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Why Do I Like Writing In The Domestic Noir Genre? By Caroline England

My Husband LiesOn the book tour for Caroline England ‘s new book called ‘My Husband Lies’, Caroline talks about why she writes domestic noir.

‘My Husband’s Lies’ and my debut ‘Beneath the Skin’, published in October last year, come under the crime fiction genre. Some people have been a little surprised at this category, but the crime umbrella is huge, the sub genres ranging from cosy mystery to hard-boiled private dicks, from psychological thriller to police procedurals, from espionage to courtroom dramas. And the list goes on!

I just wrote stories that I liked without any thought of ‘genre’ in mind. However, like slipping into a pair of perfect fitting boots (Fly London platforms, particularly), I was thrilled to discover that my novels fall snugly into the ‘domestic noir’ sub genre. It has been called other things such as ‘marriage thriller’, ‘chic noir’, ‘suburban noir’ and ‘domestic suspense’ but ‘domestic noir’ seems to have stuck.

Although the tag was brilliantly named by the author Julia Crouch, the popularity of dark domestic noir stories has been going for hundreds of years. Take Shakespeare’s Othello, Hamlet or MacBeth. How about the Brontë’s Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. Rebecca is a perfect fit. Even the Great Gatsby! And all those fabulous old noir films – Double Indemnity, Suspicion and Gaslight. Jeopardy and fear where we should feel safe!

So, what are the ingredients of domestic noir? Well, they are set in homes or work places and there’s often a dark narrative and a sense of claustrophobic danger or unease, but I also think it’s about ordinary people (you and I) caught up in extraordinary situations. My Husband’s Lies is about three guys and a girl who’ve been tight friends since school. Without apparently a care in the world, they attend the wedding of one of them, but a guest is found on the window ledge, ready to jump. This sparks a chain of unstoppable events and throws their lives into chaos.

I like to write about deep love between people with complicated backgrounds. If you’ve read Beneath the Skin, you’ll know this and there’s more in My Husband’s Lies! I just love to get under the skin of the characters and explore what’s going on in their heads – their wants, desires, motivations and secrets. Their stories are multi-layered and complicated. I want the reader to come with me and get involved too! I’m exploring a moral grey area, so my characters are flawed, people under pressure, but that’s when they’re at their most intriguing!

Julia Crouch commented that domestic noir stories are largely, but not exclusively, the female experience. In My Husband’s Lies, there is that, but I also tell the stories of two of the male characters from their points of view. One of them obsesses about a family secret at the expense of his new marriage; another is propositioned by a man and this sets him on a confusing and conflicting journey.

Domestic noir in a nutshell? ’What goes on behind closed doors.’ This old granny expression sums it up the best. Perfect!

What’s going on behind yours?

You can buy My Husband Lies from Amazon

Caroline England Reveals New Book – My Husband Lies

My Husband LiesJust ahead of the book tour next week, I’m delighted to be revealing the cover to Caroline England’s new book called ‘My Husband Lies’.

What the back cover says –

Do you really know your friends?

On the afternoon of Nick and Lisa’s wedding, their close friend is found poised on a hotel window ledge, ready to jump.

As the shock hits their friendship group, they soon realise that none of them are being as honest with themselves – or with each other – as they think

And there are secrets lurking that could destroy everything.

Tense, disturbing and clever, ‘My Husband’s Lies’ is a breath-taking read, perfect for fans of Lucy Clarke and Erin Kelly.

Check out Tuesday, 29th May, which is my spot on the tour next week, where Caroline will talk about why she enjoys writing domestic noir.

You can buy My Husband’s Lies from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Beneath The Skin Book Tour – Extract

Beneath The Skin ‘On the book tour for Caroline England’s thrilling new debut,’Beneath The Skin’. Sit back and enjoy an extract from the gripping tale.

‘What was it, Mike? Was it the miscarriage? I thought we grieved together and put it behind us.’

He sat up, staring ahead at nothing in particular. He suddenly felt angry, really angry. He could feel the heat rise in his body, the colour flood his face. ‘You put it behind us, Olivia.

You wiped the slate clean and said “never mind”.’

He could feel her flinch, heard her intake of breath, but he knew he wouldn’t stop. ‘But you didn’t pause for one moment to consider how I felt. Everyone was there with their condolences and their sympathy. We’re so sorry, Olivia, how are you, Olivia, can I do anything, Olivia. He was my child too, my loss. It was me who wanted him, not you.’

‘That isn’t fair, Mike. You have no idea what it’s like to be pregnant, let alone give bloody birth. I was as sick as a dog, in and out of hospital with the vomiting. It was bloody awful but I did it for you. Because you had some stupid hang-up about wanting a son. How do you think the girls would feel if they knew that they weren’t good enough for you, just because of their gender? We live in the twenty-first century for God’s sake, women are equal and our girls are wonderful.’

He turned his head and stared at Olivia. He could feel a throb in his temple. ‘That’s crap and you know it. I wanted another child, Olivia. Another child. It might have been a girl, and that would have been great.’

‘But it was a boy, Mike, and you couldn’t conceal your delight, could you? It was written all over your face when they told us, your son and heir, just what you always wanted. Until that moment I didn’t realise how much I’d disappointed you with mere daughters.’

Part of Mike wanted to shout. Part of him wanted to take Olivia by the throat and shake the unfairness of her words out of her.

But instead he dropped his head, the cold despair he’d felt for months seeping through his body, dispersing the heat. ‘Don’t you dare say that. You’re not being fair. I adore my girls, you know I do.’

They sat for a moment and listened to the gentle thrum of the traffic from the far-off motorway.

‘Then why the total withdrawal and the silent treatment for so long?’ Olivia asked quietly.

He looked at her then. The harshness had gone from her face. Her pale eyes were sad, soft, concerned. He was hurting her. He was hurting himself. He understood this and yet he knew he had to push ahead through the numbness, to at least try to focus his mind and put his thoughts into words.

‘Because try as I did, I couldn’t put it him to rest, Olivia.

I’ve spent months asking myself why. Why did our little boy die? No one had a reason, he wasn’t Down’s or disabled. He was perfect, wasn’t he?’

Olivia nodded, her head propped on her knees, her fingers playing with the quilt and so he continued, trying to marshal his thoughts and frame them into words. ‘And because we got no answers from the hospital or the consultant, my mind has tormented me with its own.’

‘And they are?’ Olivia asked slowly, turning her head to look at him.

Mike was silent for a while, but he had come so far, he knew it had to be said, to exorcise those ugly pestering thoughts, if nothing else. The frequent picture he had in his mind of Olivia with a glass of wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other flashed before his eyes. She hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol when pregnant with the girls. Prawns and eggs and all manner of other foods had been off the menu too. ‘That you did something.

God, I don’t know. It sounds so stupid now, but I felt that by thought, or by word or by deed you did something. Something to cause the miscarriage.’

For a moment Olivia didn’t move, her unfathomable gaze fixed on his face. Seconds ticked by as he waited for an answer, a reaction. The moment he had voiced his innermost ugly thoughts, he knew how unworthy and pathetic they were.

She eventually stood from the bed and walked into the en-suite bathroom, closing the door quietly behind her. He watched and waited, numb, wretched and unbelievably tired. He had wanted to say it for so long that the desire to confess had become overwhelming. But now the words were out, he felt bereft and empty. As though someone had put their hand in his chest and pulled out his heart.

He’d started to drift off by the time Olivia returned to the bed.

‘You bastard,’ she said, quite clearly, as she turned off the lamp.

You can buy Beneath the Skin from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.