Guest Post by Gemma Metcalfe author of Trust Me @gemmakmetcalfe #WhenDreamsComeTrue 

I have an occasional series called #WhenDreamsComeTrue where I share stories of how people in the book world have achieved their dreams. Today I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Gemma Metcalfe to My Chestnut Reading Tree with a fabulous guest post about her journey to publication. Her debut novel, Trust Me, has been one of my favourite books of the year so far mainly due to her ability to surprise the hell out of me!

Guest post…

TRUST ME- I will become an author!
How I achieved my writing dream

I have always been fascinated with books and authors, in particular crime novels, and in recent years, psychological/ suspense thrillers. At the age of thirteen, instead of watching Biker Grove and Saved By The Bell, I was curled up reading Martina Cole!
Fast-forward fifteen years, I had graduated university with a degree which included creative writing, and was about to complete my MA Diploma in Education. Although I was gearing up to be a Primary school teacher, I still had a burning desire to become an author.  I was told repeatedly how hard it was, how publishers literally receive thousands of manuscripts per week, and in reality, there was zilch chance of a deal.
In all honesty, I never really expected a book deal (let alone one with HarperCollins!),  I just knew how much I loved to write and that my ambition was to write a full novel.  It was not all plain sailing. I had ideas and began to write, only to give up after a few chapters.  Looking back, my storylines were not strong enough and I hadn’t read enough from my chosen genre to fully grasp how to structure a thriller plot. I persevered, and my writing style developed, until one day, I had an idea!
´Trust Me´, originally titled ´The Call´, is loosely based on my experience of being a call-centre operative, where I was never quite sure who would answer the phone.
So, after completing ´Trust Me´ in 2016,  I sent it off to HQ digital (an imprint of HarperCollins) for consideration… and the rest is history!
The response I have received has been incredible, reaching sixty 5* reviews in only three weeks. Trust Me is currently in Amazon´s Hot New Releases, and I hope it will continue to climb the charts.
Of course, despite the initial success, I appreciate I am only at the beginning of my writing journey, but I’m excited for the twists and turns which I know are to come.
It still feels a little bit like a dream.

 

Thank you so much Gemma for sharing this “dream come true” guest post. And for anyone who missed my review, here it is again!

About this book…

One phone call. Two lives. Their darkest secrets.

Lana needs to sell a holiday, fast. Stuck in Tenerife, in a dead end job, she never expected a response quite like Liam’s.

Thousands of miles away a phone rings. Liam never intended to pick up, he’s too busy choosing the quickest way to die. But at least someone should know the truth before he goes, even if that someone is a stranger.

As time runs out both are drawn to the other, expressing thoughts they never imagined they would share.

When you’re about to die will your secrets even matter?

My review…

Wow! Trust Me is the best 99p I have spent in a long time! I saw this book had some great early reviews so got my pre order in and it magically appeared on my Kindle on Friday. And normally books then languish there for a good few weeks (months) due to my ridiculously high TBR pile but this one had intrigued me so much that I went to bed with it on Sunday night. And in the early hours of Monday morning I finally put it down with just that one word…….”wow”!

It’s hard to believe that this is a debut novel. Gemma Metcalfe has taken her inspiration from a job she knows well and woven a twisted “what if?” around it in such a unique and engrossing writing style that you will be gripped immediately. Honestly, I defy ANYONE to be able to put this book down once they start it! It had all the pace of a Hollywood blockbuster but with a thoughtful insight that you don’t much see in this genre. But the best thing about it for me was that I had absolutely no idea where it was going! I LOVE being surprised by a book, it doesn’t happen to me much nowadays so when it does I just want to scream and shout and generally rave about it to anyone who will listen!

These two main characters Lana and Liam have never met but they are about to become the most important person in each others life as their deepest thoughts and darkest secrets slowly come together. I loved that the random phone call brought them together at just the right time and from that first contact I was desperate to discover what they were both hiding. You can almost feel Lana’s desperation as she starts off trying to make the sale that will save her skin but then it becomes an agonising race against time to hear how Liams story will end. Both threads kept my attention throughout and I would get fully invested in the tragic occurrences in Liams life then be left hanging in anticipation while we switched to the chain of events explaining how Lana ended up in that dead end job in Tenerife. There were some great unexpected plot twists here as well, one of which I didn’t see until it slapped me in the face with its originality and brilliance! Very clever indeed!

And after all that build up I wasn’t disappointed by the perfectly pitched ending – the cherry on the top of an involving and well rounded thriller that is unlike anything else you will read this year. Gemma Metcalfe should be so proud of herself for this uniquely fabulous debut and I am so looking forward to seeing what other deliciously warped ideas come from Gemma’s twisted imagination. Highly recommended by me!

Trust Me was published by HQ Digital on 10th March 2017 and you can click Trust Me: The thrilling suspense that will have you hooked in 2017! to purchase this book from Amazon UK.

Meet the author…

Gemma Metcalfe
Gemma Metcalfe is a Manchester born author who now lives in sunny Tenerife with her husband Danny and two crazy rescue dogs Dora and Diego. By day, Gemma can be found working as a Primary school teacher, but as the sun sets, she ditches the glitter and glue and becomes a writer of psychological thrillers. An established drama queen, she admits to having a rather warped imagination, and loves writing original plots with shocking twists. The plot for her debut novel ´Trust Me,´ is loosely based on her experiences as a call centre operative, where she was never quite sure who would answer the phone…

Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant #BlogTour Q&A @MulhollandUK

I am absolutely delighted to be on the blog tour for Lie With Me today especially as it has just been chosen for the Richard and Judy Book Club! To celebrate I have my review and a Q&A with author Sabine Durrant.

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Q&A with Sabine Durrant…

 Welcome Sabine!

Did you always plan to write novels or was it a natural progression for you as a journalist

I always wanted to write novels. But I loved being a journalist. I loved working in newspapers – the buzz, and being around clever people, and having to work fast and under pressure. I always had an idea that I would one day start writing in the evenings and on weekends, but newspapers demand long hours and often I had to work at the weekends, so the days and weeks and months went by…and weirdly that first novel never appeared. It was only when I had two small children that novel-writing became a serious option: I knew I would have to give up working in newspapers if I wanted to see the kids more and that was when I came up with the idea for my first novel. In a way, Having It And Eating It was my parachute out.

Do you have a writing routine or any writing superstitions? 

I have a rule, when I in the middle of a novel, that I have to write 1,000 words a day five days a week. I tell myself it doesn’t matter how good those words are; I just have to get them down on paper. I don’t show anyone the first draft until I have finished it. I would prefer not even to talk about it actually so the synopses that publishers quite reasonably ask for are almost the hardest part. In terms of routine, I am a bit like a cat. I like the place where I am writing, which might be my bed or the kitchen table, or by the fire (depending on the weather), to be very tidy and very comfortable. I always start writing with a cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate – it’s like a bribe to myself, when I’ve done all the tidying, to make myself sit down.

 Which of your books are you the most proud of and why? 

Lie With Me is my favourite. It’s the first novel written in a voice that is completely not mine, a male voice for one thing, and one with assumptions and attitudes that are often anathema to me. I enjoyed writing this book the most – it came quite quickly and easily – and I am proud of the fact that the plot is so intricately bound up with character.

Was there a reason you chose Greece as the holiday setting here?

I wanted a location that was hot and bright and vivid to contrast with the wet and dreariness of London; the heat was important because I wanted the characters to literally, and metaphorically, take their clothes off while they were there – to reveal themselves if you like. A Greek island appealed because the few that I have visited have quite opposite types of tourism, clubs and pubs in one part, middle class families pottering in boats in another, and that was useful in terms of the plot, and also lots of different places where a body might lie undiscovered, rocky inlets, and secret beaches and wild interiors. An island, as Agatha Christie demonstrated so well, is a brilliant location for a thriller. 

What are you working on at the moment? 

I’m working on my fourth thriller. Do you mind if I don’t say anything more than that (see answer to question 2, above)?!

Congratulations on being chosen for the Richard and Judy Book Club. Which other authors or books would you like to see on that list in the future? 

Gosh, that’s a hard question to answer; it needs to be a book that isn’t yet in paperback and it should ideally be by someone who hasn’t had much exposure. The problem is that the book I’ve loved most in hardback this year is by a well-known author, but it’s so good I can’t not recommend it. So the book I’d like to see on the list this summer is Commonwealth by Ann Pat   

 Many thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for me and congratulations once again! 

About this book…

A few little lies never hurt anyone. Right?

Wrong.

Paul has a plan. He has a vision of a better future, and he’s going to make it happen.

If it means hiding or exaggerating a few things here and there, no harm done.

But when he charms his way on to a family holiday…
And finds himself trapped among tensions and emotions he doesn’t understand…
By the time he starts to realise that however painful the truth is, it’s the lies that cause the real dam

My review…

Oh my oh my! Looks like this is going to be another “Marmite” book that you will either love or dislike intensely. But I have to say that having read and liked Sabine Durrant’s previous books, this is my favourite by far-I absolutely bloody loved it!!!!!! It just had everything that I want in a book, horrible people, dysfunctional families, death, suspense and all set in my most favourite place in the world…Greece. If I’d been able to, I would have been laying on my sunlounger with a large Mythos and a plate of olives to get the full effect but a rainy day in Cheshire gave me just as much of an excuse to curl up and read this in one sitting.

Paul Morris is our narrator here and he isn’t a very nice person. Having had one major literary success in his early twenties, he is still dining out on it now aged 42. He is one of those men who makes women feel uncomfortable, the way he talks about women (and girls) is just creepy and some of the things he did or said just made my skin crawl! A chance meeting with an old friend from university leads him to meet Alice, a widow, who invites him to holiday with her and extended family and friends on a Greek Island. Paul seems to have no qualms about using people to satisfy his own needs (sex, money, a place to live) so this holiday seems heaven sent but it is far from the relaxing break he was expecting.

I love being surprised and this book did that from start to finish. I also love a dark and brooding hero but Paul was the most vile character and everything he did just wound me up. It was cringe worthy the way he acted around women especially. Although, truthfully, none of these people were the type I would normally warm to and so it takes a lot of skilful writing to make us care about what happens to them! I loved the theme of Lies used throughout, the quotes and the double entendres especially once the entire group move out to Greece. And I can’t think of anywhere better to have set this domestic noir than in the beautiful Greek countryside, I could almost feel the heat generated by the hot Greek sunshine and hear the sounds of donkeys and dogs and buzzing mosquitoes!

It took me quite a long time to work out where this was going  (I was having too much fun grimacing at Paul’s behaviour) but when the finale did roll around it was just so satisfying, perfectly handled and rounded off the plot nicely. I really did just love it from start to finish.

I received an advanced copy from Veronique at Hodder so thank you and this is my unbiased review.

Lie With Me: The Sunday Times bestseller is available to buy now!

Losing Juliet by June Taylor #BookReview #GuestPost @joonLT

Today I’m welcoming debut author June Taylor who is talking about writing her psychological page turner  Losing Juliet.

 Tell us about the book in one sentence.

It’s a twisty psychological page-turner about a friendship gone bad.

 What inspired you to write it?

A road trip to France in the late eighties. It was full of ‘What if?’ moments, the significance of which I only realised as I got older. I was carrying ideas around in my head for a lot of years until eventually I felt I had a story and was able to write it.

The “mother/daughter/best friend” relationship forms an interesting triangle. Was this always your angle?

Well I like strong female characters. And if I can just veer off into scriptwriting for a moment, my favourite film is Thelma and Louise. I also love Sally Wainwright’s Happy Valley; her lead protagonist is such a force of nature with a personal score to settle. So anyway, I had the basic story for Losing Juliet, and my two female characters were always at its core. Then gradually, over time, the other elements came together. The daughter arrived much later actually, but she became the one driving the narrative and then it really started to get interesting as the characters found themselves locked into this triangle. It’s pretty unyielding and there’s always a sense that something’s got to give.

You come from a scriptwriting background, so was it difficult to make the transition from script to novel?

The first book I ever wrote was in effect a script laid out as a novel. Lots of dialogue and very little description. It was very short! But it’s a good discipline to transfer across, I think, once you work out what the differences are. With a script, you hand it over to a director and your work is pretty much done. With a novel you have to do everything yourself, from directing right through to hair and make-up. I still work in scenes, though, and think in terms of camera angles, lighting, sound F/X. I find dialogue and plotting easier than scene-setting. I usually go back to that.

The best thing about writing a novel is that you have an unlimited budget, so you can do anything, send your characters anywhere. It’s really quite liberating because you don’t have to pretend or compromise. And you can have as many characters and extras as you like because you don’t have to pay them!

 Who are your literary influences?

I like a slow-burn, ‘gets-under-your-skin’ type suspense novel. To me, Rebecca is the perfect psychological thriller because it’s so well written and so awfully creepy.

When I was in my early teens I discovered Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. I loved that cat-and-mouse relationship, fascinated by the criminal mind. It’s probably no surprise that I’m a fan of Patricia Highsmith too.

 What makes you want to write?

I suppose, like with any serious writer it’s just in me, I have to do it.

Plot or character?  

Both. You definitely have to have a good story, but in a psychological thriller it’s all about the mental torture you put your characters through in the run-up to, or in the aftermath of, something terrible. Human beings are at their most interesting when they’re on the edge of themselves, backed into corners. Perhaps there’s a criminal in all of us when pushed far enough.

I love this quote from Paul Beatty, Man Booker winner: “When nothing is going on, something is always going on. I like awkward silence.”

 The structure is quite complex in Losing Juliet, the past and the present interweaving, and all the characters have an agenda, so was it hard to write?

There were times when I thought I’d given myself too great a task, this being my first Adult novel. The biggest challenge was getting specific moments in the past to coincide with ones in the present. I had to do a lot of drafts to get it right. Inevitably, that meant I had to keep unravelling it, again and again. But I had two great editors along the way who gave me sound feedback and encouraged me to keep going until, eventually, it fell into place. I have a lot to thank Shelley Instone for in particular. She was my agent for a while and my “you can do this” voice. A really brilliant editor. Also Lucy Dauman, whilst she was still at HarperCollins, helped me tremendously. Having a good editor behind you is so important. Ultimately, though, no one can write it for you … so that means mental torture for the writer too!

 How important are the locations in your writing?

I love to travel so I suppose I like to reflect that in my writing and use different locations. A sense of place is very important I think.

 Is there a follow-up to Losing Juliet?

Yes, that difficult second album! Well I’m on with the next book. It’s another psychological thriller/suspense but I’d better not say much more than that as I’m sworn to secrecy.

 Tips for any writers out there?

Keep going, be patient. Make the most of your apprenticeship, however long it is. No experience is ever wasted. And just get out there, meet other writers, connect face-to-face as well as online. Join a local writing group. Share your work with those you trust, get feedback but filter it.

About this book…

You can’t escape the past…

Juliet and Chrissy were best friends until one fateful summer forced them apart. Now, nearly twenty years later, Juliet wants to be back in Chrissy’s life.

But Chrissy doesn’t want Juliet anywhere near her, or her teenage daughter Eloise. After all, Juliet is the only person who knows what happened that night – and her return threatens to destroy the life that Chrissy has so carefully built.

Because when the past is reawakened, it can prove difficult to bury. And soon all three of them will realize how dangerous it can get once the truth is out there…

My review…

As soon as I saw this book description up on Amazon, I knew I HAD to read it. As a fan of psychological thrillers featuring strong women characters and the relationships they have formed, I thought that Losing Juliet sounded just my cup of tea so settled down to lose myself in its twisty tale of lost friendships and divided loyalties.

I have to start by saying I loved the format of how the story passed from present to past. Chrissy is forced to reminisce about her friendship with Juliet, an old friend from university who has made contact with her daughter, Eloise. Eloise doesn’t understand why her mother seems so shell shocked by the communication and the offer of a renewed friendship. What happened to those two young women to ruin such a close relationship between them?

Losing Juliet is a slow burner which means it takes its time to build up the suspense and tension to whatever it was that destroyed the trust between Chrissy and Juliet. Chrissy is obviously hiding secrets in her past from Eloise but why doesn’t she want Juliet back in her life? Eloise, with the optimism and tunnel vision of her youth is seduced by Juliet’s glamour and status, ultimately forcing a reunion that Chrissy doesn’t want.

The first part of the book was probably my favourite as we are introduced to the characters and are drip fed the background information of how the girls meet at university. The atmosphere was full of tension between everyone and I found myself not sure who I liked or believed as Chrissy seemed to be that old favourite-the unreliable narrator. She was nervous and guarded, living a quiet and unassuming life as opposed to the openness and vitality of Juliet. But by the time we reach part two and the action moves to Italy the pace started to quicken as it built up to a shocking denouement.

June Taylor has a wonderfully self assured style of writing that spins a twisty tale into a page turning living nightmare. She stirs the pot of shadows from the past and then sits back to watch how the fallout affects both the characters and us, as the reader. And the ending was as unexpected  as it was shocking. Losing Juliet is well worth a look if you’re after a slowly developed, creepy psychological suspense to give you goosebumps and I’m certainly going to keep an eye out for any future books by June Taylor.

Losing Juliet: A gripping psychological drama with twists you won’t see coming is published by HarperCollins in e-book on 25th November and in paperback on 12th January.

Meet the author…

June Taylor is from Leeds and very proud of her Yorkshire heritage. For many years she was a TV promotions writer/producer before turning to writing plays and fiction. She was runner-up in the 2011 Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction competition with her YA novel Lovely me, Lovely You. Losing Juliet is her debut novel for Adults. June is active in the Yorkshire writing scene, including serving on the board of Script Yorkshire and taking part in Leeds Big bookend.

How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?

Via Twitter @joonLT or my website: http://www.junetaylor.co.uk

Her Last Breath by J.A.Schneider #BlogTour #BookReview #GuestPost @JoyceSchneider1

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Today I am absolutely thrilled to be a stop on the blog tour for Her Last Breath by J.A. Schneider. And I also have a guest post, that Joyce has very kindly written for you all, on what makes a book compelling. Welcome Joyce!

About this book…

A chilling psychological thriller about a woman caught between two men…Mari Gill wakes to horror in a strange apartment next to a murdered man, and can’t remember the night before. Accused of murder, she feels torn between her husband, a successful defense attorney, and a mysterious, kind man who wants to help. Can she trust either of them – or even her friends? Detective Kerri Blasco battles her police bosses believing Mari is innocent…but is she?

Available to buy here

Guest post…

What Makes a Book Most Compelling? by J.A. Schneider

What constitutes the big, mysterious “tug?” That feeling – I call it the ping! – that pulls a potential reader to choose your book over the tsunami of others cramming book stores or Amazon’s pages without number? Is it the cover? The plot or characters?
I can only speak for myself, how I react to choosing the next book…especially if the author is new to me. My decision always seems to happen in three parts.

The cover is what first tugs.
Or doesn’t – no different from why the frosting on one cake looks more wonderful than the frosting on another cake. What’s inside the cake might disappoint, but like the frosting, the book’s cover is what first excites.
Why?
It all comes down to emotion.
Honestly, aren’t all our first reactions based on emotion, before we re-think or tell ourselves we shouldn’t or move on to the next thing? Authors have changed their covers multiple times, hoping that the newer, brighter colors or the half-naked guy’s torso will attract. Sometimes that works, but what to do when every romance cover has an amazingly buff male, or when every thriller/action cover has images that are kinda the same?
Again, emotion rules.
It’s what really grabs, whether the reader is male or female, and regardless of his or her genre preference.
The cover image must have something that pulls at you. Sometimes I’ve even stopped to stare at a cover I thought was ugly…but it was different, and that made it daring, told me something about the author’s voice inside, beckoning.
Her Last Breath is my eighth book, and I’ve never gotten such a response to any of my other covers. The close-up of that woman’s face…oh gasp…is she dying? Desperate? When I first saw her face, after many evenings scouring Shutterstock, I couldn’t get her out of my mind. Other cover ideas beckoned, but that face kept haunting me.
And pulling me back.
The emotion of that cover is so focused, intense. Nothing too busy or muddled to confuse one’s emotional reaction. On Twitter I keep hearing, “Ooh, wow.”
It helps a lot if your cover has that “Ooh, wow” feeling.
Because feelings rule.
Always.

Character
Character pulls me in next. If the character described in the blurb intrigues or tugs at my heart, I’m hooked.
Because of emotion again.
We all laugh, cry, feel stress and anxiety, and if I identify with the character’s trouble and how s/he deals with it – download!
Ditto the appeal of the antagonist – if what s/he is doing outrages or astounds, I definitely want to know more. (Am I the only one who felt a bit sorry for the husband in Gone Girl? He was a jerk – right, so divorce him! Don’t subject him and your family and everyone to such evil.)
But villains might be the most compelling characters of all. Imagine Peter Pan without Captain Hook: you’d have a bland nothing. Then there are the never-ending parade of serial killers. How to make them astounding? What makes Hannibal Lecter rise above all others in his monstrosity? That in itself could be the subject for a thesis, starting with the fact that Thomas Harris’s writing is so incredibly great.
Which brings us to…
The hardest job of the writer – the one we all struggle with – which is to go deep, explore and develop our characters as fully as possible. Make them emotionally compelling, different, wildly colorful even if they’re bad. THAT is the real challenge, the thing that elevates good writing from depicting mere caricatures.

Plot
The plot should work. It really should, but if it doesn’t and if the writing has been fabulous, we are more likely to forgive…a little, depending on the reader. Somewhere I read that Stephen King just doesn’t know how to end a book, whereas he has described the plots of Ira Levin (Rosemary’s Baby, The Boys From Brazil, The Stepford Wives) as having “the brilliance of a Swiss watch.”

For me, the best, most satisfying reads combine numbers 2 & 3. A really satisfying ending after a story of fascinating, different characters, deeply explored and developed…
…ah, bliss.
That plus cake. Make mine chocolate, with fudge frosting. 

My review of Her Last Breath…

Although billed as book #2 in a series, this is very much a standalone novel and anything you need to know about Kerri and her backstory is covered very well. But after reading you will probably be such a big fan of the lovely Kerri that you will be seeking out her first case anyway! The main character here in this book is actually Mari but Kerri plays her role well as police detective with a heart and an instinctive nose for the truth.

Now I’m pretty sure that we have all had times where we have had a few drinks too many and the next day things are a little bit….fuzzy? Well imagine that you have woken up unable to remember a thing about the previous night but you are laying next to a dead body! And even worse, the police think that you murdered them! This is the horrific situation that Mari finds herself in after a party. The man is a famous fashion photographer but Mari has no recollection of meeting him EVER! Thankfully, her estranged husband Ted is a defence lawyer and as they parted on good terms he comes to her rescue. Along with Jay, the witness who discovered Mari in the dead man’s apartment when he saved her own life, they try to clear Mari’s name.

I really enjoyed this murder mystery with a twist and the fact that it was set on the streets of New York gave it an added thrill for me as I adore books set there. It felt like Alfred Hitchcock had taken over a Mary Higgins Clark book! And I love books featuring strong female characters so to have two in one book was a double whammy for me! I was caught up in Mari and her dilemma straight away from the first page when she wakes up and her strength of character and personality became an integral part of the plot for me. I would have gone to pieces but Mari pushed through her self doubts to put herself in the path of further danger. And Kerri was able to put aside her heartbreaking personal problems to stick to her principles and trust her gut instinct.

I think I surprised myself in how much I enjoyed this book which has been written by a new author for me. There was a real sense of realism in the characters and also the settings that showed a depth of research and a concern for the fictional personalities she was creating for us the readers.  I will be very happy to see what Kerri does next both in her career and her personal life.  A gripping and compelling thriller that should come with a warning to have absolutely no plans for a social life until you have read that last page!

I received my review copy of Her Last Breath from the author.

About the author…

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J.A. (Joyce Anne) Schneider is a former staffer at Newsweek. Once a Liberal Arts major (French Literature), she has become increasingly fascinated with medicine, forensic science, and human psychology. She lives with her family in Connecticut, USA.

The Girl Who Lied by Sue Fortin **Author Guest Post**

I am very pleased to welcome Sue Fortin to my blog today! Sue has recently written her third book The Girl Who Lied which is released on Thursday 19th May and has very kindly written a guest post about the family unit and why it affects the way she writes.

Sue Fortin author pic

Sue Fortin – Writing About the Family Unit

It’s often said you should write about what you know, something that you’re familiar with so that it adds weight to the authenticity.

As a wife, a mother to four children and being one of four children myself, it’s no surprise that when I look back at all my books, they have featured the family unit in one form or another. It’s where I’m most comfortable, where I can dig deep for emotion and where the catalyst for the ‘what if…?’ questions are.

Families are fascinating, whether they are traditional, blended, same sex marriages or partnership, single parents, foster families, to name just a few. How we interact with each other, what we assume about each other within that family is very individual, not just to that family but to the members within the same family. My siblings and I may have all shared the same experience but we will all have our own take on it, our own opinion and our own version of memories.

Families can evoke such strong emotions and can bring out both the worst and the best in us. They can provide the safety net which allows us to say or do things we wouldn’t necessarily do ‘in public’ good or bad and, equally, they can provide the source for us to do things which would be considered out of character. It was this line of thought that provided me with the idea for my latest book The Girl Who Lied. Without giving away the plot, I used the question ‘how far would you go to protect your child?’ which I then expanded to include family and loved ones. It’s been a really interesting and challenging question to ask people what they would truly do to protect the ones they love? Where are their limits? I’ve looked on a personal level and I’m not sure where my boundary would be. Hopefully, I will never have to put it to the test.

Sue Fortin with siblings

Sue with her baby sister and two older brothers taken in 1972

About this book…

The truth hurts…

Erin and Roisin were once friends until a fatal accident ruined both their lives. Now, Roisin has discovered a secret—one Erin has kept for over a decade—and she’s determined to make Erin pay for her lies.

Erin wants nothing to do with Roisin. She has a new life in London and no intention of going back home. Yet when her father is mysteriously and critically injured, Erin has no choice but to return and face Roisin—and her past. Erin knows if the secret of what she gave up got out, the consequences could be devastating.

When Roisin suddenly disappears, suspicion soon lands on Erin. She would do anything to protect her family, but just how far is she willing to go when time is running out…?

My review…

I have been glued to this book today from the moment I picked it up! I adore books that explore family relationships and how the seemingly small choices we make can affect not only us but others close to us in a “ripple effect”. And I LOVE a dysfunctional family so was very happy to find not just one but a whole load of them in this family drama!

Erin has returned to the village she grew up in after her father’s accident but it has happened, coincidentally, at a time when she is being contacted (harassed is probably a better description though!) by an old schoolfriend. The friend, Roisin, obviously has a grievance with Erin but it takes a while to build up to what this secret is and the plot twists and turns as the denouement approaches. I loved the way everyone seemed to have something to hide and how relationships were falling to pieces under the weight of the lies everyone was telling. Although I took to Erin straight away, I didn’t like Roisin. I think I understood what she was trying to do but the way she approached Erin and her family was totally alien to me! Towards the end as there were more shocking reveals, things did become clearer but I still would have problems with forgiveness with this one! The relationship between Erin and Kerry was my favourite  and this was handled with sensitivity and built up slowly and realistically. I’d love to know how they’re getting on!!!!

A psychological suspense with a romantic twist, this family drama hooked me from that first chapter and kept me dangling till the final page. I can’t believe I haven’t read any of this author’s books before, something I now need to rectify by searching out her previous books.

I received a copy of this book from the author herself in return for an unbiased review. Thanks once again to Sue for her guest post and sharing her family photograph.

Publication date 19th May 2016

Available to buy at Amazon