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December 1st Author Stalker with Lisa Jewell!

The totally fabulous Lisa Jewell!

(Photo Credit: Andrew Whitton)

Meet my final Author Stalker victim for 2023, the totally fabulous London born author, Lisa Jewell. Just excuse me while I have a major fan-girl moment <3

When I asked Lisa for a couple of fascinating tidbits for the Author Stalker teaser, she replied:

'I can't think of anything in particular although I did get engaged to my first husband three months after replying to his classified ad in a free newspaper, and I did write my first novel on the basis of a drunken bet with a friend and the offer of a free dinner, so maybe you could make something from those!'

Ahh yes Lisa...THAT is what I would call a couple of fascinating tidbits!!

An art foundation course, & a Diploma in Fashion Retail, led Lisa to a career in retail fashion. But it was a challenge from her friend, author, astrologer & moonologer Yasmin Boland that ultimately gave the world Lisa's first novel. One novel, which went on to become twenty-two global bestselling novels, & led to Lisa becoming a ten-million-copy bestselling author!

The challenge was to write three chapters of a novel in exchange for dinner at one of Lisa's favourite restaurants. Challenge accepted, those three chapters eventually became her 1999 UK bestselling novel debut, the romantic comedy Ralph's Party

Lisa's early novels were romantic comedies but over time her storytelling shifted to the dark side, & her transfixing psychological thrillers began to emerge.

To say that I am a MASSIVE fan of Lisa's compelling psychological thrillers would be a major understatement. I absolutely devour every captivating morsel of her phenomenal storytelling, her novels leaving you suspended on the edge of your seat, open-mouthed & wide-eyed until the final page.

Her latest offering to the world is the brilliant None of This is True

OMG what a rollercoaster of a ride this book was. Just when I thought I had deciphered the clues, Lisa would whisk the reader down a long, dark passageway to a new destination, with her characters leaving chills rippling across the surface of your skin, your heart pounding & your throat tightening. That's when you realise that you have stopped breathing and suddenly draw in a ragged breath. Reading a Lisa Jewell novel is both a cerebral & a visceral experience & her readers cannot get enough!

One book I am yet to read, but which is now most definitely on my Christmas wish list, is Will Brooker's The Truth About Lisa Jewell

English academic, Professor Will Brooker studied Film and English, before completing a PhD in Cultural Studies at Cardiff University in 1999. After publishing multiple books on popular culture & its audiences, working as a TV critic, editor & university professor, he approached Lisa to see if he could shadow her for a year. And in mid January 2021, in the midst of England's second Covid lockdown, the stalking began.

'The streets were so empty, it would be easy to spot a stalker, and if you did track your target down, you couldn't stand within two metres of them or enter their home without opening all the windows - so I started on Zoom, watching her on Webcam. Luckily, this was consensual stalking. Lisa, after months of consideration, has agreed to let a complete stranger into her life.' (extract from Will Brooker's article)

(Oh Will Brooker...the Author Stalker tips her hat to you...why didn't I think of doing that...Lisa...fancy a visitor from Sydney??? Ha ha Shelley.xx)

Wishing you all a truly magical Christmas. Be kind to your friends & family, buy lots of books to give to those you love, rest up & read (& write if that's your thing). I will be back on February 1 with another victim. Thanks for following my little ol' blog for another year.

But now, without further ado, I will hand you over to the amazing Lisa.

Much love.


Q1. What was your inspiration for this story, and how long did it take you to write the first draft?

A: There were a few seeds of inspiration for this book; the first was the idea of birthday twins, I’d been thinking about it for a couple of years but couldn’t find a story to pin it on, until I was asked by another writer if he could follow my working year in order to write a book about how I write my books.

As I made the decision to let him into my life and into my creative processes, it occurred to me that this could make a good basis for a story; what might have happened if he had bad intentions, or an ulterior motive – the old trope of letting the wrong person into your life.

The last seed was a fleeting glimpse of a man in a window, staring at his laptop. He captured my imagination for some reason, and he became Walter, and his flat became Walter and Josie’s flat and that’s when the story really came alive for me.

'This is a photo of me outside the house where I saw the man who became 'Walter' sitting at his laptop in the window way back in January 2021. Little does he know that he inspired a whole book!'

(I just LOVE where a writer's brain takes them! My first WIP inspo came from an old sandstone mansion, in Hunters Hill, I photographed during a brief stint working in real estate in the mid 90's. Shelley.xx)

Q2. You are hosting a spectacular dinner party. Name four dream guests you would love to have seated around your table, and what would they be dining on and drinking?

A: I become an imbecile in the presence of heroes and crushes, so I would probably rather just stick with people I know and feel comfortable with. But for the sake a of a fun answer, I will say Paul Weller, because he’s my lifelong crush, Graham Norton, because he could manage the conversation for me, Agatha Christie and Debbie Harry. We’d eat crips and dips and drink spicy margaritas and very cold champagne.

(Lisa...can I come too? I find Graham hysterical & who doesn't love The Jam & Blondie! Promise to bring the ice cold Champagne. Shelley.xx)

Q3. What is your favourite book of all time and why?

A: I have many favourite books of all time, at least ten! Possibly twenty! But to choose just one for this feature, I will say The Stopped Heart by Julie Myerson

It’s a literary thriller, dash ghost story, about a grieving couple who move to an old cottage in the country and finds it haunted by the echoes of a tragedy that befell the cottage’s inhabitants a hundred years before. It’s incredibly atmospheric, unsettling and gripping.

(Just added to cart. You had me at haunted old cottage in the country. Shelley.xx)

Q4. If you could travel anywhere in the world to write for a year, where would we find you?

A: You would probably find me at home! I would hate to be away from my family and creature comforts for that long, I like writing at my kitchen table, with familiar things around me and, more importantly, my dog! If were to travel for fun, on the other hand, I would love to spend time in Thailand, Sri Lanka and maybe some island-hopping somewhere in the Pacific. But I wouldn't want to be gone longer than a few weeks.

'My work space which is in fact the kitchen table.

I used to write in coffee shops but couldn't get back into it after the pandemic, and have worked at the kitchen table (or in bed if the kitchen is busy!) ever since.'

(Love the dark & moody tones of your kitchen Lisa...perfect place to write your atmospheric thrillers. Shelley.xx)

Q5. Describe your go-to reading spot at home and what book/s would I currently find there?

A: I read in bed. Or at least I try to read in bed. Most nights I don’t make it to picking up a book, and on the nights, I do, I rarely make it past three or four pages. At the moment I have many books I'm meant to be reading on my bedside table, but all of them have been put to one side for Harriet Tyce’s latest which I'm lucky enough to have an early proof copy of and is completely amazing. I'm reading 40 pages a night and losing sleep to it, which is the mark of a brilliant book!

Q6. Tell us a bit about a typical writing day…

A: A typical day starts with doing things other than writing. I drive my youngest daughter to college (she could walk, but I like the time with her every day), then go to my laptop to reply to emails. I spend some time on my phone replying to social media messages, then I do domestic stuff, walk the dog, have some lunch. The writing tends to happen at the kitchen table between two and six pm, though closer to deadline I can spend up to twelve hours a day writing and everything else goes to pot.

'Daisy has been perfect since the day we brought her home 40 days ago...But one thing she couldn't adjust to was Finchley Road, the triple carriageway arterial road at the end of our street...finally today I got her across Finchley Road...we walked up to Hampstead and up to the church yard and through the back was just amazing to finally have my buddy to go on long walks with again after all these months.' (Lisa on Instagram)

Q7. As a lover of words, is there a special quote you would like to share with us?

A: Gosh, I don't really collect quotes in life, I know some people, do, but I really don’t. I've just wracked my brain for a good five minutes and came back with nothing. I'm sorry!

Q8. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

A: I'm very low-maintenance and very lazy. I like it sit down and look at my phone or sit down and watch TV. I like to walk the dog and I like to chat with friends on WhatsApp. Socially I like being in pubs, bars and restaurants, eating or drinking or both. I like taking the train down to our house by the seaside at the weekends with my husband and the dog, sometimes with a big gang of friends – and their dogs – to eat and to drink, sometimes just us, also to eat and to drink. I like a simple life with lots of downtime. But I should do more exercise.

(Secretly thinking we are the Birthday Twins Lisa...though I promise I'm not as sinister as Josie. Shelley.xx)

'My dog Daisy. She's a Romanian rescue dog, uncertain age, we've only had her for a couple of months but it's like she's been here forever.

She's not quite my muse, but I do love having a dog around during

the day when I'm busy writing, and I get my most of plot development headspace when I'm taking her for walks.

Don't know any of Daisy's back story, just that she was in a

kennel in Romania from December last year until July when she was brought over by a UK rescue charity and out with a foster carer over here until they found her an owner - me!!!

Just got Daisy's DNA results through this morning apparently she is 25% German Shepherd! Plus 15% Central Asian Shepherd and 15% Segugio Italiano. Plus a good dash of Chihuahua!! I'm very taken aback!'

Q9. Any advice for aspiring authors?

A: I think it's very important to be you, on and off the page. Don't turn into a different person when you write. Don’t imagine people reading what you write. Don't overthink what you’re writing, or what happens after you've written. Stay in the moment with your story and your characters. Give the story a pulse, keep feeding it things to move it along, little reveals, small cliffhangers, unanswered questions, unsettling moments. The bigger plot will work itself out as you go.

Q10. In a few lines, which debut/emerging author should we look out for?

A: Jo Callaghan is a former UK police detective who is now writing crime novels. Her first, In the Blink of an Eye features a female detective being asked to work alongside a hologrammatic AI detective to solve some cold cases. Her high-tech assistant proves to be both a hindrance and a help, but also surprisingly heart-warming and strangely human. I can’t wait to see what Jo does next.

Prepare to be hooked: nail-biting suspense from the addictive number one ten-million-copy bestselling author.

Celebrating her 45th birthday at her local pub, podcaster Alix Summer crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. Josie is also celebrating her 45th birthday. They are, in fact birthday twins.

A few days later, Alix and Josie bump into each other again, this time outside Alix's children's school. Josie has been listening to Alix's podcasts and thinks she might be an interesting subject for Alix's series. She is, she tells Alix, on the cusp of great changes in her life.

Alix agrees to a trial interview. Josie's life appears to be strange and complicated, and although Alix finds her unsettling, she can't quite resist the temptation to keep digging.

Slowly Alix starts to realise that Josie has been hiding some very dark secrets, and before she knows it Josie has inveigled her way into Alix's life - and into her home.

Soon she begins to wonder who is Josie Fair? And what has she done?

Thank you Lisa for being my final Author Stalker victim for 2023. Shelley. xx

None of This is True is available now through bookstores and online.

If you would like to find out more about Lisa, you can find her here:

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