Wednesday 17 June 2020

Just for the Thrill - Guest Post Ruth Heald

It's been a while since I've has a guest on my blog so I'm particularly delighted that today I'm welcoming fellow Bookouture author, Ruth Heald, to the hot seat! Ruth's latest novel, I know Your Secret, was published last week and I've been dying to ask her a few questions about her writing. Here are her replies.

Have you always wanted to write in the psychological thriller genre?

For a long time I didn’t think about genre at all and just wrote books on themes or questions I was interested in. But I’d always read and loved psychological thrillers and I wanted to write something that would find an audience and that readers would really connect with. I saw how popular psychological thrillers were and decided to write one myself!


Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when the idea for your latest novel came to you?

My latest book is based on an idea that’s been drifting around in the back on my mind for years. I’ve always been interested in power imbalances, especially between women. I Know Your Secret is about a marriage counsellor and her client. Neither woman is exactly who they say they are and they both try to manipulate each other as the stakes get higher and higher.


Are you a plotter or a pantster and how long does it take you to write your thrillers?

I aspire to be a planner, but I can’t seem to stick to my outlines! I tend to know a few key scenes and the ending before I start and these usually stay the same throughout the drafting process. But no matter how much I plan the rest of the book, it all seems to change as the story evolves. 

My thrillers take about nine months to a year to write. I usually have a couple on the go at the same time.


Could you describe your typical writing day?

There’s no typical day! I’m looking after my young children a lot of the time, so I have to fit around them. When I have childcare I write the entire time without stopping. Otherwise I write when there’s the opportunity – so during nap time and evenings and weekends.


I’m sure my readers would love to hear about your road to publication. Was it long and winding or did you take a short cut?

It feels long, but I think that’s pretty typical! The most common characteristic amongst published writers seems to be resilience. My journey began way back in 2001, when I started writing my first novel but never finished it. Eleven years later I published 27: Six Friends, One Year. Following that I wrote four more novels and started many more, but just kept them on my hard drive. After my daughter was born in 2016, I decided to take my writing more seriously and I started writing The Mother’s Mistake, and I was very pleased when Bookouture acquired it the following year.  


Do you ever struggle to find inspiration?

Not at all – there’s inspiration absolutely everywhere, in every person and everything going on around us. I don’t struggle for ideas – I couldn’t write all the books in my head if I had all the time in the world. I do struggle to stay focused on one book at a time and not be tempted to start a new book whenever a new idea comes in.


Describe a typical publication day.

There’s always a lot of social media to do to let readers know the book’s out. I also make sure I take a bit of time to celebrate with a nice lunch with family and try to do something relaxing too like going for a walk or treating myself to a Thai massage.


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

At the moment, I spend a lot of time with my young children, going out for walks and watching them delight in the simple pleasures of life.


Which writers in your genre inspire you?

There are so many brilliant writers in my genre. Recently I’ve really enjoyed books by Lisa Jewell, Tammy Cohen and Victoria Helen Stone.


Persuade my readers to buy your book in one sentence.

I think I’ll get someone else to do it for me! Here’s a quote from a review: “Completely unpredictable and a fantastic read from start to finish!”


What next for Ruth Heald?

I have another psychological thriller in the pipeline for release in February. It’s about a doomed wedding. I’ve just finished the first draft and I’m looking forward to the edits! 

Ruth Heald is the bestselling author of psychological thrillers The Mother's Mistake, The Woman Upstairs and I Know Your Secret.

Ruth studied Economics at Oxford University and then worked in an eclectic mix of sectors from nuclear decommissioning to management consulting. She worked at the BBC for nine years before leaving to write full time. Ruth is fascinated by psychology and finding out what drives people to violence, destruction and revenge. She’s married with two children and her novels explore our greatest fears in otherwise ordinary, domestic lives.

You can connect with Ruth on Twitter @RJ_Heald, or Facebook 


Amazon links to Ruth's books: 

I Know Your Secret

The Mother's Mistake

The Woman Upstairs