Aria welcomes Cynthia Clark!

Cynthia Clark's debut novel If You Only Knew is publishing on 1 October 2017. Read an exlusive blog post from Cynthia below: 

It has always amazed me how life can change in a relatively short period of time. In April 2015, I was lying in bed when I had this idea. I picked up my phone, opened Evernote and typed out a few paragraphs.

One year later I had the initial draft of my first book, an agent and newborn twin girls. 

And that's when the hard work started. Getting a book ready to be submitted to publishers was nothing like the fast-paced newsroom environments that I was used to, where you get one shot at writing an article before it goes to print. Instead there were several revisions, additions, small changes. 

This work was done during stolen moments when both babies were asleep, many times at three in the morning. Those weeks were a whirlwind of nappy changes, sleepless nights and writing. 

Then, one day, my agent, Laetitia Rutherford, sent me an email – she knew not to call a new mum – to tell me that the lovely people at Aria had read my book and loved it. I was about to jump up and down with joy. But then I realised that I didn't have the energy. And, more importantly, I didn't want to wake the babies!

It took a few more months to get If You Only Knew into the finished product of today. And a lot of patience and understanding from my husband who spent many evenings and weekends taking care of the girls solo so that I could work on making the necessary improvements. But one thing has barely changed at all – the prologue that I had typed on my phone. Although back then I didn't have a full story in mind, those six paragraphs have always felt like the foundation of the book, something to build the story around. 

If You Only Knew (which will be published by Aria on 1 October 2017) is the story of Elizabeth, a woman who's leading a seemingly perfect life. A business woman with a fantastic career, two adorable children, a loving husband, a beautiful house. And a huge secret. It is this enormous secret that comes back to haunt her, threatening the life that she has worked so hard to build, making her realise just how vulnerable she is, and how the decisions she took many years ago can impact not only her, but all those that she loves. The question is, if she made mistakes in the past, now that she's older and more mature, will she take well-thought decisions that keep her and her family safe?

I have been asked, more than a few times, whether the story is based on reality. So let me set the record straight. No. Elizabeth is totally made up – although I too love alphabetising my spices. She's a complete figment of my imagination. It is this imagination that saw me fall in love with writing from a very young age. It was fun to escape reality and get lost in a world of make-believe. Back then it was the odd short story, or school essay. Later, when I started working at a newspaper, I had to shift gears and make sure that everything I was writing was factual.

And it is perhaps my years working as a reporter that has made me appreciate fictional writing even more. There are no constraints, no boundaries, no restrictions. I love the freedom of taking my characters on an exciting journey of my own making. 

Right now, in between running after two extremely active toddlers and trying to dodge the food they try to pelt me with, I am writing my second book, due to be published by Aria in 2018. It is the story of two completely different women with a shared past that connects them. Even though they might not realise.

Writing takes up most of my free time. When I have any to spare, I find myself glancing towards my stand mixer and reaching for my baking supplies, before disappearing into a cloud of icing sugar. I might have written a thriller, but I certainly have a sweet tooth.