A Quickie with… Philippa East

Philippa East is a fiction writer with HQ/HarperCollins and she also works as a clinical psychologist.

Philippa grew up in Scotland before moving to Oxford and then London to complete her clinical psychology training. A few years ago, she left the NHS to set up her own part-time practice and dedicate more hours to writing. The result was her debut novel LITTLE WHITE LIES, which was longlisted for The Guardian’s Not-The-Booker Prize and shortlisted for the CWA “New Blood” Award 2020.

Released in 2021, Philippa’s second book SAFE AND SOUND is another twisty and compelling tale. For a fun preview, check out the video trailer on Philippa’s Amazon Author page (best with sound on!). Philippa’s brilliant third book, I’LL NEVER TELL, will release in January 2023 and is available to pre-order via Amazon now. You can hear more about the book via Philippa’s latest Author Update video on this page.

Philippa now lives in the beautiful Lincolnshire countryside with her spouse and cat. She loves reading (of course!) and long country walks, and she also performs in a local folk duo called The Miracle Cure. Alongside her writing, Philippa continues to work as a psychologist and therapist.

Tell me about your book and why we should read it?

My upcoming release is my third psychological suspense novel, called I’LL NEVER TELL. It’s about the Goodlight family: lawyer Julia, stay-at-home dad Paul, and sixteen-year-old Chrissie, a talented violinist. To the outside world, the Goodlights are perfect. But on the night of a prestigious music competition, that could change everything for the family, Chrissie goes missing. Suddenly every single crack, every single family secret risks being exposed. Because the Goodlights aren’t perfect. Not even close. You should read it if you love a thrilling page-turner that also has satisfying psychological depth, and has already been endorsed by Catherine Cooper, Lauren North, Guy Morpuss and Emma Christie!

If someone was to write your life story what would the title be?

“Failing Better” (from the Samuel Beckett quote)

What’s the strangest fan question or request you’ve received?

Thankfully, I haven’t (so far!) received any weird fan requests. The most unexpected thing was hearing from my primary school best friend whom I hadn’t spoken to in 20 years. She had come across my books and we reconnected after two decades!

If you could co-write with anyone in the world (alive or dead) who would it be?

I’d love to work with the script-writing team of the TV series SUCCESSION. Their characterisation, dialogue and plot arcs are brilliant – plus maybe they can turn one of my books into a series?

Tell me something nobody else knows about you (yet!).

My real name is Helen. Philippa is my middle name, which I only started using aged 18. My family and school friends still refer to me as Helen.

Finally please recommend 3 books that you have recently read and tell me why you’ve chosen these.

Into The Dark by Fiona Cummins. Her story-telling is brilliantly assured, her plots so original, and I love the darkness in her stories.

The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker. This book made me cry. As a psychologist, I found it an incredibly astute exploration of childhood deprivation.

The Marsh House by Zoe Somerville. I love Zoe’s writing and how deeply she draws us into her characters’ lives and experiences.

Find this book on Amazon