The Other People is an original, brilliant, and utterly chilling thriller. Can you tell us a bit more about the book?
Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window. She mouths one word: ‘Daddy.’ It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy.
He never sees her again.
Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Abbie is dead.
Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them.
Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows what they will do if they ever catch up with her and Alice . . .
What inspired the idea behind this novel?
Well, like my previous books, The Other People was actually inspired by a real-life situation.
I was driving back from visiting relatives with my family and we found ourselves stuck in traffic on the M1. It was late and I’d been driving behind this same car for miles; a beaten-up old car with loads of faded stickers around the rear window.
I found myself wondering, what would happen if a face appeared in the rear window of that car – perhaps someone in trouble, being kidnapped? Then I started thinking, what if it was someone I knew? And then my mind tumbled down the darkest rabbit hole: what if it was my own child, being driven away in a strange car when she should be tucked up in bed at home?
What is something that has influenced you as a writer?
Well, like many kids I started off reading Enid Blyton. Then I progressed to Agatha Christie and then to Stephen King. Once I discovered King there was no looking back. I’ve always been drawn to dark, twisty stories and that’s what I like to write. I’m also a big Harlan Coben and Michael Marshall fan.
What’s your daily writing routine like and what are you working on at the moment?
I’m lucky enough to be able to write full time now, so after taking our little girl to school, I normally head to a coffee shop and write for a few hours before breaking to take the dog for a walk and do some chores. Then it’s usually time to pick our little girl up from school again and chaos descends until she goes to bed. I might get a little more done in the evening, but morning is my favourite writing time. I’m definitely an early bird rather than a night owl!
I’m currently working on Book 4 – working title The Burning Girls – about dark and sinister goings on in a small village in the south of England. I think of it as The Wicker Man meets Sharp Objects!
What were your favourite reads of the past year?
My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing, The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, Blood and Sugar by Laura Shepherd Robinson, The Outsider by Stephen King and The Whisper Man by Alex North.