I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember. The first that I recall writing down was at primary school. It was called “The Imposter Queen”, and was about a little boy who had managed to convince the world that he was the Queen of England. He would dress up and ride in a carriage through the streets of London, offering a royal wave to passers-by. I don’t know what I did with the original manuscript for The Imposter Queen, but I think the idea’s quite strong and might revisit it one day. Any suggestions for plot twists and peripheral characters warmly welcomed. Message me!
I started writing The Wreckage in April 2017 on a whim. It’s not something that I’d been agonising over for years, or even something that I ever expected to get published. In my job at Audible I’ve been lucky enough to work with lots of different writers, and in particular crime writers. Hearing their stories about how they first began writing is what inspired me to start myself. I owe a particular thanks to Fiona Barton, whose encouragement and enthusiasm when I first started thinking about it really gave me the impetus to carry on. I have read and listened to a lot of psychological thrillers, and when I started thinking about ideas for my own, it occurred to me that it was very unusual for thrillers to focus on an anxious man. Most of the thrillers that you read or listen to have, at their centre, a woman in a vulnerable position. I have suffered from depression and anxiety myself for over 20 years. Could I write a thriller with an anxious man at the centre?
And so I started writing, finding moments in the week here and there where I could. Most first-time authors that you speak to you will tell you that they’ve had to write their first book whilst also juggling a full-time job, and it’s not easy! It’s not just about numbers of hours in the day but also, I think, about mental space. After a few months I decided to set aside a specific slot in the week during which I would write, and then I could take pressure off myself to write – or even think about writing! – for the rest of the week. Sunday morning was my slot: I scheduled it in my diary and every Sunday, with or without a hangover, I’d get out of bed and take myself into the small study at the back of my flat and bash out a bit more. Some Sundays I was really into it, and would forge forwards and write a few scenes. Other Sundays I’d find it really hard. It can be difficult to motivate yourself when you don’t know exactly where all this work will go. I am well aware that it is hard to get your work noticed, particularly in the thriller genre.
There was a little voice at the back of my head, on those more difficult Sundays, that would tell me that I was wasting my time on something that would never get noticed. But, the good Sundays outweighed the bad ones in the end, and I got there!
I hope you enjoy reading The Wreckage when it comes out in February 2020, and I’d love to hear what you think.
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Book research question for other thriller writers, or anyone that knows about police: if someone is kept in overnight for questioning (in the UK), what kind of cell would it be? Would there be bars? Or just a locked door? Would they be alone, or with others? #amwriting
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