Author Interview: Lucy Clarke
“Life shouldn’t be reduced to filtered images and captions, should it? It’s about birth and death and that beautiful, brutal stretch of time between.”
― Lucy Clarke, You Let Me In
Anyone that knows me knows I love reading a good mystery or psychological thriller, and Lucy Clarke is one of my favourite authors in the genre. She’s (so far) written five amazing novels, including You Let Me In and Last Seen.
I love finding out more about the authors behind my favourite books, so I was incredibly happy when Lucy agreed to answer some questions for my blog…
Describe yourself in three words
Full of life.
The sea always features prominently in your stories, and I read that you do a lot of writing on the beach – do you think this theme will continue in your books?
Absolutely. I love to set my novels in a place – or places – that excite and inspire me. For me, that invariably means by the sea. I write from a beach hut on the south coast of England, and there’s nothing I love more than setting my imagination on an empty horizon.
What is the process when it comes to writing your novels? Do you have them planned out or do they change a lot as you write?
I always write my first draft by hand – I love the connectivity of ideas to page, and I typically write several drafts, layering as I go. I might focus on a particular theme in one draft, or the pace in another, and it’s a way of helping me dive deeper to create more complex characters and plot lines. I’m working on my sixth novel at the moment, and one of the key ways my writing process has changed over the years is that I don’t tend to plan the second half of my stories in advance. I think I have the confidence to know it’s okay to be led by my characters and to allow myself to be surprised.
I read in your author’s notes at the end of The Blue/No Escape that you spent time in the Philippines, researching for the novel. What inspired this location? Do you enjoy the research aspect of the writing process?
I’d never visited the Philippines before writing The Blue/No Escape, but I felt it would be a fantastic setting for a yacht trip around uninhabited islands. Then came the fun part: a month-long research trip with my backpack and travel journal. I took notes on everything I could, and even managed to hitch a ride on a yacht for a few nights. Having never sailed before, it was an incredible experience to spend day and night on the water, to eat our meals on deck, to anchor in deserted lagoons, and to fall asleep to the sound of waves.
Which authors inspire you – and what are your favourite books to read?
I love reading psychological thrillers. Some of my favourite authors in this genre include Megan Abbott, Sabine Durrant, Clare Mackintosh, and Gillian McAllister. I also love well-written women’s fiction, like Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere, and writers like Liane Moriarty who blend meaty morality issues with a light touch and sense of humour. My absolute literary idol is Maggie O’Farrell – and I regularly re-read her wonderful novels. Tim Winton and Favel Parrett are two other favourite authors, who write about landscapes and seascapes with unrivalled beauty.
Aside from writing, what are your favourite things to do?
Paddleboarding, yoga, hiking, camping, surfing . . . basically anything that involves being out in the fresh air.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life…what would it be?
Chicken korma made by my husband 🙂
What are you working on at the moment?
My sixth novel, which is set on an uninhabited island in the South Pacific. I can’t share too many details just yet, other than to say, it’s going to be dark and twisty…
Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
My first manuscript was rejected by publishers and, although at the time it was hugely disappointing, I think I really cut my teeth with that novel and began learning my craft. So, I would say that every word you write – whether it goes on to be published or not – is all part of your writing journey and isn’t time wasted. So just keep on writing . . . and writing . . . and writing . . .
Thank you SO much to Lucy for taking the time to answer these questions