One of the first things people say when they discover that I write novels is, “Gosh, you should write a book about my life!” I often reply with, “I probably already have in some way!” Love, loss, heartbreak, betrayal, joy, birth, death, humour… these are life experiences most people can relate to and identify with on some level so for me writing about these subjects feels like making a human connection. I love the fact that everyone has a story to tell, whether it’s good, bad, or downright ugly.
I have always written in some way or form since I can remember; diaries, poetry, love letters, stories, random thoughts…it is an intrinsic part of who I am and I feel utterly humbled and blessed to now be able to make a living from it, though it took many years of dogged determination and, frankly being skint, to get to such a point. I never gave up simply because writing was and is a compulsion for me, part of my DNA. Whether I‘d have made a living from it or not, I know I would and will always continue to write.
My early career as a journalist definitely helped give me the tools I needed to write fiction. Journalism is a very difference discipline but it taught me about the importance of research and deadlines and made me less precious about the editing process. It was good grounding for me to progress into writing fiction, although I always try to base my work as close to real life and experiences as possible. Human psychology fascinates me, especially (and admittedly) the darker side of the human condition. In my early career, I wrote what is classed as ‘women’s fiction,’ which included glamour and sex, but intrigue and crime has always featured in my work as a writer. It was a logical and organic progression to begin to write psychological/crime fiction with a domestic twist. It is my confortable place as a writer – it is what fascinates and excites me. My new title, The Night of The Party, focuses (among other things) on asking that age-old question of, ‘do we really, truly know anyone, even those closest to us?’
Character, when you think about it, is everything. I particularly enjoy developing and writing my characters, they become absolutely real people to me during the writing process and I love bringing them to life. As with us all, they have flaws and (I hope) are multi dimensional and believable, people you can empathise with, even the less savoury or likeable ones! When readers have fed back to me that they actually feel empathy for some of the killers in my books, I always feel quite (perhaps perversely) chuffed, as this has always been my intention. I like to explore the psychology of how the character became the way they did, to give the reader an understanding of what led them to make the choices they have.
With two teenage boys and a delightful but demanding Dachshunddog, I have trained myself through necessity to be able to write through anything. I would love be able to ‘do a Daphne Du Marier’ (incidentally one of my favourite authors) and hole myself up in a remote Highland retreat somewhere and write in peace and solitude, but maybe that is something for the future. For now, I am a busy single mum who, like many, many women, are simply doing their best to spin a lot of plates. But I am very disciplined and somehow, in amongst the chaos, I find a way to do what I love best and what brings me a lot of joy.
Currently, I manage to write one book a year, but ideally I would love to write two. Usually, as I’m finishing one script, I am already thinking, plotting and planning the next…and the next…
Another question people ask me (and most authors) is: “where do you get your ideas from?” And for me this is perhaps the trickiest to answer for the simple reason that I’m not entirely sure myself. I think perhaps it is subconscious, but also it can be something as simple as something someone has said to me that sparks off a thought process or idea. It could be a character trait, something I have read, or something I, or someone else, has experienced, a thought or feeling that I can embellish and build upon. There is often truth and authenticity in writing about what you know, or have experienced, either directly or indirectly.
My initial goal when I started writing my first ever script was to finish it! Then it was to share it with others (ideally) via publication, and for those others to enjoy it as much as I did writing it (and all my other titles). It is intensely personal writing a novel, and once it is out there in the public domain there is always the anticipation and anxiety of how it will be received. I feel a duty towards readers not to let them down, and nothing brings me greater joy than to read feedback from readers who have enjoyed and identified with my books. It’s really the greatest feeling to know that somehow you have connected with people you have never even met.
I’m sure many authors feel as I do in that they would love to see their work taken from page to screen. This is definitely something I would love and hope to achieve in my career as a writer. I would be interested to see how my characters and stories would be brought to life in a visual way and how they would be interpreted for screen. Back when I began to write my first ever script, I would never have believed I would be where I am today, so all I can say is: never say never, and to keep hoping. Hope is the last thing ever lost!
For now, though, my goal is to keep doing the thing I love. All the time I have readers who are kind enough to support my work and enjoy it, I’ll keep writing!
(c) Anna-Louise Weatherley
About The Night of the Party:
Two Couples. Three Secrets. One Murder.
In a beautiful house surrounded by woodland, the Drayton family and their dearest friends are enjoying dinner together. The wine is flowing, the meal has been lovingly prepared, and it’s going to be an evening none of them will ever forget…
A doting mother
with a manipulative daughter.
A loving husband
lying to his family.
A close friend
keeping a shocking secret.
A beautiful girl
who will be dead by the end of the night.
A totally unputdownable and nail-bitingly tense psychological thriller with an explosive double twist that will leave you reeling. Fans of Lisa Jewell, Gillian McAllister and Lucy Foley will be hooked on The Night of the Party.
Order your copy online here.