The countdown to The Pupil...

One moment of carelessness; four shattered lives.

The countdown has begun to the publication of The Pupil, my second novel with Aria Fiction, and I am possibly more nervous and excited about this one than I was about my debut. 

The Pupil tells the story of three people thrown together by fate and one moment in time that connects them. As with all of my ideas, it began with an image in my head and I found myself wanting to know more: who were they; why were such different people sitting together in a room; and what had brought them there? The idea of it being a small world and that at any moment fate can throw you into the path of someone from your past was compelling. What if it was someone you didn’t want to see again? Someone you had tried very hard to forget?

From there, the characters of Samuel Morton, Viola Matthews and Katherine Baxter came to life and the story developed of its own accord, as tends to happen when I start to write. Sometimes I have no idea how it will end and I am often as surprised as I hope my readers are at the conclusion. With The Pupil, I knew how I wanted to personify and develop my characters, but I wasn’t sure who would ultimately be the victim and who was the villain, especially since we are all victims and villains at various points in our lives and on any given day. 

The Accident and The Pupil are very different in concept, but they do share a connection in that we first meet Katherine Baxter as a mum of two who decides to do something for herself and signs up to a creative writing course. A few years ago, I was that woman, determined to give the dream of being a writer one more go now that my children were growing up. The Accident was the end-product of that writing course and today I have not only achieved my dream of being published, but surpassed it by signing a multiple book publishing deal and having so many ideas for future novels that I sometimes don’t know which one to start writing next. However, that is where the similarities between myself and Katherine end – The Pupil is by no means an autobiography!

It is said that the second book is notoriously difficult to write and the mechanics of writing The Pupil were certainly different to when I wrote The Accident. My debut was written over a number of years as a hobby, snatching a few hours of writing here or there, or getting up at 4am to write a chapter before work. There was no deadline unless I gave myself one and I had plenty of time to reread, edit, tweak and polish. With The Pupil, there was a deadline imposed and I actually found that easier in some respects in that I had to focus, get the words down on the page and tighten it as I went. I am incredibly proud of the end result, not only because I proved to myself that the fear of not having another book in me was groundless, but also because I surprised myself by falling in love with two of the three main characters very quickly, flawed as they are. After the emotional investment and my personal attachment to Veronica and Scarlet in The Accident, to the point where I found myself sometimes weeping as I wrote, I never thought I would feel that strength of feeling with new characters. But they did move me and I felt as much empathy, anger and joy this time around. They became my friends and I hope they impact my readers too.

With each novel I learn something new about myself, what I am capable of and how much I love being a writer. The thrill of getting to know a character when I have the power to mould them into whoever I want them to be, good or bad, is almost as thrilling as that feeling when you fall into a good book that you haven’t read before and you wonder why it took you so long to discover it. The response to The Accident was overwhelming and incredibly touching, with readers telling me how much the book resonated with them. I can only hope that you will feel the same way about The Pupil and I can’t wait for you to read it.

The Pupil is out in ebook on 7 August 2018.