Sarah Simpson talks about her latest novel, her next project, and more.
1. Tell us about your novel, Who I Am.
Who I Am, is my second novel, it’s a dark character driven psychological thriller which plays on the old adage – the grass is always greener on the other side. Isn’t so easy for us all to believe this, especially when times are, let’s say – challenging. I have two main female protagonists who first meet at Edinburgh University, they form a tightly knit relationship very quickly.
The novel is set over two time periods so it leads us from these university days in the 1990s up to the present day. The two characters couldn’t be more different in terms of their backgrounds and their means but when it comes to their emotional needs, they have much in common. Both seek to make fundamental changes to reflect their discontentment which leads them along a twisted, tragic path. They struggle to come to terms with the consequences of some life defining events. This novel also deals with issues of alcoholoism, anxiety and depression and their far reaching consequences.
2. What was the most difficult part about writing this book? And what was the most fun part?
Hmm… this is a difficult one to answer without giving the twists away. But fundamentally it was – providing the reader with enough information without revealing the main plot, I know this is true of most psychological thrillers but it was particularly difficult with this one, for reasons I cannot say – sorry. The most fun part has to be visiting some of Cornwall’s most beautiful spots where I set the scenes for my characters. Gosh – this was hard work, to wander the beaches with my imagination 😉
3. Did you do any specific research for the book?
Who I Am is set between Edinburgh and Cornwall, Edinburgh is a city I love and I have had the pleasure of visiting many times and Cornwall is where I live – so the location research was relatively easy. The psychological aspects were very much dependent on my background and experience as a psychologist to be honest. Other technical content (again I can’t be too specific) I mainly researched online, hoping to goodness – no one ever checks my hard drive as it doesn’t make for a sound mind.
4. Do you see yourself in any of the characters in your novel?
Interestingly, no not in this novel, and as I did with Her Greatest Mistake. I certainly recognised the characters traits in other people I know, or have met though as is usually the case with all fictional characters.
5. Can you describe Who I Am in 3 adjectives?
Evocative, twisted and delusive.
6. How long did it take to write the novel and how many drafts did you write?
I began this novel last year but then put it down for quite a while to concentrate on Her Greatest Mistake. I would say about six months and a lot longer in my mind. I edit as I write so it’s difficult to say how many true drafts my novels go through. I would say I did four rigorous edits and then a lot of tweaking.
7. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
This is such a difficult question to answer because I have read so many fantastic books. So, I guess I have to say those books that made a difference at certain times of my life. And books feel different depending on our stage and state of life at the time, but for now I will say – The Song of Pentecost by W.J. Corbett.
8. When did you decide to write and what prompted you to start?
I decided to write when I was little more than eight years old, and I used to write all the time at this age and into my teens. For some reason that I still trying to fathom I then followed a totally different life path which took me away from my writing on paper at least. So it was many, many more years before I began writing again which wasn’t until two years ago.
9. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I now live in Cornwall with my husband, three children (not so little anymore), German Shepherd – Arthur and moggy cat – Thomas. I love the simple things in life. Being with my family and being outdoors, walking the coastlines and anything really to with and being close to the sea. I probably, no definitely think too much and I’m a terrible people watcher!
10. What projects are you working on now?
I am currently half way through my third book which is set mostly in St. Ives in Cornwall. This is another character driven, taut, dark and twisted psychological thriller. But it’s all top secret at the moment…
I know everything about you
And you know everything about me… except
WHO I AM.
Andi met Camilla at university. Instantly best friends, they shared everything together. Until their long-planned graduation celebration ends in tragedy…
Years later, Andi is living a seemingly perfect life on the rugged Cornish Coast with her loving husband, happy children and dream home. Yet Andi is haunted by a secret she thought only she knew. Someone out there is bringing Andi’s deepest fears to life. And she knows there’s no escaping the past that has come back to haunt her…
You trusted me with your secrets, you told me everything, you thought I was your best friend… but you have no idea WHO I AM.
Sarah Simpson has a first-class honours degree in Psychology and has experienced working at a Brain Rehabilitation Hospital. She has spent time as a family consultant for Warwickshire and Oxfordshire solicitors and gained knowledge of the Family Court System. She now lives in Cornwall with her husband, three children and animals.
Twitter handle: @sarahrsimpson