Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
I'm very happy to welcome AA Abbott here today, And thank her for allowing me to share what she had to say She kindly answered my questions - keep reading then you'll find More about her thoughts the questions brought to mind. After that I've shared more about her and her book I hope you make the most of the opportunity to take a look!
Where did you get the inspiration for the book/series?
Bristol, where I live, is known for its elegant Georgian houses, but few realise there’s a honeycomb of secret places below the surface.
On Christmas Day 2020, a sinkhole appeared almost on my doorstep. It turned out to be a collapsed cellar. This was beneath a park, so not the sort of place where you might expect a cellar to exist. The older residents in the area knew about it, though, because they’d partied under the park to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee.
I asked myself what would have happened if a skeleton had been lying amid the rubble. Thus, ‘Lies at Her Door’ begins with an outdoor carol concert, a sinkhole opening beneath the singers’ feet and the discovery of a murder victim. The police find out that a rock band rehearsed in the cellar before their bassist, Jason Jardine, disappeared. Vocalist Dan Freeman has now moved on to fame and fortune, but suspicion falls on his sister, Lucy. She’s blocked out memories of her last meeting with Jason. How can she clear her name?
What is your writing process?
I have the plot, characters and chapter plan ready before I launch into writing. Often, I’ll do some research first as well. For instance, ‘Lies at Her Door’ required research into police procedures and into Parkinson’s, as one of the characters is wheelchair-bound because of it.
Having learned about writing sprints from Chris Fox, I aim for five ten minute sprints every day. After each sprint, I tidy up the prose, which takes much longer than ten minutes!
When my first draft is as good as I can make it, I ask twenty to thirty beta readers to recommend improvements. It takes me weeks, if not months, to evaluate their suggestions and rewrite the manuscript, but it’s worth it. Their ideas always transform the story. For instance, it was a beta reader who suggested the sinkhole appeared during the carol concert in ‘Lies at Her Door’.
My next draft is further enhanced by my editor, then my proofreader. Writing a great book is a team effort!
Do you write using pen and paper or on a computer?
I use a laptop. I’ve found that handwriting a story isn’t any quicker or more creative, then I have the job of typing it up later. There’s always pen and paper to hand when I’m out and about, though.
I have tried dictation too. It completely changed my writing style – grammar went out of the window. Many authors use it successfully and I take my hat off to them, but I’m sticking to typing.
Who is your favourite character out of your stories and why?
My all-time favourite is Kat, the main character in my 5 book Trail thriller series. She begins the series as a flaky drifter, who frankly is a bit annoying, but then finds her purpose and turns her life around. On the way, she tangles with a gangster, is shot at twice, builds her own business and turns enemies into friends. She also drinks a lot of cocktails – a woman after my heart.
If you were a character in your story, which would you like to be?
Not Kat, as her life is rather too exciting (despite the cocktails). I’d choose to be Sasha, the fluffy white dog in ‘Lies at Her Door’. She’s beautiful, everyone loves her and she saves a life!
How and why did you choose the names for your main characters?
Usually, they’re plucked from thin air. If I need inspiration, I look at the top 100 baby names in the year a character was born. Street names can be handy as well. I stick a virtual pin into Google Maps and see what I can find.
Does a thriller need a happy ending?
No, but I’m a sucker for a happy ending myself, so my books always have one. I make sure to offer a glimmer of hope at the very least.
For answering my questions, I say a huge thank you! Wow - what a brilliant inspiration, too, Your writing process sounds fantastic, involving others, too, I enjoyed discovering them and what you and others do. I really like the idea of a happy ending and so do you!
She forgot about her childhood friend… until his body is found under her garden. Can she prove she didn’t commit the decades-old murder?
Lucy Freeman struggles to find satisfaction in life. Trapped in the shadow of her rock star brother, the thirty-two-year-old craves more than her days at home caring for her terminally ill mother. But her routine takes a turn for the horrifying when a giant sinkhole collapses the earth outside their house and reveals a skeleton.
Shocked to discover the bones belong to a former member of her sibling’s band, Lucy’s worst nightmare comes alive when police suspect her of the killing. And as she turns to her dying parent’s diaries in a desperate search for vindication, she’s entangled in a dark and complicated truth.
Will unearthing long-buried wrongs prove lethal?
Lies at Her Door is a heavy-hitting psychological thriller novel. If you like strong character growth, overcoming dysfunctional relationships, and revealing unexpected secrets, then you’ll love AA Abbott’s chilling whodunnit.
Buy Lies at Her Door to excavate the facts from the rubble today!
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British crime thriller writer A.A. Abbott (also known as Helen Blenkinsop) enjoys escaping with an exciting and emotional read, and that’s what she aims to write. She also sets her fiction in the cities where she’s lived and worked: London, Bristol and Birmingham. Currently based in Bristol, she’s set her latest psychological thriller in the city’s swanky Clifton district. Inspiration for the story came when a sinkhole appeared in Clifton on Christmas Day 2020, revealing a collapsed cellar under a park. In real life, no-one was singing carols there at the time and no skeleton was discovered, but writers often stretch the boundaries of truth!