LAST SEEN… BLOG TOUR
TITLE: LAST SEEN
AUTHOR: LUCY CLARKE
PUBLISHER: HARPER COLLINS
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for LAST SEEN the incredible new title by Lucy Clarke. I’m really excited to share my review and the Fantastic Q and A author session with the author! Thanks so much to the publisher for my Arc copy and to Jaime for inviting me to take part. If your interested following the tour in the amazing blogs listed above follow the hashtag #LastSeen
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Novelist, traveller and fresh air enthusiast Lucy Clarke is the author of four novels, including the Richard & Judy Book Club pick, The Sea Sisters. Lucy is married to a professional windsurfer and, together with their two young children, they spend their winters travelling and their summers at home on the south coast of England. Lucy writes from a beach hut.
Seven years ago, two boys went missing at sea – and only one was brought to shore. The Sandbank, a remote stretch of coast dotted with beach huts, was scarred forever.
Sarah’s son survived, but on the anniversary of the accident, he disappears without trace. As new secrets begin to surface, The Sandbank hums with tension and unanswered questions. Sarah’s search grows more desperate and she starts to mistrust everyone she knows – and she’s right to.
Someone saw everything on that fateful day seven years ago. And they’ll do anything to keep the truth buried.
I read this book a few weeks ago and I’ve been bursting to share my review with you all. I had been in a bit of a book slump then I picked up LAST SEEN and couldn’t put it down.
Although packed full of psychological thriller qualities- families, lies, secrets etc I think Last Seen is more of a family drama- this twisty, turny story is about the bond between mother and child, it’s about heartbreak and bonds and ultimately what you are willing to do to protect those you love. I was hooked from the first beautifully written page until the last, and devoured every word, turning the pages fast – hungry for another tit bit of information to figure out what had happened . Lucy acheived this by cleverly dropping hint and clues and then posing questions that really kept me guessing all the way through.
Lucy writes so eloquently and her love of the out doors is evident in her atmospheric and wonderfully descriptive prose. I loved the way she created the scene in my head, I could literally hear the crash of waves and feel the sand between my feet. The coastal setting was perfect and Lucy’s use of the weather and the landscape of the sea really help to build the tension and set the scene.
The story unfolds fluidly and the plot is brilliantly executed, I kept being shocked and surprised over and over again and I am usually very good at guessing the next twist. I had no idea what had happened and each new reveal opened up a plethora of new questions that needed answering, I loved being drip fest formation through the varying characters perspectives- It was perfect! I read it very quickly as I literally couldn’t wait to find out what was going on so had a very late night reading with my iPhone torch on so as not to disturb my husband and toddler! The present situation of Sarah’s missing teenage son is complicated by events in the past when both Sarah and her best friend Islas son went missing at sea. Only Sarah’s son returned and there are a lot of unanswered questions about what happened that day, very quickly the tension builds and there’s a very strong sense that all was not as it seems, people are hiding important truths about what happened seven years ago. The narrative unfolds over a week and is told from multiple perspectives that really added depth and intrigue to the plot, as everyone had something to reveal.
This is definitely one of my favorite reads from 2017 so far and I thoroughly recommend it to fan of well written mystery/ thrillers or just to anyone looking for a great read. Lucy is a very acomplished writer and I am going to now read her back catalogue! I also follow Lucy’s live videos on Facebook and recommend these to any writers and budding authors. On these she discusses her book of the week and talks about various aspects of writing with some excellent tips and useful advice.
Now I’m thrilled to welcome Lucy onto IF IN DOUBT READ for a chat about her writing career,
Hi Lucy, welcome to IIDR. I’m excited to be part of the tour and wondered if you could you tell us a little bit about yourself in your own words?
I’m 35-year-old writer, mother, and fresh-air-enthusiast. I live near to Bournemouth on the south coast of England. I spend my summers living and writing in a beach hut, and much of the winter abroad, travelling in search of wind and waves (my husband is a windsurfer, y’see!). We have two young children – Tommy (2.5yrs) and Darcy (9mths). My husband and I co-parent; I write in the mornings, while he looks after the children, and then at midday, we swap.
How would you describe your writing style and was it easy to find your ‘ voice’ when writing?
I write psychological suspense novels set in coastal locations. My voice took a long time to discover, and I played around with various styles on my journey to becoming published. It’s great to experiment – and to not worry about being tied too tightly to a particular style. I’ve just released my fourth book, LAST SEEN, and I think it’s darker and twistier than anything I’ve previously written.
Can you name three of your favourite reads and what it was that you loved about them or how did they inspire you?
1- After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell. I’ve never wept so hard over a novel. It had me in pieces and taught me a lot about creating emotional tension in fiction.
2- Body Surfing by Anita Shreve. It’s a slim novel, with a quiet tension strung throughout. Her prose is very lean and poetic, and has a simplicity to it that I deeply admire.
3- Breath by Tim Winton. I’m a huge fan of all of Tim Winton’s work and he opened my eyes to the language of landscape.
Where do you find inspiration for your stories and characters?
I get a lot of inspiration from travelling. There is something about slinging a few belongings into a bag (or SEVERAL bags now we have children!), and heading off on a plane, train or ferry, that gives me the most incredible sense of freedom. The break from routine, the stepping out of one’s ordinary world and into another, is surely good for the soul. What I see, hear, smell, and taste while travelling certainly inspires my writing, but it is also the very fact of being away that I find interesting in terms of fiction. I’m intrigued to see how characters behave outside the usual parameters of their daily lives. Routine can be limiting, so I like to explore what happens when a character is taken out of their comfort zone and dislocated from their family and friends. What then?
Do you have a favourite place to write?
My favourite place to write is our family beach hut. I love turning off my phone, leaving the laptop behind, and writing by hand in a journal with only the horizon for company.
just for fun-
Tea or coffee? Tea. Yorkshire tea, if you’re asking.
Sweet or savoury? Sweet. Chocolate is my weakness.
Favourite film? The Goonies, because “Truffle shuffle!”
Cats or dogs? Dogs. All the dogs.
What are your top three tips for aspiring writers?
1. Write. Try and write as often as you can, even if it’s only ten minutes snatched at the end of each day. Don’t be afraid to write badly.
2. Read. Voraciously. I always read with a pen in my hand so that I can scribble notes in the margins about interesting techniques the author may have used.
3. Be open to inspiration. It’s all around us. Start keeping a notepad and pen on your person and make yourself write one thing in it every day, whether it’s a snippet of conversation overheard, an interesting sight, or something you watched on TV that caught your imagination. Inspiration is out there; you just need to tune in.
What is your favourite part of writing, and is there any aspect that you struggle with?
My favourite part is the freedom to create. I love stepping into an imaginary world, and living there for a time.
And the hardest part? Without doubt, editing.
Can you describe your journey from concept to publication?
The starting point for LAST SEEN was an image of two women standing on a shoreline, hands gripped, scanning the water for their young sons. When I tried to zoom in more closely on this image, I could tell from the clasp of the women’s hands that they were best friends, and I began to wonder what would happen if only one of their boys was brought back to shore alive. What then? Could their friendship survive? How would it shift and change over the coming years? That was my starting point. In then took eighteen months of writing, drafting, and editing, before the book was fully formed and ready to be set free in the world.
And finally, are you working on a new project? If so can you tell us anything about it?
I’ve recently signed a book deal with HarperCollins who will be publishing my fifth novel. The story is little more than a seed of an idea. I’m afraid I’m going to be wickedly tight-lipped about it, other than to say it involves an author, a clifftop house, and a series of darkly disturbing events.
Thankyou so much to Lucy for taking part and for providing such insightful and thoughtful answers!