A visit to Sri Lanka by Amanda Sington-Williams provided a setting for her new psychological thriller.
The inspiration for my psychological thriller Just Two Weeks came after a visit to Sri Lanka where I talked to many of the locals about their experiences during the tsunami of 2004.
Their stories moved me to such an extent I thought I might write a novel based around the theme of loss. In fact I wrote a plan. I had already had published The Eloquence of Desire, a historical romance.
When I studied for my MA in Creative Writing at Sussex University we were encouraged to write literary fiction. The tutors advised us to aim high; we were all good enough to win the Booker! My plan for a great literary piece progressed until I realised with a shock that it wasn’t working. What more could I add to this vast subject?
I took a break and began to read psychological thrillers, books like Before I go to Sleep by S.J. Watson, books that kept you on the edge of your seat, books that you couldn’t put down. This, I realised was what I really wanted to write. And when I began I found I was really enjoying the process.
In Part 1 of Just Two Weeks, I still used the location of Sri Lanka. It is a place where the culture and language are alien to the protagonist – fine on a two-week break in the sun. But when frightening events take their course, the unrelenting heat and the inability to communicate properly lead to an immense sense of panic and unease.
Part 2, in contrast, is set in The Lake District in northern UK. It is cold and rainy especially in January, when the novel is set; it is where the protagonist lives and should be a place of comfort, a home to return to. Instead, the feeling of alienation continues as her sense of reality fragments.
So now my psychological thriller Just Two Weeks is published. Better still it won the IPR Agents Pick.
And I managed to slip in a teeny bit of that original grand plan. The protagonist takes a book called A Memory of Loss on her two-week break in the sun!
After being made redundant from a seemingly secure job, Jolene Carr takes a two-week break in the sun. On the first day she meets Raquel, another hotel guest. Little does she realise how this apparently innocent acquaintance will lead to terrible and lasting consequences. After a frightening incident she hits a conspiracy of silence from the locals and over the rest of the holiday she feels herself slipping into a vortex of fear. Back home, the nightmare continues and she realises that Raquel is stalking her. Her hippie mother and her partner Mark tell her she is imagining it all. All certainties, even about relationships, become fluid and treacherous as her past begins to unravel. If it wasn’t for Rob, her ex-lover who Jolene thinks has his own agenda, she would be left to cope on her own. How much fear and betrayal can one person take?
Amanda Sington-Williams’ first novel, The Eloquence of Desire, was published by Sparkling Books in 2010. She won an award for this novel in 2007 from the Royal Literary Fund. Since 2006 when she first started writing she has had many short stories published including: Growing Pains by Bridgehouse Publishing, A Mother’s Love by Indigo Mosaic, Two Orchids by Sentinel Literary Quarterly. Unseasonable Weather by Dead Ink Press, The Woman at Number Six by Writing Raw, and many more. Her second novel, Just Two Weeks is a psychological suspense and won the IPR Agents Pick in 2013.