This is my debut novel. It’s set in the North East, where I grew up. The story and the characters are rooted in the back streets of Newcastle and the wilds of the Northumberland coast. The genre of the book is Noir. It’s a dark brooding psychological tale with a twist you won’t see coming. There’s a touch of the supernatural in it too.
Stella is a self-confessed killer. We know from the start that she has killed her mother because the book opens with her detailed confession. The story then follows Stella as she’s released from prison, wanting only to restart her life. But she makes a mistake that may prove fatal. She returns to the lodging house where she lived with her grandmother only to find it abandoned and semi-derelict, her grandmother missing. The rotting house, and the memories it harbours, exert a strange power over the young Stella Moon. She’s soon pulled back into a past she hardly knew she had and, when a grim family secret comes to light, Stella is trapped; in the house, in the past, and she’s forced to realise she has killed more than once.
The ending of the story surprised me, as the writer, as much as it surprises readers! I am not a writer who plans things out – I’m a ‘Pantser’ not a ‘Planner’! – so I had no idea how the book would end when I started writing it. All I had to begin with was the character, Stella. She came to me fully fledged; I felt like I knew her, though she is not based on anyone I’ve met.
I first drafted the book when I was studying Creative Writing at Newcastle University in 2011. It’s been a long bumpy road, rewriting and rewriting, finding an agent, and finally getting published in July 2016.