A Quickie with Sanjida Kay

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

The Stolen Child is about a couple, Zoe and Ollie, who are desperate for a baby. When they can’t have their own, they adopt a baby from birth. They call her Evie. The story begins in Ilkley, a town in West Yorkshire on the edge of Ilkley moor, and Evie has just turned seven. Zoe and Ollie now have a son of their own, Ben. Evie is starting to realise what it means to be adopted and questioning her place in the family, when she receives a card from her ‘real father’. He claims she’s been stolen from him, and he’s coming to get her back…

And I think you should read it because it has twists and turns, tension and heart break, and Haris, an artist that Zoe meets, is pretty sexy!

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

My Story and Other Fairy Tales.

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

Mostly I have lovely readers, friends and fellow writers on my mailing list and Facebook author page, but I do receive a number of private messages from Indian men. Usually they just say hi or ask for photos of me, but some send pictures of body parts. Theirs I presume. It’s completely unacceptable, and would be, even if I posted pictures of myself in a bikini. The fact that most of the photos on my page are of books and occasionally of me in a woolly jumper makes it even more of a misogynistic mystery.

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

Emily Bronte! I’m completely obsessed with Wuthering Heights, which is set on Haworth moor. The Stolen Child is a bit of homage to Wuthering Heights – a bleak and savage moorland, a passionate and savage man, racial tension and a love triangle. What more do you need?! I’d love to write a gothic thriller with Ms Bronte.

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

I moved to live next to Ilkley moor when I was eight. Just before I left, my teacher told me I’d love it because it was ‘Bronte country’. I was utterly devastated to discover that Ilkley moor is not packed with brontosaurus fossils and that she was talking about some boring, dead writers. Obviously, I am now delighted that I grew up near the Brontes’ stomping ground, and I’m now indulging my dinosaur obsession with my daughter, who is, at seven, already a more knowledgeable palaeontologist than I ever was.

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

He Said/She Said Erin Kelly Laura witnesses a rape during an eclipse at a festival. Fifteen years later, she and her boyfriend, Kit, are living in fear. What really happened on that terrible day? Whose version of that day can we really believe? Kelly is a master at the small mistakes that will unravel lives for years to come.

The Night Visitor Lucy Atkins TV presenter and historian, Professor Olivia Sweetman, is about to launch her bestselling biography, Annabelle, about a Victorian surgeon who confesses to murdering her husband. But Olivia’s book and her reputation is based upon a lie, and one person knows the truth – a socially awkward house-keeper, Vivian Tester. An intriguing and intelligent read.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I watched the TV series and read the book at the same time. I loved this story of friendship between three mothers and the dark secret that connects them.

Who is Sanjida Kay? ‘Bone by Bone’, published by Corvus Books, is my first psychological thriller. It was longlisted for a CWA Steel Dagger Award, and was nominated as one of the best crime and thriller books of the year by the Guardian and the Sunday Express. It’s recently been published as an audio book by Audible.

My second thriller, ‘The Stolen Child’, is out in paperback in September. It’s set in Ilkley, where I grew up. I spent a large proportion of my childhood rambling over the moor, as you’ll probably be able to tell!

I live in Bristol, with my husband and daughter.

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