I was quite a morbid child. I was obsessed with the concept of ‘not being’. I wasn’t ‘wanting to be dead’, I was merely amazed by the idea that my intense sense of consciousness could ever simply ‘not be’. I used to shut my eyes, hide under the bedclothes and try to imagine ‘not existing’. It was thrilling and horrifying and I could only keep it up for a short time. I later became fascinated by Frankenstein films and then the novel, intrigued by the idea of an inanimate body becoming live.
New writers are often advised to ‘write what you know’. Which I totally did for my first novel THE DAUGHTER, setting it in North London where I live, and featuring a self-doubting protagonist, who was eerily like me! But for my second novel THE SAVED, I decided to push myself way out of my comfort zone and write about a subject and a place that I knew absolutely nothing about.
In the summer 2018, I hated the quince tree in my front garden. And I mean, properly detested it. I would look out of my study window and stare at it with such loathing that I thought my evil thoughts would singe the leaves, blacken the trunk and set the whole bloody thing alight, the fruits exploding like fireworks.