Monday, 23 March 2015

You Think You Know Me - Clare Chase

About the book...
Sometimes, it’s not easy to tell the good guys from the bad …

Freelance journalist, Anna Morris, is struggling to make a name for herself, so she’s delighted to attend a launch event for a hip, young artist at her friend Seb’s gallery.

But an exclusive interview isn’t all Anna comes away with. After an encounter with the enigmatic Darrick Farron, she is flung into the shady underground of the art scene – a world of underhand dealings, missing paintings and mysterious deaths …

Seb is intent on convincing Anna that Darrick is up to no good but, try as she might, she can’t seem to keep away from him. And, as she becomes further embroiled, Anna begins to wonder – is Seb’s behaviour the well-intentioned concern of an old friend, or does he have something to hide?

About the author...
Clare Chase writes fast-paced romantic mysteries. Her novels are inspired by what makes people tick, and how strong emotions can occasionally turn everyday incidents into the stuff of crime fiction. You Think You Know Me is her debut novel.

Clare wrote dodgy whodunnits in primary school, read English at London University, and honed her creative writing skills whilst working in PR. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and the Crime Writers’ Association.

She lives in Cambridge with her husband and teenage daughters.
In her spare time, she enjoys drawing, exploring new places and nosing into other people’s business. The PR professional in her calls it research.

Author interview...

Welcome to Crooks on Books Clare.

Thanks so much for having me - it’s lovely to be here!

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’ve always been fascinated by people’s motivations, and that goes well with my chosen genre, where they’re so crucial. And I love mixing mystery with a love story; it feels like a chance to double the intrigue! 

I’m inspired by places too. I love Cambridge, where I live, but also feel a strong connection with London, where I went to university, and the Lake District, where we escape for family holidays. I use both settings in You Think You Know Me.

  • How and why did you get into writing?

As a child, I quickly realised books let me go on adventures I’d never normally experience. I think writing’s the same. I can travel with my heroines through thrilling and scary situations and then experience their narrow escapes and happy endings. I also love plotting mystery fiction, and pondering the clues. It can keep me occupied for hours and is excellent if I can’t sleep!

  • If you weren’t a writer what would your dream job be?

That’s a tricky one! Am I allowed to say eternal student? I loved studying English Literature, but I’d also like to know more about psychology and criminology.

  • Describe a typical day in the life of Clare Chase the author.

Breakfast time is a scramble, as the whole family rushes to get off to work and school. I have a day job in the mornings. (So I guess that should be a half-day job!) The afternoons and evenings are a rich mixture of writing, family time and sneaking on to Twitter! If I’m on a roll, I’ll stay up late and write into the night. I never get up earlier than I have to! 

  • Do you read and write in the same genre?

I certainly love reading romantic mysteries. (I haven’t looked back since I discovered Mary Stewart as a teenager.) But I read just about every other sort of book too.

  • Tell us a little bit about your debut book You Think You Know Me.

It’s a murder mystery, set in the arts world: lies, passion and intrigue in London and the Lakes. 

The story opens when Anna, the heroine, meets a stranger in an art gallery. She falls for him on sight, but finds he’s given her a false name. Torn between backing off, and allowing him to explain, Anna gets drawn in. She becomes part of a history that’s already been written, up against a killer who has everything to lose.

Here’s a link to the book trailer:

  • You Think You Know Me has so many strings pulling the story together What is your interest in - journalism, crime and art?  Why include these topics in your book?

They’re actually all part of my background. My mother trained as an artist, and my brother followed the same route, so I grew up surrounded by people drawing, and the smell paint. We often went to exhibitions and watched art documentaries. Meanwhile, there’s overlap with my career and Anna’s. I trained as a freelance and feature writer, and wrote news articles for several years. And then there’s crime… Some time ago, I co-ran a prison reading group, which was fascinating. Its members were seemingly affable men, who loved their books, but who’d landed up inside. I couldn’t ask them about their backgrounds, of course, but I knew one of them was a lifer. I’d never have guessed it from talking to him.

  • How much research into the locations and the psychology of the story line was required to give realism to the novel?

I visit London quite regularly, but I had to go back to Hampstead, where I lived as a student, to see what had changed. We also visit the Lake District most years and I find it incredibly beautiful. I wrote those bits of the book from memory, but then went to specific locations, to be sure of the details. I found I had to re-check the café on the shores of Derwentwater several times. (Very good cake…!)

As for the psychology, I tend to see traits in public figures and then exaggerate them to create my criminals. So, it might be that someone in the news has been prepared to lie to safeguard their reputation. I might exaggerate that, so that they’re prepared to kill for it. It seems to me that the lengths people go to are on a sliding scale, and you can turn up the intensity, whilst keeping the motivation believable.

  • Is there a message for your readers in your book and what do you hope they take from it?

The book’s all about trust, and friendship, and how much you can rely on your first, and continuing impressions. I hope my readers will find that interesting. Most importantly, I want them to be entertained. Life can be quite pressured at times, and I do think escapism’s valuable.

  • Describe the feeling when you heard you’d got a publishing contract.
I was completely overwhelmed. I’m afraid I ran my mobile battery down on the train back home from London, which probably means I annoyed everyone with non-stop talking! 

  • What can we expect from you in the future?
I’ve written the first couple of novels in a new romantic mystery series set in Cambridge. They’re with Choc Lit’s reading panel at the moment. Meanwhile, I’m working on a novella, which is a sequel to You Think You Know Me. It’s refreshing to alternate between the two.

Now for a little bit of fun, a glimpse 
at the real Clare Chase:-

What’s your favourite tipple? 
Red wine, but Bailey’s as a treat!

Do you prefer savoury or sweet things? 
That’s asking me to choose between crisps and chocolate… Can I come back to you?

Friends coming round  - cook or get a take-away? 
Cook – but something easy.

Do you prefer hot or cold climates? 
Hot. I live in a draughty Victorian terrace and spend much of the year craving warmth.

Do you prefer a beach holiday or city break?
City break – I love hubbub, history and people-watching.

Which would you prefer luxury cruise or fly long haul first class?
Two experiences I’ve never had! But if it’s a return journey, I could maybe do both? ☺

Do you prefer to go to the cinema or theatre?
The theatre. (I love cinema too, but the theatre’s a rarer treat.)

Which do you prefer comedy or true stories when watching a film? 
Ooh – maybe true stories? But only by a whisker, and depending on my mood.

Do you have any pets? 
None that we’ve invited into the house ourselves…

Tell us something we don’t know about you?
I once got stuck on the wrong train and shunted all the way from Cambridge to London. There. That’s that off my chest.

Thanks for visiting my blog Clare :)

It’s been lovely, Dawn – thank you! 

International Amazon buying link:


  1. Thanks so much again for having me, Dawn!

    1. It's my pleasure, thank you for visiting.

  2. Replies
    1. It's lovely to get an insight into an authors life and Clare is so lovely :)

    2. Thanks so much, both of you. I had a really nice time answering your questions, Dawn! :-)

  3. Fab post, and lovely to find out more about you, Clare :-)

    1. Isn't it just, but I'm worried Derwentwater is my most favouritism part of the lakes!

    2. Thanks so much for commenting, Laura. I agree with you on Derwentwater, Dawn, and in reality I associate it with boating and ice creams, rather than anything more sinister! :-)

  4. What a lovely interview, ladies. I always enjoy finding out more about the author and also the story behind the story, so to speak. Clare, I have your book lined up to read on my Kindle and after reading the above, cannot WAIT to dive in! :) X

    1. Aw - thanks so much, Jan! :-)

    2. Thanks for visiting and sharing Jan - it does sound a fab book doesn't it? - intriguing!!

  5. Eternal student! I likey. MInd you, I suppose as wrtiers we do get to be a bit studenty. Lots of research and odd-snacking. Great interview, Clare and Dawn. Thanks for sharing. :) xx

    1. We are a bit, aren't we? I've never quite thought of it that way, Sheryl, but we are always learning, either to improve our writing skills or through research for the next book :-)

    2. That's very true, and an enjoyable aspect of writing. Thanks so much for commenting. :-)

  6. Lovely interview and nice to hear about the real Clare Chase, I agree with the Bailey's treat!!
    Loved the book too, fantastic book and really fab ending.

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Amanda. Glad you approve of the Bailey's! :-)

    2. This is where we differ, I'm really looking forward to reading the book but Baileys - yuk - drink of the devil :( xx

  7. What a great interviews - I thoroughly enjoyed finding out more about 'the real' Clare :) Like you, I've been 'inside' in a previous job and was also struck by the contrast between apparently pleasant characters and the crimes that had put them there. I haven't used the experience in my writing yet though! Looking forwards to the next books as I loved 'You Think You Know Me' .

    1. Thanks so much for the kind comment, Chris - It's really interesting to hear your impressions of the inmates you met match mine.

  8. ooh I'd like to be a fly on the wall for that conversation :/)

  9. Haha, I'm with you on the drafty (currently leaky) Victorian terrace! What a fun interview - some great questions and answers! You Think You Know Me is a great book - Dawn, you're in for a treat if you haven't read it yet. :)

    1. Thanks for your kind comments Sally :) I'm really looking forward to reading it soon xx

    2. Thanks so much from me too, Sally. It was really good fun answering Dawn's questions! :-)

  10. Interesting reading about your life and writing. I'm looking forward to your new books as I loved your debut! Angela Britnell

    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment, Angela. :-)

  11. Yay! It's not just me then. I had to change trains between Southampton and St Austell, and ended up in Reading. Nice interview, Clare - I loved You Think You Know Me.

    Liv x

    1. Wow - that's amazing, Liv - and makes You Think You Know Me one of the most inconvenient novels around! ;-) Thanks so much!