1. How did you settle on the title for ‘The Evil Beneath’?
I like to get titles early on as it anchors the book in my mind and makes it feel real. I liked the way the title had a double meaning: corpses found under the bridges, but also the evil/devil lurking hidden inside the story.
2. What alternative title did you consider?
I wanted to get bridges into the title at first, so it was ‘Body under the Bridge’ for a while.
|Image: Hammersmith Bridge - where the first body is found |
Alex Muller (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
One major UK publisher said that if he’d been offered it three or four years ago (before the recession) he would have snapped it up straight away. It’s a bitter-sweet comment to hear – so near, yet so far…
4. Who is your favourite character in ‘The Evil Beneath’ and why?
It would have to be Juliet Grey, because much of her experience draws on my work as a psychotherapist when I was living in Putney. She’s more intrepid and out-spoken than I am – and more prepared to take risks!
5. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Plotting is hard – the early stages when I have several ideas, but I don’t know how they could possibly work in an original and dramatic way. It’s like having a pile of jigsaw pieces without the finished picture on the box. I have no idea where, how - or even, if - the bits will fit together.
6. What do you enjoy most about the writing process?
Just about ALL of it. I see four stages: planning, research, first drafts (getting the story down) and editing/polishing/checking continuity etc. The most challenging parts are stages one and three.
7. Which novel do you wish you’d written?
Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller – there’s such a sense of encroaching menace in that book and the writing style is magnificent.
8. In the reviews and feedback you’ve had for the book – what has surprised you most?
That no one so far has been able to guess ‘who done it’, in either of my first two books (but I’ve probably just jinxed that!) I just hope I don't get any Spoilers in reviews or public comments...
9. Which authors would you invite over for dinner to get to know better?
Anne Tyler (because she rarely gives interviews and her writing style is so beautiful), Kathy Reichs (because her work as a forensic anthropologist sounds so interesting) and Sebastian Faulks (although I’d be tongue-tied being in the same room as the author of Birdsong)
10. Which one question would you want to make sure you asked them?
I’d ask how they've coped with the vagaries of the whole publishing business.