With over 2 million copies of her books sold worldwide, number one bestseller Clare Mackintosh is the multi-award-winning author of I Let You Go, which was a Sunday Timesbestseller and the fastest-selling title by a new crime writer in 2015. It also won the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year in 2016. Both Clare’s second and third novels, I See You and Let Me Lie, were number one Sunday Times bestsellers. All three of her books were selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club, and together have been translated into over thirty-five languages.
Clare is patron of the Silver Star Society, a charity based at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, which supports parents experiencing high-risk or difficult pregnancies. She lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.
Your latest book, After the End is described as a gripping and propulsive exploration of love, marriage, parenthood, and the road not taken. Can you tell us a bit more about the book?
After the End is about a couple, Max and Pip, who are faced with a decision to make about their critically ill son… and they don’t agree. The case goes to court, and Max and Pip have to deal with the intrusion of the press and the public, while trying to come to terms with what’s happening to their family.
What inspired the idea behind this novel?
Twelve years ago my own son was in intensive care, and my husband and I were asked to make the same decision as Max and Pip. I asked the doctor what would happen if we couldn’t agree, and the doctor said, ‘you have to – the alternative is unthinkable.’ After the End is about the unthinkable.
This is very sensitive and heart-wrenching subject matter. How did you deal with that personally while working on the novel? Were you able to switch off at the end of each day?
It should have been an incredibly painful book to write, but actually I found it both cathartic and uplifting. Although the decision Max and Pip have to make is heart-breaking, as the title suggests, the story is really about what happens after that choice – it’s about learning to be happy again.
What do you hope the reader will take away from this book?
Thankfully, not everyone will find themselves in a situation as difficult as Max and Pip do, but we all have decisions to make in our lives. I hope my book will prompt readers to think about the different paths they could have taken, and where they might have lead.
What’s your daily writing routine like and what are you working on at the moment?
I travel a lot with my work, so I’ve learned to write anywhere, from airport lounges and planes, to hotel rooms and park benches. At home I walk the dogs in the morning then get to my desk by around ten a.m. I work through to around six p.m., stopping for lunch which I often eat in the field with our goat, Pete, and the chickens. Right now I’m working on my fifth novel, but it’s far too early to share anything about it!