Welcome to my Friday Reads blog. My featured book this week is the suspense packed psychological thriller, Every Little Secret, by author Sarah Clarke. Every Little Secret publishes as an ebook on 25th February 2022 and in paperback and audiobook on 28th April. So grab a cuppa and let’s find out a bit about the book then chat to Sarah.
From the outside, it seems Grace has it all. Only she knows about the cracks in her picture-perfect life… and the huge secret behind them. After all, who can she trust?
Her brother Josh is thousands of miles away, and he and Grace have never been close – he was always their parents’ favourite.
Her best friend Coco walked away from her years ago, their friendship irreparably fractured by the choices they’ve made.
And her husband Marcus seems like a different man lately. Grace can’t shake the feeling that he’s hiding something.
But when her seven-year-old daughter makes a troubling accusation, Grace must choose between protecting her child and protecting her secret… before she loses everything.
Apple Books: https://tinyurl.com/2zyfanp6
And here’s the prologue
It’s widely understood that unconditional love is reserved for a child.
Not for your brother or sister. Not your husband or wife. It’s not even expected for your mother or father.
Unconditional love is one-way. And it can be a lonely journey.
If you’re not sure that your child deserves it.
If they say hurtful things. Make selfish choices. Turn on the people who love them the most.
Can you push back against the forces of motherhood? Put your hand up and plead: it’s different for me – my child is not to be trusted anymore.
I choose to give my unconditional love to someone else.
I don’t know the answer to that question. Soon I will be tested, but not yet. Tonight I can look down at my sleeping child, so perfect and innocent in slumber, and still enjoy the miracle of motherhood. I can graze their forehead with my lips, tuck in the duvet, whisper that I love them. And mean it.
Then I can close their bedroom door behind me, walk downstairs and return to my husband.
That’s an intriguing prologue, Sarah! What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired by the concept of first impressions and how these have such a strong influence on how we react to people – sometimes inaccurately. The book has three main characters who appear very different on the outside, but have much more in common under the surface. One of my characters is a rough sleeper – and people make instant judgements about him because of his lifestyle. Rough sleeping is a growing problem in London, and I want to highlight that it is something people do, not something they are.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? I’ve always wanted to be a writer in some guise. As a young child, I wrote stories and poems (and I showed my love of crime thrillers from an early age – my mum still has the poem I wrote about a notorious local criminal when I was 11!) and then as a teenager I shifted to wanting to become a journalist. When I actually started working, I became a copywriter (and I still work part-time in that role) but my dream to become an author never really left me. And in my forties, it finally happened.
Has any author inspired you?
In my teens, I was wowed by Lynda Le Plante. Most of the thrillers I’d read by then were by male authors (it was a long time ago!) and she was a female writer in a man’s world enjoying incredible success. But I have taken inspiration and learnings from so many authors since then and I’m sure I will continue to do so.
What do you like writing most?
I like writing dialogue most, especially if there’s more than two characters in a scene. Conversation often doesn’t flow in a linear or logical way, and I like to recreate the energy of that back and forth while making sure my characters stay true to their personalities and dialects.
Do you have a special place for writing?
My favourite place for writing is in a local café. There is a little nook at the back of the café with two tables and I love getting in early enough for one of those to be free. There is another writer who often sits next to me – she’s writing an historical text about pop music in medieval times – and we talk about our very different books. But I do most of my writing at the kitchen table, looking out at the railway line that features in my first book A Mother Never Lies.
Are you a pantster or a plotter?
I am a plotter in that I can’t write without the security of a chapter plan. But my characters do seem to have a mind of their own, and so I am forever revising the original plan to fit in with how the book evolves as I write. I edit as I go, so will also go backwards to make changes when the book starts to go in a new direction.
Is your writing ever inspired by your family or real life incidents?
I get a lot of inspiration for my stories from issues I come across in real-life. For example, A Mother Never Lies came about because of an article I read about a mother whose child had been adopted when her life had been knocked off course. And Every Little Secret was sparked by a debate I watched about the concept of a mother’s instinct – whether it’s real, and how it can create additional pressure for mothers.
And while my family and friends haven’t inspired any plot lines (thank goodness), they do inspire lots of the smaller elements – settings, dress sense, observations made by the characters. In fact, one of my friends pointed out that I’d used her children’s names in A Mother Never Lies (which I promised her was a coincidence!)
What are you writing at the moment?
I was given a 3-book contract with HQ Digital and I’m currently writing my third book. It’s another thriller revolving around a mother in south-west London, but in this one the drama takes place outside of the home environment.
What time of the day do you write best?
I write best in the early morning when the rest of the family are in bed. This doesn’t work so well during the week because we’re all rushing around getting ready for school and work. But I love getting up early on a Sunday morning and sitting with a cup of tea, my dog Mika and my laptop.
What are your hobbies?
Outside of reading, my hobbies mainly revolve around sport. I love running, hiking, skiing, playing tennis and doing Pilates. And I also love watching sport – especially rugby and tennis, but I can get sucked in to almost any sport if I come across it when I’m channel surfing.
What advice would you give to other writers?
As a writer, the most important thing to develop is confidence in your writing. Whether you’re an unpublished writer looking for an agent, or a best-selling author on your 10th book, I think the key to enjoying what you do is to be proud of what you’ve written. Writing is subjective and readers have different tastes, so it is almost impossible to please everyone – so pleasing yourself really is key.
Great advice, Sarah! Thanks so much for popping in today to tell us about your fantastic book.
Sarah Clarke is the best-selling author of A Mother Never Lies, a psychological thriller set in London published by Harper Collins HQ Digital. Her second book Every Little Secret publishes on 25th February in ebook and 28th April in paperback and audiobook. Sarah is currently writing her third thriller, due for publication in November 2022. Sarah has a degree in politics and international relations and has worked as a copywriter for over 20 years. In 2018 she enrolled on the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course, and wrote her debut during this time. Sarah lives in south-west London with her husband, two children and stubbornly cheerful cockapoo. She loves the French Alps and dreams of being able to visit more often.
Karen King – Writing about the light and dark of relationships.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Karen-King/e/B0034P6W7I