I know it's a cliché, but I'm not sure I ever had that realization, it was just always there. As soon as I could write, I wrote all the time. When I was very young, I wrote stories or I would do 'animal research' in little books and try to sell them to my family. I knew that I wanted to be a novelist but it seemed out of reach to a normal girl from rural England, so I focused on becoming a journalist, a similar job in many ways, and one that I was passionate about. The desire to write a novel never left me though, and I'm very glad about that!
What are some of your favorite books?
This question gets harder to answer every time I'm answering it! There are those books that meant a huge amount to me growing up, that helped me work out who I was (or who I wanted to be) but I don't read those now... I tell you what I'm loving at the moment though, classic British crime books. Finely tuned mysteries set in the twenties and thirties. I also got an amazing Sherlock Holmes collection for Christmas and I'm working my way through that!
What inspires you to write?
Writing is how I make sense of the world, so everything feeds it. Good, bad, weird. There's a line in Try Not to Breathe about my character Alex Dale but actually it's entirely true of me. Her mother dies and she writes a newspaper column about it. "[Alex] didn't cry until she read her column that Sunday, and finally knew how she was supposed to feel." I sometimes understand things only when I'm looking at them at a slight remove, when I'm writing. So I realize I sound like an oddball, but maybe it's less about inspiration and more about a coping mechanism!
Where is your favorite place to write?
Realistically- my bed. Ideally- by a pool in St. Lucia.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I could try to think up something really cool and/or chic but the truth is that I'm happiest wearing my comfies, lying on the sofa with a glass of wine, watching Netflix with my husband. My characters are way cooler than me, I live vicariously through them while in reality I'm wearing a bath robe.
What is your newest book about?
Don't Close Your Eyes is a thriller that follows the story of Robin and Sarah twins who were torn apart as kids through a cruel twist of fate. Now in their thirties, Robin lives alone in Manchester, obsessively watching the neighbors- until one day she sees something the shouldn't. Meanwhile, Sarah has been accused of something so terrible that only Robin can help her. Tracking Robin down unleashes a whole can of worms though and I'm really excited to see what readers think of the ending!
Are you currently working on anything new?
Yes. I've actually written book three already and that's ready to be edited but I'm grappling with the early days of book four. I love the idea, I love the opening lines, I love the structure... actually writing the thing is HARD! It's always this way though, it starts with a big, lumpy, holey, messy, terrifying draft and then gets- hopefully- crafted into shape!
Now let's get down to business....
You're stranded on a deserted island, you get to pick one book to take with you. What do you choose and why?
I think I would take that complete collection of Sherlock Holmes stories I mentioned- maybe then I'd actually finish it!
You have been given a week vacation to visit ANY fictional town, where would you go?
Oh man, that's a great question. I think I would say London. Not the real London that I've previously lived in and that smells of bus fumes, but the London that only exists in the golden age crime books, where everyone wears a suit or gown and every weekend dinner party is a right old caper.
Quick! You have a date with your favorite fictional character, who are you meeting tonight?!
Oh gawd! This is SO hard. A lot of the characters in my favourite books are kind of a*sholes! I've been mulling this over for a ridiculously long amount of time, standing in front of my bookcase trying to choose. I've decided that I'm going to go for Jack Reacher. I read Lee Child books every bedtime, pretty much without fail. So if nothing else, Jack could talk me through the exact workings of a very specific type of gun until I nod off. Not much of a fun date for him....
So guys you've met Holly, now check out her social media!!