I have many, many authors whose books I love and cherish. But my list of author’s I openly admit to being a huge #fangirl of their writing is somewhat shorter. Last year I read 242 books and choose 20 favourite fiction reads. In that list were, not one, not two, but three books by Sarah Pinborough! With The Death House, 13 Minutes and Behind Her Eyes all making the list! My 14-year-old daughter Daisy is also a huge fan of the author and also likes following her writing success in the media. As a mother I am extremely proud that my daughter admires another woman’s success and actively seeks out to promote her work. With recommending to all her friends and demanding they stock the books in the school library!
Huge thanks to the author for being kind enough to agree to a Q&A with me on my ‘newbie’ book blog!
Q) 13 Minutes, The Death House and Behind Her Eyes are all incredibly different and unique reads. Full of twists and turns, but all have the definitive ‘Pinborough’ stamp. How do you come up with your ideas? Does the idea all come at once or are the twists added as the idea develops further?
A) Oh, if only the whole idea all came at once! That would be wonderful! The origins of books come in different ways though. So for Behind Her Eyes, I had the ending and wanted to write about an affair, for 13 Minutes I’d watched a documentary about a teenage girl murdered by her friends, and then you sort of plot out as you go. I try and have a vague idea of what it’s about, then think about it for a couple of weeks, jotting characters, and little snippets of thoughts down, and then after that – once I have an ending in place – I start figuring out the nitty gritty of the plot. I certainly don’t have it all in place when I start writing, but I will have a whole load of spider diagrams etc, ready to pull together into some sort of structure.
Q) 13 Minutes was categorised within the YA genre. I read this at the same time as my daughter and we both loved it. I found it would easily compete with adult crime fiction, despite the plot revolving around teenagers. Do you think some readers of adult crime fiction may be put off by a YA genre novel or are they becoming popular with adult readers also?
A) Oh YA is mainly read by adults – I think mainly 18-32 is the age range I read someone. The great thing about 13 Minutes is how many actual teenagers read it. It’s been great in that respect. The US version is much more YA – I had to take out quite a lot of the adult interaction for them. But yes, I think perhaps people who are serious crime readers might not necessarily pick up a book that is written for teens. But they’re missing out. YA is as well-plotted and has as much emotional depth as any adult novel.
Q) Behind Her Eyes, has had fantastic success in both the UK and USA. Will we see another psychological thriller with the Pinborough stamp?
A) Yes of course! Otherwise my publishers would kill me;-) There are definitely two more coming. One next May and one the year after. Can’t say much about them yet though!
Q) The Death House is a fantasy novel set away from the modern world. It has a story of young love which is heart-breaking and actually made me cry! I loved that the plot revolved around a never-ending threat of being sent to the sanatorium. What was the inspiration behind this plot?
A) I’d written a short story called ‘Snow Angels’ for a British Fantasy Society anthology a few years ago, and it was set in a similar institution and although that had a much more supernatural element to the story, I knew I wanted to revisit those characters and that world again. I don’t overly enjoy writing short stories, so when I do I tend to use them as ideas playgrounds for novels (my trilogy for children, The Nowhere Chronicles, came out of a short story called The Nowhere Man). I’m very happy that Snow Angels morphed into The Death House as I’m really quite proud of that book.
Q) With 13 Minutes and Behind Her Eyes, you have sold the TV/movie rights. I personally think AnnaLynne Mccord would make an ideal Natasha- 13 Minutes. What is your ideal casting for the characters?
A) I have no idea! I never really ‘see’ characters, because I’m always on the inside of them! It really is a blank page to me. I’m quite mercenary though, I’d like whoever is a big box office draw 😉
Q) You have received huge praise from fellow authors, with quotes from Stephen King and Harlan Coben on your covers. How did you feel when saw their comments of praise?
A) When Stephen King mentioned The Death House in the New York Times, it came completely out of the blue – the book wasn’t even out in the States at that time – and I sat on the sofa literally shaking. It was such an amazing moment. You can get so caught up in the business of writing, that you forget what drove you to do it in the first place – the stories written that you loved reading. And King was/is a total hero of mine. His books saw me through boarding school. So yeah, that was amazing, and then when he read and loved Behind Her Eyes that was just the icing on the cake. And of course it’s also brilliant to see a Coben quote on your book! I’ve been very very lucky with the people who have been generous enough to blurb my work.
Q) With Behind Her Eyes it is even incorporated into the book description, to not give the ending away. “Don’t Trust This Book, Don’t Trust These People, Don’t Trust Yourself And whatever you do, DON’T give away that ending…” I was lucky enough to read this in 2016, before I saw any reviews containing spoilers. Was it frustrating to read reviews that spoiled the ending?
A) Actually there haven’t been too many reviews that have mentioned the ending, and what I’m most grateful for is that no one spoiled the ending before the book came out. Even people who didn’t like it were careful not to give anything away. It’s been out a couple of months now though, so I’m sure there are plenty who comment on it. I figure most people don’t trawl through reviews before buying though. They may look at stars etc, but I doubt they read loads. If they’re anything like me they’ll just have a peek at ‘Look Inside’ and see if they like it.
Similarly, how do you deal with negative reviews?
Oh I don’t mind them. People are perfectly entitled not to like something. I certainly don’t like everything I read. Also, with a book like Behind Her Eyes it was always going to be divisive. It’s a love or hate book.
Q) 2017 has seen some amazing new releases, what is on your TBR pile? and what has been your favourites so far?
A) I think the world is in for a treat with ‘Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine’ by Gail Honeyman. It’s such a lovely book – so dark in places, so completely Bridget Jones in others. I think I described it as Bridget Jones does Dexter, but that doesn’t do it justice. It’s a joy of a book. My TBR pile is massive at the moment. Just finished Simon Toyne’s wonderful ‘The boy who saw’ which is the next in his Solomon Creed series. Such rich storytelling and so moving. I also have a crush on Creed. Christopher Golden’s ‘Ararat’ is out soon and that’s a great kind of The Thing on a mountain book. My favourite ‘people up a mountain’ book of this year and there seem to be a few of those coming out.
I’ve got the new M R Carey, my mum has stolen the new Sharon Bolton which I need to get back, Tammy Cohen’s ‘They all fall down’ sounds ingenious, and then I also have ‘Exquisite’ by Sarah Stovell, ‘Six Stories’ by Matt Wesolowkski, and ‘Gather the daughters’ by Jennie Melamed, which all sound brilliant. I’m currently reading ‘Goblin’ by Josh Malerman which is a great collection – a Derry for a new generation.
I’m very lucky in getting sent so many proofs, and now I always make sure to buy the ebook when it comes out because I’m so lucky to get to read such good stories early.
Q) what has been your favourite moment, of the success of Behind Her Eyes?
A) Well, getting to Number One on the Sunday Times Bestsellers was probably the moment, but when we went in at Number two I did have a cry. In the park. While walking my dog. Which was totally uncool 😉
Q) What’s next, are we allowed any snippets of info, on what you’re currently working on?
A) Nope, can’t give anything away there until announcements have been made!
Credit for photo: Lou Abercrombie
Authors Web page: https://sarahpinborough.com/
*Huge thanks to Sarah for answering my (slightly mammoth) Q&A. I wish you much success in your future writing career and can’t wait to hear news of the latest book! 🙂