The secrets of a bestseller

Researching a stalker was actually really fun although, you may think it was a little creepy. A lot of authors will tell you that police officers would find their Google search history very interesting, and mine would definitely be amusing if you looked back through the months when I wrote this story.

My first psychological thriller, written under the pen name J.S. Lark, has topped the Ghost Thrillers and Vigilante Justice Thrillers charts in the USA today and is in the Psychological Fiction top 20. I think therefore it is about time I got around to writing this post. I planned to do it a couple of weeks ago but then COVID-19 caught me. I am lucky to be well on the way to recovery now, though.

Of course, in real life I have never stalked someone so to understand what was possible in this story and to get into a stalker’s mind, I had to explore what can be found about someone on the internet. Without giving away any of the plot, which has a lot of twists I would hate to spoil, I can tell you I researched all of these things:

  • How the press report accidents?
  • Whether or not you can get up to the top of a car park in Swindon? The car park in the book is fictional, though, it’s a merged version of several multi storey car parks.
  • Facts about Bipolar, and videos recorded by those who have the condition.
  • Videos by clairvoyants.
  • I followed famous people on Instagram to see what their pictures could give away.
  • Then someone on a radio show talked about older family members checking into everywhere on Facebook, and giving away their location at every moment, so I explored that.
  • I looked up companies on the Companies House website to see what it tells you about the owners.
  • I looked at company websites to get ideas about how much they gave away
  • I also looked up actual obituaries – which is a bit creepy.

I did not only play stalker on the internet, though. As you know, for my historical books I do a lot of physical research, travelling to places to learn the reality in the setting, which is the whole premise for this blog. So, I did also spend a day in Bath where a large part of the book is set and walked around the areas my character does. I lived in Swindon for 16 years, and I lived in the centre of Swindon of several years, so the scenes set in Swindon are in areas I know really well. But I only recently discovered the Green Park area of Bath, and so I went there to try and get my mind into what it would feel like to sit on a park bench for hours and watch a house.

I didn’t sit on the park bench for hours, but I did sit there for one hour on a cold grey day, with a cup of take-away coffee in hand and just took in the atmosphere, and in my mind imagined what it would be like to be 100% focused on someone in the house on the other side of the road.

The outcomes of all this research can be discovered in the book…

You can buy the book from any bookseller but here is the Amazon link

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Books

The next book club meeting is on 7 April at 6pm GMT

and the next book is

The Stranger In Our Bed

by

Samantha Lee Howe