How can we escape what others have created? We all become what our pasts make us. Whether it's in replication or rejection, rebellion or duty, our life's journey is written on our skin like a tattoo, the map to the heart of us. What has the teacher learnt? What does the barrister wish to defend? Those who hold others under lock and key, what do they seek to control?
(The Woman Before Me)
We are all just one event away from the loss of love, of the status quo, of the illusory balance in our lives.
The characters in The Woman Before Me are ordinary people made extraordinary by an unusual situation or an unusual choice. I am interested in extremities, situational and emotional, which would include crime but also madness, sexual deviance, and obsessive love....
Happiness is a fragile, transitory thing. In some ways only when it is gone can we truly discover what we are made of, the very essence of our self: integrity, courage; or the opposite. Whether or not we can be survivors. I'm compelled to explore human emotion (especially grief, jealousy, anger) and the tentative grip any of us have on our lives.
I spent years working with criminals, including murderers and sex offenders, and every novel has been inspired by a true event. Although there is often a crime or violent incident at the core of my writing, my novels explore the real consequences of crime. In much genre crime fiction, when the perpetrator is successfully caught, natural order is restored. If anything, my writing is the opposite of such escapism.
The Woman Before Me is (I hope!) a reflective novel. A careful exploration of loss and love, an emotional insight into ourselves. I want the reader to close the book and hug their child a bit tighter, kiss their lover more softly. To feel they have actively participated in the journey, arriving with a different view of their own surroundings...
...If only for a moment.