I find that reading out loud really helps me edit my work – plus, it’s good practise for book launch readings! Here are a couple of extracts from the antagonist’s point of view, and one (read when I was writing The Stolen Child) from Zoe’s point of view (she’s the main character).
If anyone would like to discuss The Stolen Child in their Book Club, do get in touch, as I’d be very happy to FaceTime with your group! I’m sure you’ll have your own questions, but if you want some suggestions, here are some Book Club questions:
If you were with me, I’d take you to the Doubler Stones, where thousands of years ago, Neolithic peoples carved channels in the rock to drain away the blood from their sacrifices. I would show you where the plover nests, and the green hairstreak butterfly lays its eggs. I love this place. I love this land. It’s part of me, it’s part of who I am. But it’s no place for you: a seven-year-old girl in a princess costume.
If you’d like to find out a bit more about what inspired me to write The Stolen Child, I’ve created a Pinterestboard and answered a few questions here:
I grew up on either side of Ilkley moor, from the age of 8 to 18. I’ve set the novel in Ilkley, with some of the key scenes taking place on the moor, and bringing in a few chilling elements, such as the Doubler Stones, which may have been used for blood sacrifices…
The Stolen Child is out in a week’s time, on 6 April 2017. I’m excited, and frankly, a little nervous!
Today I have a blog on my publisher’s website about how my Irish roots have somehow ended up in this modern day thriller. The title comes from a WB Yeats poem (The Stolen Child) about a child who is sprited away by the little people…
It’s one month today! More details are on my Events page, but if hearing about The Stolen Child isn’t sufficient incentive, there will be prosecco and beer from Grape and Grind, and a Stolen Child inspired Bourbon and coffee cake made by Ahh Toots!
I’m delighted to be able to share this cover with you! It’s for the audio version of The Stolen Child, published byAudible on 6 April. It’s being narrated by Helen Johns– I love her Jane Austen rendition.
I thought you might like to see what went on behind the scenes when we were filming The Stolen Child trailer! The crew and I all live in the south-west, and it was going to be too tricky to get us all to Ilkley, West Yorkshire, where The Stolen Child is set…so we decided to use Porlock common, a heathland in Somerset, to stand in for Ilkley moor.
Here’s our actor, Ela Chia Gutierrez, playing Evie, being filmed by Director of Photography, Rob Franklin.
We wanted to start with Evie, who is a happy contented child, until she receives a sinister card… We planned to film this in a playground in Porlock – but when we arrived, it had been closed the night before as a piece of equipment was unsafe to use. Ah, the best laid plans.
We ended up filming next to some toilets in a car park… So glamorous!
Here’s Ela being lit by our camera assistant, Zoe Masters. Evie has just spotted a card left for her.
Hello my darling,
I’m your real father. I’ve been searching for you ever since you were stolen from me. I love you so much.
When we filmed on the common, aka, Ilkley moor, Ela dressed in a Princess Elsa dress and had to run across the heath –
– with my mobile taped on her back so we could tell her when she needed to STOP, and come back to us. We used a drone camera, operated by Jack Stevenson, to try and capture the feeling of isolation, wilderness and fear that Evie must have felt when she was lost on the moor…
I love this place. I love this land. It’s part of me, it’s part of who I am. But it’s no place for you: a seven-year-old girl in a princess costume.
Here’s Rob and Jack operating the drone, filming Ela as she sprints across the moor.
Rob and Zoe then drove up to Ilkley moor and filmed a few shots to drop into the trailer to give that feeling of authentic wilderness.
The dark edge of the moor and the Cow and Calf rock are crisp against the blue-black sky. I can’t see anyone outside, watching us. As I shut the door behind me, I hear a noise. It came from the hall. I feel the hairs rise on the back of my neck.
Let me know what you think! Here’s the finished trailer:
The Stolen Childtrailer is live! Here’s our fabulous actor, Ela Chia Gutierrez playing Evie, being filmed by DoP Rob Franklin. We were also joined by Zoe Masters, our camera assistant, and Jack Stevenson, the drone pilot. Ela had to run across the moor in a Frozen dress being pursued by a drone camera! We bought her a slap-up ice cream afterwards!
My second thriller, The Stolen Child, is out soon: 6 April! And I’m delighted to be able to reveal the cover to you!
The Stolen Child is set on Ilkley moor, where I grew up. It’s about a couple, Zoe and Ollie, who long for a baby but are unable to have one. They adopt a child from birth, a little girl called Evie. A few years later they have their own child, a boy called Ben. The story begins when Ben is two and Evie is seven. Evie’s starting to realise that she’s different from the rest of her family, and beginning to understand what it means to be adopted.
One day she receives a card addressed to My Daughter. Inside it says:
Seven years ago, you were stolen from me.
Now I’m coming to get you back.
Love, your Daddy.
I’ve been fortunate to have had some wonderful pre-publication comments:
‘The Stolen Child captivated me, terrified me and left me deeply moved.’ Holly Seddon
‘Beautiful terse writing and the build to the shattering climax is palpable.’ Peter James
‘Gut-wrenching… The Stolen Child succeeds as both a fast-paced thriller and a haunting tale of a fragile family.’ Peter Swanson
‘Grips to the very last page… I couldn’t put it down.’ Amanda Jennings
I hope you enjoy it! It’s available for pre-order from Amazon.
I’m in stellar company: fellow Corvus author, Catharine Ryan Howard with Distress Signals, multi-million bestseller, Hideo Yokoyama with Six Four, and Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris.
There’s some incredible-looking book covers and titles – I’m intrigued by Fen by Daisy Johnson, You Have Me to Love by Jaap Robben, with its eerie image of a seagull’s head, and Jihadi: A Love Story by Yusuf Toropov.
I’m so delighted – Bone by Bone has been picked by Mark Lawson in The Guardianas one of the best crime books and thrillers of 2016!
Mark calls Bone by Bone a noteworthy and unnerving debut. I’m in good company – Val McDermid, Ian Rankin and Ann Cleeves are also must-reads, as well as one of my favourite thrillers of the year, Noah Hawley’s Before the Fall.
In my thriller, Bone by Bone, there are three generations of female characters – Autumn, who is nine years old, and is being bullied at school; her mother, Laura, who, like her child, is shy and unconfident, and her rather more forthright mother, Dr Vanessa Baron-Cohen, a well-known anthropologist. The bond between mothers and their children, particularly their daughters, is usually the strongest one that exists in human beings.
Mothers shape their daughters, but daughters often rebel against being moulded. I was interested in exploring this most tight and intimate bond; how some women raise their daughters to be like them, and their daughters then reject their values, but in doing so, may make mistakes of their own with their daughters – a tale familiar to some of us! As Oscar Wilde so glibly said, ‘All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does, and that is his.’