Drum roll please … The Silent Children is out
Vienna, 1938: something’s amiss at the home of young Annabel Albrecht and it’s got nothing to do with the Nazis. First, her favourite maid Eva disappears, then her friend Oskar. Worse is to come – her brother is murdered and her mother is taken away, leaving Annabel to fend for herself.
Almost 70 years later, Annabel’s son Max uncovers his mother’s long-buried past, and unlocks the secrets preserved by Annabel’s missing friends. But as Max is to discover, some children can never be completely silenced. Is he haunted by ghosts or by guilt, and will he ever escape?
After three years, four weeks, two days, one child, then another, The Silent Children is out. Finally, my Better Half can breathe a sigh of relief now that I’ve stopped breathing life into the characters and their story.
As I think about the process of writing this book, there are a few things I’ve learnt along the way:
Don’t dream about how good Benedict Cumberbatch or Eddie Redmayne would be as your main character because it’ll never happen. Besides, if you constantly moon over them, you’ll never finish your book.
Because they will do one of two things: (1) give you a five-stars-this-is-Booker-Prize-material!!!! critique for fear of your wrath if they confess it’s a load of rubbish, or (2) not read it, for fear it’ll be a load of rubbish and they’ll be forced to tell you (and hence, face your wrath.)
Because it may end in divorce.
At the end of April last year, I thought my novel was done, but it wasn’t. I spent another nine months redrafting it (with my brilliant editor, Averill Buchanan) and generally tearing my hair out and driving my Better Half nuts.
Even though what you’ve written is pure fiction, you just know people will read into what you’ve written, trying to tie you to the story. Sometimes I think it would be better to keep my book to myself, rather than letting it loose. But then I think of Elsa from Frozen and I just have to …
I’m petrified of anything that goes bump in the night. I don’t know what inspired me to write a ghost story other than my love of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black. My Better Half and others said that the scary scenes weren’t scary enough. I had to do better. By the time I finished the book, I needed to go into rehab. (Okay, I didn’t, but you get my drift.)
I got into the (bad) habit of writing at night when my Better Half was away and my kids were asleep. I scared myself senseless and couldn’t sleep.
One night, I felt a presence by the side my bed. I opened my eyes and saw a silhouette of a small child standing in front of me. I screamed. I gave my Better Half a heart attack. He switched on the light. There, with Dolly the Sheep tucked under her arm and a big grin on her face, was our oldest daughter.
So there you have it: The Silent Children. I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please tell your friends, family, your boss (okay, maybe don’t go that far.) Perhaps you could even write a review. And if you don’t enjoy it, tell me! (I promise I won’t cry.) And another thing: half of any royalties earned will be donated to the charity, Borne – a great cause (registered charity number 1067412-7.) Even if you hate the book, hate fiction, hate my writing, please buy a few copies, and then some more, for the simple reason that you’ll be helping a very special organisation.
The Silent Children is available as a paperback and eBook from the following places:
UK & Rest of World
(and other e-retailers)
*Link will take you to the UK site, but you should be automatically redirected to your home country site