Today it's my pleasure to welcome Cara Hunter back to the blog to talk about her second novel In the Dark which was published on Thursday.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing journey?
The last few months have been an amazing rollercoaster. It was exciting enough to have Close to Home bought by Penguin, but then finding out it was going to be a Richard & Judy pick, and going into the Sunday Times bestseller list in the first week! I’ve had such wonderful feedback from readers and I’m really excited to see what they think of In The Dark.
If you had to give an elevator pitch for In the Dark, what would it be?
It starts with the discovery of a young woman and a child locked in a cellar in a big Victorian house in a prosperous North Oxford street. Despite the fact that the old man who lives there claims to have no idea who they are, it looks for all the world as if Oxford has its own equivalent of the notorious and terrifying Fritzl case. But as DI Adam Fawley is about to discover, nothing is what it seems….
How much research did you need to do into police procedures to enable you to start writing this series?
Most of what I did before I wrote Close to Home was either on the internet or (I confess!) by indulging my love for TV crime. But I now have a real-life DI who reads my early drafts and helps me make sure that everything is as close as possible to what would really happen in a police investigation.
What inspired you to use Social Media snippets as a tool throughout your stories?
I think crime is always a reflection of the society that provokes it, and the best crime drama (on and off the page) explores the community where the crime takes place. One way I try to do this in the Fawley books is by bringing in wider perspectives - including through the way outside observers react on social media to what they hear and see. Of course, many of these observations are ill-informed, and none of them know all the detail of what is really happening. But sometimes, people who aren’t too closely involved in a situation can have a more astute understanding of it than those dealing with it every day.
Why did you decide to set this series in Oxford as opposed to any other UK town or city?
Because I live there! And because it’s such a fascinating city. There are so many different geographical ‘villages’ within it (even though it’s not a large town), and there are different communities criss-crossing those districts as well – most obviously ‘town and gown’ but also industry, commerce, schools, and the many overseas people who live and work here.
Describe Adam Fawley in 3 words.
Clever, compassionate, observant.
What essentials do you need to have close to hand when you are in writing mode?
Coffee! (no surprises there).
What would you say is the best thing about writing? And on the flip side, what is the hardest?
Being able to do this job full time is an absolute privilege. I love being able to dip in and out of Adam’s world and I am so lucky to have such a wonderful team supporting me at Penguin, and such engaged and intelligent readers too.
The hardest thing is finding as much time as I’d like to write. It’s very full-on at the moment, with In The Dark coming out, No Way Out in copy-editing, and the fourth one being written. But wow, that’s a high-class problem to have!
What novel have you read that you wish you had written?
The Lord of the Rings is probably my all-time favourite book. Imagine writing something that has inspired and enchanted so many millions over the best part of a century.
Do you treat yourself to something to celebrate the publication of your books?
A glass of champagne (but don’t tell my editor!!)
And finally what can we expect from your next?
No Way Out is coming in January 2019 (not ling to wait!) and book 4 this time next year. But the title of that one is still a secret, at least for now.....
DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY'RE HIDING IN THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR?
A woman and child are found locked in a basement room, barely alive.
No one knows who they are - the woman can't speak, and there are no missing persons reports that match their profile. The elderly man who owns the house claims he has never seen them before.
The inhabitants of the quiet Oxford street are in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? But DI Adam Fawley knows that nothing is impossible.
And that no one is as innocent as they seem...
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