It’s a real pleasure to be one of the stops on the blog blitz for One Perfect Witness by Pat Young today. My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the invitation to join.
Author : Pat Young
Title : One Perfect Witness
Pages : 362
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : October 1, 2018
On a remote Scottish hillside, three paths meet. On each path, a boy, one carrying a gun.
When their paths cross, a shot is fired and a boy dies.
That leaves two – one killer and one perfect witness.
This killer will stop at nothing to make sure the witness says nothing. Difficult for most people, even for someone who’s been guarding a secret of his own for five years.
What if the witness decides he’s been silent too long? Sometimes even the unspeakable must be spoken, if we can find the words.
I never intended to be a writer. So you can imagine my surprise when I recently found myself nestling between JK Rowling and Dan Brown near the top of Amazon’s bestseller charts, when my debut novel, Till the Dust Settles, appeared in audiobook format. From day one the response to Till the Dust Settles has been quite overwhelming, both in Europe and the United States with many readers expressing the hope that there might be a sequel in the pipeline.
My publisher, the wonderful Bloodhound Books, had already contracted me to write a second book, (another psychological thriller but with a very different subject matter). When Betsy Reavley of Bloodhound saw the appetite for a follow-up to Till the Dust Settles, she encouraged me to write it. In fact, I already had over fifty thousand words written and filed away. Not because I ever expected folk to love Till the Dust Settles and request a sequel, but because I knew that Lucie’s story was far from over. Readers knew that too.
It wasn’t difficult to pick up where I left off and soon I know where you live was ready for my publisher’s approval. That was a tense few days. I have never written to a deadline before or under the pressure of expectation and I admit to being terrified at times. I found this book harder to write than the first, for those reasons. The story was never an issue. It told itself.
The inspiration for I know where you live came from a geographical location. Before I wrote a single word, I could ‘see’ the ending, visualising a setting that I knew existed but had never seen. I knew what would happen there, although the details would only come to me later, as I wrote. In fact, when it came time to write the climactic final scene, I ended up acting it out at the top of a staircase, with my husband and my tennis bag!
The setting of the dénouement allowed me to go back to my roots and I actually feature the cottage where my father lived as a child. The nearby village, Auchinleck, is where I grew up and went to school and is, some might say, an unlikely choice for an author. But the place has long been connected with the written word as James Boswell, the biographer of Samuel Johnston lived there. And after all, don’t they say you should write what you know?
Writing about what I know helped me choose the other setting for I know where you live, Carcassonne, in the south of France. As well as being a place I love, Carcassonne is special for a slightly superstitious reason. In the autumn of 2015, when I was hoping (but not expecting) to find a publisher for Till the Dust Settles, I was in Carcassonne on holiday and found a tiny book, no bigger than a thumbnail, lying on the esplanade outside the mediaeval fortress. A book so small it could have come from a doll’s house. To this day I have no idea how I spotted it in that large open space that’s usually crowded with tourists. But I did and from that moment on, I was utterly convinced I would be published one day.
Less than two years later my dream became reality and Till the Dust Settles was released by Bloodhound. It feels like a nice closing of the circle that the sequel should be set in Carcassonne.
I use the town not only as a backdrop to the story but for the cover too. Choosing a book cover is much harder than you might think and it took a few days to get this one right. Bloodhound is an amazing company to work – they are so writer-centred. The cover design is a prime example. I didn’t know what I wanted for my new cover but I knew I’d recognise it when I saw it. I felt quite strongly that since I know where you live is a sequel to Till the Dust Settles it would be good to have a similar style of cover. Betsy Reavley herself designed my first cover and I think it’s fabulous, with that cloud of dust just hanging there. Second time around she was just as patient, determined to help me get it right, even though I rejected several designs. When I suggested Carcassonne as a background, Betsy used a photo I’d found and I absolutely love the result. Hope you do too.
Most people of course don’t ever see the cover on an actual book and that, in itself, is a challenge. Whatever you choose needs to look strikingly good in colour on a computer screen as that’s where so many potential readers will shop for a book. I think Till the Dust Settles shows up well and I never tire of seeing it on screen. It thrills me every time. But a cover must also be clear and eye-catching in a tiny black and white thumbnail for those who select their next book on the small screen of an e-reader. Perhaps we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but a lot of readers still do.
Choosing the cover of my new book, One Perfect Witness was easy. It has no connection to the other two, being a completely different story. I was sent three designs and it was no contest. The boy on the hill (which was almost the title) captures the essence of the story. If, like me, you’re fascinated by what happens when someone disappears, you’ll enjoy this book of secrets, lies and deception. Sometimes, he who says nothing has most to tell.
[It’s true I often don’t notice covers, especially for digital books. But on the other hand, many a book on my shelf has been bought based on the cover alone. This one for One Perfect Witness says quite a lot and I can see why you chose this one. Thanks for stopping by, Pat!)
Pat Young grew up in the south west of Scotland where she still lives, sometimes. She often goes to the other extreme, the south west of France, in search of sunlight.
Pat never expected to be a writer. Then she found a discarded book with a wad of cash tucked in the flyleaf. ‘What if something awful happened to the person who lost this book?’ she thought, and she was off.
Pat knew nothing of writing, but she knew a thing or two about books, having studied English, French and German at Glasgow University. A passion for languages led to a career she loved and then a successful part-time business that allowed her some free-time, at last.
Pat had plans, none of which included sitting at her desk from daybreak till dusk. But some days she has to. Because there’s a story to be told. And when it’s done, she can go out to play. On zip-wires and abseil ropes, or just the tennis court.
Pat writes psychological thrillers. Her debut novel Till the Dust Settles, has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable Stag trophy. Following publication in July 2017 Pat was delighted to be chosen as an ‘emerging talent’ for Crime in the Spotlight and read from Till the Dust Settles to an audience at Bloody Scotland – another dream come true.
Published by Bloodhound Books, I Know Where You Live is the much-anticipated sequel to Pat’s gripping and unmissable debut thriller, Till the Dust Settles. It too is a psychological thriller with a skilfully told story that makes for an enjoyable stand alone read. It will hook you from the start.
One Perfect Witness, Pat’s third novel to be published, tells a completely new story. If, like Pat, you’re fascinated by what happens when someone disappears, you’ll enjoy this book of secrets, lies and deception.
Author links : Twitter