Last week I shared the cover for my next psychological thriller on social media but, if you missed it, here it is!
THE FEAR is a book I’ve wanted to write for a while. I had the first inkling of the idea after I finished THE LIE but it wasn’t fully formed so I tucked it away in my brain and wrote THE MISSING instead, then THE ESCAPE.
Earlier this year, after I finished writing my YA thriller THE TREATMENT, I had roughly six weeks before I had to start writing again. Normally I need about three months to research an idea and plot and outline it but I didn’t panic. I’d had the basic idea for THE FEAR swirling around my brain for a while. Six weeks was plenty of time. Wasn’t it?
Turns out it wasn’t.
I spent most of the six weeks scribbling in my notebook, trying to pull the different threads of the idea together but the more I pulled the more unwieldy the story became. There was an element to the story I desperately wanted to keep – about the power play between prisoner and captor – but the back story was all wrong. And then it came to me – my main character wouldn’t be confronting the man who was responsible for her sister’s disappearance eighteen years earlier. She would be confronting the man who groomed and seduced her as a teenager and convinced her to run away to France with him. The idea immediately appealed. It was so much more personal, more powerful and – importantly to me – unusual. I ditched the sister angle and started plotting the new back story but ran out of time before I could write an outline. When I started writing all I had to guide me were two pages of bullet points and four semi-formed characters.
For someone who wrote a 12,000 word outline before drafting THE ESCAPE and a 5,000 word outline before drafting THE MISSING it was a scary experience. It took me three attempts (and 6,000 deleted words) to get the first couple of chapters right but then it began to fall into place and the characters came alive.
THE FEAR is the first of my books that doesn’t have one of my fears at its heart and writing it was a challenge but, by not plotting it to the nth degree before I started, there were so many wonderful surprises and twists along the way (not least Wendy who is definitely one of my favourite ever characters). Publication day is 22nd March and I can’t wait.
Here’s the blurb…
Sometimes your first love won’t let you go…
Lou Wandsworth is used to being headline news as, aged fourteen, she ran away to France with her 31-year-old teacher, Mike Hughes.
Now 32, Lou’s life is in tatters – and she resolves to return home to confront Mike for the damage he has caused. But she soon finds that Mike is unchanged, and is focussing his attention on 13-year-old Chloe Meadows.
Determined to make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself, Lou decides to take matters into her own hands. But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as she tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that Lou could once again become his prey…
The million copy Sunday Times bestseller returns with a taut, compelling psychological thriller that will have you glued to the edge of your seat.