About The Author:
Adele Parks was born in Teesside, England. Since graduating from Leicester University, where she studied English Language and Literature, Adele has worked in advertising and as a management consultant. One of the most-loved and biggest-selling women’s fiction writers in the UK, she has sold over 3 million copies of her bestselling titles in the UK alone and her books have been translated into over twenty-five languages. Her novels have all been top ten bestsellers in The Times (UK).
Adele is a judge for the Costa Book Awards and The British Book Awards. During her career she’s lived in Italy, Botswana and London. Adele now lives happily in Guildford, Surrey with her husband, teenage son and cat.
Since the publication of your first novel, Playing Away, in 2000, you’ve had seventeen bestsellers translated into twenty-six languages. How, after so many books, do you continue to come up with such original and spell-binding stories?
Thank you for describing my work that way. How lovely! I think I manage to stay invigorated because I have always prided myself on trying to produce interesting, varied, novels each year; that’s my personal career challenge. It would be deeply unsatisfying to think I’d regressed in the quality of my writing or repeated myself. I draw from the real world for inspiration and ideas. Humanity is complex, intriguing, unfathomable and vast, so I never run out of things of interest. I mostly write about quite ordinary people in quite extraordinary situations. Situations which we can imagine ourselves in but would really rather never have to face! I spend a lot of time thinking, ‘What if’. I’ve also never shied away from trying different genres. At the start of my career I wrote romantic comedies, then I wrote issue-led relationship books which looked at families dealing with things such as Alzheimer’s, infidelity, infertility or divorce. I wrote two historical novels set post WW1 and now I write Domestic Noir Thrillers. I guess changing genres has kept me fresh. What all my books have in common is that I try to write nuanced, honest characters that readers want to root for.
Tell us a bit about your new book I Invited Her In
This novel is about two women who meet at university and become close friends. However, life takes them in very different directions. Abi becomes a successful TV personality in the states while, following an ill-advised one-night-stand, Mel becomes a young, single mum. Inevitably, they lose touch, only staying in spasmodic contact via Facebook. We meet them seventeen years later when Mel receives an unexpected email from Abi, it brings back memories she thought she had buried forever. Mel wonders whether their friendship belonged in the past, to those carefree days at university and should stay there but Abi is in trouble and needs Mel’s help. She wants a place to stay, just for a few days and Mel thinks it’s the least she can do. After all friends look out for each other don’t they. Well, yes they do. But they can also betray and hurt one another…This is a blistering tale of wanting what you can’t have, jealousy and revenge.
This book is a thriller novel, a genre that seems to be ever-increasing in popularity. Why do you think people are so drawn to thrillers?
It does seem that fast passed, adrenalin-producing thrillers are holding us tight in their icy grip right now. Part of the reason could be that reading something that has a reveal, a plot-twist or simply a compelling question fuelling the plot, appeals to women with sharp, inquisitive minds. We want to know who did it? Will they get away with it? Did we guess correctly? So reading a thriller becomes an intellectually stimulating, interactive experience. The best thrillers continually astonish and defy the reader until the final page. How great is it when we think we’re heading in one direction, but the author spins us around and takes us somewhere else! It is deeply satisfying if you guess the ending correctly and challenging if you can’t and the author delvers a final surprise for you. Both experiences are positive reading experiences.
Your book deals with themes of friendship, revenge, jealousy and betrayal. What inspired the idea for this novel?
I like to write about emotional truths that people recognise because readers then invest in the reading experience at a deeper level and an intimacy is forged between the reader and characters. Even if they have not been in the same circumstances as the characters, they will have felt some of the emotional range: it is the fact that nearly everyone has been buffeted by revenge, jealousy or betrayal at some point in their lives. Betrayal leads to a host of complex thoughts and feelings, in both victims and perpetrators. By picking this subject I got the opportunity to write about anger, confusion, guilt, shame, maybe atonement; all juicy topics! The second factor which perhaps drew me to these subjects, is that betrayal is usually unexpected so, if done well, it creates opportunity for a great rug pull which is a tremendous literary device.
What are you currently reading?
Something quite different for me. I’m reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k by Mark Manson. It’s a sort of light self-help book. I’m not normally one for self-help books because I’m fairly good at facing up to my own issues and working on them. However, like many people, recently I’ve found that I fill my life with lots of peripheral concerns that take on far greater importance and prominence than I know they deserve. I wanted to find a way of pressing the reset button and re-prioritising. I was drawn to the title. It isn’t gospel for me, but I’ve found it a useful book of suggestions that has enabled me to think about things a little differently. Normally I read fiction. Next, I’m going to read, Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty. I literally can’t wait to get stuck into that.