A secret video tape. A painful truth. A quest for revenge.
Investigative journalist, Susan ‘Stripe’ McLachlan, is constantly hounded by eager documentarians for interview requests about the Night Scrawler murders. One of the victims of the mysterious serial killer was a member of her own family, her father.
At the peak of her career, her services are sought by Isaac Payne who commissions her to write an article for his website. Usually, her projects delve into more uncomfortable, questionable topics, but there’s a deep, almost hauntingly familiar pull about her new client that intrigues her.
As she learns more about Isaac, Stripe digs up fresh secrets about the murders, arousing her suspicions. After an awkward confrontation, she wakes up in Isaac’s bed — with a chain around her ankle.
Isaac shows her harrowing footage on an old VHS tape. The contents hits close to home…closer than Stripe ever imagined. Now, she has to wrestle with her own moral compass and unpick the truth from the web of lies that turn into a crescendo where memories created from misery and suffering cannot be silenced.
Will Isaac ever lay the past to rest? And how will Stripe cope with the revelations that challenge everything she has ever known?
– When and where do you prefer to write?
At the moment, I write during the day in my office at home. I used to write in coffee shops before the pandemic. Certain parts of my debut novel, Forgive Me were scribbled in a Costa Coffee or a Starbucks. Before I moved in with my partner, I didn’t have a durable desk so I wrote with my laptop balancing on my knees in bed. Not good for the back! I highly recommend having an office/study and doing most of your writing in there if you have the space.
– Do you have a certain ritual?
I have music on when I write. It helps me become fully absorbed in the story so the outside world falls away.
– Is there a drink or some food that keeps you company while you write?
Plenty. Tea is great. Breakfast, decaf or orange Twining’s haha. I also have a bottle of water on my desk, gotta keep hydrated! I’m trying to be healthy right now so I try and eat fruit when I write. Of course, when push comes to shove, especially during final edits, you’ll find me rummaging in the snack cupboard. 😊
– What is your favourite book?
Oh wow, there’s too many to choose from but if I absolutely had to pick something it would be Hannibal by Thomas Harris. It’s a classic thriller novel.
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
I don’t strictly write in one genre; I think it’s good to stretch your legs. I’m currently working on my second novel which is a supernatural thriller (with mystical elements) set in a made-up town in the UK. It was inspired after I watched the documentary The Cove about dolphin poaching.
I’d love to have a crack at writing a fantasy or a space novel in the future!
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
Yes and I think it’s a good thing to do that. It makes the stories and characters more real, especially if the character is saying something humorous. I also think negative experiences are a great source of material for writing. I wrote a novelette after going through a horrendous break up years ago and from doing that, I was able to analyse and realise what the hell had been going on. Although, my ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend found the story online somehow. It was pretty awkward. XD
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I try to yes. There have been times when I’ve forgotten and I tapped any springing ideas on my phone so I didn’t forget them.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
I’ve never been into ‘chick-lit’, the genre has never really gelled with me.
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
I don’t have anyone particularly in mind, I’d be happy to work with another writer on a project if the right opportunity comes up and our chemistry works. I like the idea of collaborating with an artist/illustrator on something, that’d be pretty cool or working with a producer/director to bring one of my stories to the big screen. That’d be amazing!!
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
I’d love to travel to Hong Kong to do research. I write dramas and crime thrillers under another pen name and the novel I’m working on is set there. I’m currently using Google maps, watching documentaries and picking my partner’s brain (as he was born there) – they are all really helpful resources but I’m sure nothing would beat being in the actual place so I can experience it for myself.
Thank you, Kateri Stanley and Rachel’s Random Researches
About the author
Kateri Stanley graduated from The Open University with a degree in Arts and Humanities and worked for the National Health Service for eight years. She started off writing fanfiction as a kid, moved to short stories, created some audio plays and eventually sat down to write her first novel. When she’s not writing, you can find her binge-watching films and TV shows, making tons of playlists and dabbling in the occasional video game. She currently resides in the West Midlands, United Kingdom with her partner, they are hoping to be cat parents.