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Thursday, 10 May 2018

Crimefest panel

A week from now I will be heading to Bristol for my third Crimefest!

The first time I attended, SAVING SOPHIE was yet to be published and I spent most of my time rushing around trying to get to every panel possible - in awe of the authors I saw, heard and met.

The second time, last year, I was one of those authors who people came to see. I had my very own Spotlight session - which meant I was on my own - no other authors on a panel to take some of the pressure. It was a scary, wonderful experience and I was overwhelmed by the amazing support fellow authors, bloggers and friends gave me.

This year - I am on a panel! Initially I felt this was going to be better - less nerve-wracking, less pressured. But then I saw who I was on the panel with!

Oh, my! So, there's me - and then there's the awesome bestsellers C.L Taylor, Amanda Jennings and Louise Candlish. To top it, bestselling author Amanda Robson is moderating.

And now I'm back to being nervous again...

I am really looking forward to this new experience though. If you'd like to come along and listen to us chat, our panel - FAMILIES CAN BE MURDER - is on Friday 18th at 2.50pm.

Hopefully see you there!

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

ONE LITTLE LIE Cover Reveal!

Yesterday, Avon revealed the fabulous cover for my third psychological thriller, ONE LITTLE LIE.

The response was tremendous - thank you so much for all the support - whether you Tweeted, shared on Facebook, commented, messaged or pre-ordered - I'm extremely grateful!
I really, really LOVE this cover:
It's available for pre-order now from the following places:



Google Play


Although One Little Lie can be read as a standalone, psychologist Connie Summers returns alongside DI Wade and DS Mack ...but this story really belongs to Alice ...

‘My name is Alice. And my son is a murderer.’

Deborah’s son was killed four years ago. Alice’s son is in prison for committing that crime.
Deborah would give anything to have her boy back, and Alice would do anything to right her son’s wrongs.
Driven by guilt and the need for redemption, Alice has started a support group for parents with troubled children. But as the network begins to grow, she soon finds out just how easy it is for one little lie to spiral out of control…
They call it mother’s intuition, but can you ever really know your own child?
A twisty and unnerving thriller about the price of motherhood and the unthinkable things we do to protect our children. Perfect for fans of Cara Hunter and Laura Marshall.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Debut Author Spotlight

Debut Author Spotlight – 20 Questions

I'm delighted to welcome Sarah Simpson, author of HER GREATEST MISTAKE, to my blog on her publication day!

Sarah Simpson has a first-class honours degree in Psychology and has worked in a neuro-psychology department at a Brain Rehabilitation Hospital. She lives in Cornwall with her husband and three children, and runs her own practice at the Duchy Hospital in Truro. Her Greatest Mistake is her first novel.

I asked Sarah my 20 Questions and here's what she had to say:

1)      Congratulations, IT’S PUBLICATION DAY! Tell us in three words how you’re feeling right now:
Fortunate, emotional, joyful

2)      Describe your novel in ONE sentence:
Can I rely on a recent review? ‘A chilling, heart-string pulling psychological thriller.’

3)      How are you celebrating publication day?
      It’s Easter Sunday – so a family day for me. A walk on the beach and lots of lovely food and chocolate.

4)      Why/When did you decide to write your first novel?
I decided to write Her Greatest Mistake in 2006, but I didn’t begin to write it until 2016! It then felt like the right time in my life, we’d been through many changes including relocating to Cornwall. For me, it was the missing piece of the jigsaw.

5)      How long was it from the first submission of your completed manuscript to agents, to this day?
I think I first submitted it at the beginning of 2017 before realising – I shouldn’t have because my novel wasn’t ready! I then submitted again in April time of 2017. I was taken on by the lovely Broo Doherty (and I still thank my lucky stars). I think we first put Her Greatest Mistake out on submission to the first round of publishers in September. At the beginning of November 2017, I was delighted and little scared to be offered a three book deal by Aria, Head of Zeus. Since then, it has been pretty full on with the editing process, cover design et cetera. So exciting though. Everything seemed to suddenly happen so very quickly.

6)      So far, what has been the biggest surprise/shock about becoming a published author?
Genuinely, that I have written something people want to read!

7)      What are you most looking forward to as a published author?
To being able to write more and more, perhaps to be able to give up my day job with a licence to wander nonchalantly around my imagination, building stories I can share.

Ok, let’s get down to the writing process
8)      Which authors inspired your writing?
I have to go back to my childhood, to the wonderful Enid Blyton, I devoured her books, slinking away into her lands of fantasy at every given opportunity. Later on, it was the brilliant Agatha Christie, for the mystery, the fragrant atmosphere and vibrant characters she always created. More recently, it would be too difficult to say, so many brilliant authors out there, I really wouldn’t want to specify.

9)      How long did it take you to write ‘Her Greatest Mistake’?
Around twelve months, because I kept picking it up, putting it down, picking it back up. Convincing myself I couldn’t write and then thinking, maybe I can… Then after the twelve months, I ripped it apart completely and re-wrote it all over.

10)   What was your first draft like? 
From time to time, I look back at my first draft, then I realise I’m holding my breath whilst blushing. Wondering how I ever thought that one day I might be published. It is almost unrecognisable to the draft today (which is probably more like the 12th draft). The theme running through and the bones of the story are essentially the same, it’s more – how I voiced the story. I think I literally deleted 60,000 words during my re-writes. I was learning all the time though and it was a huge learning curve.

11)   How did you find the editing process a - before you had an editor?
I love the editing process! I am someone (forgetting that first draft) who edits as I go along too. I can’t seem to resist it. Some days I think, I’m not going to edit today I’m only going to re-fresh myself on this chapter, but I can’t help myself. I find the process almost therapeutic and I also find while I am editing - the story begins to come alive and take me places I hadn’t considered before.
                                                                   b - and now you do?
The editors are simply brilliant. Copy editors are like forensic experts seeking out the inconsistencies and discovering blunders seemingly invisible to the normal eye, but so obvious when it is pointed out! I confess, I love this process too!

12)    When you write do you need music, or silence?
I rarely work in silence. I am quite used to working within the usual realms of a full house, barking dogs and caught between two entirely dissimilar tastes of music echoing from my children’s rooms. Whilst I was completing my book ready for submission, we had not long suffered a flood of the entire ground floor, so I also had the noise of floors being ripped up and replaced too. When I am alone in the house, I always have a background noise of some form. Though, I find that music can make me feel quite emotional, then my writing tends to become deeper and darker.

13)    What is your guilty pleasure when writing? 
Peanut butter. I love peanut butter, on toast, on crisp breads, or simply from a spoon! I make numerous cups of tea and coffee to throw away an hour later when stone cold. So I always keep a bottle of water with me, else I think I would become pretty dehydrated by the end of the process.

14)    What is your favourite part of the writing process? Least favourite?
Tough one, because it depends on what mood I am in. I do love writing the opening chapter and the final chapter. I’ve often written the final chapter quite early on in the process, before I really know what will happen along the way. I also love building characters in my mind. By the time I’d finished writing Her Greatest Mistake, and because Eve – the main protagonist was in the first person, I almost found it difficult to stop thinking as she would. Being able to step inside your character’s mind, I love! This is why I like to write in the first person.
My least favourite part is possibly the dialogue. I worry, not wanting to sound wooden or too manufactured. Which is unusual given I love to be inside the characters’ mind, I find it so easy to write about inner thoughts and feelings and yet more difficult to represent open dialogue. Strange?

15)    Did you need to conduct any research for your novel? How did you approach it?
Much of the material in Her Greatest Mistake came from my own professional experiences, certainly the psychological elements and the issues surrounding mental health conditions. My background is in mental health and I have also worked within the family court system alongside family solicitors, so all of this helped a great deal. I also chose to set the book in geographical areas I knew well, although I did visit certain stretches of featured coastline from time to time for inspiration. Money laundering is the only topic I needed to research and to do this, I accessed numerous case studies, newspaper articles and also several legal papers I found online.

16)    Now you have a book deal – with deadlines (!) – how has that affected your writing process?
It’s strange because it really does feel different. Perhaps because before I was writing with hope and now I am writing with a certain weight of expectation. I try not to think too much about the deadlines, though they are very much there. I think perhaps the biggest difference is the guilt element. Before, I often felt guilty spending my time writing, it felt a little indulgent, worrying over having so many other things needing my attention. And now, when I’m having to deal with the other things – I feel guilty for not getting to my writing!

17)   What do you do in your ‘spare’ time? 
At the moment, these times are few and far between! However, the beauty of having a huge dog is that he needs exercise, so I walk miles with him during my breaks. I love the simple things in life, walks on the beach, I love to be near the sea, it helps me gain a perspective on life. I also love to cook, creating dishes and watching my family enjoy them. Of course, I read as much as I can, I don’t ever want reading to be part of my work, I always want to savour and enjoy it. Especially now I understand just how much blood, sweat and tears has been shed for each piece of work. My children are older now but I love spending time with them and my husband, again - just doing the simple things.

18)   What’s coming next?
Book two is now complete, I am about to commence on the editing process with a deadline looming at the end of April. It will be available sometime at the end of Summer/ Autumn. I have some strong ideas for book three but I am simply allowing them to float around in my head for a little longer before I write anything down.

19)   Where can readers find you? 
You can find me here:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sarahrsimpson
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahsimpsoncornwall/
Instagram: sarahsimpsonauthor

20)   All importantly, where can readers buy your fabulous debut novel? 
click on the following:


Here is the blurb for Her Greatest Mistake, published by Aria on 1st April -


Eve and Gregg were the perfect couple, with the perfect marriage... which has become the perfect lie. Gone is the charming, attentive Gregg - instead Eve wakes up each morning beside a manipulative and sinister man who controls his wife's every move.
So Eve flees her immaculate marital home to keep herself, and young son Jack safe. Yet no matter how careful she has been, she knows Gregg will be relentless in his pursuit of his missing family. And that one day, when she's least expecting it, he will find them...
What was Eve's greatest mistake?
Marrying Gregg? Leaving him? Or leaving him alive...?
HER GREATEST MISTAKE is the gripping debut which will keep you guessing until the very last page. B.A. Paris meets Liane Moriarty in this electrifying thriller.

Huge thanks for taking the time to answer these questions, Sarah - and enjoy your publication day!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Saving Sophie 99p Kindle Monthly Deal

Happy March!

For this month only, my no.1 ebook bestselling psychological thriller, SAVING SOPHIE is just 99p!

Grab it from Amazon - HERE

 ...AND - get this - there's as a BONUS inside!
A sneak preview of my brand new psychological thriller 
ONE LITTLE LIE coming July 23rd - which can be pre-ordered now, just click HERE 

I'm so excited for this book! Keep an 'eye' out for the cover reveal in April!

Saving Sophie is also 99p on:
Google Play

Happy reading!

Friday, 12 January 2018

Writing highlights 2017

My writing highlights of 2017 included the publication of my second psychological thriller, BAD SISTER. 

I'd spent a long time while writing it worrying about 'Second Book Syndrome' - then as it went out into the world in October, I held my breath awaiting the response from bloggers, reviewers and readers.

Imagine my delight then, when esteemed blogger and reviewer, Kaisha Holloway (The Writing Garnet) presented me with this amazing award!

I was utterly thrilled! And it didn't stop there.  

I've had some truly amazing reviews for Bad Sister - I've been floored by the responses from readers and I'm grateful to every one of them for buying, reading and reviewing!

Not only that, but Bad Sister made some people's lists of 'Top Books in 2017' which is fantastic. 

I'm proud to be in Kaisha's fabulous list of great books that she read in 2017 (and she read a LOT!)

Thanks for this great banner, Kaisha!

In the UK you can currently get BAD SISTER on ebook for just 99p - click HERE 

The paperback is available in Asda, Tesco, some Waterstones and Amazon.

I have more highlights from 2017 - but will save for another post!

Here's to an equally amazing 2018 - my next book will be out as ebook in July - not long at all! Watch this space for further news 😊

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Top 3 Reads in 2017

There have been some amazing books out this year, but many of them were added to my toppling TBR pile because I have so many others to try and get to first. So, when considering my Top 3 Reads, I didn't think about what year they were published but as it happens the ones I've chosen are from 2017! It's been a slow reading year for me, and one of my New Year's resolutions is to read more. 

I also asked Elisabeth Carpenter, author of 99 Red Balloons - a stand out novel in 2017 and one which I loved - and Sanjida Kay, author of Bone by Bone and The Stolen Child, plus new novel to come in 2018 My Mother's Secret (which is on my TBR list!) their Top 3 choices too (not necessarily ones that were published in 2017). 

Here's what Elisabeth chose:

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

This is such a page-turner! During a chance meeting in an airport lounge, Ted meets a stranger: Lily. He tells her his wife is having an affair. After a few too many drinks, he says he wants to kill her; Lily says, ‘I think you should.’ 
This is such a great book – it kept me gripped. It goes back and forth in time, with narratives from Lily and Ted, and kept me guessing until the end.

Lies by T.M. Logan

This is another book I raced through. I read a lot of psychological thrillers and LIES has a male main character, which I thought was refreshing. It starts with a bang - a situation so intriguing that I couldn't help but read on until it unravelled. 

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

This is a beautifully written book that really got into the heads of the characters. It's also really dark - I love it when a character's hiding a dark secret. Great story - I raced through this one.

Other books I enjoyed this year
Perfect Remains by Helen Fields 
The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan
Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney 
Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land.

One to look out for in 2018: The Rival by Charlotte Duckworth.

Here are Sanjida's Top 3:

The Dry by Jane Harper 

'Flies swarmed as the blood pooled black over tiles and carpet. A child’s scooter lay abandoned on the stepping stone path. Just one human heart beat within a kilometre radius of the farm.' Policeman Aaron Falk returns to his hometown of Kiewarra for the funeral of his best friend. Luke Hadler is thought to have committed suicide after murdering his wife and six-year-old son. Australia is in the grip of the worst drought for a century and the town is like a powder keg: it hasn’t rained for two years and tensions are running high. Aaron Falk is unwillingly drawn into the investigation, but Falk may not be as innocent as he looks, for he and Luke share a twenty-year old secret. You can feel the crackle of the heat from the pages in this blisteringly well-told tale. 

The Girls by Emma Cline 

'I looked up because of the laughter, and kept looking because of the girls.' It’s 1969, California. Evie Boyd, the daughter of a wealthy woman going through a turgid divorce, is fourteen, sad, lonely and unloved. When Evie sees the girls in the park and, at their centre, Suzanne, black-haired and beautiful, she’s drawn to them, desperate for affection. She follows them back to the decaying ranch and their cult, led by the charismatic and amoral Russell. The consequences will be savage and haunt Evie for the rest of her life. The prose is achingly poetic; The Girls is based on the serial killer, Charles Manson; at its heart it’s about women’s desire for love and acceptance and the casual and cruel abuse men inflict upon them. 

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
'You bring a child into this fractious, chaotic world out of the heat of your womb, and then spend the next ten years walking beside them while they figure out how to be a person.' When a private jet plunges into the sea off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, in the States, the only survivors are artist Scott Burroughs, and the four-year-old child he rescues. The boy is the son of a wealthy TV executive and, at first, Scott is a hero. But quickly, the media turns against him. Why was an impoverished artist flying with some of the richest men in America? This is a gripping thriller about art, motherhood, wealth and the power of the media. The language is sublime. 

Honourable mentions - Behind her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough via Audible - Sarah’s latest thriller has been reviewed elsewhere on this blog, so you’ll already know it’s a fantastically well-written psychological thriller, but the audiobook is an outstanding piece of performance. 
I’m currently reading An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth, which opens with a mother discovering her son has been accused of murder and broadens into a taut political thriller. 
I’ve heard rave reviews about AJ Finn’s The Woman in the Window, a Hitchcockian homage to Rear Window, and have pre-ordered it.

Great picks, Elisabeth and Sanjida! Thank you for sharing them. Behind Her Eyes was also one of my favourite reads this year! 

My Top 3 are:

The Killer on the Wall by Emma Kavanagh
From the opening line: 'It began with the bodies' - I was drawn in and had to keep reading. Having Hadrian's Wall as a backdrop to the murders was a great hook and I loved every bit of this novel. It really gave some fascinating insights into the mind of a psychopath and was a dark, intriguing read.

In a Cottage, In a Wood by Cass Green
Cass Green delivered a clever opening to this novel - one which played on my mind and kept me turning the pages.This was a creepy and atmospheric read and had a complex, believable protagonist. The tension bubbled beneath the surface, which set my nerves on edge as I read!  

The Surrogate by Louise Jensen
An emotive subject matter, a dark undertone running through the narrative and the 'now' and 'then' chapters, all gave this novel the edge! Packed full of twists, it was a real page-turner. Just when you think you've figured it all out...bam! Brilliant.

Other books I enjoyed:
Obsession by Amanda Robson
Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear
Copycat by Alex Lake
Beneath The Skin by Caroline England

One to look out for in 2018: The Echo Killing by Christi Daugherty

I'm sure there will be many great novels to come in 2018!

Hope you all have a fabulous Christmas, I probably won't be posting again this year so just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support, I'm hugely grateful.
Here's hoping 2018 brings good things!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

How I spent publication day!

It's almost a week ago that BAD SISTER was released in paperback.

Seeing my second novel on the shelves was a fabulous moment. With my debut, Saving Sophie, the thrill was in that it was the first time - we all know how special the first time is! 😉 I wasn't sure whether I'd be as excited to see Bad Sister.

Spoiler: I was!

My first sighting was unexpected as it was the day prior to its release. When I spotted a pile of my books on the 'Crime Table' at my local Waterstones, I know I gave an audible gasp! I was also on my own, so couldn't even turn to anyone and share the excitement. I did manage to surreptitiously take a photo though!

Then, when I popped into Asda and saw it on the shelves there too, I failed to contain the excitement and ended up chatting about Bad Sister to the lovely woman who was stocking the shelves! Bless her, she agreed to have a photo taken holding the book, and then said if she bought it, would I sign it for her there and then. Well, of course I said yes, and continued to crouch in the aisle, leaning on my shopping to sign it. Quite a surreal moment. Thank you, Tracey! 

To celebrate the day of publication, the 14th December, I spent the evening at my local pub with some family and friends. I was bought some gorgeous bouquets of flowers and we raised a few glasses of fizz! (The best way to celebrate in my opinion).

I almost forgot to take photos, but managed this one just as the evening was ending - shame I didn't get one when everyone was there, I think I was too busy enjoying the bubbly!

Here are my stunning flowers:

I would like to thank everyone who has supported me and enabled me to continue writing. Thanks to my family and friends who celebrated with me, and to those who weren't there, I hope to do something grander next time!

As ever, Mum and Dad - hope you are still watching over me. Wish you were here xx

Bad Sister is available in Asda, Tesco and some Waterstones (as well as Amazon).

I've had some fabulous reviews and feedback and am thrilled people have enjoyed it. Thank you to everyone who has bought it.