From bodice rippers to psychological thrillers

For the people who haven’t just read my blogs but read the novels over the years, you know that, a bit like the TV Series Harlots, my books are not happy romantic frollics. They are usually stories where the characters have travelled through some emotional trauma to become who they are. So it’s not unexpected, then, that I’ve made the progression into writing psychological thrillers. What I love about writing the thrillers, though, is that they allow me to get even darker and more twisted in my writing. Halloween is a good day to say it’s fun to make things a little evil.

By the very nature of a thriller it has to persuade the reader the story is going in one direction and then go in another, but not just once several times. It’s not that easy to come up with the twists but I love working them out. I’ve often said over the years that I have to just let my mind do its thing. I don’t struggle to find ideas, I just wait for them to pop into my head when my mind is relaxed. Often ideas come in the moments before I fall asleep. But as I said yesterday, ideas also come when I listen to music.

So, the sound track to my second J.S. Lark psychological thriller, The Twins, in which I had great fun writing the story of two terribly sad and very bad sisters is …

Taylor Swift – I Did Something Bad

The whole of Taylor Swift’s Reputation album was quite good for getting in the mood to write a pyschological thriller, and I have also gone as far as mentioning that album and some of the songs when a character listens to them in a scene in the book. Something I mentioned that I do yesterday.

On my drive home from the day-job last year I used to play Taylor Swift’s albums on shuffle, and another of the songs that really used to charge my mind up with ideas for the next scene was Out of the Woods from her 1989 album. When you read the novel that’s out in November you might just make some connections to ideas that were probably sparked by that song 😉 My lips are sealed, though, I wouldn’t want to spoil a twist.

Taylor Swift – Out Of The Woods

I will share one more song of Taylor’s that I used to particularly like listening to to get me in the mood for writing The Twins story – Getaway Car, which is also on the Reputation album.

Taylor Swift – Getaway Car

The Twins

Available in ebook and audiobook on

20 November 2020

If you liked Blood OrangeThe Perfect Couple and The House Guest you will love this!

Susan and Sarah. Sisters. Best friends.

Nothing could break them apart.

Until they meet him.

And he can only choose one…

Now Susan is back. Determined to reclaim everything Sarah has taken from her.
Her home, her husband…her life?

Have you ever heard of Macon?

Have you ever heard of Macon?

The settings in my next historical book Treacle Moon (which is available on June 23) move from Rome, Italy, to a house on the edge of an English Village Green. Townend Farmhouse was one of the settings used to research this old way of life.
At Townend Farmhouse, which is in the Lake District, England, there is a preservation of a middle-class way of life that is a wonderful step back in time. In the kitchen, above the fireplace, actually within the chimney, they have placed some linen wrapped packages to show visitors how the family used to dry and smoke meat to store it. I assumed they were hams. But the family were sheep farmers and therefore the meat they cured was mutton (from sheep), not pork, and the dried meet they ate was called Macon…
I have not put this in a book, it would take too much explaining as most people will never have heard of it. Ha. Ha. 😆
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