I’m over the moon to share the news that I’ll be working on two new thrillers with the team at Trapeze and Orion Publishing – the first being LAKE CHILD, described by editorial director Sam Eades as ‘Flowers in the Attic meets BBC’s The Missing‘. Sam went on to say:
“Working with Isabel Ashdown has been a dream come true and I’m thrilled our partnership will continue. Not only is she a brilliant writer, but she is a huge supporter of other authors and has been with Trapeze since launch. Lake Child is a gripping and claustrophobic family drama, set in a stunning remote location and filled with Isabel’s trademark jawdropping twists and turns.”
I couldn’t be happier to be continuing my writing career with the Orion family, as I told The Bookseller: “Characters – and relationships – are at the heart of my writing inspirations, and together with my agent Kate Shaw, Sam has championed my desire to keep pushing the boundaries of this fascination.” Read the full article here.
Warmest thanks to my wonderful agent Kate and my awesome editor Sam, and to everyone who has supported me along the way – publishers old and new, readers, colleagues, family and friends – your encouragement has made all the difference.
The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate is in its 15th year, and this July you can join me and top editor Sam Eades for a Thriller Writing Masterclass – a free event to be held in the Orion Crime Incident Room. Numbers are limited so book soon to guarantee your place!
Venue: Room 166, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate
Date : Saturday 22nd July 2017
Time: 10.30 – 11.30am
Trapeze Editorial Director Sam Eades asks Isabel six questions about Little Sister:
1) Why did you choose to explore the relationship between sisters? What makes this relationship unique? I have a little sister (who I love very much) – and, I have a big brother (ditto) – and I’m sandwiched between them, middle child of three. Neither of our parents had a sister, so in a way mine and Bec’s relationship was our own to create, uninformed by strong sister role models. There’s no doubt it’s unique, special, and peculiarly different to relationships with other female friends and relations. There’s an unspoken quality to it – perhaps you feel each other’s joy and pain more intuitively – and so it seemed to me, in a story of secrets and betrayal, you might feel each other’s darkness more clearly too.
2) The novel opens with a missing child. How does this event affect each family member? How can we ever begin to imagine the horror of losing a child? In Little Sister, baby Daisy goes missing whilst in the care of her aunt, Jess. Unsurprisingly, guilt and blame are strong emotions at work – and with Jess and her sister Emily only recently reunited after years apart, it’s only a matter of time before those emotions break through and old resentments show themselves in new ways.
3) How does the setting – The Isle of Wight – shape the story? The Isle of Wight is a place I have great affection for. Over the years I’ve spent much time there, either holidaying with the family, or retreating there to walk, write and research. Little Sister is the second book I have firmly located there (the other being Summer of ’76), and in both cases I felt that the island location lent something powerful to the unfolding of drama. I grew up in a small seaside town, and I guess small islands are similar in their way – when big things happen, perhaps they seem even bigger, magnified within the boundaries of the ocean, adding to the sense of claustrophobia and panic that courses through the characters at the heart of the story.
4) Tell us about your fascination with the idea of distorted memory. Like many of us, I’ve spent much of my life being different things to different people – sister, daughter, mother, partner, friend – and I’m endlessly fascinated by the complexities of family relationships, and the weight of their power. We like to think we are most ourselves with family, but who’s to say which version of us is the best version, the truest version, the most reliable version even? As a writer I’m often drawn to the shadows of family histories – my own included – and find myself wanting to explore the ways in which the memories and consequences of shared events can differ so wildly from person to person. That, in part, is what inspired Little Sister, the idea of inconsistent memory – of distorted memory – ultimately the idea of unreliable truths.
5) You move from present day into flashback in each chapter. What made you choose this style? Was it easy to keep track? From the first word, I knew the shared histories of Emily and Jess would be fundamental to the telling of this story – it would have been impossible to relate their present day events without filling in some of the gaps of their childhood together. They were born less than twelve months apart, schooled in the same year group, competing over the same friends and attentions. I wanted to know who they were before these altered adults they had become – and so the flashbacks were a vital part of the process. It was surprisingly easy to keep track; the more I wrote about them, the more they grew in strength and clarity, a kind of organic blooming of character and feeling.
6) The book is filled with twists and turns. Did you know how the story was going to end? Or did it surprise you? When working on a new novel I usually have a good sense of how it starts, what the big (if initially blurry) picture appears to be, and more often than not, a strong idea of where it will end. The hard bit tends to be the eighty to ninety thousand words in between! There are unsettling periods, when you’re not sure where your writing will take you – and then there are those gloriously unexpected moments in the sun when a new twist or revelation shows itself to you, and your heart leaps – and you know it is a better book for it.
We are delighted to reveal news of the forthcoming novel from Isabel Ashdown, recently announced in a two-book deal with Trapeze, the exciting new imprint from The Orion Publishing Group.
Sam Eades, senior commissioning editor at Orion said of the acquisition: ‘The complex relationship between sisters continues to fascinate readers, from Rosamund Lupton’s Sister to SK Tremayne’s The Ice Twins. A sister can be our closest friend, and also our deadliest enemy. What is so clever about Little Sister is that Isabel Ashdown offers something fresh and distinctive. She pairs an unforgettable premise with two intriguing narrative voices that will have readers hooked from the very first page. I’m delighted to have signed Isabel Ashdown to new imprint Trapeze, and she has lots of in-house fans who can’t wait to see what she will write next!’
To read the full article, including comments from Isabel and her agent Kate Shaw, click here.
For all enquiries regarding foreign rights, interviews and review copies please email Sam Eades: Sam.Eades@orionbooks.co.uk