WEDNESDAY 01st APRIL 2015
I am delighted to feature on my blog today the lovely Clare Mackintosh, author to the brand new psychological thriller that everyone’s talking about ‘I Let You Go’.
Clare Mackintosh is an author, feature writer and columnist. She has written for The Guardian, Sainsbury’s Magazine, The Green Parent, and many other national publications, and is a columnist for Cotswold Life and Writing Magazine.
Clare spent twelve years in the police force, working on CID, in custody and as a public order commander, and has drawn on her experiences for her début psychological thriller I Let You Go. She is currently writing her second novel.
A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?
In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.
Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .
2015 has haphazardly seen my reading habits drift toward the psychological thriller. The pleasure I receive for these books toying with my mind is exquisite – I get a kick out of reading material messing with my brain.
And I Let You Go is not one to disappoint.
The story itself is an extremely good concept – however it’s the structure, the style of narration and the writing that make it breath-taking. It’s a book that not only has a great twist, it’s full of surprises.
The depth in which we’re allowed into the minds of the character’s and what makes some of them tick is what makes this such a great psychological thriller. It allows us a greater understanding of the big picture.
We’re even privy to a glimpse into Detective Inspector Ray Stevens life; we get to experience his struggles not only investigating the incident, but within his own family as well.
The final pages of the story catapult us into an extremely tense and emotional ending. The pace doesn’t give you the opportunity to put the book down – you’re yearning for the next chapter, the next sentence, hell you’re even craving the next word.
I’m on a spate of reading such good psychological thriller’s and I Let You Go is no exception to the rule.
In fact, it’s as if it wrote the rule.
So grab that cuppa and snuggle in as we get to know more about Clare Mackintosh …
What was the inspiration behind ‘I Let You Go’?
Many years ago, when I joined the police, a young boy was killed by joyriders on an estate in Oxford. It was a terrible crime and the offenders were never caught. I tried to think how it would feel to be responsible for something so horrific, but not coming forward, and couldn’t begin to imagine how the child’s mother felt. The hit and run that starts I Let You Go is very different, and the subsequent story is not at all the story of that boy from Oxford, but I thought of him and his family often when I was writing the book. I wanted to explore what motivates people to commit and conceal crime, and I wanted to create characters that weren’t straight forward.
How would you compare writing this book with anything you have previously written?
My first book was a romantic comedy called Hot Property. I worked with a great literary agent who really helped me develop the story, but after a year or so it became clear this wasn’t the right book. I had a yearning to write something much grittier, and as soon as I started I Let You Go it felt right. When it was finished I signed with a different literary agent and worked on a rewrite before she submitted it to publishers.
One thing that impressed me with ‘I Let You Go’ was the structure of the story – I thought it was incredibly clever. Without giving too much away about the storyline, how did you plan this out?
Thank you! I’m obsessed with structure and dissect everything I read, or watch on television. I love seeing how stories are put together. With I Let You Go I started in the middle, where I had a really clear idea of what I wanted the story to do, then I worked out from there. I knew how the book started, and I was fairly certain I knew how it ended, so it was a question of filling in the gaps! With psychological thrillers it’s all about the pace, so I had to drop in pointers that would keep a reader turning the page, without giving away the plot!
How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on?
I’ve always written: I have a diary I kept when I was seven, and a fictionalised account of a family holiday in which I detail our ‘intrepid’ explorations of a campsite in Yorkshire. I wasn’t encouraged to consider writing as a career (and doubt I’d have made a success of it, back then), but carried on writing bits and pieces throughout the years. When I was pregnant I took over as editor of the local NCT newsletter and loved writing columns and putting together features. I started a blog which quickly gained followers, and from that was invited to write a column for a regional magazine. Gradually I began pitching features to other publications until 2011 when I left the police to write full-time.
Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow?
I have several! My regular writing space is my office: a very small room in my house where I have my desk, printer, huge book case, a wall planner and two enormous white boards. At the moment I also have a vast map of the London Underground (research for my next book). When the house is empty I can work quite well in there (although am easily distracted by the internet, a beeping washing machine, or a dog needing a walk) but I find it almost impossible to work when the children are in the house, however quiet they ‘think’ they’re being… I sometimes write in cafes, where I feel obliged to be productive because I’ve spent £2.50 on a latte. My favourite place to write is Chez Castillon, a writing retreat in the South of France, where I write four times as much as at home. If only I could live there all the time!
And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know
When I was 19 and at university I wangled an invitation to Downing Street. I was waitressing at a golf club and was talking to one of the guests who was involved in an award ceremony taking place at the PM’s place. I persuaded him to include me on the guest list, and he sent me an invitation the next day!
Thank you for being here today Clare and best of luck with the book.
~ Where to find the Author~
Love Missuswolf xxx
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