Good morning Claire and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?
Hi Jo. Thanks for having me. Well, I’m from a little town called Chipping Sodbury in South Gloucestershire, although as an adult I’ve moved around a lot. We moved to Bath five years ago. I’m married with two young(ish) children who keep me very busy when I’m not writing – particularly at this time of the year!
How did your writing journey begin?
I was a journalist for fifteen years – starting out in local newspapers and eventually writing true-life stories and health features for women’s magazines including Take-A-Break and Bella. I always wanted to write fiction though. I wrote my first novel at 24 and was rejected. Then I wrote three more and had more rejections, but also some encouraging comments. In 2013, I’d just started writing what would become “The Sisters”, when I saw Marie Claire magazine were holding a debut novel competition. The prize was a publishing deal with HarperCollins. I sent off the first three chapters and a synopsis and then put it out of my mind, not really believing anything would come of it. A few months later I received the surprising – and life changing – news that I’d won.
What was the inspiration behind the plot of Last Seen Alive?
I’ve always been interested in the house swap idea, although I’ve never done one myself, but have friends who have. And it got me thinking, what would happen if you were in someone else’s house and you found something that really freaked you out? And then knowing that those same people were in your house!
If money was no object where in the world would you like to visit and why?
Definitely Burma. My husband is half Burmese, although he was brought up in England and has never been there. His mum left the country when she was ten. My husband and I would both love to visit and for the children to see the place where their grandmother was from.
What’s next for you? Are you currently working on a new WIP? If so are you able to tell us anything about it?
I’m currently writing my fourth novel – another psychological suspense, although I’m still in the early stages. It’s a family who move to the Brecon Beacons to run a guest house. When the owner Kirsty’s cousin comes to stay it’s not long before she’s found murdered and suspicion falls on one of the other guests. But, of course, there is more to it than that … secrets, lies and past events come to light and Kirsty realises that nothing is as it seems.
And lastly, if you were planning a chill out few months on a desert island, what would your four must-haves be and why?
Ooh this is hard! I think I’d definitely need to bring a notepad and pen so I can write stories (is that classed as two things?) A book – maybe Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials because a) it’s three books in one and b) I’ve only read it once and I’d love to read it again. And tea bags. I couldn’t survive a few hours let alone months without some tea!
Claire Douglas always wanted to write novels and, after many years of trying to get published, her dream came true when she won the Marie Claire Debut Novel Award in 2013 with THE SISTERS.
Her subsequent novels LOCAL GIRL MISSING and recently released LAST SEEN ALIVE are both Sunday Times top ten bestselelrs.
You can find Claire on Twitter at @DougieClaire or visit her Facebook page clairedouglasauthor.
LAST SEEN ALIVE – SYNOPSIS
She can run
Libby Hall needs to hide, to escape from everything for a while. Which is why the house swap is a godsend. The chance for Libby and her husband Jamie to exchange their tiny Bath flat for a beautiful haven on the wild Cornish coast.
But she can’t hide
But before they can begin to heal their fragile marriage, Libby makes some disturbing discoveries about the house. And soon the peace and isolation begin to feel threatening. How alone are they? Why does she feel watched?
Because someone knows her secret
What is Jamie hiding? Is Libby being paranoid? And why does the house bring back such terrible memories? Memories Libby’s worked hard to bury. Memories of the night she last saw her best friend alive . . . and what she did.