Friday, July 22, 2016

Q&A with Clare Mackintosh

Clare Mackintosh is the author of the new novel I Let You Go, as well as the forthcoming novel I See You. She served for 12 years on the police force in England, and her writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including The Guardian and Good Housekeeping. She lives in the Cotswolds, in England.

Q: You've said that your work as an author and a police detective involves storytelling. Did you always enjoy telling stories, and do you prefer one kind to another?

A: Yes, I was always a storyteller, right from a young age. I loved acting, dancing, singing - any kind of performance - and constantly made up stories in my head and on paper. I had no real preference for the medium, and even now I enjoy listening to radio plays as much as I enjoy reading novels, or watching a film. Right now, my focus as a writer is on novels, but I’m very open to telling stories in different ways.

Q: How important would you say the settings of your novels are in your writing process?

A: The settings of my novels are very important to me. My second book, I See You, is largely based on the Underground in London, somewhere I have always found rather unsettling and claustrophobic. It reflects the way Zoe - the central character - often feels at home, in a small house with her grown up children and her partner.

In relation to I Let You Go, much of what happens to Jenna occurs near the coast in south west Wales. The setting is based on a location called Three Cliffs Bay, on the Gower peninsula, where the cliffs encircle a beautiful sandy beach. The cliffs are at the same time protective and threatening, and the location has huge significance as the story unfolds.

Q: How do you come up with your novels' titles?

A: I’m ashamed to say that neither of my titles have been down to me! Both were suggested by my brilliant UK editor, and the second she proposed them I loved them. Titles are incredibly important, and I find them as difficult as naming my children! 

Q: What more can you tell us about I See You?

A: I See You is out in the U.K. in July 2016 and will come out in the U.S. next year. It starts with a woman who finds a photograph of herself in an advert in a free London newspaper, and sets out to find out why it’s there.  It’s a rather unsettling, frightening plot that I hope will appeal to readers of I Let You Go.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I’m working on the screenplay for I Let You Go (watch this space…) and beginning my third book, which is set in a women’s prison.

--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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