I’m delighted to share an interview with Barbara Copperthwaite with you today as she releases her new novel, The Darkest Lies! This is Barbara’s third novel and follows her critically acclaimed, Flowers for the Dead which was released in September 2015. Here she is to tell us a little more about it.
Can you describe your new novel in one succinct but sensual sentence?
A mother desperate for the truth about her daughter, in a village full of secrets.
Who is your favourite character and why?
I really love the mum, Melanie, in The Darkest Lies, as she undergoes such a marked change throughout the book. She starts out with the perfect family, but in some ways is quite a weak character. When things go wrong she begins to fall apart but discovers an inner steel she didn’t know she had. She certainly doesn’t always make the right choices, but she makes them for very understandable reasons.
The bits I had most fun writing, though, were from the point of view of the mystery attacker, who is chilling.
The novel is set in Lincolnshire, on the flat fens where I grew up. I wanted to really capture the atmosphere of the place, and key to that is the ever-present wind; so I’d like to give it special mention. In my mind, the wind almost became another character, seeing everything playing out around it, tugging at Melanie’s clothes, or soothing her fevered skin.
Which authors have been your main inspirations?
Gosh, so many! I read voraciously, so it depends on who I have most recently read, from Sarah Hilary to Fiona Barton, Elizabeth Haynes to Clare Mackintosh. I also adore Joanna Cannon’s imaginative use of language; and John Lewis-Stempel, whose writings on nature are simply breathtaking. All have something about their work that inspires me and spurs me on to improve.
How does your writing process work; confusion and paper flying everywhere or calm and ordered?
I’m a mess! At the start of every book I vow I will be neat and tidy, but I simply can’t work that way. I tend to write key scenes first, then go back and work on how on earth to link them. Character’s personalities are always worked out in advance, though. I like to write little biographies, so no matter how messy the plotting gets, the character’s decisions are always true to them. That way, somehow, everything always pulls together as if by magic.
What is your guilty pleasure when writing? (Chocolate, wine, coffee…)
Cake and hot chocolate! And I don’t even feel guilty!
Please share your blurb with us:
A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.
Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.
Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.
Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk?
As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…
A completely gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Fans of The Girl on the Train, The Sister and Before I Let You In will be captivated.
Ooh, sounds intriguing, Barbara. Thanks so much for sharing with us. I can’t wait to get stuck in! You can buy The Darkest Lies here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Barbara is the author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE and FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD. Both have been Amazon best sellers. Her latest book, THE DARKEST LIES, is out on 12 May.
Much of her success is thanks to more than twenty 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 a lot about 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.
When not writing feverishly, she is often found hiding behind a camera, taking wildlife photographs.