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11 Missed Calls By Elisabeth Carpenter

11 Missed Calls’11 Missed Calls’ is the latest book by Elisabeth Carpenter.

Anna has always believed that her mother, Debbie, died 30 years ago on the night she disappeared. But when her father gets a strange note, she realises that she’s never been told the full story of what happened that night on the cliff. Confused and upset, Anna turns to her husband Jack – but when she finds a love letter from another woman in his wallet, she realises there’s no-one left to help her, least of all her family. And then a body is found.

This bleak and atmospheric story, is written in the past and present tense and is seen through the narrative of mother and daughter, Debbie and Anna, who are both struggling with post natal depression after having their daughters. But when Debbie suddenly disappears from Anna’s life, Anna spends the rest of her life wondering whatever happened to her mother, as well as questioning her own sanity when things don’t add up.

The story is an interesting one, as both perspectives are so similar, the only difference being the time and setting of the characters. I found myself really sympathising with them, particularly Anna who not only struggled with being a new mother, but also dealing with the possibility of her mother coming back in her life after years of being apart.

Filled with many twists and suspicious characters, this suspenseful story really held my attention and the sub story about post natal depression was particularly interesting as it showed how attitudes towards the illness changed through the years.

’11 Missed Calls’ is a cleverly written story about family mysteries, secrets and the strength of a mothers bond.

You can buy 11 Missed Calls from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Locations in 11 Missed Calls By Elisabeth Carpenter

11 Missed CallsOn the book tour for her second book called ’11 Missed Calls’, Elisabeth Carpenter talks about the different locations in her book.

My second novel, ’11 Missed Calls’, is predominantly set in Lancashire: Preston, Lytham and St Annes (they are two separate places, with two others in between).

Both families, past and present, live in Preston. I haven’t specified an area in which they live, but have described their terraced houses. These tend to be nearer the city itself, as opposed to the surrounding towns with larger houses. I live in Preston myself, and used to live close to the city in a two-up two-down, like the characters in the novel. The walls were pretty thin (which could be rather awkward at times …) but I used this to add to the claustrophobia and paranoia of one of my characters, Debbie. As her mental health declines, she feels she’s constantly being watched. Being able to hear her neighbours either side added to this.

Debbie’s chapters are mainly based in the home, where the familiar starts to feel strange. Her daughter, Anna, in the present day, however, works in a charity bookshop in St Annes. I used to work in St Annes managing a charity shop, so I didn’t have to look far for inspiration. The volunteers came from variety of backgrounds, which you probably wouldn’t find in traditional workplaces – and were of different ages. One of the volunteers in the book is based on a woman I worked with, but I won’t say who (though, if you know me – you’ll probably know who it is!).

Towards the end of the book, the family in 1986 holiday in Tenerife. I haven’t been to Tenerife since I was seventeen when I went with my friend. We weren’t very streetwise, so God knows how we managed to persuade our parents to let us go alone. Like Debbie in 11 Missed Calls, we were nearly choking with the cigarette smoke on the plane, even though we smoked ourselves (sorry, Mum).

We lived on bread and Heinz macaroni cheese (opened with a ‘stabby’ tin opener) during the day, and cheese and tomato pizza at night at the same restaurant (until we found a McDonalds). We enjoyed the fact we didn’t need (fake) ID to drink too vodka, as the legal drinking age was 16 then. We spent the first day two hours ahead of everyone else, not knowing it’s the same time in Tenerife as it is in England. How we survived, I don’t know.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to go back to Tenerife to research the novel, so spent many hours on Google maps. It’s quite gruesome, but I had to find a cliff accessible enough and high enough for someone to be able to contemplate their life (yes, that’s a euphemism). Originally it was going to be a bridge, but there wasn’t one high enough, so I had to invent somewhere, which I felt more comfortable with, if that’s the right word.

It’s always tricky describing places I’ve never been, as there’s a tendency to overshare new knowledge. But I hope that in writing about places I’m familiar with, or have visited, has added to the atmosphere and authenticity of the book.

You can buy 11 Missed Calls from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

99 Red Balloon Book Tour – Extract

99 Red BalloonsOn the book tour for Elisabeth Carpenter’s exciting debut, ’99 Red Balloons’, read an extract from the chilling tale.

Chapter 6

I lay the newspaper across the kitchen table, straightening out any creases. Ronnie used to like his paper ironing – fancied himself as one of those posh types. I only did it for him on Sundays, and his birthday. ‘It’s not because I like it straight,’ he’d say. ‘It stops the ink running.’

‘Get away with you,’ I said.

I wish he were still here with me. I’d iron it every day.

Oh, stop it, you daft fool. I can hear his voice in my head. You know you’d only iron it ’til the novelty of me being back wore off – two days, tops.

I sit down at the table. I’m daft having these conversations with myself, but after forty-six years of marriage I usually knew what he was going to say before he did.

Grace. That’s the little girl’s name.

She’s wearing her school uniform in the picture – it’s on the front page. I can’t make out the name of the school from the badge on her jumper, though I’m not sure if that’s my eyes or the quality of the print.

She was last seen walking into a newsagent’s.

Newsagent’s.

I look up at the wall. How odd. I wonder if she was getting sweets, just like—

The phone rings.

‘Hang on,’ I shout.

I shuffle the chair back and rest my hands on the table to lever myself up. Damn legs.

‘Wait a minute.’

I walk as fast as I can to the phone table in the living room. People can be so impatient these days.

Some folk only let it ring five or six times before they give up. Never enough time for me.

‘Hello?’ I say. Ron always used to tease me about my telephone voice. ‘Hello?’ I can’t have been too late, there’s no dial tone. ‘Is anyone there?’

I listen as hard as I can. Is my hearing getting worse? There’s traffic noise on the other end of the line. Are they calling from a mobile telephone or a big red box?

‘Can you speak louder? I can’t hear you.’

The click of the phone makes me jump. They’ve hung up, again. I replace the handset and wander back into the kitchen. Was that the fourth or fifth time this week?

What if it’s him? I can’t remember what he sounds like; I should remember his voice, shouldn’t I? It’s been too long. Every day I try not to think about how he broke my heart. I can’t even look at his photograph any more without it bringing back awful memories.

Tap, tap, tap.

The window rattles.

I still my breathing. My heart’s thumping.

I should get up and hide in the pantry, but I can’t move.

The handle turns – the back door opens slowly.

‘Morning, Mags.’

To read more from this book (which I read in a day!), buy 99 Red Balloons from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Book Cover Reveal – 99 Red Balloons By Elisabeth Carpenter

99 Red BalloonsI’m excited to show the cover to Elisabeth Carpenter’s thrilling new book called ’99 Red Balloons’.

What the back cover says:

When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.

What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?

Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

You can pre-order 99 Red Balloons from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 24th August 2017.