Monday, 9 March 2015

You Belong To Me - Samantha Hayes

About the book...
The compelling new psychological suspense novel featuring DI Lorraine Fisher, from the author of Until You’re Mine and Before You Die.

Isabel left England to escape her past. For the first time in months, she's beginning to feel safe. But then a letter shatters her world once more as she learns of her parents' death in a car crash. Reluctantly she returns home, unable to shake off the feeling she's being watched but determined not to let fear rule her life any more. 

DI Lorraine Fisher is in the middle of a big murder case -- a serial killer is preying on young women. And it seems they had all complained of being stalked. She too is convinced she's being watched. 

Are both women victims of their own imagination or is someone out there watching and waiting? And will one of them be next? 

You Belong to Me by Samantha Hayes, published by Century, at £12.99

About the author...
I grew up in the Midlands with my parents and younger brother. I always wanted to be a writer and pestered for my first typewriter when I was ten. It wasn’t a clear-cut path to my dream career and it took several decades longer to get there than I’d anticipated. But along the way I had many experiences, met a host of intriguing people, lived in several continents, met my husband, and had my three beautiful children.

Over the years I’ve worked as a private investigator, bar maid, car cleaner, fruit picker, accounts clerk, nursery nurse, waitress…and I learnt to fly a plane before I could drive a car because for a while I wanted to be a pilot.

I travelled the world and spent an eye-opening time living on a kibbutz, where, having always written as a child and teenager, I was inspired to write longer fiction. After some more backpacking and a stint living in London, I moved to Australia for three years, got married, and had a glorious time in Brisbane and Melbourne.

Between 1991 and 1998 I had my children. We lived in the UK and the USA, where my youngest daughter was born. After Seattle, we returned to England, finally settling back in my home county of Warwickshire, where we’ve since renovated several old houses.

I'd love it if you stopped by my website where you'll find lots of info about me and my books - www.samanthahayes.co.uk

And you can come and 'Like' my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SamanthaHayesAuthor or follow me on Twitter too - I'm @samhayes

Guest Post...

How I research...

Aside from the actual writing itself, one of the most time-consuming parts of my work is the research involved. It's often said 'Write what you know', but I don't necessarily agree with that. Really, it should be 'Write what interests you' and also 'Write what you'd like to read' because then your passion will shine through the story.

There are key areas I tend to focus on for research. The overall themes come first, and in my new book, You Belong To Me, these are obsession/stalking and fear. I'll try to read as many personal stories as possible about how people have reacted, how they felt, what they did. Then there are things such as location, and character traits or personalities - even choosing fitting names may take a while! Also there are the more 'speciality' areas, for example if one of my characters has an unusual job, or there's a particularly complicated or unusual crime. In fact, most things that I write need researching in some way, whether it's a quick two minute check on Google to see if houses really are made out of granite in the area I'm writing about, or a day's reading police manuals about how stalking cases are handled.

While it's easy to research locations on the internet, there's nothing quite like visiting the setting of your book if possible. You Belong To Me, the third in my DI Fisher series, is set in Birmingham, my nearest big city, so it's easy for me to 'stalk' the streets, map the area in my mind. A key scene in the book, which illustrates DI Fisher's state of mind, is set in a little oasis I discovered (thanks to my aunt and uncle who live in Moseley). I also sat by the hidden lake, just as my detective did when she was feeling confused and upset about her job. It made it so much more authentic.

But it's also important not to 'info dump' in a book. No one wants to read pages and pages of forensic science detail, or have a blow by blow, detailed account of the route a character took in their car. Just adding a flavour is often enough to satisfy readers, and less is usually more. Prove you know what you're talking about, but don't go on about it!


And finally, for me, the most important 'research' is my imagination. I probably spend as many hours staring into space thinking, dreaming up ideas, working how to get out of plot dead-ends, imagining characters, scenes, colours, smells etc, as I do writing and scouring the internet or visiting places. For me, imagination is at the heart of the creative process. And it's the most fun!

Follow the rest of the Blog Tour and come back here for my review at the end of the tour!

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