I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour today organised by publishers Myriad Editions for Elizabeth Haynes latest release, Never Alone.
Elizabeth Haynes’ career was launched when her debut novel Into the Darkest Corner became a word-of-mouth bestseller in 2011. The book won Amazon’s Rising Stars promotion, was chosen by the retailer as its Best Book of the Year, featured on the Specsavers TV Book Club and it has been translated into multiple languages. Her second novel, Revenge of the Tide, was published by Myriad in 2012 and her third, Human Remains, was published in 2013. She is also the author of two police procedural crime novels, Under a Silent Moon and Behind Closed Doors (Sphere).
Elizabeth Haynes is a former police intelligence analyst who lives in Norfolk with her husband and son.
Connect with Elizabeth
Welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
Please summarise Never Alone in 20 words or less.
Sarah lives on her own in an isolated farmhouse – when the weather worsens, is she really alone?
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
In common with a lot of authors (I suspect), I spend a lot of time procrastinating with property websites. On one such search, I found a fantastic stone-built house, hunkered down into the hillside; I found myself wondering what it would be like to live there on your own, and how it would feel when you found yourself not alone anymore, against your will.
Please tell us about the characters.
There are four main characters: Sarah Carpenter, whose two children have now left home; her best friend, Sophie, who lives in the village with her politician husband; a friend of Sarah’s from her university days, Aiden Beck, who has just come back into her life after many years away; and Will Brewer, a friend of Sarah’s son.
In essence the book is about strong women and how they cope under pressure; the strength of family bonds and how mistakes made long ago can have an impact on your life many years later.
Was there anything about your protagonist that surprised you Elizabeth?
Sarah was always stronger than I gave her credit for. I did one edit where she had crippling social anxiety, and whilst she still isn’t comfortable with large groups of people, she would define herself as a mum – that’s very important to her – and coping with things goes along with that.
What part of the story did you enjoy writing the most?
The last quarter of the book raced along for me; the whole book has, as is always the case with my writing, changed a great deal – but the last section has remained pretty much the same from the first draft.
Did you travel to any places for research Elizabeth?
I spent a fabulous three days driving around North Yorkshire, visiting all the locations I’d used in the book, working out how long it takes to drive everywhere, and afterwards drinking cocktails in Sophie’s favourite hotel!
Is there a time of day where you are most creative?
I try to be creative every day but really I have a creative month – November. I still participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and I use it to produce the first draft of my next novel. It’s an intense burst of creativity at the expense of normal life – I will work late at night and all day, at home and in coffee shops with friends – but the momentum helps to drive the plot forward. I find it very difficult to write well unless I have several hours clear. Momentum definitely helps, and I can allow it to take priority in November.
Do you have a favourite place which inspires you or a favourite activity?
I always write best out of the house; tea rooms and coffee shops are great, and out of season the bar at the end of the pier is a favourite place to work. Having the North Sea swirling about under your feet is quite a dynamic sensation.
Have you joined any writing groups?
I write regularly with three other women: we meet once a week for tea and cake, and write like demons for the best part of a day. We are all writing quite different things, but working in the same space at the same time is a great motivator.
What are you reading now? Opinion?
I’ve just finished reading Lisa Cutts’ Mercy Killing, which is a new police procedural, due out around the same time as Never Alone. Lisa and I worked in the same building years ago; her books are always excellent at showing what it’s really like working for the police, but Mercy Killing feels like it’s on a whole new level. What I find particularly brilliant is how Lisa blurs the boundaries between offender and victim; how it’s almost possible to empathise with people who are responsible for hideous crimes, and condemn those who are seeking their own brand of justice. It’s very clever.
Finally, you’ve written a police procedural series Elizabeth, is Never Alone part of a series?
What is in the future?
Never Alone is a standalone thriller, but I haven’t abandoned the Briarstone series completely. I have written most of the next novel, which I will work on next. I also have a historical novel set in Norfolk that I have been working on; that one will take a bit longer for me to research!
Thank you for being my guest today.
Wishing you success with all your creative projects Elizabeth.
♦ You can read the first chapter of Never Alone on Myriad Edition’s website.♦
Elizabeth Haynes new psychological thriller is a brilliantly suspenseful and shocking story in which nothing is at it seems, but everything is at stake.
Sarah Carpenter lives in an isolated farmhouse in North Yorkshire and for the first time, after the death of her husband some years ago and her children, Louis and Kitty, leaving for university, she’s living alone. But she doesn’t consider herself lonely. She has two dogs, a wide network of friends and the support of her best friend, Sophie.
When an old acquaintance, Aiden Beck, needs somewhere to stay for a while, Sarah’s cottage seems ideal; and renewing her relationship with Aiden gives her a reason to smile again. It’s supposed to be temporary, but not everyone is comfortable with the arrangement: her children are wary of his motives, and Will Brewer, an old friend of her son’s, seems to have taken it upon himself to check up on Sarah at every opportunity. Even Sophie has grown remote and distant.
After Sophie disappears, it s clear she hasn’t been entirely honest with anyone, including Will, who seems more concerned for Sarah’s safety than anyone else. As the weather closes in, events take a dramatic turn and Kitty too goes missing. Suddenly Sarah finds herself in terrible danger, unsure of who she can still trust.
But she isn’t facing this alone; she has Aiden, and Aiden offers the protection that Sarah needs. Doesn’t he?
Don’t forget to check out the other hosts on tour.