Meet the Characters – Phoebe Locklear from Gone Before by Sam Hepburn

My guest this week is fellow Bookouture author, Sam Hepburn, who has dropped by to share an interview with her character Phoebe Locklear from her latest crime novel, Gone Before. Let’s take a look at the cover and blurb first.


‘My Name is Phoebe Locklear. I think I’m your daughter.’

It’s been fifteen years since five-year-old Maya Duncan disappeared wearing a yellow sou’wester. But when Phoebe Locklear turns up at Kay Duncan’s door, clutching an identical sou’wester with Maya’s name stitched inside it, it seems that she might have come home at last.

Phoebe is convinced that she is Maya and that the woman behind the door is her real mother. When she sees Kay the memories come flooding back and it seems that they have been reunited at last. But when a shocking discovery leads to tragedy, Phoebe is left grief- stricken and riddled with guilt.

Alone and unanchored, Phoebe travels to London to dig into Kay’s life, hoping to uncover the truth of her own identity. But as she pieces together Kay’s past Phoebe discovers a disturbing link to the woman who raised her, and a terrible secret that even now endangers her own life.

Gone Before is an utterly addictive ‘ripped-from-the-headlines’ thriller that you will read in one breathless gulp. Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, Gone Girl and the Silent Patient.

Reader’s Reviews

Exquisite. Perfect from start to finish. Addictive. Charged. Suspenseful. A masterpiece. Highly recommend this to everyone. Five stars are not enough. One of the best thrillers I have ever read.’ Renita D’Silva, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a 5 star book… well plotted, stunningly written, fast paced… Completely unpredictable. Every time I thought I knew where the book was taking me I was wrong and I couldn’t put the book down.’ Goodreads Reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

From the first chapter I just knew I was going to love this twisty thriller. This is a must read for fans of psychological thriller books.’ Goodreads Reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

It sounds gripping doesn’t it? Now let’s move onto the interview with Phoebe Locklear

Wasn’t it lonely growing up on a nature reserve in Botswana?

It was the life I was used to, and I loved it. The vastness, the wonderful sounds of the bush at night, the conservation work going on all around me. And of course, Roz – that’s the woman who brought me up – was so tough and determined, so full of passion for what she did, she made every moment magical. So no, I was never lonely.

So you’d say you had a happy childhood?

I did. Roz devoted herself to me and I adored her. She didn’t stand for any nonsense but I was the centre of her world. She taught me how to ride, to survive, to stand up for myself and she showered me with love. What more could any child want?

What did she tell you about your real parents?

She said they’d both died in a house fire that destroyed all their possessions and that she’d barely known them. But as their only living relative she’d felt it had been her duty to take me in.

Was it a shock to discover that she’d snatched you off the street?

A shock? Are you kidding? It was earth shattering. I couldn’t believe that someone I had adored and respected could have done something so . . . so terrible. She said she’d taken me to save me from neglect, and it’s true that Kay, my mother, was struggling with motherhood. But what she needed was help. She was damaged and vulnerable and the trauma of losing me nearly destroyed her.

That first time you saw Kay, did you recognise her immediately?

That’s a tough one. It wasn’t the way she looked so much as the feeling I had when she opened that door. Seeing her standing there triggered all these memories I didn’t even know I had. Tiny, day to day things that made me certain she really was my mother.

How did you feel about the way Kay was treated by the press?

To be honest it horrified me. She’d run away from her abusive father and got pregnant with me when she was barely sixteen. Alright, so she’d ended up marrying a rich man and living in a big house but she was still damaged, still in and out of rehab and they treated her as if she was a monster not a victim. But the tabloids love having someone to hate. I’ll never forget one headline I saw. There was a picture of her, head down coming out of rehab and it said in great big letters ‘Is this the most evil woman in Britain?’ No wonder she was depressed. It’s bad enough trying to cope with the guilt and horror of losing your five year old when you know it’s your own fault she wandered out of the house, without getting attacked by every tabloid journalist and internet troll looking for a target.

Now that Roz is dead do you think you will ever find it in your heart to forgive her for what she did?

I don’t know. Stealing someone else’s child is awful but you have to remember that she’d lost her own daughter in a terrible accident about a year before she took me, and grief can do strange things to people. Maybe in her mind “rescuing me” was her way of rescuing her own little girl. Who knows? But recently I’ve started to  wonder – ‘

Yes, what have been wondering?

Well, I’ve been getting this niggling feeling that perhaps there was more to it than just wanting to rescue me from a mother who couldn’t cope. That there was some other danger that only Roz was aware of. But now she’s dead I suppose I’ll never get the chance to find out. . .

Intrigued? Want to read more? You can get a copy of the book here:

Buy Links:



Kobo:  Google:

Meet Sam


Sam Hepburn worked briefly in advertising before she joined the BBC as a trainee and spent twenty years there as a documentary maker. She has been shortlisted for several prestigious prizes and nominated for the Cilip Carnegie Medal for her YA thrillers. She lives in London with her husband and children. Gone Before is her second thriller for adults.

Contact Links

Twitter- @Sam_Osman_Books

website –

Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your fantastic book, Sam.

Freya shivered. Had she made a mistake giving Phil another chance?

Availabe as an ebook, audio book or paperback. Amazon:  

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