Hello, I’m a writer of thrillers and a lover of stories.
My latest book, HIDDEN DEPTHS, has been inspired by my family, concerning one of those stories everyone knows about. Because my great-grandfather was a second class passenger on board Titanic.
This book tells his tale and that of Lily, an American heiress trapped in a loveless marriage with a British aristocrat, on her way home to give birth. It’s a twisty, turning story that takes place over the four days Titanic sailed from 10th April – 15th April 1912. How do you know who to trust, when you’ve lost faith in yourself?
I really hope you enjoy what is a very personal tale.
And, if you do, I’ve published four other novels, EVERYTHING & NOTHING (2011), DOT (2013), OUR KIND OF CRUELTY (2017) & IMPERFECT WOMEN/PERFECT STRANGERS (2019)
Tell me about your book and why we should read it?
My new book is called Hidden Depths and is a thriller set on the Titanic. My two protagonists, Lily and Lawrence, both board thinking they’re not going to disembark in New York. Lily because she is in a terrible marriage in which she knows her husband wants to be rid of her, and Lawrence because he intends to jump from the ship because he can’t get over the death of his wife. Except of course we all know what is really awaiting all the passengers on board. However, this novel isn’t entirely fictional, not just because the sinking of Titanic is of course a real historical event, but also because Lawrence is based on my great-grandfather, Lawrence Beesley, one of only 13 men to survive Titanic from second class. I have used a lot of my great-grandfather’s writings and experiences in this book, which I hope makes it seem even more authentic.
If someone was to write your life story what would the title be?
Oh my goodness, that is not something anyone should have to read! I guess something like ‘When in doubt, write.’
What’s the strangest fan question or request you’ve received?
Actually it was for my latest book. Someone contacted me on Instagram to ask where my great-grandfather was buried because she was having a recurring dream that he’d rescued her from Titanic and she was convinced they’d met in a previous life. I didn’t tell her!
If you could co-write with anyone in the world (alive or dead) who would it be?
I’m not sure novelists are the best co-writers. And I think the novelists I admire would be terrible. I mean, I would love to see how Patricia Highsmith’s brain works, but I think I’ll stick to reading writers’ diaries – it’s safer that way!
Tell me something nobody else knows about you (yet!).
I’m a pathetically open book and can talk for hours about anything and everything, so there’s not much nobody knows. But I do absolutely love the quiz show The Chase! My comfort zone is to seek out old episodes on ITV2 with a cup of tea.
Finally please recommend 3 books that you have recently read and tell me why you’ve chosen these
Reputation by Sarah Vaughan – I love all her books and this one is no exception. A very smart feminist, political thriller that really makes you question what it is to be a woman in a man’s world.
Nonfiction by Julie Myerson – a heart-breaking story about the mother of a drug addicted daughter. Not just very beautifully told, but also a really interesting meditation on what we owe stories as writers and how much they belong to us.
Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead – a sprawling, wonderful novel about one of the first female pilots and also the Hollywood starlet playing her in the present day. A totally enthralling read that also makes you think about how you live and love.