Try Not Too Breathe by Holly Seddon
You won’t be able to put it down.
Just remember to breathe.
Alex is sinking. Slowly but surely, she’s cut herself off from everything but her one true love – drink. Until she’s forced to write a piece about a coma ward, where she meets Amy.
Amy is lost. When she was fifteen, she was attacked and left for dead in a park. Her attacker was never found. Since then, she has drifted in a lonely, timeless place. She’s as good as dead, but not even her doctors are sure how much she understands.
Alex and Amy grew up in the same suburbs, played the same music, flirted with the same boys. And as Alex begins to investigate the attack, she opens the door to the same danger that has left Amy in a coma…
Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon
Robin and Sarah weren’t the closest of twins. They weren’t even that similar. But they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another.
Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time she watches – watches the street, the houses, the neighbours. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn’t…
And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted – the good-looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home. But she’s just been accused of the most terrible thing of all. She can’t be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago. And to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister.
But Sarah isn’t the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in motion, leading Robin and Sarah to fight for much more than their relationship…
Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?
A) I’m a British author, living in Amsterdam with my family. My background is in journalism (the softer end, I’m too wimpy for hard news) and my first book Try Not to Breathe was published in January 2016.
Don’t Close Your Eyes is my second novel and follows the story of Robin and Sarah, non-identical twins split apart in childhood through their parents’ actions, and now living fractured and frightening lives. With danger knocking on Robin’s door and Sarah experiencing unbearable loss, they need each other more than ever.
Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?
A) Well, I think the path to debut publication is fairly well known. You send a synopsis and sample (usually three chapters) to agents, hopefully one or more will request a full manuscript and hopefully one or more will offer to represent you. They will then work on the manuscript with you, giving you editorial notes, and then when it’s ready, it will be submitted to publishers to see who will offer a book deal. That’s a very whistle-stop and optimistic version, but perhaps the path to second book publication is less well known?
With traditional publishers, you will generally get a two-book deal, as was the case with me. When you’re negotiating this, only one book will generally already exist but it’s quite common to include a paragraph or a longer outline of a potential book two. So the idea is often already known to the publisher, although you may end up doing a completely different book when the time comes.
I think most people have a close working relationship with their agents, and I certainly trust my agent immensely so I run ideas past her before I start to write. With Don’t Close Your Eyes, I wrote quite a detailed outline and refined it with both my agent and my editor before I started writing because there was quite a tight deadline and, with three school aged kids, a young baby and no childcare at the time, living in a brand new city, I didn’t have any cushioning to make a false start.
The fact is, as always, the finished first draft developed in its own direction a little but it had more or less followed the basic outline.
I then edited based on my agent’s notes (she has an amazing editorial eye) and then we sent it to my editor. From there, we went through several rounds of edits, chiselling away (in some parts, hacking and sawing) until it was ready. Alongside this, at the publisher, they will be looking at ideal publication dates, covers, maybe even title changes. All of my books have had their titles changed… I’m bad at titles.
Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?
A) Non-fiction wise, I love everything by Augusten Burroughs. I recommend starting with Running With Scissors, then Dry, then Lust and Wonder, and then anything and everything else that he’s written.
I adored Annaliese Mackintosh’s first story collection (part fiction, part autobiography) Any Other Mouth and am excited to start reading her first full novel, So Happy It Hurts.
I also really love the old mystery masters, I have a huge compendium of Sherlock Holmes stories that I’m very slowly working through.
Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?
A) As a child, I read everything I could get my hands on. I loved The Famous Five, The Ghost of Thomas Kempe, The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tile, anything with adventure or ghosts.
As an angry, grumpy, emotional teenager it’s probably par for the course than I loved 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and of course, a little before that, I loved Judy Blume. Than god for Judy Blume when you’re 13.
Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?
A) When Augusten Burroughs tweeted a screenshot of my book and said nice things about it. It was out of the blue and I freaked out with excitement so much that my husband misunderstood and thought something terrible had happened. You know when a dog gets in a panic and spins around, whining and howling? It was a bit like that.
Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?
A) My husband has always been very supportive and encouraging, he’s always been my champion way before I did anything to merit it. And I’m very lucky with the good friends that I have, the ones that long predate any of this. I love them like family.
But I don’t think it can be understated how nourishing and rewarding and just bloody reassuring it is to have a group of writers you can call friends. People who understand exactly what each weird cycle of this mad and exhilarating process is like.
Web site: www.hollyseddon.com
Twitter: (https://twitter.com/hollyseddon) @hollyseddon