Q&A with Elizabeth Haynes
How would you sum up your novel in one line?
It's about the darker side of relationships and friendships, and about what happens when nobody believes what you know to be true.
What inspired you to tell this particular tale?
I'm always very interested in how ordinary people react when their lives begin to unravel. We take for granted that feeling of being in control of our lives, of being safe, and I wanted to explore what it would be like to have that assurance taken away. The central character in the story, Catherine, lives with OCD - which provides her with some measure of control in a life which has become controlled by other people. Through the book it becomes increasingly unclear who Catherine can trust, if anyone – and if she can trust and believe in her own judgement.
What are you currently reading?
I'm reading Michelle Paver's Dark Matter – brilliantly written and utterly terrifying.
What is your favourite book of all time?
I've spent a long time gazing at my bookshelves and pondering this one. I read a lot and I usually end up with one 'book of the year' which I know I'll read again and again. The favourite of these is probably William Brodrick's The Sixth Lamentation. My favourite non-fiction book is Paul Britton's The Jigsaw Man – I feel like I learn something every time I read it.
What are you working on now?
I'm editing my second novel, called The Revenge of the Tide. It's a thriller set on a boat moored on the River Medway.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
I know it's stating the obvious, but you're never going to get anything published unless you submit your work. You have to be brave to share things you've written, as by its very nature the creative process is deeply personal. Show your writing to as many people as you can, go on creative writing courses, join a writing group; listen to feedback and learn from everything; take each setback as a 'not yet' rather than a 'no'. Writing is like every skill, it takes a lot of practice to be good, but having the desire to write and the drive to keep going is what will give you the opportunities for success.