Behind the scenes: One Year Later – The Cottage

When we bought a large plot of land and a house that we were planning on renovating in Somerset, I had the idea to set my next psychological thriller, One Year Later, partly in Somerset. 

In the garden of our house we found the ruins of an old cottage…and I started thinking, what if a child were playing amongst the ruins and it collapsed? It became the basis of a terrible scene in my novel… 

 

‘I was lucky, the doctor said later, that I hadn’t been buried alive. I was lucky, he added, that I hadn’t died. 

Since then, but only to myself, I’ve always rephrased his statement: I’m lucky my sister didn’t kill me.’

Nick. One Year Later

 

I told my husband what I was writing and he was so freaked out he got a stone mason to shore up our ruined cottage and make it safer. This is what it looks like now – a lot of the vegetation shrouding it has been cleared away, and one wall has been repointed. 

 

‘We walk through the garden, and the beam clips the outline of the ruined cottage. I pause alongside it, feeling the familiar surge of panic, the sickening sensation I still have in dreams, of falling, of being buried alive. It’s shrouded in ivy; a sycamore has grown through the bread oven, the roots like something out of The Blair Witch Project.‘ 

Nick. One Year Later

 

Behind the Scenes: One Year Later – Somerset

I wrote my psychological thriller, One Year Later, in Bristol, but at the time we were renovating a  house in Somerset. We spent the summer camping in the garden and dreaming about moving in one day. It inspired one of the settings for my forthcoming novel. The Flower family, who are somewhat dysfunctional, grew up in Somerset. 

 

‘The Pines is a rambling farmhouse that our parents, David and Eleanor, converted years ago, and although it no longer has the land it came with, it still has a huge garden. It sits on the lower slopes of the Mendips in Somerset, the woods behind, green fields gently falling away in front of it. On a good day – and 15 August, with its clear blue skies, was one of those days – you can see over the tops of the seaside towns of Clevedon and Weston-super-Mare and all the way across the Severn estuary to Wales. It’s where we grew up, Amy, Bethany and I.’

Nick. One Year Later

 

Out on 1 August!

 

One Year Later – out 1 August

I’m so thrilled – my fourth psychological thriller is out on 1 August. Just in time for you to pack in your bag for a beach holiday! It’s partly set in Somerset and Bristol, but mainly on a seemingly idyllic island in Italy. It’s available to pre-order.

 

Some secrets won’t stay buried….

 

 

Since Amy’s daughter, Ruby-May, died in a terrible accident, her family have been beset by grief. One year later the family decide to go on holiday to mend their wounds. An idyllic island in Italy seems the perfect place for them to heal and repair their relationships with one another.

 

But no sooner have they arrived, than they discover nothing on this remote island is quite as it seems. And with the anniversary of the little girl’s death looming, it becomes clear that at least one person in the family is hiding a shocking secret. As things start to go rapidly wrong, Amy begins to question whether everyone will make it home… 

Behind the scenes: Filming The Stolen Child trailer

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. 

Daddy 

 

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: