The literary influences which shaped my writing are varied – from the weekly cliff hanger in the schoolgirl comics of my childhood to the great ladies of detective fiction – Agatha Christie, Elizabeth George, P.D. James and Ruth Rendell. I loved James’ sleuth Cordelia Gray and always wished Christie had given Tuppence Cowley more mysteries to solve. I never guessed the ending of an Elizabeth George or a Ruth Rendell, but I never felt cheated either.
My influences extend beyond the crime/detective genre. I was hooked on Lionel Shriver’s ‘We need to talk about Kevin,’ engrossed in the twists and turns of the book and revelations which knocked me sideways – brilliant story-telling which pounds the emotions so powerfully I know I can never read it again. Audrey Niffinegger’s ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’ never lost me as it jumped through space and time. I was entranced by every page of Kate Atkinson’s ‘Behind the Scenes at The Museum’. She writes with light humour, often juxtaposed against sadness and tragedy. The descriptions from the past reignited memories of my childhood and drew me into its pages. I had almost forgotten the plastic daffodils that came free with a brand of washing powder. I felt as if she was writing about my childhood. Sometimes books we admire are chosen for us. Novelist Nicholas Royle recommended James Lasdun’s ‘The Horned Man’ as part of the reading list for MMU’s M.A. in Creative Writing. I loved the tone of this novel, a compelling mix of humour and darkness. Unusually I have read it twice.
We are a product of all our experiences, including all we have read – increasingly on social media – but also what we have watched in the cinema or on television, and even heard on the radio or itunes. So I also have to acknowledge influences beyond the written word. On television these include the quirky Ally McBeal and Alan Plater’s The Beiderbecke Affair. I liked the tone and pace of these programmes. Laurie Taylor’s Radio 4 ‘Thinking Allowed’ broadcast in 2013 reminded me again that I am also “something of a fan” of sociologist Erving Goffman. He argued that society is like a theatre and that we are always performing our character, even rehearsing backstage to try to create the right impression.
In the psychological thriller, Deluded, my sleuths are Lisa Clarkson, a young advertising executive, and DI Calvini, a sexy Mancunian detective with Italian heritage. The main theatre is the pub quiz where the comedy of everday life is performed and from which emerges a dark, twisting story. Facebook is the tool used backstage to enhance the leading actress’s performance. It is a contemporary tale but not without some seventies nostalgia and a nod to the fairy tales and myths which permeated my childhood. I have mentioned before that music is the soundtrack to my life. Each chapter in ‘Deluded’ the name of a song title. The playlist for the Deluded chapters is here.
Download Deluded at The Kindle Store or buy the paperback
Here are some reviews from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.au
An intriguing read, with some excellent twists and turns. The members of a pub quiz team each have their own secrets and, as the novel develops, their secrets start to become bound up with each other. It also offers an interesting take on the way in which social media can be used to construct – or change – the ways others view us.
Extremely enjoyable and well written psychological thriller. Interesting characters with lots of twists and turns which kept me guessing until the end. Highly recommend this book.
This is a book that lures you in quickly – I wasn’t able to put it down till I finished it. Great suspense with interesting characters. I’d highly recommend it!
This book is a great read. A psychological thriller that draws you in from the first page and keeps you guessing until the very end. Join the members of the pub quiz team and discover all their secrets. Very well written and listen to the playlist on Spotify. I connected to this book on so many levels.
I am currently working on a sequel, again set in Manchester, but during a long hot summer. No, I’m not deluded.