B A Paris is the internationally bestselling author of ‘Behind Closed Doors’, her debut novel. She was brought up in England and moved to France where she spent some years working in Finance before re-training as a teacher and setting up a language school with her husband. They still live in France and have five daughters. Her second novel, The Breakdown is out now.
- To the readers of the blog, that may not be familiar with you or your writing, can tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing?
I was born in England and moved to France when I was twenty-one, where I still live today. Writing was always there at the back of my mind but with five daughters, I never seemed to have the time. Then, about seven years ago, there was a writing competitions in the ‘Sunday Times’ and I told one of my daughters about it, because she’d told me she had an idea for a novel. But when she looked at the rules, she found she was too young to enter so she suggested that I try. I had always imagined myself as a writer of children’s stories so the thought of writing an 80,000 word novel was daunting. But that night I had an idea for a story and began writing the next day. It didn’t win the competition but I couldn’t stop writing, and have been ever since.
- Tell us about your new book ‘The Breakdown’.
It tells the story of Cass, a young woman who, driving home during a storm one night, decides to take a short cut through some woods. She sees a woman broken down in her car and although she stops, she’s too scared to get out of her car to check on the woman in case it’s a trap. The next day, she hears that the woman has been murdered and feels enormous guilt. She also been having problems with her memory and when she begins to receive silent calls, she wonders if the murderer is after her.
- What do you think makes a good thriller?
There needs to be pace and tension, to keep the reader turning the pages.
- If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
I’d invite authors from all different genres. Most of the authors I’ve met through my writing tend to be writers of psychological thrillers, and while I’d invite them to join, I think it would be interesting to have a greater variety.
- What has been the highlight of your career so far?
The moment my lovely agent Camilla Wray said she wanted to represent me was a pretty big one. Seeing my book in a bookshop for the first time, another. Hitting the New York Times bestseller list and receiving the Neilsen Bestseller Award in January for having sold 500,000 copies of ‘Behind Closed Doors’ were pretty amazing too. I feel very lucky.
- What’s your favourite book of all time?
Such a difficult question. It’s like asking a chocoholic what their favourite chocolate bar is! I love different books for different reasons. As soon as I name one, I think immediately of another I liked just as much. I’d probably have to go for a book that made a huge impact on me in my early teens, ‘Trinity’ by Leon Uris. Or ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’ by Lionel Shriver.
- If you were starting your writing journey again, would you do anything differently?
No, because it’s been a wonderful journey so far. Sometimes I regret not starting earlier but if I had, maybe I wouldn’t be the writer I am today.
- What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
Write what you enjoy writing, not what is in fashion. At the moment, it’s psychological thrillers. If psychological thrillers aren’t your genre, don’t try to write one.
- If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
A Nancy Mitford novel for diversion, ‘One Day in the life of Ivan Denisovich’ by Solzhenitsyn for contemplation (and because I’m stuck on a desert island and not in a gulag!) and ‘Les Misérables’ so that I can keep my French up to scratch.
- When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
My mobile. When I need to take a break from writing, I catch up with my family or friends, or Twitter.
- And finally, do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website.
I’m currently writing Book 3, which will be out next year. I hope to have finished it by the summer and then I’ll be working on my next novel.
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