What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write The Secret Couple?
I love writing intense emotions between characters, drawing the reader into the characters’ journeys. That was true for the romantic fiction that I wrote as Jane Lark, and those stories always ended up quite dark. So, skipping on to writing psychological thrillers was not as large a leap as it may seem.
This story brings together the emotional ups and downs of people building a new, growing, relationship, with the mystery, twists and turns caused by the conscious and unconscious acts of those who commit crimes. What makes this book different is it explores, through the perspective of the characters, why some people commit crimes. It was listening to the stories of those who commit crimes that inspired this book. There are two sides to every story. Or more than two…
If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of The Secret Couple, what would they be?
During the first COVID-19 lockdown, when my creativity stalled, I realized just how crucial music is for me when it dawned on me, as I wasn’t going out in the car, I was never listening to music. When I made time to listen to music during the day, the ideas for stories and scenes returned immediately. Songs for me, though, inspire the story more than the characters.
You will hear the inspiration from Sam Smith and Normani’s ‘Dancing with a stranger’ throughout the opening chapters. Then it’s the atmosphere inspired by KC Lights ‘Cold light’ and Taylor Swift’s ‘Dancing with Our Hands Tied’ that built up the tension of the story and the emotions of the characters for me as I wrote The Secret Couple.
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
I am part of a book club, which means I read some very diverse books. The most recent being Dodie Smith’s ‘I Capture the Castle’. However, I have my go to authors in psychological thrillers and crime thrillers. I like reading Steve Cavanagh, who has some very clever plot lines. I am also a fan of Lisa Regan, Louise Douglas and Jackie Kabler, who all very kindly read The Secret Couple for me and let me have quotes as they all loved the book, which I am so proud of. It’s amazing, and so humbling and exciting, to have internationally renowned authors, who I look up to, say publicly that they love my work.
I love historical stories too, particularly Phillip Gregory’s. I’ve met her a couple of times. One day I may return to writing my own Jane Lark historical books, you never know. I continue to discover fabulous true historical stories. I can’t help myself, I just love research and discovering new tales to tell, be that contemporary or historical. Oh, maybe they could merge at some point! Capture that thought!
What books are on your TBR pile right now?
They are on the coffee table beside me in an actual pile right now. The Devil’s Advocate, Steve Cavanagh (the only book of his I haven’t read yet). Never Tell, Lisa Gardner. The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger, Suzanne Fortin. Cunning Women, Elizabeth Lee.
What scene in your book was your favorite to write?
There are a few I really like, but I really enjoyed writing the night of the thunder storm. I can’t say any more about the scene as it will give aspects of the story away.
Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)
Well, mostly I write in the evening, with my feet up on the sofa and the laptop literally on my lap, while I digest what’s on the TV at the same time as I write. However, I also write whenever we go out in the car and my husband is driving, which I know astonishes many other writers.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
The first time I saw this quote, it was in a Chinese Takeaway. ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,’ Confucius. For me that job is writing fiction. I am, also, one hundred percent behind the whole ethos of being kind to everyone, everywhere, all the time, which is how I live my life, from random acts of kindness to just being nice to others. I’m not sure how that fits with writing crime fiction, though. Ha. Ha.
If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?
There is something, I hope I open people’s eyes to some of the sad and wrong realities of life, so readers can keep an eye out to help victims before they end up forced to react in the extreme. I can’t say any more than this in case it ruins the plot twists, though.
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