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Shelley Day: The Confession of Stella Moon

Winner of the Andrea Badenoch Award

‘A truly compulsive drama’ Irish Times

Shelley Day introduces The Confession of Stella Moon

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.

Shelley Day is a lapsed lawyer and academic psychologist who now writes mainly fiction. Her debut novel, The Confession of Stella Moon, won the Andrea Badenoch Prize, was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize, and was published in July 2016 by Saraband. Shelley also writes short stories and her debut collection will be published in 2017. She was named as an Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature ‘emerging writer’ in 2013 and read her story, ‘The Lilliput’, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Her latest story, ‘The Memory Box’, has been selected to appear in the Aesthetica Magazine’s Annual later this month.

Events

Cullercoats Library, St George’s Road, Cullercoats, North Shields, NE30 3JY
Tuesday 25 April, 7.30pm

Newcastle City Library, Charles Avison Building, 33 New Bridge Street West, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8AX
Wednesday 26 April, 2pm

Crown Street Library, Crown Street, Darlington, DL1 1ND
Saturday 20 May, 2pm

Lanchester Library, Newbiggin Lane, Lanchester, DH7 ONT
Monday 22 May, 2.15pm

Richmond Library, Queens Road, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL10 4AE
Tuesday 23 May, 7pm

Castleford Forum Library, Carlton Street, Castleford, WF10 1BB
Thursday 25 May, 2pm

Shipley Library, 2 Well Croft, Shipley, BD18 3QH
Saturday 27 May, 2pm

Hull Central Library, Albion Street, Hull, HU1 3TF
Wednesday 31 May, 6.30pm

Advance booking is advisable and all events may be subject to change. See our individual event listings for further information.

View the reading guide

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