I stumbled across this title on Twitter one evening and contacted the author to get a review copy. It is an E-Book so after downloading it to Kindle I told the author it may be a while before I got to read it as my To Be Read pile is huge. However, the book was calling to me and I decided to read the first few pages while waiting for X Factor to start......
Before I knew it, I was 30% through it and could literally not put it down. It grips the reader from the first page and all of a sudden, takes over from all other priorities of the day! ( I missed X Factor for starters ).
The story begins with Naomi ,19 years old , in a hotel bathroom preparing for her wedding night. She has mislaid her necklace and thinking she dropped it on the way to the room, heads off to hunt for it. She is grabbed by a masked man and thrown in the boot of car, driven for hours and wakes up in a country cottage, chained to bed.
This is the gripping tale of love, trust, innocence and family disputes. Naomi is a twin, her sister being the more assertive and confident of the two. Her father is mild mannered and controlled, like the girls, by his wife, Camilla.
Nathan is Naomi's new boyfriend who no-one seems to trust and is surrounded by a cloud of mystery.
With flashbacks to when Naomi met Nathan and some history of the troubles within the family, this book is fast paced, racy and pulls the reader on a journey which takes them in many different directions. Many times I thought I had the ending worked out, until I moved to the next page.....
A wonderfully written thriller that will have you turning the pages at a great speed, dying to know what happens next!
The characters are strong, especially Camilla and Naomi, there are no filler pages or chapters and the pace is great. Naomi is studying music in University and it is obvious that the author has an appreciation and understanding of this subject.
Naomi's innocence may not have worked as a believable trait had it not been for the balance of her sister. The reader can see how one twin could overshadow the other and how they may be completely different personalities by their own choice.
I finished the 364 page novel in two sittings. It would have been one, had my family allowed it!
Tori de Clare has kindly agreed to answer a few questions for BleachHouseLibrary so scroll down below to see our little interview.....
1. Thrillers seem to be a male dominated genre. What made you choose to write a thriller?
Well, my story is unapologetically for women and young women. I think there is a bit of a gap in the market for thrillers/crime books that aren’t explicitly violent. I don’t enjoy anything explicit. Subtlety is key for me in any book, both content and the writing itself. Personally, I don’t care for a lot of bad language either. So I didn’t include any. You have to be who you are when you’re writing. It’s a bad idea to copy or to try to be popular. It doesn’t work. I wrote the kind of book I would like to read.
I enjoy all kinds of literature, not just thrillers. Two things fascinate me about books – brilliant writing and fantastic stories. Ideally, but rarely, the two come together. If a writer is going to tell an ordinary kind of story (like Ian McEwan often does, for example – and I adore him) then they’d better be a literary genius. For the rest of us – the ordinary human beings – I’m afraid we have to rely upon other things to captivate an audience. Story and plot have to come first. So I set out to write a page-turner, just to see if I could!
2. Was the main characters young age very important to the story?
Crucial. My character is naïve and innocent when she meets her husband. She’s been home-taught and barely mixed with people her own age. She has a domineering mother and is too soft to stand up to her; she has a lot of learning/living to do. And she’s a virgin. I mean, who’s a virgin these days past 20? It wouldn’t have been right for the plot had she been streetwise.
3. Manchester and The Lake District are featured in the book. Do these places have meaning to you?
Very much so. I grew up in East Manchester and lived there until I was 28. My son is currently a student at the Royal Northern College of Music which features heavily in the book. My experience of the college is first-hand. The Lake District, less so. I’ve visited a few times. It’s very beautiful and very remote in parts. It’s hilly and wet and picturesque – perfect for the needs of the plot.
3. Camilla is a hard woman, were there ever times you wanted to soften her?
Definitely hard, no doubt. But it is a veneer really. She’s insecure like so many ‘hard’ people. They’ve usually just had a hard time, going way back. It’s a shell, for protection. I hope I did soften Camilla towards the end. I wanted the reader to have sympathy for her. The story is about her journey too. She’s a deep and complex character who is afraid to give too much away. ‘Hardness’ is often a front. Behind it, lurks fear.
5. What inspired you to write your first book?
Laughing at this question, because Either Side of Midnight is not my first book. But it is my first published book. My first book is a paranormal suspense. I sent it out to agents to try and get it published in the traditional way. Two big London agencies read it in full (which is an achievement in itself). Both agencies took four months each. During this tense time of waiting, instead of twiddling my thumbs, I started to write Either Side of Midnight, for something to do! The fact that it is a thriller, filled with suspense, reflected my mood I suppose. (I’m learning about myself here as I answer).
6. Are you self published by choice, to allow free reign over your work?
No, I think the previous question explains that I tried very hard to be published in the traditional way. That said, there has been a revolution in the publishing industry. Even traditionally published authors are having to market themselves quite aggressively, or they won’t manage to compete with self-published authors who are using all the social media platforms available – very effectively. I’ve recently been in touch with Tina Seskin, author of A Step Too Far. Like me, she spends most of her day finding ways to publicise her book. No writer – unless they’re right at the top of the chain – has the luxury of sitting back and waiting for readers to come to them. That is a thing of the past. So, I’m very happy to be self-published. My entire life, I’ve worked alone. I’ve been self-employed for 25 years as a piano teacher, and I virtually taught myself to play the piano (my mum would shout the odd instruction from the kitchen). I work best on my own. I don’t think I could answer to anyone now. I’m too independent.
7. Who was the first person who read your first draft?
My sister, I think. I have three sisters. I’m close to all of them, but one of them lived in the Middle East for ten years, so we communicated mainly by email. During this time, she read everything I wrote, bless her. Over the years, she has encouraged me and helped me so much. It really is invaluable to know that somebody believes in your work. My sister is a very good writer herself. Her emails kept me entertained for years. But I can’t persuade her to put virtual pen to paper. So I’m doing it for both of us!
8. If your book was made into a tv drama or movie, who would you see in the roles of Naomi and Camilla?
Ooo – that’s a great question. And of course, it would make a great film!! A music student of mine, who read and loved the book, has created a fan-made book trailer and posted it on Youtube. She chose some TV characters, so it’s hard for me to imagine anyone else now. When I picture Naomi, I see the girl she chose. And I do like her. If you’ve read the book, check out the trailer and tell me what you think of the character choices. Camilla? No one really springs to mind.
9. Have you started another book yet? If yes, tell us a little bit about it.
I’ve got as far as planning to write another book. It will be a sequel to Either Side of Midnight. I’ve plotted it, partly. At the moment, I’m so busy publicising the current book that it’s hard to find writing time, but I’m very determined to get back to writing. I love to write. I never intended ESoM to have a follow-up, but there seems to be some unfinished business that I need to attend to.
10. How has social media helped you with promotion of your book?
If only I knew how to utilise social media, I’m sure it would help a lot. I published ESoM in July without any sort of a social platform. It was stupid. I was like Naomi, ignorant and naïve – insanely so. My first free promotion launched the book and propelled it into the spotlight. Following this, ESoM sold 1600 books in a month. I had no platform to help to sustain those sales, so they died. I’m currently learning how to market and promote my book and I appreciate just how important Twitter and Facebook are in the process. Blogs and book reviewers are a crucial cog in the wheel too. I now need a blog. But I also need time to write. I feel as though I’ve got half a dozen plates in the air that I’m spinning, and can’t cope with a seventh! I have another free promotion coming up soon, and now I do have a social media platform in place, it will be very interesting to see if the book takes off more successfully this time.
Thanks so much to Tori de Clare for answering my questions open and honestly and for writing a wonderful, page turning thriller!
At time of review, this book is available for download on Amazon for the incredible price of £0.96GPB....