As temperatures soar across Europe during the hottest summer for forty years, a series of hoax terrorist attacks is generating panic in London. Then a bus blows up on Oxford Street and the hoaxes have suddenly become real.
Student Brioni O’Brien has been desperately trying to contact her older sister since she unexpectedly returned early from travelling, so when Marissa’s bag is found near the site of the explosion, she fears the worst.
Teaming up with terrorism expert Anna Lockharte to search for Marissa, Brioni discovers that her sister had
When and where do you prefer to write?
I can write anywhere – I started writing before I had children and adapted them to juggling time – the first child only ever slept for 20 minutes at a time (to the second) so I learned to be fast! I find if you’ve got limited time you get more done, so it’s not a bad thing. When the kids were small I’d write in Tesco’s carpark with one asleep in the back while I was on the way to pick up the other one, now they are mainly able to feed themselves (20 years later!) I can write anywhere. I actually love writing on the move, on planes and trains, in coffee shops.
Do you need peace and quiet when you are writing?
No, I love a bit of noise in the background – if I’m somewhere where there’s noise interfering with my thought process though, I put in earbuds and listen to music that I associate with whichever book I’m writing. For the Cat Connolly trilogy it was the pop music she listened to in the gym, for The Dark Room it was classical violin. For High Pressure it was a mainly the music I imagined Brioni listened to.
If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
Ooh goodness, any one of my writing heroes – Agatha Christie or Daphne du Maurier, or Lisa Gardener or Karin Slaughter (what a good question!) I love the meeting of ideas that happens when writers get together, so it would be a lot of fun.
Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
I wouldn’t mind once they asked first and I knew who the character was.
Who would you like/have liked to interview?
I run a big crime writing festival and a writing resources website so I’ve been lucky enough to interview some brilliant writers. The best ever was interviewing Lee Child, my all-time hero, the night before my birthday in the Westbury Hotel in Dublin – it’s a stunning hotel with huge chandeliers, I’m still pinching myself.
Where can I find you when you are reading?
I mainly read just before I go to sleep, so in bed!
Where can I find you wen you are not writing/reading?
On the move! I spend about half the week at my desk in my office, the rest in meetings in Dublin or London. I live in an old post office (it stopped being a post office in about 1948) and my office used to be the actual post office, I love the idea that so many stories past through here.
What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
Excitement, the thrill that I’m about to discover something new.
How do you come up with a title for your book?
Sometimes they come with the book idea and stick (Keep Your Eyes on Me and Remember My Name did exactly that). Sometimes the story doesn’t have a title for ages – my agent came up with The Dark Room. Little Bones was called The Dressmaker for years while I was writing it. Then, when we were finally approaching publication, The Dressmaker movie was due to come out so we decided it needed a new title. It took several weeks and many, many brilliant brains at my publishers to come up with Little Bones (there were lots of ideas flying around), but it’s such a perfect and obvious title (it’s about an Irish police officer called Cat Connolly who find a baby’s bones hidden in the hem of an old wedding dress), it seems mad that it took so long!
How do you pick a cover for your book?
My fabulous publisher come up with ideas, sometimes a few versions of a similar idea and we discuss it. High Pressure had a slightly different cover but when we did the reveal we realised another thriller writer had used the same image a few years ago and I didn’t feel it was fair to virtually replicate, so we had to look for a new idea – which took a few tries. Like a title, sometimes a cover just falls into place, sometimes it takes a few attempts to get right. It’s vitally important that the cover reflects the sense of the book as that’s the first thing readers see.
Thank you, Sam Blake and Zooloo’s Book Tours
About the author
Sam Blake’s debut novel, Little Bones, was No 1 in Ireland for four weeks, and was nominated for Irish Crime Novel of the Year. It launched the bestselling Cat Connolly trilogy. Her first standalone psychological thriller, Keep Your Eyes On Me, went straight to No 1 and its follow-up, The Dark Room was an Eason Ireland No 1 for three weeks. Sam is originally from St. Albans in Hertfordshire but has lived at the foot of the Wicklow mountains for more years than she lived in the UK.