Sarah Simpson tells us why she chose to write psychological thrillers.

This is something I am frequently asked. I Know You’re There is my third psychological thriller, it’s a good question and to be honest, not one I ever really ask myself. I honestly, haven’t ever considered writing in a different genre, other than an idea and a will I have for a children’s book, totally at the other end of the spectrum.

Why did I choose this particular genre? Possibly because my mind naturally thinks, feels and ticks in this way and this is also why I have never questioned it. Probably not something I should admit to but my mind naturally errs on the dark, evocative, twisted side, when I am deep in my imagination. I am not, for the record, a narcissistic psychopath, or anything remotely dark in nature but I do have an intrinsic, enquiring interest in the conditions and traits that provoke such tense states. The good old question, nature or nurture, what is it? that can flip people to show an unflattering side of the personality coin.

I guess, if I think about where my ideas come from it is a combination of people watching, personal and professional experiences. I watch people (again not in a stalker type fashion) and I wonder what is happening behind the sometimes fragile surface, because the psychology of human behaviour is fragile and exposed, and are things really as the surface would have it seem? What conflicts could be happening behind the scenes, we are not privy to? Causing and instigating ever rippling consequences?

I have always had a deep fascination in the mind and how it can become so iniquitous and then what happens. I love to explore what ensues when people’s emotions are tested, strained, torn, when life throws its stuff at them as it so often can. How come some people will cope, remain relatively unchanged and others will struggle or hit out? Understanding, it’s not always the events in life to determine emotional state but more how people have learned or chosen to react and manage the events. There’s sometimes a human arrogance to assume we know how we would respond to given experiences as really – we have no idea. Because context and perspective are everything, always. It’s these ambiguities I love to write about.

What any of us take from any story is always influenced and so determined by our own life experiences, state of mind, learned behaviours and individual biology. I can only hope to leave readers with a certain emotional feeling, in this respect I am unable to influence the effect of the story. For me, this is what makes writing and reading so incredibly special, understanding each and every individual will take something different from each page turn, each chapter.

So, I write within the psychological thriller genre, and I see it more that I write about life and behaviours. Rarely is life plain sailing without evocative moments, without times of sadness, of fear and times of clinging to the edge of the seat. All I hope to do is push this notion, these emotional states to the ambiguous limit and sometimes, twisting them that little bit further, squeezing out the questions – what if? What then?

Is your house as safe as you think?

Natalie spent most of her childhood feeling afraid. So when she moved into her cosy little flat in St Ives and met her three friendly neighbours, she knew at once it was somewhere she’d feel safe.

Before long, Natalie’s neighbours have become the family she never had. Kind, motherly Morwenna, serious, reliable Nigel, and sweet, anxious Daniel. They collect each other’s mail, water each other’s plants, and share each others lives.

But as Natalie knows all too well, the people who are closest to you can also be the most dangerous. And this house is not as safe as she thinks…


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.

Facebook: @sarahsimpsoncornwall
Twitter: @sarahrsimpson

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