“A promising debut …original mystery” Sunday Times
“..sweeps the reader along ” The Times Crime Club
“A brilliant debut for an all-new series.”
“Fans of The Girl On The Train will love it” Love Reading
“A really strong and fresh take on the thriller” The Book Trail
“adrenalin filled fast-paced thriller that had me hooked from the start… Jen is an interesting character with a lot of flaws, yet she is also engaging and ballsy. A great read.” Promoting Crime Fiction
“Never less than intriguing.. bodes well for future books in the series” Herald Scotland
“a gripping premise, a well executed plot and an evocative Cornish setting” NB Magazine
“filled with twists and turns.. a great debut” Living North
“an exciting first instalment” The Indiependent
“well paced storyline with a powerful background setting: Cornwall really comes thundering to life with all its ruggedness, pounding weather and spirit.”
April 2021 – Cover reveal, Lighthouses and Inspirations.
The excitement of ON THE EDGE’s cover reveal recently marked another step on the journey towards publication in October 2021. Needless to say I was thrilled when I saw it – a thrill only surpassed when I realised ON THE EDGE was listed on Amazon. The lighthouse against the stormy sea is utterly magnificent and perfectly evokes the atmosphere of the book, especially the key moment when Jen awakes high on drugs and dangling from the fictitious St Matthew’s lighthouse somewhere in Cornwall.
This scene was the first idea and start point for ON THE EDGE and was inspired firstly by summer holidays in Cornwall spent swimming at Polridmouth Cove near Fowey in Cornwall (generally considered to be the inspiration for Rebecca’s cove in Daphne du Maurier’s REBECCA.) The Gribbin overlooks the cove and I have vivid memories of looking up from collecting seashells and seeing the tower, high and far away, dominating the surroundings, and wishing I lived in it. It was only later that I discovered it was in fact not a lighthouse but a daymark for sailors.
My second inspiration was more local. We live on a very dangerous section of the Finistère coast, the scene of many shipwrecks. The Amoco Cadiz ran aground a few miles away from us. There are lighthouses, beacons and buoys all around and one of our favourite excursions is a night-time visit to the St Mathieu lighthouse nearby. Its slowly circling beam can be seen up to 28 miles away and is spectacular from all angles but particularly from underneath where you can also look out to sea or back along the coast and see the answering beams from numerous lighthouses and buoys scattered on the horizon.
There’s something magical about lighthouses whether they’re at sea or on land. To me they’re symbols of safety and danger, of risk and heroism, as well as tenacity and struggle both in their construction and the lives of the keepers who used to man them. They stand tall, in isolated and often very beautiful places as well as crammed into the middle of harbours. No wonder they’ve inspired so many writers, photographers and paintings.
PS The ebook of ON THE EDGE is now available for pre-order on Amazon here. Paperback pre-order to follow shortly.
December 2020 – ON THE EDGE is going to be published!
On October 27th an email pinged into my inbox from Verve Books changing my writing life instantly. They’d all read and loved my debut thriller ON THE EDGE. Could we talk? I couldn’t have been more overjoyed. Especially as Verve (and their sister company No Exit Press) were one of my top choices because of the quality of the books they publish.
Even more excitingly they wanted a second book about Jen Shaw and her exploits – something I’d been longing to write for a while.
Getting to this point hasn’t happened overnight though.
I’ve written on and off since I was a child. I recently found one of my early efforts about a black cat and a grumpy old lady. What it lacked in narrative tension and grammatical skill, it more than made up for in gritty realism! Poor ‘chood’ mouse!
However I’ve been writing seriously for the last eight years, forcing myself out of bed early in the mornings to get a couple of hours work done before the day begins. It’s not such a hardship as you might imagine. We live at the end of the earth (Finistère) and the window opposite my desk looks out over the ever-changing sea. At the moment it is wild and wet and only the white tips of the breakers rushing to shore show through the water streaming down the glass but in an hour or so patches of blue sky might break through and herald the start of a milder day.
Like all writers, I’ve had my fair share of disappointments, near-misses, times when nothing works and I’ve felt like giving up. Somehow though a couple of mornings later I’ve found myself heading back to my desk in pyjamas and dressing gown, clutching a cup of tea, to see where the words will take me.
At the end of what has been a difficult year for everybody, it seems quite strange to have good news to share. I’ve been hugging it to myself for quite a while, waiting for all the legal and administrative stuff to be finished but overwhelmingly happy that 2021 will see the next stage in my writing life start. I’m sure it will be as exciting and frustrating and difficult as the years before but I’m definitely along for the ride.