Meet the Author -Sarah Pinborough & Behind Her Eyes



In the latest in a series of Meet the Author Interviews I am delighted to welcome Sarah Pinborough to talk about her latest novel  Behind Her Eyes which has just been released through Harper Collins and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.

Author photo 2016 c Lou Abercrombie.jpg

Congratulations on Behind Her Eyes, can you tell you tell us a little of what the novel is about?

Behind Her Eyes is the story of a woman who becomes embroiled in a dysfunctional marriage. She has an affair with the husband and then is befriended by the wife and becomes fascinated by them and their past. It’s really about obsession and addiction and just how far someone will go to keep the person they love. All the unhealthy emotional things!;-)

How did you come up with such a compelling psychological suspense / supernatural thriller?

I really wanted to write about affairs, because they’re such a part of modern life and we all fear infidelity and that betrayal of trust, and yet we’ve all experienced it or been part of it in some way. It’s rare that a relationship ends without another one having begun, or someone cheating, but we all start out promising that we’ll never do anything like that even though the odds are one that at least one side will. I also wanted to write about the fascination women have with each other. We all think we’re the only ones ‘faking’ being good at femininity while every other women is a natural at it, and the strongest situation in which women obsess about each other is during an infidelity. If a husband cheats the wife invariably becomes fascinated by the other woman and vice versa. The man becomes almost just a pawn in a game of ‘what does she have that I don’t?’ I’ve seen it time and time again during personal experiences or the experiences of people I know. I don’t think men obsess about the ‘other man’ in the same way. So I wanted to make a friendship out of that fascination for Adele and Louise.

How difficult was it writing such a dramatic novel knowing that you wanted to make that ending such a dramatic part of the storyline?

Well, I was always working towards that ending so everything is structured to hit that. I’m really pleased with the ending, but I know that it might be marmite for some people! However, the clues are all there. I’m very much against cheating the reader, so I don’t mind if people don’t like it, but if they say it’s a cheat then they need to read it again more carefully because it’s all seeded there through the pages. Plus, I think that aside from the ending it’s a pretty interesting read with the shifting dynamics of the three of them, and not knowing who to trust. I hope it’s that way anyway!

You are known for also writing YA, horror and fantasy as well as adult novelist as well as a screenwriter, is it difficult to switch from style of genre to another?

Ha, to be honest, for me it’s harder to stay in one genre rather than switching. I like to mix genres up a bit and pick a bit from here and a bit from there and blend them. I don’t consider writing YA to be any different to writing for adult to be honest. I try and make the stories as complex as I would for adults. Screenwriting is great for a change of pace and telling stories in a different way and is also really good for improving your dialogue in novels. I find, since doing some screenwriting, I’m tighter with my book scenes. In a script each scene has to ‘do’ something, whereas in a book you can often waffle a bit! I haven’t entirely kicked the waffling yet but I do think about what’s in each chapter more when planning now.

I am always interested in authors typical writing process from start to finish. What is your typical writing day and do you have a ‘special’ place that you call your own were you write your novels? How long did it take to write Behind Her Eyes?

I don’t have a place per se, but I prefer morning writing to evening writing. I used to wake up at 7, get a cup of tea and go back to bed and write for a couple of hours before doing anything else. However, a few weeks ago I adopted a dog and now that routine has changed. There’s a dog walk first and then some writing before the next walk! It’s also hard to say how long a book takes to write because sometimes you’re working on more than one thing (like an edit for a previous book, a short story, a novella, a screenplay etc) at the same time, but on average I’d say six months for a book. I’m slower at the start where a lot of thinking is going on, and then I speed up.

I really enjoyed Behind Her Eyes and I think it will be one of this year’s biggest thrillers, how excited are you about your latest novel?

Oh gosh, that’s such a kind thing to say. If I’m honest I’m somewhere between really excited and really nervous. I was going to do dry January but I think I’d have driven myself and everyone else mad if I had because I’m getting very jittery! I need the odd glass of wine to relax! I’ve been at this game a while now and when at last it looks like something might take off and do well, it feels like such a long wait, and I keep trying to prepare myself for if it doesn’t. But hey ho, I really hope people enjoy it, and my part is done. Whether it’s a success or not is out of my hands now. But I have a US tour in February and I know HarperFiction are all behind it, and I’m really proud of it, so I can’t ask for more than that. Now just to find some hypnotherapy to deal with my fear of flying by February! Ha!

Where do you get your inspiration for your novels?

That’s such a hard question to answer. I tend to keep newspaper articles and stuff to start ideas rolling but they never end up in the final outline. I really don’t know where they come from but I do think that you can train your brain to look for ideas in the world around you so you have stuff filed away to draw on later.

Do you have a favourite author? And what are you reading at present?

I grew up on Stephen King as so many of my age did, but I also loved Wyndham and Du Maurier and I read so much as a teenager in such a wide variety of genres that it’s hard to pinpoint big favourites. I love John Connolly, I also love historical fiction, and I’m lucky enough to get to read a lot of books before they are released, and I’m reading one that arrived on my doormat yesterday called ‘The One’ by John Marrs. It comes out in May and I’m thoroughly enjoying it and not quite sure how it’s going to play out. The premise is that scientist discover we each have a gene that pairs us uniquely with one other person on the planet and it follows five people who ‘meet their match.’ However, it is a thriller and they all have secrets.

Looking back over your writing to career to-date is there one novel that stands out to you as one that you are so proud of you?

Again, that’s hard to answer. They’re all so different. There are books like The Language of Dying and The Death House which are perhaps the most meaningful, but I love the fun of the Fairy Tales, and the complex story of The Dog-Faced Gods etc etc. So, basically – no. I’m pretty proud of all of them in one way or another. Right now, I’m pretty proud of Behind Her Eyes, and also the one that follows that I’m hoping to have finished in the next six weeks or so.

Final question would have to be what advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a writer?

I don’t think anyone really needs advice to become a writer. You just start writing. That’s all it takes. I think some people really like the idea of being a writer, but you have to love writing, or at least be compelled to write and tell stories. You either are a writer or you aren’t. Writers write. That’s all it takes.

My thanks to Sarah Pinborough for taking the time to take part in Meet the Author. My review of Behind Her Eyes is below. 

The Last Word Review


‘Do not trust this book.’ ‘Don’t trust this story.’ ‘Don’t trust yourself’ When this is all over the front cover the ‘proof’ copy of Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough then you know there is going to be a major promotional push on this book also coming with the Hashtag #WTFthatending you know you are onto something rather special. Does Behind Her Eyes deliver beyond the hype. You bet it delivers.

Having been avid thriller reader since my younger days (much younger) I have always loved a good tense twisting thriller that leaves you guessing until the very end but also being the reader you are always trying to guess who it was. Now the award winning author Sarah Pinborough has given us a thriller that really will keep you guessing until the very last moment.

The plot is a real twister. Louise meets a guy called David in a bar and she believes this could be the man both having drank one too many and it takes just one fatal lingering kiss and then a few days later find out that this very man is her new boss and also married to Adele. Something about David and Adele is just not right and you along with Louise are being drawn into their married world and slowly the puzzling questions come but for Louise she has no real idea of what she is getting into. For Adele though her love for David is not in question they were desperate for a new start somewhere new. But the cracks in their marriage are there and that is not all as you will want to find out for yourself.

This was one of the most taught and twisting thrillers I have read in a many a year, totally unforgiving. I could not put the book down it slowly burns on you it is not only Louise who is asking herself many questions. My oh my Adele is one character that you must discover for yourself as her past is slowly drip fed to you. So then that Hashtag #WTFthatending indeed it is and that is where I will leave it. Just for you to find out for yourself. I promise you will not guess this one.

Thank you to Jaime Frost for the advanced review copy.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough is published by Harper Collins and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.

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