Welcome to another Friday Reads post. My featured book this week is the gripping psychological thriller What I Hid From You by Heleen Kist. Grab yourself a cuppa, get comfy and let’s find out a bit more about the book and get chatting to Heleen.
Radha thought she was her own worst enemy … until the real one came after her
Traumatised by the death of a patient, and crippled with anxiety, Glaswegian dentist Radha Bakshi succumbs to an addiction to Valium she can’t acknowledge, even to herself.
In truth, she relies on the pills to juggle being the consummate professional, perfect daughter, devoted wife and a not-too-embarrassing mother to her teenage son.
When increased scrutiny of her work forces her to find a new source of supply, she stumbles into the clutches of blackmailing drug dealers.
A mistake that could cost her everything.
Available in paperback, Kindle and soon as audiobook!
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Not at all. I was always much more of a science person. I studied Chemistry and my first job was making Fairy Liquid. The writing came in my late 40s as a bit of a midlife crisis.
Has any author inspired you?
The one that got me writing was Amine Jamai. ‘Who?’ you may think. He was a classmate in high school who lives in Morocco and I saw on Facebook he published military thrillers set there. I didn’t remember him being particularly literary in school, so I thought I’d have a go too! And that’s how it started.
His 2nd novel was translated into English – it’s here:
What do you like writing most?
Do you have a special place for writing?
Depending on the stage of writing I will be –
- Plotting at our dinner table with pages and pages of scribbles spread across the table
- Writing in my garden office (if it’s not too cold) at my standing desk
- Editing in our guest room at a sitting desk, with a lovely view of the garden
Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Other authors make fun of me because I am the biggest plotter of them all! I know everything before I even start writing chapter 1. My outlines are 13,000 words long, so basically a summary of the book, all red herrings, foreshadowing, etc.
Is your writing ever inspired by your family or real life incidents?
I wouldn’t say real life ‘events’ so much as writing what I know. “In Servitude” and “What I Hid From You” are both domestic thrillers set in my neighbourhood, with middle class women who accidentally become embroiled with gangsters (who in Glasgow are only ever 2 streets away!) and “Stay Mad, Sweetheart” is inspired by my work – it’s set in a data science start-up in Edinburgh – and what I and countless other women face in terms of everyday sexism.
What are you writing at the moment?
I’ve got a 4th book on submissions and I can’t concentrate! It’s a locked room mystery set in the residents’ gym of an apartment building in Edinburgh.
What inspired you to write this book?
“What I Hid From You” is about a dentist and I’d wondered how dentists felt about the fact most of their patients are terrified of them or hate seeing them. That led me to consider what other pressures they’re under, and the idea of a dentist addicted to Valium landing in the clutches of drug dealers was born.
What advice would you give to other writers?
Grow a thick skin. The journey is full of rejection and everyone, no matter how great your writing, will get bad reviews. The way I look at it is: I’m an outlier who doesn’t like mango. You can serve me the best fruit salad in the world but if it has mango, I’ll reject it. If someone doesn’t like my book, I’ve basically served them their mango.
I love that analogy Heleen! Thanks so much for dropping by to talk to us today. Wishing you lots of success with your book.
Heleen Kist is a Dutch, formerly globetrotting career woman who fell in love with a Scotsman and his country, and now writes about its (sometimes scary) people from her garden office in Glasgow.
She was chosen as an up-and-coming new author at Bloody Scotland 2018. Her debut, ‘In Servitude’, won the silver medal for Best European Fiction at the Independent Publishers Book Awards. Her feminist thriller ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ was a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. ‘What I Hid From You’ is her third novel, set next door to ‘In Servitude’ – for fun.