl, I asked if she was ‘all right’ and they said “No, love, she’s not.” My baby had what I later learned is called Exomphalos – her abdominal wall hadn’t formed properly and her respiratory organs were on the outside of her body. They wrapped her tightly and offered me the chance to hold her. I was numb physically and emotionally but I gazed down at her miniature face with its closed eyes and the one, tiny hand peeping out of the wrappings. I absorbed her features into my memory. Then I handed her back. I was wheeled to a room in the Ante-natal ward because they felt it inappropriate to place me with the postpartum mothers and their living babies.

Photo by Aditya Romansa on Unsplash
Photo by Aditya Romansa on Unsplash

This story is who I am as a writer. That’s the only way I can explain it. All my novels have a lost child in them, I find it hard to keep the resonance of that formative experience out of anything at all that I write. In a way my experience of the loss seems to echo back into my childhood when my mother read me Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. Baby Peter, having flown away for far too long, rattles the bars he finds on his mother’s bedroom window, glimpsing her curled up inside with a new baby. She has forgotten him!

But I know his mother could never have forgotten him. Since Alice, I’ve given birth to four more children: three sons and a daughter. Pregnant with Faye, I felt somehow from the way she moved inside me that she was a girl. It brought back powerful sensory memories of the way Alice had moved. I think this physical knowledge is what makes a mother – certainly myself as a mother – female-centric as a writer. I perceive this influence strongly in some other mother-writers: Julie Myerson, for example.

I write my female characters as corporeal women. They are earthy. At the same time sex for them is an emotional experience. They birth, they breastfeed, they manage a multitude of tasks whilst dealing with a baby on one hip and a toddler clinging to their hand. Children are incredibly present. A fact often ignored for the sake of the story in literature and TV drama. For me it is part of the story.

My youngest child is eighteen now and just about to leave home. My children continue to be an influence in my writing to the extent that my WIP is actually partly-written by my youngest son, who’s a world-traveller. The novel is called The Vagabond Mother, about a woman who takes to the road in search of her son. Before that I tried to write a novel about a childless woman but it turned out that she’d had an abortion in her youth and the loss has haunted her ever since. The title of that book, currently sitting with agents, is Sea Babies.

My four published novels are: The Last Time We Saw Marion, Another Rebecca, The Eliza Doll and Of His Bones.

I’m unable to separate my womanhood – my motherhood – from my writer-hood and it was the same in my former profession as a visual artist. The domestic is the face of the deeper story within and it’s that story I try to express.

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About the Author

Tracey Scott-Townsend writes uncompromising fiction based around family and relationships with motherhood at its heart. Sense of place is equally important, with Yorkshire and the Sea playing a powerful role in her novels. Her books are published by Inspired Quill and Wild Pressed Books. Tracey writes in a garden shed which she’s currently recreating in a sectioned-off area of the spare room at her new home. She has four grown children and she enjoys travelling in a converted van with her husband and their two rescue dogs

BLOOD TYPE: ‘Trail’ series author A.A. Abbott @AAAbbottStories #writingtips #amwriting

BLOOD TYPE

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.

“I can write anywhere – on a bus, on a train, or in a crowded room.”

This week: A.A. Abbott author of the ‘Trail’ series

Tell us about yourself…

Helen Website Pic

My real name is Helen Blenkinsop and I’m the eldest of five. Like lots of children, I made up stories and fantasy adventure games. This entertained my four younger siblings and earned me brownie points with my parents. As an adult, the need to earn a living sent me into accountancy – luckily, I was good at maths as well as English. Since then, I’ve put my knowledge of finance to good use in my crime thrillers. Having worked recently in the City of London, I’ve seen ambitious, driven high flyers in the workplace, and I’ve channelled them in my stories.

The books are set in places I know, too. I was born in an industrial town near London and spent much of my life in Birmingham. There was a big upheaval as Britain moved away from a manufacturing economy and Brum became the shiny, service-focused city we see today. Although I moved to Bristol, I love Birmingham, visit it often and big it up in my Trail series of crime thrillers. Being in warm, buzzy Brum makes my heart sing.

While I’m not dyslexic, I’ve arranged for the Trail series to be published in a large print dyslexia-friendly edition as well as in traditional paperback and e-book formats. I wanted dyslexic family and friends to enjoy the crisp feel of a paperback as much as I do.

How long does your first draft take you?

Six weeks of daydreaming, research and… TO READ ON, CLICK HERE

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