How was your weekend? A disproportionately large part of mine was spent trawling through bathroom brochures in anticipation of our forthcoming house move and it led me to realise two very important things:
- There are a lot of bathroom styles to choose from, in every shape, style, finish and price your heart could desire.
- I don’t care half as much about bathrooms as I thought I did…
Following this revelation, I was able to focus again on the world of DCI Ryan – phew! But now, a brand new working week stretches ahead of us and it is time to introduce our next author, the lovely Barbara Copperthwaite.
Barbara is the author of best-selling psychological thrillers Invisible, Flowers for the Dead, and The Darkest Lies. Her new book, Her Last Secret, will be published on Friday 13th October, but you can pre-order it right now!
Much of her success is thanks to her twenty-plus years’ experience as a national newspaper and magazine journalist. She’s interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. Thanks to people sharing their stories with her, she knows the emotional impact of violence and wrong-doing. That’s why her novels are dark, realistic and tackle not just the crime but its repercussions.
Now, to find out a little bit more about this talented lady, I asked her a few short questions which she has kindly agreed to answer…
- Tell us a little about yourself – don’t be shy!
I always find this question the hardest to answer because I never know what to say! But here goes… I’m a cake-obsessed, nature-loving, bestselling author of psychological thrillers.
I love trying to get under the skin of unlikeable characters, or working out how someone can be pushed to the edge (and often over) in my books.
In my spare time, when not being press-ganged into throwing tennis balls by my dog, Scamp, I can generally be found hiding behind a camera taking wildlife pictures. I love sketching, too.
- How about your latest book – what can readers look forward to when they pick it up?
Her Last Secret is the taut tale of the Thomas family, who appear to have it all, until one day Benjamin Thomas’s mistress confronts his wife. It’s told from the perspective of each family member, and is set in the run-up to Christmas. Spiralling secrets and festering vulnerabilities are revealed as the family unit unravels to an explosive showdown.
- Who is your hero in real life and in fiction?
As a journalist, I interviewed countless people who suffered all kinds of terrible traumas. Their resilience, strength, and humour in the face of adversity was incredible. Each and every one of them is a real-life hero, and they inspire me to write my fiction.
My favourite fictional hero? I wouldn’t mind being rescued by Luther, from the TV series, or Jamie Fraser, from the Outlander series. Take a look at them and you’ll understand why!
- Who are your three favourite writers – and why?
Too tough a question, so I’ve narrowed it down to crime only – and even then, it’s impossible, as I keep changing my mind every minute. But I’ve gone for:
Peter Swanson – I have a writer crush on Peter Swanson for creating The Kind Worth Killing. It’s a book I never tire of recommending to people.
Patricia Highsmith – a trailblazer in the crime genre, Patricia Highsmith was ahead of her time. In Tom Ripley, she created a killer who readers actually root for despite themselves. That takes some doing.
Stuart MacBride – He balances grit and gore with laugh-out-loud humour. It shouldn’t work, but it absolutely does.
- When you’re not writing, what is your favourite way to spend your time?
As soon as I finish writing for the day, I grab my camera and take Scamp for a long walk. Photographing nature forces me to live in the moment, rather than worry about the past or the future, or how I’m going to get away with fictional murder. I can lose hours taking pictures of butterflies, dragonflies, birds… Conservation is a real passion of mine, and I used to have a wildlife blog. I have dreams of one day resurrecting it. No matter what the weather, the great outdoors always calls, and I think this reflects in a lot of my writing.
- What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement is still to come, hopefully.
- What was your favourite book as a child?
Ooh, another tough one! As a child, I re-read all of my books countless times, as I was such a voracious reader. I’m torn between two books. The Children of Cherry Tree Farm, by Enid Blyton, kick-started my reading habit. Before then I wasn’t bothered, but something clicked as the tale unfolded of children relocating to the countryside and learning about nature. As well as giving me a love of reading, I think it also ignited my passion for wildlife, so I owe it an awful lot.
The other possibility is The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goodge. I so wanted to be the heroine, Maria. The dog in my novel The Darkest Lies is named Wiggins, after Maria’s pet.
- Have you read any books recently that have really captured your imagination?
For sheer breath-taking twist, it has to be Behind Her Eyes, by Sarah Pinborough. It’s a Marmite book, but I loved the way it started out appearing to be one thing and turned everything on its head. Another great recent read was Sweetpea, by CJ Skuse. It made me laugh, gasp, wince, and feel horrified, all in equal measure.
- If the Prime Minister knocked at your front door and asked to borrow a book, which one would you recommend they read?
I don’t lend books to people unless I know them very well! And even then, they have to promise not to turn the corners of pages down, crack the spine, spill tea or coffee on it…the list is endless! So, I’m afraid the Prime Minister would leave empty-handed, lol.
- Finally, if you could be any character from a movie, which would it be?
I’d be Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday, the 1940 Howard Hawks screwball comedy. She’s a hard-bitten New York newspaper journalist trying to save a man from death row. She’s funny, clever, determined, successful, and knocks out wise-crack after wise-crack. And she (re)marries Cary Grant at the end of it. What more could I ask for?
…Thanks, Barbara! Some great answers there, and definitely a shared love of old Cary Grant movies, too. Many thanks for taking part and sharing your experiences!
For now, it’s time to get back to work, I’m afraid (*collective boo*). I need to squeeze in a week’s worth of work into two or three days, as I’m going to be away from home towards the end of this week to attend the Althorp Literary Festival from 5th-8th October. I’ll be a panellist alongside some fantastic authors (Mel Sherratt, Dave Leadbeater, Mark Dawson and Louise Jensen, to name a few) and we’ll be chatting about our experiences, our characters and what makes our writing tick. Hope to see some of you there!